English & Riding/Surfing Information Pack
Firstly, we would like to thank you for choosing Donegal English Language School for your English and Riding/Surfing holiday. We look forward to welcoming you. Please find below further information on your stay and recommendations on what to pack.
What to bring
We recommend that you bring the following items
- Three antigen tests
- Water Bottle – It is possible to drink the water from the taps in Ireland
- Waterproof jacket
- Riding hat and boots of appropriate standards (see below)*
- One towel. A towel is provided but it is recommended to take an extra towel
- Warm clothes i.e. jumpers, jackets
- Body protector for jumping (see below)**
- Three pin adaptor (for charging phone lap top etc)
- Lock for your suitcase
- Photocopy of passport to be kept separate to your passport (in case of loss)
- Damage deposit of €50 per person in cash (see below)***
There are hairdryers on campus. They are located in the coordinator room.
Important information about riding hats
The following hats are accepted
Full Body protectors are compulsory for any jumping. Students must bring their own body protectors
Body protectors must be BETA level 3 2009 standard or European standard EN 13158:2009. The European Standards for Back Protectors are EN13158:2009 and are CE marked to show their compliance to the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC
Anything before 2009 is not allowed
What to expect – Riding
- Clients ride around 1.5 – 2 hours per day with other time being spent on horse care.
- Students are offered basic instruction in riding and outdoor activities.
- While jumping and cross country are one of the riding activities provided. We do not offer training courses in jumping, dressage or eventing.
- The horses provided are leisure horses & ponies, flexible and appropriate for activities offered.
- Goals of a student’s riding week is to have fun on horseback, discover Ireland and improve English speaking.
All our lessons apart from absolute beginners are taught in the modern coaching manner. So all lessons are in open order with the riders being given an exercise to do in their own time, advice is then given to improve the horse & rider if needed. We no longer stand in the middle of the school directing riders telling them where to go and when.
Horse management in Ireland is often very different to other countries.
Our horses live in a natural environment in the fields. This system gives them the opportunity to live in herds, walk around, eat a natural diet and remain happy in their work. The grass grows for longer here due to the mild climate and rainfall. Grass is the horse’s natural food it is what they would eat in the wild. The horse’s natural lifestyle is as a herd animal walking and looking for food, eating little and often. When living out the horses keep a lot of their natural protection against the weather e.g long manes, feathers and hairy legs. The horses also roll in the mud to give them extra protection from the wind and rain.
As our horses live outside, grooming a grass kept horse is very different from grooming a stabled horse. Grooming is kept to a minimum so as not to remove the natural oils from the coat which help to keep the horse warm and dry, there is no strapping (full groom). The horse’s just having the main parts of the mud taken off with a dandy brush with attention being paid to saddle and bridle areas. At the end of the day all horses are hosed off (water) to remove any sweat & sand. They are then fed and turned out to enjoy a good roll.
A lot of our horses do no road work at all so the need for shoes is kept to a minimum. Most of our horses are only shod in front as this reduces any injuries in the field from kicking.
Tacking Up (Saddle & Bridle)
Morning groups help groom and tack up and untack (put on/off saddle and bridle). Afternoon groups tack/ untack (take saddle and bridle off, hose the horses (wash them), feed them and bring them to the field.
At the start of each day the horses are caught up from the fields, fed, groomed and then tacked up. The horses are tied to the hitching rail or in the stalls ready for use.
Our horses live a fairly stress-free life and you will rarely see any of our horses with vices such as weaving, cribbing and wind sucking.
For insurance reasons, a hat and gloves has to be worn at all times when leading your horse.
Horse Riding Yard Rules
- Riding Hats must be worn and fastened at all times whilst handling the horses this includes grooming, tacking up and turning out/bringing in of horses.
- Correct footwear must be worn at all times. No trainers/runners.
- No jewellery may be worn whilst in the yard apart from watches. Any piercings that are visible and cannot be removed must be covered.
- Gloves must be worn whilst leading any horse.
- Mobile phones must be switched off whilst at the yard
- No headphones, Ipods etc. Are to be used whilst on the yard.
- Body protectors have to be worn for all cross-country lessons.
- Instructions given by any member of staff, are given for your safety and must be adhered to.
- No smoking anywhere on the site.
What to Expect – Surfing
About our Surf Centre
We offer quality coaching with experienced, qualified, local surfers. Our aim is to ensure your surfing skills progress in a fun and safe environment. We believe we can help you achieve your surfing goals by keeping groups small and providing personal attention to each student. Regular feedback is always given to students to ensure progression. We have a range of different boards for you to try, so you can progress.
- All sizes of boards from 5’11 up to 9 foot.
- Students are only allowed to use boards supplied by the Surf Centre due to safety reasons.
- 5/3 mm wetsuits and 3mm boots provided. Gloves, and hoods can be provided on request.
- When you change into the wetsuit at the centre please put all your clothes and personal items into your backpack.
Please note that your wetsuit can often be wet when putting it on, they are washed daily
- Changing rooms, hot showers and post surf hot chocolate provided.
- 4 surf spots within a short driving distance.
- Surf shop with 10% discount exclusive to Donegal English Language School students. (does not include Surf Co, own brand t-shirts and hoodies sale items).
Our lessons are broken into three categories
Beginners: This is an introduction course to surfing. We work on the correct techniques to position on the board, paddle, getting through the waves and stand up. At this level our goal is to get you surfing the white water on your own, with a basic knowledge of currents, etiquette and technique. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of beginner soft boards from 7 foot to 9 foot.
Intermediate: Students focus on surfing techniques such as effective paddling, wave knowledge and selection, take off and bottom turning, trimming and duck diving. The courses also focus on surfing etiquette. We use video analysis to correct faults when appropriate. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of Torq intermediate soft top boards from 5’11 to 7’6.
Advanced: We are happy to welcome advanced surfers. For students who are advanced level please note that we only offer tuition up to intermediate level. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of Torq intermediate soft top boards from 5’11 to 7’6.
School Address: West End Bundoran, Co Donegal F94 X997
Contact Number: 00353 719 84 12 88 / 00353 86 2722495
Arrival is anytime after 3 pm.
Local area maps
We cater for all allergies. Due to an increasing volume of students with nut allergies, we do not allow nuts on campus.
We have two residential centres
Surfers Bay (year round)
Surfers Bay is the main residential centre. The centre offers 21 bedrooms, a large dining area/games room, a large communal room. The bedrooms are 2/3 and 5 bedroom and centre sleeps 50. The centre is within 10 minutes walk of the language school and three minutes walk of the sea. The students will have their breakfast in the house, lunch and dinner is at the language school.
Portbeg (opens end of June to mid August)
Portbeg residential centre is within three minutes’ walk of the school. Students are housed in four bedroom houses with 8 – 11 students per house and one coordinator. The students will have their breakfast in the house, lunch and dinner is at the language school.
Hosts want you to be a member of the family. They will appreciate your efforts to integrate, your active participation in their life and activities. Your smile, your gratitude and enthusiasm will be the best reward for the hosts efforts and encourage the success of your stay.
You must always pay your share during an extra-curricular activity with your host. Please use your own mobile or an international calling card when using the hosts phone
If not within 10 minutes walking distance, the host will bring you to school each morning and the school bus or host will take you home every evening. You will have a warm lunch Monday to Friday at the school, a packed lunch on Saturdays and on Sundays you will have lunch with your host.
On Tuesdays and Saturday, Homestay students will partake in evening activities on campus, during these evenings you will have dinner on campus and return to your host afterwards. On Friday evening, you can have free time to go into town. If you wish for your son/daughter not to go into the town centre unaccompanied, please contact us.
As we are 3 hours and twenty-five minutes by bus from Dublin airport, students who are staying in homestay and have an early departure (before 2 pm) may be asked to stay on the residential campus the night before. We will notify you on the Friday before departure if you will be moving into residential accommodation. If this is the case, the host will drop you to the residential centre @ 9.15 am on Saturday morning before the excursion with your bags. You will be allocated your room on return from the excursion.
We HIGHLY recommend all students to come to Ireland fully vaccinated. Students must take an antigen test before arrival and only come into the country if this test is negative.
All students should bring at least 3 antigen tests with them to Ireland in case of a suspected case of Covid 19. If a student has Covid 19 symptoms they should remain in their room alone and take the antigen test brought with them from their home country.
If a student tests positive for Covid 19 while with us, they will remain in isolation in their host family until they test negative. The same rule applies to host families, if a member of the host family tests positive for Covid 19, the student must remain in the same host family and continue to attend school unless they test positive.
The above is based on Irish government HSE guidelines and these are the guidelines that we will be following. You can see up to date information from the HSE here: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19/close-contact/
Post Covid, there are significant wait times of up to two weeks at the local doctor surgery, should a student need to go to the doctor, we will be recommending that they use an online service. This will be covered through your insurance. If you don’t have insurance cover, it is compulsory to have one in place or please contact us for further details on the guardme policy.
Travellers to Ireland are not required to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative PCR test result upon arrival.
Please check the criteria needed to re-enter your country. If you are unvaccinated, you may require a lateral flow test to re-enter. This costs €35 and must be booked in advance for the Saturday morning before departure. Please ensure that you let us know if your son/daughter requires this test and that they have adequate funds to pay for it. Please note that if your son/daugther does not meet the criteria to re-enter to their country, this is the responsibility of the parent.
It is compulsory to have a European Health Insurance Card. This is free for all European countries and will cover any doctor or hospital appointments in the case of any medical issues. It is also compulsory for all clients to have travel insurance. For all non-European Citizens please take out private medical and travel insurance.
You must also have sufficient cover in case you /your child becomes ill in Ireland. This should cover the following: flights, airport transfers, accommodation including food, a parent travelling to Ireland to collect the student (if a minor). Please contact us for the Guard me policy which outlines the cover they offer, if your own insurance policy covers the same then please send us proof of this insurance or we can register you / your child for a cost of 40€ for a stay of up to four weeks for the Guard me policy.
Junior Students, please note a damage deposit of €50 per person is due in cash on arrival. This is refunded on departure, on the condition that no damages have been made.
Laundry is included in the programme for students staying a minimum of two weeks. We collect the laundry every Thursday/Friday and it is returned to the students every Friday/Saturday.
There is free WIFI at the school. We also have WIFI at the residential accommodation Most homestays have WIFI.
There is a safe in the coordinators room in each house for the residential students to put their valuables and money in. Their ID and money will be placed here on day of arrival. They will have weekly access to their money. We recommend that the students place their money here.
Mobile Phone Usage
Please note that in order to encourage English language use and a more interactive language learning experience, phone use is restricted to 5.15 pm – 10.00 pm during the week for residential students. Students are allowed to use their phones on Fridays and at the weekends. Occasionally during the week, students will use their phones for some class room activities. Students in host families will not have their phones during the day 9.00 am – 5.15 pm approximately, Monday to Thursday.
For any emergencies, please contact 00353 86 272 2495.
On Bank holiday Mondays (17 March, 18 March, 18 April, 2 May, 6 June,& 31 October 2022), there will be no English classes, students are offered an excursion/activity in place). On 1 August, the school is open as normal.
Important Travel Documents
Here is important information when travelling to Ireland with children under 18. Please click here.
Please ensure that your son/daughter/student is travelling with the necessary documents.
There have been some significant delays at different stages at Dublin airport over the last few months, for this reason we will be bringing students to the airport a minimum of 3.5 hours in advance of their flight. The current recommendation from Dublin airport is 2.5 hours(June 2022). Please notify the student travelling that there will be a lengthy wait at the airport. If for any reason a student misses their flight due to reasons outside of DELS control, you will need to rebook another flight and recoup this cost from your insurance, we will do our best to help the student find accommodation and transfers (subject to availability) but, this will incur a cost.
If opting for collection from Dublin airport
We are based 3 hours and 25 minutes by bus from Dublin airport. For this reason, we group transfers together. Typically, we have 2/3 buses at the airport on Sundays, this depends on arrival and departure times and number of students arriving.
The shared transfers are based on arrivals between 11 am – 6 pm and departures between 11 am – 6 pm. Students will typically have a 1 – 3 hour wait before the bus leaves the airport. These times may vary if there are flight delays, lost luggage by airlines etc.
Please also note that for departures, if you flight is before 1.30-2 pm, you will leave Bundoran around 4.30 am in the morning, this allows for adequate check in time at the airport (you need a minimum of three hours check in time in the summer) and then 3.25 hours to reach Dublin.
Collection: On entrance of arrivals in Terminal 1 please make your way over to the right. You will see a sign saying Meeting point. Under or around this sign will be a Donegal Language School representative waiting to meet you with a Donegal English Language School Sign(see below).
If you are flying into Terminal 2 (Aer Lingus) please make your way to the right and one of our representatives will be there to meet you.
They will have a sign showing the DELS LOGO
Airport sign will look like this:
Baggage: Each airline has individual baggage weight restrictions.
Please adhere to and leave room in your bag for presents going home. We have had experiences of students paying up to €100 for excess baggage and don’t wish to see this happening again. Excess baggage is the responsibility of the student.
We have noticed student’s bags being delayed by a few days, particularly in summer time. If this happens, the bags are typically dropped to the centre within 3 days. Before leaving, please ensure that you:
- Take a picture of your bag before leaving incase the bag does get lost
- Put your name and something distinguishable on your bag, so it is easily identifiable
- Carry a change of clothes and toothbrush in your carry-on bag.
If opting for collection from Knock airport
- Collection: On entrance of arrivals please make your way to arrivals. A DELS representative will be waiting to meet you with a Donegal English Language School Sign.
If opting for public bus from Dublin airport
There is a direct bus from Dublin airport to Ballyshannon every two hours. To arrive at the bus stop, walk out of arrivals from terminal 1 and cross the road, go through the tunnel and you will see a spar shop on your left, walk outside and to the left is the bus stop. Please go to zone noted beside Dublin Airport on this link. We then offer free transfers from Ballyshannon to Bundoran between 10.00 am and 8.00 pm daily. for transfers between 8-10 pm we can arrange a taxi for you. The taxi fee is around € 15 Transfers between 10pm and 10 am are very difficult and in most cases impossible as taxi drivers may not be working after 10 pm.
If we are collecting you from the bus in Ballyshannon, please send us an SMS to 0035 387 600 82 05 once you get on the bus in Dublin and then again when the bus reaches Enniskillen. It is really important that you do this as sometimes the bus is late and it ensures that our driver is not waiting a long time to collect you.
Please set your son/daughter up with the airline app and they can then check in online prior to arrival and departure. If you need boarding cards to be printed, please email email@example.com before 5 pm on Friday evening.
Please note that the office email addresses are not manned after 5 pm on Friday evening and firstname.lastname@example.org is not manned after 6 pm on Saturday.
If travelling by car
- Please phone on 00353862722495 when you arrive in Sligo/Enniskillen (30 – 40 minutes before your arrival in Bundoran) so I can arrange for someone to meet you at the centre and show you the accommodation.
- The address of the camp is West End, Bundoran, Co Donegal. Please put F94X997 into google maps for directions
Arrival is anytime from 3 pm onwards
Students must not be disrespectful or act in a threatening manner to fellow students or staff of Donegal English Language School or any members of the community. This includes raising their voices, using foul words or foul gestures, broadcasting music with explicit lyrics, being argumentative towards others or being disruptive in class. Discrimination based on sexual preference, race, physical or mental ability, religion, age or ethnicity is not tolerated. Items which promote or encourage discrimination or illegal activity will be confiscated. Smoking and chewing gum is not permitted in the school buildings. Food and drinks are not permitted in classrooms.
The student is responsible for any damage he or she may cause to buildings, furniture, fittings, individuals, homestay property etc. while registered with DELS. Should a student behave in an unseemly and/or inappropriate manner that may bring the school or its agent into disrepute or cause damage to its reputation or standing in any way, either real or imagined, he or she will be asked to leave.
Should a student break other school rules or behave badly he/she may be withdrawn from activities until behaviour improves.
If gross misconduct occurs, i.e. bullying or breaking an Irish law (including drinking of alcohol, stealing or drug taking), the student will not be welcome to participate further in the course and will be removed immediately from the programme).
Parents must make arrangements for the students to leave the campus/homestay promptly/within 2 days.
Students will be walked to town and allowed to go to the different shops, amusements or supermarkets for one hour one evening per week. Students must go as part of a group. No student is allowed to go alone without prior permission from the coordinators. If you do not wish for your son/daughter to do this, please let us know in advance of their stay.
For residential students only – there will be free time on Sunday. Students are allowed to visit the town unaccompanied between 10 am – 3 pm. Students aged 11 will be accompanied, students aged 12 + will be unaccompanied. If you wish for your son/daughter not to go to the town centre unaccompanied, please contact us.
Students will visit a place of cultural interest and have some free time shopping. Students over 12 will be unaccompanied during the free time shopping. If you wish for your son/daughter not to be unaccompanied, please contact us.
What happens on my first day?
Arrivals for students are generally on a Sunday. All students are welcomed to and shown to their accommodation followed by a short introductory meeting. This meeting will go through the first day and any questions that may arise. On the first day of school, students take a test covering reading, writing, listening and speaking to ensure that they are placed in a level most suitable to them.
If the students have opted for one of the activity packages, their chosen sport takes place in the afternoon/morning depending on their age and level. Student Coordinators are on hand to help and assist all students through their first day.
Parents hereby commit to undertaking full financial responsibilities if their son/daughter is dismissed early from the programme in the event of bad behaviour.
Looking forward to meeting you
Kind regards, Team DELS