With stylish lodges and an outdoor spa on its 100 acres, Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway is set to put this corner of Leitrim on the map
When the news came that a new forest hideaway was going to be opening in Leitrim, it’s safe to say that our interest was piqued.
With a selection of custom-designed lodges dotted throughout the woods, and a team of expert owners at the helm, the concept sure seemed promising. Well, now the lodges at Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway are finished, the doors are open, and we were one of the first in the gates.
The rating: 8/10
From the get-go, Drumhierny is impressive. The entrance is marked with a giant, artfully rusted metal sign, and when the gates swing open, you drive up a long, tree-lined path past the first few lodges.
There are 100 acres of woodland to explore, with 5km of walking trails weaving around the land — I loved the fact that these are open to locals, as well as guests. Check-in can be completed online in advance, with your lodge key sent directly to your phone via the JustIN app, which is as handy as it is nifty.
Carrick-on-Shannon is a 10-minute drive away, and The Shed Distillery (home of Gunpowder gin) is even closer. In fact, you could even cycle there — Drumhierny is just a few short strides from the Shannon Blueway, and the serene canal-side path takes you all the way to the floating boardwalk on Acres Lake and into Drumshanbo. 9/10
While Drumhierny opened back in June, its Wellbeing Sanctuary launched just a few weeks ago. This outdoor spa is built into the estate’s original walled garden, with four seaweed baths, two sunken hot tubs and a giant sauna with a glass wall that overlooks the gardens.
It’s a bold claim, but I think this could be one of the finest outdoor spas in the country. To soak in a tub surrounded by flowers and plants, as swallows flitter overhead and the trees stretch skywards behind the ivy-covered walls, is incredibly special. And you’re not rushed, either — on the Seaweed Bath Experience (€65), you’re allotted two and a half hours in total to enjoy the area, which is a joy compared to the places that hurry you out after 30 minutes. It’s €35 if you just want the hot tub and sauna.
Throughout the retreat, staff are attentive and friendly, and I loved their khaki uniforms, which reminded me a little of safari gear. When it comes to the set-up, the closest comparison in Ireland is likely Cavan’s Cabu by the Lakes, given Drumhierny’s cabins, woodland location and communal campfire, dubbed the Cedaroo. The design here is different though, a little more simple and pared back. 9/10
There are 16 lodges in total at Drumhierny, all made from sustainable fibre cement and natural wood, and each sleeping six. You can choose between four different designs, but the focus of each is the giant, floor-to-ceiling glass façade, which gives you unobstructed views of the oak, spruce and birch trees surrounding the lodges. Architecturally speaking, they pack a serious punch.
I stayed in a Habitat Lodge, a unique ‘A’-frame cabin that feels like something you’d find in a chic resort in California’s Big Sur. There’s a beautiful, mezzanine-level master bedroom, with a landing that overlooks the giant, light-filled living area — itself featuring good squishy couches and an oak dining table. In a world of endless identikit glamping pods and shepherd’s huts, these lodges are a much-welcomed breath of fresh air.
The interiors are understated but effective — think sleek, simple lines with neat little touches that bring the outside in, like framed fern fronds and birch branch artwork. Lots of the wooden furniture is made from fallen oak from the grounds, like tree-trunk seating and cool kitchen tables. I loved the bathroom units, with the sink perched on top of a thick oak shelf, and the freestanding clothes rail in the master bedroom made from branches.
The grounds around a couple of the Habitat lodges aren’t yet planted with wildflowers, so the area around them currently feels a little sparse. It didn’t bother my companion, but if you prefer a lush view, you can request one of the lodges that is off the main avenue. My personal favourite? Toad Hollow, which is the ‘A’-frame shape but located on a little lane, for optimum privacy and maximum views. 8/10
The focus here is on self-catering, so the only food on offer is in the form of pizzas and chips in the Woodpecker Café, where you can also get wine by the glass or bottle. Unfortunately, my pizza (€9.50) was a little disappointing — the base too thin and crisp with an overload of cheese. There are a few places to eat nearby. Beirnes of Battlebridge is a pub that’s a five-minute stroll away, for example, though it gets very busy over summer weekends.
However, the kitchens in the lodges are well-appointed and great to cook in, with meticulously organised drawers of new utensils and cutlery, as well as a spotless and modern oven, hob and microwave, and a giant fridge-freezer. There’s a dining table on the deck, too. 5/10
If it simply came down to the design of the lodges alone, 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 about, but Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway is set to put it on the map.
You can get a fire pit delivered to your lodge complete with a massive stack of logs and giant marshmallows for €25.
If you’re arriving via Carrick-on-Shannon, head to the shop in Honestly Farm Kitchen (honestlykitchen.ie), where you can get organic burgers and steaks from its own herd of Dexter cows, as well as freshly baked bread and fresh vegetables.
Lodges start at €450 for two nights. Nicola was a guest of Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway. drumhiernyhideaway.ie