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(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.
You can read about the measures being taken to protect guests from the spread of the virus on our Covid Safety page. For the safety and comfort of yourself and other guests please remember to socially distance, use the hand sanitisers provided and wash hands frequently for the duration of your stay. We ask that you please wear masks in the common areas, unless eating or drinking.
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, leaving your lanterns and book-lights plugged in and re-charging in your locker.
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 and a box of logs.
The box of firewood provided is plenty for a 2 night stay, if you need more it can be supplied at €5 per box. If staying more than 2 nights and need your supply topped up just let us know. (Please notify us in the mornings if possible.)
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 aprox 3 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 top up with more firewood and 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 firewoodwood just text. (In the mornings if possible.) We ask guests to please not throw ash from the stove onto the ground outside.
Important: Please do not leave anything on top of the stove when lit
The Yurts and Shepherd's Hut are fully-insulated and the stoves often do not need lighting during the milder summer nights. 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 intense, be warned!
In the colder months if you require extra blankets please just let us know.
Rechargeable lanterns and book-lights are provided along with plenty of candles & tea lights. Remember to recharge your lanterns & book-lights in your locker in the Lobby during the day (and leave plugged in and recharging on check-out).
HOT WATER BOTTLES
Hot water bottles are provided in your locker during the Autumn/Winter months. If using please ensure not to pour in boiling water which can damage the bottle and cause leaks which nobody wants!
- 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!) and must not be left unsupervised in the yurt. Doggy towels are provided. Muddy pawprints on bedding will be subject to extra cleaning fee (the mud here is very peaty and next to impossible to wash off).
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 reconsider bringing your dog if he is a 'yappy' dog out of respect to other guests who wish to enjoy the peacefulness 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!
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 – or you are welcome to bring your own.
On departure used towels can be left in the basket in the shower area.
There is a large fully equipped kitchen for guests' use wth cooking utensils (no microwave). 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. As the Lodge is a self-catering building and is therefore not staffed 24/7 we ask all guests to take personal responsibility - please ensure to wipe down surfaces after use and leave the space as you find it for the next guest.
Each Yurt and the Shepherd's Hut have their own designated storage cupboards for food supplies and fridge space. Please always keep your food supplies in your cupboards to ensure countertops are kept clear for others.
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 dishcloths can be hung in your storage cupboard, soiled ones can be left in the dishcloth basket provided and fresh ones will be supplied in the morning. On Check-Out dishcloths can be left in the basket. Pots, pans and kitchen utensils are for communal use. Please wash thoroughly after use.
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, remembering to wipe down surfaces after use
If you are a large group feel free to use the dishwasher (no wooden items please!), turn on (Eco cycle unless very heavily soiled items)and when clean and dry ensure to return 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.
As part of our Sustainability Policy we ask everyone to adhere to our Minimum Waste policy. Be mindful not to bring too much food (which can often lead to waste), instead we recommend bringing essentials only and then shop locally as you determine your actual needs. There is an Aldi, Lidl and Supervalu in Donegal Town, 15-20 minutes from here. Reusable bags are recommended when shopping and consider leaving packaging directly in the store (pushing the burden of waste back onto the supermarket and suppliers). We ask that you do not bring plastic bottles or single-use plastics (where possible). We realise this is tricky since so many staples (bread, pasta, rice, cheese, etc). Simple Simon in Donegal Town offer refills in brown paper bags.
We provide glass litre bottles that you can refill with drinking water while here. Our pure well water (tested annually with no chlorine or other nasty added chemicals) runs from all the cold water taps in the kitchen.
Please ensure to separate all waste - the bins in the kitchen are clearly marked. All waste food (cooked or uncooked) goes in the compost bin. All empty beer/wine cans & 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 all of the doors.
We ask you not to bring any disposable plates, cups, cutlery, baking trays, bbqs, anything! Everything you need should already be in the Lodge (and if not please tell us!)
In keeping with our Sustainability Policy guests are asked to conserve water where possible. Just a few small measures go a long way, eg.
Re-using the same water for hot water bottles every night
Using the minimum amount of water necessary when cooking or re-use boiled water
Only filling the kettle with what you actually need
Only filling up the kithen sink with what you actually need
Using the dishwasher only for full loads and selecting the 'eco' cycle
Taking a shorter shower (it can save up to 10ltrs of water per minute!!)
Turning off the tap in between brushing teeth or shaving
Avoid letting the tap run while washing vegetables
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!
We ask you please not to toast marshmallows in the yurt or Lodge stoves as the sticky-goo often left behind is worse than superglue to remove!
Please remember to return your lantern & book-lights 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)
Please empty your hot water bottles (if used) and return to locker
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
EATING & DRINKING
There are some very good options for eating out locally. Many are also doing take-outs (eg Chandpur Indian). Our top recommendations are on our Eating & Drinking page of website.
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 very good care of you. They do wonderful food at weekends and pizzas and take-outs midweek and have a big screen for all the big sporting events as well as occasional live music. To book a table in advance: Ph 00353 71 9851683. 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 the basic 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. There is a very good Health Food Shop in Donegal Town, Simple Simon, which does refills as well as having a great deli'.
The nearest chemist is in Ballyshannon
Seclusion Spa, 18km - https://www.seclusionspa.com/
The Beauty Rooms, 14km - https://www.thebeautyrooms.ie/
The Bike Stop, Main St., Bundoran (19km)
Book in advance: Contact (085) 248 8317 or email@example.com
Surf lessons at Rossnowlagh Beach can be booked through us. Rates from €30 for Children (summer months only) and €45 for Adults. Book in advance.
Beach rides and sand dune trails on Tullan Strand (17km) can be booked through us. Adults - €80, Child - €75 for 1.5hrs. Beach rides for experienced riders only and children aged 10 and over. Children must be accompanied by adult rider. Book in advance.
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.
Just passed Ballyshannon, heading out to Creevy Pier (17km) is a lovely drive, you can park up and enjoy a walk by the sea. Stunning scenery.
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.
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.
St. John’s Point, 47km. Beautiful drive and/or stunning walk out to Lighthouse on rugged sea-cliffs. 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.
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.
Don't forget to leave us 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
Declan Doherty 00353 87 9243579
Seamie 00353 86 8235030
Jim Walsh 00353 87 6507129
Bayview Practice, Ballyshannon Ph 071 9851600
Afterhours: NowDoc - Ph 074 9735106
Ballyshannon - Ph 00353719858530
Diall: 999 or 112
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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