Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway review : Ireland’s newest lodges are full of surprises

When word broke that a new forest hideout was about to open in Leitrim, our interest was certainly piqued.

With a selection of bespoke lodges dotted around the woods and a team of experienced owners at the helm, the concept seemed promising. Well now the lodges at Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway are complete, the doors are open and we were one of the first to the gates.

Arrival & location

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An aerial view of Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway in Co Leitrim

Right from the start Drumhierny is impressive. The entrance is marked with a huge, intricately rusted metal sign, and when the gates open you travel up a long tree-lined track past the first few lodges.

There are 100 hectares of forest to explore, with 5km of hiking trails winding around the land – I loved that these are open to both locals and visitors. Check-in can be completed online in advance, with your lodge key sent straight to your phone via the justIN app, as convenient as it is sophisticated.

Carrick-on-Shannon is a 10 minute drive away and The Shed Distillery (home of Gunpowder gin) is even closer. You could even cycle there – Drumhierny is just steps from the Shannon Blueway, and the tranquil canal path takes you all the way to the floating boardwalk on Acres Lake and Drumshanbo. 9/10

service & style

While Drumhierny opened back in June, its wellbeing sanctuary only opened a few weeks ago. Built into the property’s original walled garden, this outdoor spa features four seaweed baths, two sunken hot tubs, and a huge sauna with a glass wall that overlooks the garden.

It’s a bold claim, but I think this might be one of the best outdoor spas in the country. Bathing in a tub surrounded by flowers and plants, while swallows soar overhead and the trees stretch out behind the ivy-covered walls is something very special. And you’re in no hurry either – the Seaweed Bath Experience (€65) gives you a total of two and a half hours to enjoy the area, which is a joy compared to places that take 30 minutes to leave. It costs €35 if you only want the jacuzzi and sauna.

Throughout the retreat the staff are attentive and friendly and I loved their khaki uniforms which reminded me a bit of safari gear. When it comes to decor, the closest comparison in Ireland is probably Cavan’s Cabu by the Lakes, given the Drumhierny’s cabins, woodland setting, and shared campfire nicknamed Cedaroo. However, the design here is different, a bit simpler and more reduced. 9/10

The rooms

There are a total of 16 lodges in Drumhierny, all made of sustainable fiber cement and natural wood and each sleeping six. There are four different designs to choose from, but the focal point of each is the huge, floor-to-ceiling glass facade, giving you unobstructed views of the oak, spruce and birch trees surrounding the lodges. Architecturally they have it all.

I stayed at a Habitat Lodge, a one-of-a-kind A-frame cabin that feels like something you’d find at a fancy resort in Big Sur, California. There is a beautiful mezzanine master bedroom with a landing that overlooks the huge, light-filled living area – itself with good soft sofas and an oak dining table. In a world of endless identical glamping huts and shepherd’s huts, these lodges are a welcome breath of fresh air.

Interiors are understated but effective — think sleek, simple lines with nice little touches that bring the outside in, like framed fern fronds and birch branch artwork. Much of the wood furniture is crafted from fallen oak from the site, like log seats and cool kitchen tables. I loved the bathroom units with the sink on a thick oak shelf and the free standing clothes rail in the master bedroom made from tree branches.

The grounds around a few of the habitat lodges have not yet been planted with wildflowers, so the area around them feels a bit sparse at the moment. It didn’t bother my companion, but if you prefer a lush view, you can request one of the lodges, which are off the main road. My personal favorite? Toad Hollow, which is shaped like an A-frame but is down a small alleyway, offers optimal privacy and maximum views. 8/10

Eat Drink

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The light-flooded living area in one of the lodges

The focus here is on self-catering, so the Woodpecker Café only serves pizza and fries, which also serves wine by the glass or bottle. Unfortunately, my pizza (€9.50) was a bit disappointing – the crust too thin and crunchy with an overload of cheese. There are a few restaurants nearby. For example Beirnes of Battlebridge is a pub which is only a five minute walk away although it gets very busy on summer weekends.

However, the kitchens in the lodges are well equipped and great for cooking, with carefully organized drawers stocked with new utensils and cutlery, as well as an immaculate and modern oven, hob and microwave, as well as a huge fridge freezer. There is also a dining table on the deck. 5/10

The final result

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Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway

If only the design of the lodges mattered, Drumhierny would still be a winner. But the addition of a spa as good as the Wellness Sanctuary puts it well ahead of the pack. This corner of Leitrim is often forgotten, but Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway will put it on the map.

Insider Tips

For €25 you can have a fire pit delivered to your lodge with a huge stack of logs and giant marshmallows.

If coming via Carrick-on-Shannon, go to the shop in Honestly Farm Kitchen (honestkitchen.ie), serving organic burgers and steaks from their own herd of Dexter cows, as well as freshly baked bread and vegetables.

Prices

Lodges start at €450 for two nights. Nicola was a guest at Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway. drumhiernyhideaway.ie

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/staycations/drumhierny-woodland-hideaway-review-irelands-newest-lodges-are-full-of-surprises-41858506.html Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway review : Ireland’s newest lodges are full of surprises

Fry Electronics Team

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