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Welcome to Lough Mardal Lodge. We’re delighted to have chosen to come and visit us and we hope that your stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. In this regard we provide you with some useful information. First off, due to Covid19, we ask you to please read here about the measures being taken here to protect guests from the spread of the virus. Please remember to use the hand sanitisers provided each time you enter your yurt and Lodge and wash hands frequently throughout the duration of your stay. Please do not shake hands with fellow guests. And ensure to always cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and dispose of immediately. We also highly recommend downloading the Covid Tracker Ireland App released by the HSE which aims to alert you if you come into contact with someone with Covid19.
24hrs prior to arrival you must complete and submit our Covid Screening form.
Check-in is from 3pm. Self-Check in details will be texted to you within 24hrs prior to arrival. Check-out of yurt and Lodge is up to 11am. We must ask that you do please vacate your yurt and the property by 11am at the very latest so we can begin our deep clean.
There is a 1km track from the road to the Lodge with a very strict speed limit of 15km which we ask guests to please adhere to for everyone's safety as there are many hidden paths that join the track and children or dogs can appear out of nowhere very suddenly. Don't worry, there are plenty of signs along the way to remind you of this when you get here!
Your yurt key is located in your secure locker in the Lobby. We recommend putting your door 'on the latch' once you have entered if you plan on remaining there, as the door tends to swing shut and this minimises the risk of getting locked out if you are going to and fro between your yurt and your outdoor decking. You can take it off the latch then when leaving. When checking out please return the key and fob to the secure locker. (There is a €40 charge if they need to be replaced.)
We ask guests to remove shoes when entering the yurt, a shoe mat is provided just inside the door.
There is a supply of eco firelighters, kindling, logs (and briquettes in the colder months).
To light the stove put 1-2 firelighters into the stove and place 2 or 3 pieces of kindling (thin/split sticks) on to the firelighters and light with a match. Then add 1 or 2 small logs and close the door making sure the circular vent in the bottom of the door is open. Once the stove is fully lit and burning well (after about 15-20 minutes) you can close the circular vent down (by twisting clockwise) which will help your stove burn for longer.
If your stove needs the ash emptying or you need more wood (if staying for more than one night) just text/call us. We ask guests to please not throw ash from the stove onto the ground outside yurt - we need to protect our precious bogland.
Please do not leave anything on top of the stove when lit
The yurt is fully-insulated and should keep you cosy and warm but should you require extra blankets please just let us know.
Rechargeable lanterns are provided. There are also candles & nightlights. Remember to recharge your lanterns in your locker in the Lobby during the day.
Empty glass bottles can be left at the bin area in the Lodge kitchen where they will be collected and recycled. Cigarette butts go in the sand pot outside door.
Fresh clean towels are provided. At the end of your stay used towels can be left in the basket in the shower area. If you require a fresh towel during your stay just send us a text and we will arrange this for you. Wet towels can be either hung out on your decking or from the internal lattice of your yurt, by the stove.
- The dome skylight can be opened in the summer by hooking the long skylight pole provided and turning gently, if unsure how to use this just let us know and we can help.
- The windows have external covers which you can unzip from the outside and roll up to let more light in (or to enjoy a lovely sunset!) and can be rolled down at night.
- The yurt and Lodge are non-smoking but you are free to smoke outside on the yurt veranda. There is a sand pot just outside the doors of the yurt and Lodge for cigarette butts.
Pets are not permitted up on furniture and must not be left unsupervised in the yurt. Please scoop all poop outside, a pooper scooper shovel is located by the Lodge on the right on the slope as you approach from the car park, underneath the directional signage. The poop can be thrown into a hedge (or anywhere kids are likely to be playing).
ARCHIE (OUR DOG)
Our dog Archie is very friendly, too friendly at times! If at any point he becomes a nuisance please let us know and we will call for him. We ask that you please do not let him into your yurt, or feed him anything... or it will become a habit!
THE LODGE – Communal Amenity Building
Facilities available for your use in the Lodge building include a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, toilets and hot showers as well as the large Reciprocal Room for you to relax and hang out in. The Lodge is a uniquely designed eco building made almost entirely with natural materials. The walls are made with straw bales instead of bricks, the internal walls are made of ‘cob’ (mud, straw and water). There is a small ‘truth window’ in the Reciprocal Room which is the last remaining evidence that the walls are made of straw!
There are secure lockers in the Lobby where valuables can be kept. The combination code is written inside the door of the Locker (we suggest taking a photo of this).
Inside the lockers there are re-charging points for mobile devices and lanterns
RECIPROCAL ROOM (the large hang-out area)
- We ask guests to keep the Reciprocal Room a gadget-free room (unless you wish to take photos) - there is a designated spot in the Lobby area for using gadgets which also has recharging points, but please respect social distancing guidelines.
The light switch for the Reciprocal Room is just inside the front door of building, on the right above the fire extinguishers. If you are the last person to leave the Lodge at night we please ask you to turn off the lights in the kitchen and Reciprocal Room. (The lobby, toilet and shower lights are on sensors.)
There are 3 wet room showers. Shower gel is provided. A hairdryer is also provided for communal use (due to Covid please ensure to wash hands in the adjacent sink before and after use) – or you are welcome to bring your own.
On departure used towels can be left in the basket in the shower area. If you require fresh towels at any stage please let us know.
Note: Please allow the hot taps in the sink to run for a minute or two for hot water to come through, it should be hot 24/7.
You are asked to please leave the kitchen as you find it. Your yurt has its own designated plates, cups and cutlery located on a shelf in the kitchen. Due to Covid we ask you to please wash and dry after each use (rather than leaving it to dry on draining board) and return to your shelf. Damp dish towels can be hung on rail inside the storage cupboard, dirty towels should be left in the basket in the Lodge and will get replenished in the morning.
If you are a large group feel free to use the dishwasher (no wooden items please!), turn on and when clean and dry ensure to return your dishware back to their shelves.
On Check-Out please leave all your plates, cups, cutlery, etc in the dishwasher (no need to turn on) and leave both dish towels in the used dish towels basked
BBQ & CAMPFIRE
There is a designated BBQ area outside the kitchen with two BBQ's, just remember to bring your own charcoal
A big campfire pit is located in front of the Lodge with a supply of firewood nearby. Guests are very welcome to light this campfire at any stage. Please ensure children are not left unsupervised at any stage by the campfire. We may have some emergency marshmallows for toasting if you forget yours!
Please remember to return your lantern to your locker and leave plugged in and charging
Please also leave your key and key fob in the locker (a €40 charge applies for lost key/fob)
Remember, to leave all your plates, cups, cutlery, etc in the dishwasher and both dish towels in the used dish towel basket.
Then you're ready to go!
Lough Mardal Lodge is set on 90 acres of private land which you are very welcome to roam and explore. The landscape is a wild mix of meadows, heather-covered hills and blanket bogland and is humming with wildlife in every direction. We highly recommend a hike up to Lime Hill (there are signs to direct you, there is a small fence with a stile which is easy to cross) from where you can see stunning panoramic views of the lakes, Donegal Bay, Dartry, Sliabh League and the Bluestack mountain ranges. Our donkeys or cows may come over to say hello! :-) Please note that all walking on the land is over rough and wet terrain, waterproof boots or shoes will be needed, and is done at one's own risk. There are also lovely lakeshore rambles and guests are welcome to enjoy the lake and go paddling or wild swimming or do a spot of fishing.
There are some very good options for eating out locally. Please note due to Covid some of these may not be operational at time of your stay so we suggest checking in advance. Some may also be doing take-outs (eg Chandpur Indian). Our top recommendations are:
The Salmon Inn Bar & Restaurant (www.thesalmoninn.ie Ph. 00353 74 973 4040) - 11km drive in the direction of Donegal Town. Good food, lots of fresh seafood and a lovely setting on a small pier. Adjoining bar is handy for an aperitif beforehand. Advance booking recommended at weekends.
Donegal's Famous Chipper - Main Street, Donegal Town. Self-professed best fish'n'chips in Donegal Town! Fresh fish caught daily.
- Smugglers Creek Bar & Restaurant (www.smuglerscreekinn.com Ph 00353 71 985 2366) - 14km drive just south of Rossnowlagh Beach. Good bar-food with plenty of seafood and spectacular views of Rossnowlagh strand and Donegal Bay. Advance booking recommended at weekends.
- Chandpur Indian Restaurant in Donegal Town. (https://chandpurdonegal.com Ph 00353 74 972 5452) - 19km - Absolutely delicious if you, like us, like Indian food at this multi-award winning restaurant.
- The Courthouse - Kinlough (http://thecourthouserest.com /071 9842391 ), 23km. Excellent Italian. A deliciously authentic Mediterranean dining experience. Award-winning and recommended by Georgina Cambell, McKenna's Guides & Bridgestone Guides.
- Quay West - Donegal Town (www.www.quaywestdonegal.ie Ph 00353 74 972 1590), 18km Top seafood award-winning restaurant in Donegal Town overlooking Donegal Bay
Our local pub is Whoriskeys Pub in Cashelard – 5km (Google Maps makes you go a longer route, we can give you shorter directions!) Brendan the owner will take good care of you. They have a pool table and a large tv for all the big sporting events. Due to Covid you will need to book a table in advance: Ph 00353 71 9851683. The also do pizza, soup and toasted sandwiches and fish and chips. You can find them on Facebook under ‘Whoriskeys Cashelard’.
THE LOCAL AREA
The nearest towns are Donegal Town (18k) and Ballyshannon (13km). Ballyshannon is quite small and doesn't have a huge selection of shops but has lots of character, good cafes (Simply Green is a favourite) and is the oldest town in Ireland! It has couple of great festivals each year, one being the Rory Gallagher Music Festival on the June Bank Holiday weekend. Donegal Town has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants as well as some places of interest including Donegal Castle and the Craft Village.
Shops & Supermarkets
There are two small shops within a 10 minute drive – one at Whoriskeys pub in Cashelard and one in the village Ballintra. The nearest supermarkets are all in Donegal Town (Lidl, Aldi and SuperValu). Alternatively, Bundoran has a Lidl and SuperValu.
The nearest chemist is in Ballyshannon
Breesy Hill – 8km. Very enjoyable quiet local walk with lovely views.
The Gleniff Horseshoe – Benwisken Trail – 39km. The Gleniff horseshoe is a nice 10km loop along quiet roads with spectacular views and dramatic and wild Dartry Mountains. The walk also provides dramatic views of the Donegal Bay and the Ulster County beyond.
The Bluestack Way - the Bluestack Way is a 65km route through a true wilderness area of County Donegal in the north west of Ireland with great views as it traverses the Bluestack Mountains, a range of low rounded hills. It connects Donegal town with the town of Ardara on the west coast.
Slieve League (one of the highest sea-cliffs in Europe) - 69k. Well worth the drive from here if you have the time. Picture postcard scenery on the way and very dramatic and beautiful coastal hike.
Castle Caldwell – 13km. A beautiful forest walk and hidden gem on the shore of Lough Erne, just a short drive across the border in Co. Fermanagh.
There are lots of great surf spots in the area – Rossnowlagh, Bundoran, Mullaghmore - with surf schools at Rossnowlagh (13km) and also Bundoran (19km). Fin McCool Surf School in Rossnowlagh (13km) offers surf lessons at 10% discount when booked through us. Rates from €22.50 for Children (summer months only) and €31.50 for Adults.
Two beautiful long sandy beaches are within a 10-15 minute drive – Rossnowlagh, and the less populated Murvagh Beach which also has a forest walk beside it.
Donegal Equestrian Centre, Bundoran - 17km - https://donegalequestriancentre.com - Beach rides and pony trekking
Island View Riding Stables – 35km - http://islandviewridingstables.com
St. John’s Point, 47km. Beautiful drive and/or stunning walk out to Lighthouse on rugged sea-cliffs. Picture-postcard pretty, West of Ireland at its finest.
DONEGAL BAY CRUISE
Donegal Bay Waterbus offers trips around Donegal Bay, view the seal colony on Seal Island, the Bluestack
mountains and Donegal Bay’s many islands with full commentary. Embark at Donegal Town. Journey time, 1hr, 15mins.
Please leave your key fob and lanterns (plugged in and charging) in your Locker in the Lobby before you leave. Please note there is a €40 charge for replacing lost keys and fobs.
We really hope you enjoy your stay. If at any stage we can assist you with anything or if you are finding something unsatisfactory please contact us so we will address it. We are available on Ph 00353 861731813 / Ph 00353 86 0233360.
Enjoyed your stay? Please leave a review.
Reviews can be left on Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google Maps and whatever platform you booked with eg. Airbnb or Booking.com.
You can find us by searching ‘Lough Mardal Lodge’.
CLARE & MARCUS
If you need assistance with anything or if there are any problems or an emergency please call us on Ph. 00353 861731813 (Clare) / 00353 86 0233360 (Marcus).
One of our phones will be on 24hrs.
Alan McGloin 00353 86 8957412
Seamie 00353 86 8235030
Jim Walsh 00353 87 6507129
Bayview Practice, Ballyshannon Ph 071 9851600
Afterhours: NowDoc - Ph 074 9735106
Ballyshannon - Ph 00353719858530
OUR ADDRESS IS:
Lough Mardal Lodge, Bradley, Ballintra, Co. Donegal, Post Code: F94 W4FE
FIRE ASSEMBLY POINT: Meadow in front of the Lodge
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