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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Sleep Here: Rest your head in a real-life Wanderly Wagon in the hills of Co Donegal

The Gavin family fell in love with a site on the shores of Lough Finn 15 years ago.

Image: Facebook/Meadowsweet Ireland

FOR A COLOURFUL, musical getaway in the hills of Donegal, book a weekend at Meadowsweet Lodge, complete with a refurbished 1950s wooden wagon that sleeps four.

Owner Marion Gavin, along with her husband, Declan fell in love with a site on the shores of Lough Finn around 15 years ago. At the time it featured only a cottage and some sheds, but the scenery drew the couple in.

“It had everything we ever dreamed and imagined,” Gavin recalls. “Nestled in the hills, surrounded by trees and woodland with two streams running to the property. We’ve since planted more trees and bushes, set up a herb garden and we grow vegetables and fruit.”

The Wonderly Wagon (that name’s a twist on the classic Wanderly Wagon, beloved by Irish TV viewers in  the 1960s and 1970s) is a more recent addition to the property, she explains:

We discovered the wagon about five or six years ago, bought it and renovated it, which took a couple of months. We wanted to provide cosy, quiet getaway, also sharing the love we have for this place.

Visitors get to rent the cosy wagon, with four bunks that can easily accommodate couples or families, but they’re met with bonus hospitality from the Gavin family.

59765189_1553000368165220_9214675196231811072_o The lodge and wagon. Source: Facebook/Meadowsweet Ireland

I think one of the reasons people love the wagon so much is that we are not just renting something out. We often invite guests to our house sessions in the evening time, where we play music and sing and invite them to take part. Or it might be a night at the camp fire with stories and songs with our children. Children enjoy our ducks and dogs a lot.

The property also boasts a few “hidden places” as well, making it extra magical. There’s a hidden waterfall and many walks accessible right from the doorstep. In two hours, you can walk to the top of local mountain Aghla, with seven lakes and breathtaking views from the top.

Located just ten minutes from Fintown, you’ll find a historical railway to explore and lovely lakeside walks.

full_eHm05AVp Source: Facebook/Meadowsweet Ireland

The Wonderly Wagon is also perfectly situated to access the Slieve League cliffs and Glenveagh National Park, and you’ll find beaches and the Sli Na Finne waymarked trail nearby as well. If you want to venture out for some local trad music, Gavin reports the local pub has a great music scene.

Check out the Wonderly Wagon and Meadowsweet Lodge here.

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Emily Westbrooks

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