(We suggest printing/saving this information for ease of reference when you are here.)
Welcome to Lough Mardal Lodge. We’re delighted to have you 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.
Firstly, due to Covid19, please read about the measures being taken to protect guests from the spread of the virus on our Covid Safety page. We ask everyone to adhere to the one-way system to the loos and showers and limit numbers in the kitchen to 2 at a time and wear a mask. Remember to use the hand sanitisers provided and wash hands frequently throughout the duration of your stay. We also recommend downloading the Covid Tracker Ireland App, if you haven't already, which aims to alert you if you come into contact with someone with Covid19.
Check-in is from 3pm. Self-Check in details will be texted to you within 24hrs prior to arrival. Check-out is up to 11am. We must ask that you do please vacate the property by 11am at the very latest in order to allow us enough time to do our deep clean.
Arrival- 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!
The key to your accommodation is located in a designated 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 in and out to 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 accommodation, 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.
Please do not leave anything on top of the stove when lit
The Yurts and Shepherd's Hut are fully-insulated and very rarely need lighting during the summer months - we realise it is mostly lit to create a feeling of cosiness but it is often at the expense of a good night sleep as the heat can become unbearable, be warned!
In the colder months if 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.
We try to be as low-waste as possible. Please do not bring plastic bottles (we provide glass bottles for water refilling - our water is pure well water) and, if you can, no single-use plastics. There are clearly marked bins in the kitchen for separating your waste. All waste food (cooked or uncooked) goes in the compost bin. All empty beer/wine bottles can be left in the crate in the bin area in the kitchen where they will be collected and recycled. Cigarette butts go in the sand pots that are outside most of the doors.
Fresh clean towels are provided. If you require extra during your stay there is a supply in the shower area where you can help yourself. At the end of your stay used towels can be left in the towel basket in the shower area. We suggest that damp towels can be either hung out on your decking or by your stove. If you require additional swimming towels we can provide for a small charge.
- 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.
- All accommodation and the Lodge are non-smoking but you are free to smoke outside on the Yurt or Sherpherd's Hut veranda. There is a sand pot just outside the doors for cigarette butts.
Pets are not permitted up on furniture (including beds please!) and must not be left unsupervised in the yurt.
They are permitted in the Lodge only if they are kept under control and do not bother other guests - being mindful that some people, particularly children, may be nervous around dogs.
Please do not bring your dog if he is a 'yappy' dog out of respect to other guests who wish to enjoy the peace and quiet of Lough Mardal Lodge including lazy lie-ins!
Please scoop up all poop, a green 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 hedges/brambles.
Please note that some of the more delicate soft furnishings/rugs are removed from yurts when a pet comes to stay
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. He is strictly not permitted in the Yurts or Shepherd's Hut so please ignore those pleading eyes! (Seriously.) Also please do not feed him anything.
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!
Windows are being left open to ensure good ventilation but as the Lodge is a self-catering building and is therefore not manned by staff 24/7 we ask all guests to take personal responsibility for ensuring windows remain open. Please also ensure to wipe down surfaces (countertops & tables) after use with the disinfectant spray which is under the sink. There is ample room for good social distancing in the Lodge, however there is a limit of 2 people max at any one time using the kitchen and we also ask that masks are worn in the kitchen.
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 motion 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 during your stay there is a supply in the shower area which you can help yourself to.
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.
Due to Covid19 guests entering the kitchen must first wash their hands in one of the sinks provided and we ask that you wear a face-mask.
Please keep it to only 2 people at a time and maintain a 2metre distance from others who are not in your party. If you are waiting to use the kitchen please remain in the Reciprocal Room where you can easily see when the kitchen is vacated.
There are designated storage cupboards for food supplies in the kitchen.
You are also provided with your own set of plates/bowls/cups/cutlery and dish cloths for the duration of your stay. Please wash, dry and return to your cupboard at the end of each meal (rather thanleaving them to dry on the draining board). On Check-Out your plates, cups, cutlery, etc can be left in the dishwasher (but please don't turn it on). Damp dish cloths can be hung in your storage cupboard, soiled ones can be left in the dish towel basket provided and fresh ones will be supplied in the morning. On Check-Out leave both cloths in the basket. Pots, pans and kitchen utensils are for communal use. Please wash thoroughly after use. (Guests are welcome to bring their own if preferred.)
Condiments such as cooking oil, salt, pepper, sugar as well as tea and coffee are provided.
You are asked to please leave the kitchen as you find it.
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.
Guests are welcome to eat in the privacy of their own Yurt or Shepherd's Hut (but please remove all food/packaging waste on departure.) We also recommend several very good, local eating spots further below.
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.
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.
THE LOCAL AREA
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. Many are also doing take-outs (eg Chandpur Indian). Our top recommendations are:
- Smugglers Creek Bar & Restaurant ( 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.
- The Salmon Inn Bar & Restaurant. Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in Donegal Bay. Freshly caught daily seafood specials are available. All Seafood, Meats & Poultry are locally sourced. Very close to Murvagh Beach & Golf Club. (http://thesalmoninn.ie/ 00353 74 973 4040
- The Harbour Restaurant, Donegal Town, 19km. Award-winning seafood restaurant. (https://www.harbourdonegal.ie/ 00 353 749721702
- 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 ( /00353 71 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
Ocean5 Chipper & Pizza, 11km. Ph (00353 74 974 7960) - Main Street, Laghy. Fresh fish caught daily.
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 nearest towns are, heading North, Donegal Town (18k) and, heading South, Ballyshannon (13km). Ballyshannon is quite small and doesn't have a huge selection of shops but has lots of character, good cafes 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. There are plenty of supermarkets here too.
SHOPS & SUPERMARKETS
There are two small shops with essentials within a 10 minute drive – one at Whoriskeys pub in Cashelard and one in the village Ballintra. There is a mini-market Spar in Ballyshannon, 13km. The nearest big supermarkets are in Donegal Town (Lidl, Aldi and SuperValu). Alternatively, in the opposite direction Bundoran has a Lidl and SuperValu.
The nearest chemist is in Ballyshannon
Seclusion Spa, 18km - https://www.seclusionspa.com/
The Beauty Rooms, 14km - https://www.thebeautyrooms.ie/