Family Programme Adult English and Riding Information Pack

Firstly, we would like to thank you for choosing DELS for your English Language and Adventure holiday.  Please find below further information on your stay.

What to bring

We recommend that you bring the following items

  • 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 cross-country** (programme 1)
  • 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)

For Class

  • A copybook and pens
  • A device – some classes are digital so please bring a phone or laptop

There are hairdryers in the residential accommodation.

*Following changes the EU commission has made to hat standards, from 2016,

Hats bearing only the EN1384 or BSEN1384 standard will no longer be accepted. For insurance reasons there can be no exceptions to the rule.  If labels are cut out of the riding hat, unfortunately, it will not be able to be used.

However, hats would be acceptable if they carry EN1384 or BSEN1384 and another standard such as those listed:

  • PAS 015 (1998 or 2011)
  • VG1 01.040 (2014-12)
  • ASTM F1163 (2004a or 04a onwards)
  • SNELL E2001
  • AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards)

For students who don’t have a suitable hat, there are hats available for rent.  The fee to rent a hat is €5 per week.  This is paid to the riding school on the first day.

Full Body protectors are compulsory for all Cross Country Lessons and any jumping over 60 cm.

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

A limited number of body protectors are available for hire @ €2.00 per session. It is recommended that students bring their own body protectors if they wish to jump cross country.

If air jackets are worn they must be worn over a body protector.

What to expect –Riding 

Riders must be novice level or above – Must be able to rise to the trot and be comfortable and in control in canter All horses are ridden English style in English Saddle

Programme 1 – English and Riding Programme (18 – 21 years)

The English and Riding programmes includes 15 hours of English per week, choice of accommodation, full board in Host Family Monday to Friday and half board at weekend or half board in Residential Monday to Friday and breakfast only at the weekend, 5 riding sessions, evening activities, transfers to activities, certificate and teachers report.

Programme 2 – English and Trail Riding Programme (22 years +)

The English and Trail Riding programme includes a shared room in residential or private room in host family, full board in Host Family Monday to Friday and half board at weekend or half board in Residential Monday to Friday and breakfast only at the weekend, 15 hours of English, beach and trail rides, a social activity package.  The horse activities on your holiday include:  half day trail rides along the beaches, mountains, lakes and forests of the Wild Atlantic Way.


– This programme is suited to riders with some experience only

– Included in the fee is a shared room in residential or private room in host family. A private room in residential can be offered for an additional € 90 per week.

Social Activity Programme

Most social activity fees are included in the overall price. Some entry fees are not included, you will be notified in advance of these fees.  The excursion fees are not included in the price.  We offer discounted fees for anyone enrolled on a course. 

General Notes:

  • 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.

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 life style 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 up, untack (take saddle and bridle off, hose the horses (wash them), feed them and bring them to the field. Adult students on trail programme have horses prepared for them.

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 

  1. 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.
  2. Correct footwear must be worn at all times. No trainers/runners.
  3. No jewellery may be worn whilst on the yard apart from watches. Any piercings that are visible and cannot be removed must be covered.
  4. Gloves must be worn whilst leading any horse.
  5. Mobile phones must be switched off whilst at the yard
  6. No headphones, ipods etc. Are to be used whilst on the yard.
  7. Body protectors have to be worn for all cross-country lessons.
  8. Instructions given by any member of staff, are given for your safety and must be adhered to.
  9. No smoking anywhere on the site.

General Information


School Address: Donegal English Language School, West End, Bundoran, Co Donegal

Contact Number: 00353 719 84 12 88 / 00353 876 00 82 05

Arrival is anytime from 4 pm onwards 


Laundry facilities are available in the residential centre.  Please arrange a day once a week with your host family for laundry.


WIFI is available at the language school, residential centre and is also available in most host families.

Bank Holidays

On Bank holiday Mondays (17 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.


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.

Residential Accommodation

Our residential accommodation is situated less than one minutes’ walk from the Atlantic coast, 5 minutes from the language school and 5 minutes’ walk from the town centre.  Both houses have private and shared rooms, as well as self-catering facilities.

Continental breakfast seven mornings per week and lunch Monday to Friday is included on the English and Activity programmes, dinner is not included.  Our Residential accommodation is self-catering and Students are offered a double/twin/triple room.   A private room can also be offered at an additional fee.


Details of your host are typically emailed to you around two weeks before arrival. Breakfast and dinner is included in your accommodation package.  If you are not within walking distance of the school, your host will bring you each morning and you can then walk home or we have bikes on a first come first served basis.

Holiday Home or Apartments

Meals are not included in holiday home or apartment booking.  Please refer to the booking agent for more details on this type of accommodation. 

Social Activity programme

Most social activity fees are included in the overall price. Some entry fees are not included, you will be notified in advance of these fees. 2 Activities and one excursion are included.


Excursions are organised every Saturday during Easter and June to September and every two weeks thereafter. Students will visit a place of cultural interest and have some free time shopping. The fee for excursions is included in the family programme.

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.


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 11am – 6 pm.  Students will typically have a 1 – 3 hours 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 following:


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 sometimes, student’s bags being delayed by a few days with some airlines, particularly in summer time.  If this happens, the bags are typically dropped to the centre within 3 days. Before leaving, please ensure that you:

  1. Take a picture of your bag before leaving in case the bag does get lost
  2. Put your name and  something distinguishable on your bag, so it is easily identifiable
  3. Carry a change of clothes and tooth brush 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.

Boarding Cards

Please put the airline app on your phone and you can then check in online prior to arrival and departure.  If you need boarding cards to be printed, please email info@ before 4 pm on Friday evening. Please note that the office email addresses are not manned after 5 pm on Friday evening.  If received after 4 pm, we will not be able to print for you. 

If travelling by car

  • Please phone on 00353876008205 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 is Donegal English Language School, West End, Bundoran.  Our GPS directions are 54.4773° N, 8.2996°

Arrival is anytime from 4 pm onwards.

Good Conduct

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.

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.

What happens on my first day?

Arrivals for students are generally on a Sunday.  All students are welcomed 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. Student Coordinators are on hand to help and assist all students through their first day.

Please click on the links to log on to facebook or instagram for regular updates on campus life @ DELS.


Looking forward to meeting you

Kind regards, Gina and all the staff.