Reset your work-life balance with a green getaway

Yvonne Reddin looks at some holiday options for those looking for a screen-free digital detox and a way to reconnect with nature, or with others.

Wellbeing

We are living in an age dominated by digital connectivity and continuous hustle. The allure of eco-getaways pulls ‘urbanites’ like myself away from the city, promising a sanctuary where you can actually disconnect from the chaos of modern life and reconnect with nature. These sanctuaries, nestled in pristine landscapes around Ireland, offer more than just a temporary escape; they provide a transformative experience, fostering a deep connection with the environment while also nurturing personal wellbeing. Swapping screens for sunsets and the soothing sounds of the forest and mountain environment, the profound benefits of these eco-getaways are evident, offering a much-needed respite for both the body and the soul.

Donegal is a piece of heaven we are lucky to have, so the fact there is also an eco-luxury sanctuary there means it makes absolute sense to make it your destination for a digital detox. Lough Mardal Lodge is based in Ballintra and is the brainchild of Clare and Marcus Tindal. The couple relocated there in 2015, moving into an old yurt which a friend of a friend was selling, on what was then a greenfield site with no running water or electricity. They began construction on the lodge two years later, creating what Clare calls a “luxury off-grid accommodation”.

They instantly began attracting visits from families, couples, adventurers old and young, and stressed-out city people. “The main appeal would be the feeling of being able to completely disconnect from the white noise of modern life. We offer a complete reset,” says Clare.

The site is spread across 90 acres of unspoilt land, across two lakes including Lough Mardal. Lush wildflower meadows, glistening lake shorelines, and vast expanses of soft mossy bogland with sweeping panoramic views of Donegal Bay and its neighbouring mountain ranges – the landscape is its unique selling point.

“The pace is slow. Our communal area is gadget-free,” says Clare. “We also showcase sustainability from the ground up. Increasingly, guests are choosing eco-friendly travel alternatives and in this way feel they are doing their bit – and hopefully go home feeling inspired.”

It is this reconnection with nature that busy individuals are craving, like Derry author Jane Buckley. Jane recently spent a weekend at Lough Mardal with no Wi-Fi, no restaurants, no room service, no heated indoor pool and spa – just nature. And she is definitely feeling inspired. “As a writer in desperate need of respite from technology and work, I sought refuge far from emails, messaging apps and even writing itself,” she says.

“Mardal Lodge exceeded my expectations – it’s truly a hidden gem. The yurts offer privacy, warmth from burners, unbelievably comfortable beds and exquisite decor with breathtaking views. The communal area is expansive, well-equipped and perfect for relaxation by a large open fire. Immaculate bathrooms and friendly staff completed the experience.”

With workplace wellbeing now high on the agenda for many businesses, sites that allow people to disconnect and refresh are also becoming popular for team building and corporate weekend breaks.

Nestled within the breathtaking Wicklow Mountains is The Deerstone luxury eco hideaway. This eco retreat in Laragh, Co Wicklow offers a haven of tranquillity, allowing guests to reconnect with the natural world while minimising their environmental impact. For businesses looking for innovative team-building experiences, this type of space amid the stunning natural surroundings, may be just what they need.

Kirsty and Kevin Nolan are the architects of The Deerstone. “The reason we set up the Deerstone is that we saw a need for a bespoke venue located in a beautiful place close to Dublin for corporate clients to bring their staff and senior managers,” says Kevin.

Groups that book in get exclusive use of the venue, which includes outdoor heated pools, ice plunge tubs and saunas, ensuring relaxation and rejuvenation in harmony with nature. Tailored group activities are planned on-site, plus there’s Glendalough national park right on the doorstep for hikers to explore.

The reason Deerstone is attractive for corporate groups is its focus on togetherness. “Teams spend all the time together whether in our roundhouse our barn or our shed kitchen,” says Kevin. “Food is a big part of the Deerstone and we only serve organic produce and our intention is that meals are an experience for the team to enjoy together.”

Kevin believes the immersive nature of The Deerstone makes it ideal for teams to get reacquainted. “We also think the location could really help with hybrid teams where face-time in work is limited but teams need to get to know each other,” he says.

For team building, wellbeing breaks or reconnecting with nature, the demand for luxury hideaways will grow as we look for other holiday options – ones that will dim the white noise for a weekend. Particularly post-Covid, people are rethinking what type of a break they really need and also the purpose of their holidays. Whether you’re seeking a brief escape or a longer retreat, consider somewhere you can disconnect and open your mind. It can be an opportunity to nurture personal wellbeing and cultivate a profound appreciation for our natural world.

Need a break because you’re feeling burnt out? Before you go anywhere, check out our masterclass with burnout expert Aoife McElwain for some techniques to help you rebalance.

Yvonne Reddin
Ordinary people often have extraordinary stories and Yvonne enjoys giving them a platform to share their experiences through her writing. A writer producing a mix of human interest, lifestyle and travel stories, she self-published her first book in 2022.

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