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Lake, Glamping, Ireland

About Us

Yurt Living, Ireland

Lough Mardal Lodge is also our little family homestead.

 

Having lived in the east coast of Ireland we did the opposite to what most sensible couples do when they are expecting a baby. We packed in our long-term, well-paid jobs in the high-octane events & music industry and moved west to fullfill a pipedream of living a simpler, slower life, raising our young twin girls in the countryside, somewhere beautiful, growing our own vegetables and keeping a few animals...and somehow, some way, hopefully make a living. With our combined skillset and experience we thought Glamping was a business we might just be able to make a go of, Marcus having managed a marquee company which set up glamping at some of Ireland's big music festivals. Meanwhile Clare had spent 16 years working with pioneering business man (founder of the Electric Picnic music festival), John Reynolds, and had learned a lot in that time with regards to all aspects of running a business.
 
In terms of location, it had to be scenic and close to tourist hubs. Marcus had a hankering for Donegal where his father had been brought up and where he, as a child, had spent all his summers. We fell upon Lough Mardal in 2015. A 90-acre bogland site of unspoiled natural beauty and we fell in love instantly, convinced that if we couldn't make a go of it here we hadn't a hope anywhere. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way, 15 minutes from two beautiful beaches, remote and tranquil yet accessible, with two lakes and a stunning panoramic landscape - it ticked more boxes than we'd hoped for and we knew any visitor here would fall in love with the place just like we had.

Putting most of our possessions in storage we relocated here in 2015, moving into an old yurt which a friend of a friend was selling, on what was then a green field site with no running water or electricity... with our 6-month old twins in tow. Unfathomably undaunted jostling feeding schedules, nappies and off-grid logistics, with our eyes on the goal, we put a business plan together (many hours spent in the Mill Park Hotel lobby where the laptop could be plugged in!) and miraculously managed to raise the necessary finance to start building.

While we waited for planning permission Marcus built a compost loo (phew!), we set to work creating a vegetable garden (Clare did a crash course in vegetable gardening at the wonderful Organic Centre having not even grown a humble herb on a window sill in her previous life), Marcus also built a chicken tractor and bought a few hens. The various members of our extended families and friends, who for a time considered an intervention such was their concern for us, were relieved when we finally upgraded our residence from our very basic yurt to a palatial (in comparison) wooden cabin and finally got hooked up to electricity and then running water - properly civilised now!

We accumulated 1 dog, 2 cats, 6 donkeys, then 9 rare breed Dexter cows and officially became farmers - a career curveball that would be of great amusement to our younger city-slicker, rock 'n' roll selves. We restored a ruined stone cottage on the site and turned it into a workshop, planted two native woodlands, did a lot of land-prepping...and then got down to the serious business of building our eco glamping
business. 

Construction of the Lodge began in October 2017. From the offset we intended to create a business that was as sustainable as possible starting with the communal building - the Ldoge - which would be constructed almost entirely with natural materials using old traditional, natural methods of building. Over the various stages of the build until its completion in May 2019 we had close to 100 volunteers from all over the world come and rough it with us to help out and learn about natural building - it was a wonderful time all of us working together, eating together and forging lasting friendships.


And so having enjoyed the 'good life' here for the first few years in our little slice of Donegal heaven - in 2019 we got to finally share it with the world and offer visitors the same opportunity to slow down and recharge in luxury off-grid accommodation and at the same time showcase the beauty of natural building. We hope you like it.

Clare & Marcus

 

About Us, Glamping, Donegal
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