Do you ever feel nostalgic for the present moment? That feeling that comes a beat behind sheer enjoyment and just before a wistfulness that it’s already passed? That’s how I felt on the first evening of my stay in The Bee Pods, wishing I could bottle the experience of being wrapped in a blanket, sipping a gin and tonic, watching the sun slip under the horizon at Rossnowlagh beach.

On their website, The Bee Pods are selling the idea of ‘coastal bliss’ and positioning themselves as ‘the ultimate luxurious retreat into nature’—which gives rise to potentially inflated expectations—but they genuinely achieved exactly what it says on the tin. Pure and simple joy, unsullied by everyday stresses, with all the comforts you didn’t know you needed on hand and ready to be made use of.

The passion project of Siobhan and William McGuckin, these glamping pods are built along a path that once connected their own home to their neighbours, so that their children could wander to and fro on adventures with their friends. They made the decision to unearth that pathway to adventure and help more people rediscover the beauty of the wilderness, and their dedication to sustainability and minimal disruption to the natural world is evident from the minute you set foot on the property.

As the name would suggest, they’ve got bees on site—which is where they get their delicious honey—a greenhouse of fruit, herbs and vegetables, garden pathways with wild flowers, and some very friendly pygmy goats. In addition to these gorgeous on-site trails, they’re also located just a five minute walk from Rossnowlagh beach, and a 15 minute bus journey from Ballyshannon (buckle up, because the local link is a very, very bumpy ride).

My boyfriend and I arrived after a three-hour bus journey pretty exhausted, but that feeling faded as soon as we dropped our bags off in our pod and it became instantly apparent that we wouldn’t be going far for the duration of the weekend.

There are five different pods on site, ours was The Hive Pod, which boasts a private balcony area, a patio table for alfresco dining, a Green Egg barbeque, an outdoor bath with an electric heater overhead, and a fire pit. Inside was just as exceptional, with gorgeous bathrobes waiting on the bed, a rainfall shower in the en suite (with a selection of gorgeous VOYA products and underfloor heating!), a fully equipped kitchen, and a complementary gin and tonic ready and waiting.

The Bee Pods Donegal

There was a little wicker basket filled with sweet treats to be enjoyed over the weekend (including marshmallows made for toasting on an open fire), along with milk, butter, and eggs — the essentials.

Nestled among the glamping pods is a decked out pizza pod where you can make your own pizza. They supply the bases and sauce, you bring along the toppings. Perks include getting to laugh at your boyfriend in a chef’s hat and apron, wildly brandishing a pizza peel as we contemplate whether we will regret putting the wild boar we bought for some strange reason on top of our otherwise perfect pizza pies. (He did and got heartburn, I didn’t and regretted it.)

In the morning, a complimentary breakfast basket is delivered to your door, filled with freshly squeezed orange juice and an assortment of delicious bits and pieces to start your day with. Over the two mornings, we got freshly baked soda bread, smoked salmon and a delicious cream cheese and cucumber dip, quiche, fruit bowls and yoghurt.

The Bee Pods Donegal

We opted to make use of the seaweed baths, which was a first for both of us, and something we’ll absolutely be doing again. If you didn’t know, seaweed bathing is Ireland’s only indigenous wellness therapy, and it leaves your skin feeling deeply nourished and moisturised. The baths are in a private gated pod with double doors overlooking the sea outside, so it’s every bit as relaxing as you’d imagine. One thing I will recommend here is bringing slippers or sandals, because I did not look like the serene goddess I imagined myself to be as I trudged back from the baths in my robe and Doc Marten boots. Learn from me.

Later, after nipping into Ballyshannon to swing by the Rory Gallagher statue, sample the local wares (pints of Guinness), and pick up some supplies, we (well, my boyfriend) set about firing up the BBQ. As it’s a Green Egg grill, it was slightly more complicated than we (he) was prepared for, but patience is a virtue and the food was well worth the extra effort.

Each evening, they very kindly drop up a dessert or cheese board to snack on as night begins to fall, which is an ideal accompaniment to attempting to play a game of backgammon that was left in the room. (We gave up almost instantly.) They’ve also got free WiFi and a bluetooth speaker, if you wanted to soundtrack your days and nights, and a shed load of extra bits and pieces you might need throughout your stay. Beach blankets, fire lighters, ice, board games, extra glasses, you name it.

Quite literally everything you could possibly need was already thought of and at our disposal. There’s even a little hut at the top of the hill complete with a telescope and swing seat! It’s like something from a storybook.

Siobhan and William aren’t just the owners of a glamping business, they’re hosts, and they were on hand to give us tours, help, and recommendations as needed, but were happy to let us explore and wander to our hearts content. It was, in no uncertain terms, complete and utter coastal bliss.

Sarah Gill was a guest of The Bee Pods. To find out more or book your stay at The Bee Pods, visit their website.

published 2024-04-11 23:00:24