Family Programme – Junior English & Riding Information pack
Firstly, we would like to thank you for choosing Donegal English Language School for your English and Riding 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
- 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**
- 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)
- A white t shirt/baseball hat (for drawing/spraying graffiti on)
- Pocket money approx. €50 per week (maybe a little more if you want to buy some presents).
- A copybook and pens
- A device – some classes are digital so please bring a phone or laptop
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 when you arrive at the stables
- 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.
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 on 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.
School Address: West End Bundoran, Co Donegal F94 X997
Contact Number: 00353 719 84 12 88 / 00353 876 00 82 05
Arrival is anytime after 3 pm.
Local area maps
Laundry is included in the programme of two weeks plus.
There is free WIFI at the school, residence and homestays
Collection and Drop Off
Families must arrange for the son/daughter to be at the school @ 8.45 am every morning and collect @ 5.15 pm every day. Collection point will be either from the school or from the campus, we will confirm at the beginning of your stay.
The residential centre is within five minutes’ walk of the school, 10 minutes walk of the town. It is self catering.
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
Homestays are generally within 20 minutes walk of the school. They offer half board, breakfast and dinner only. For junior students on the english and acitivty programme they receive a warm lunch Monday to Friday. No lunch is provided at the weekend. There is no lunch provided for adult students.
We cater for all allergies. Due to an increasing volume of students with peanut allergies, we do not allow peanuts on campus.
Social Activity programme
2 Activities and one excursion are included. These activities are generally with your parents, sometimes they are with the junior students.
Excursions are organised every Saturday. Students will visit a place of cultural interest and have some free time shopping. Students must stay with their parents on the excursion.
We are following government guidelines, to view the latest guidelines click here.
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.
If a student tests positive when here, they will be asked to isolate and will remain in isolation until guidelines allow. If the student tests positive towards the end of their stay, you must arrange suitable accommodation for the remainder of your isolation period, Gaurd me has a suitable insurance policy to cover this scenario, please see below further information.
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 you require this test and that you have adequate funds to pay for it.
For any emergencies, please contact 00353 876008205.
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.
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 11am – 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 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:
- Take a picture of your bag before leaving in case 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 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 outside of these times we can arrange a taxi for you. The taxi fee is around € 15
If we are collecting you from the bus in Ballyshannon, please send us a SMS to 00353 876 00 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.
If arriving by car
The address of the Camp is Donegal Language School, 1 Portbeg, West End Bundoran. You can find directions here
Arrival is anytime from 4 pm onwards
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 activity@ donegallanguageschool.com before 6 pm on Saturday 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 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 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, host family 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/host family promptly/within 2 days.
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.
Useful Horse Terms
Above the Bit: Where the horse evades the rider’s aids by raising the head above the level of the rider’s hands. This reduces the amount of control the rider has over the horse.
Buck: A leap in the air with the head lowered and the back arched.
Canter: Three-beated gait of the horse in which one hind leg strides first (the leading leg), followed by the opposite diagonal pair and finally the opposite foreleg. Called the lope in Western riding. Fox Trot: A short-step gait, as when passing from walk to trot.
Gait: The paces at which horses move, usually the walk, trot, canter, and gallop.
Gallop: Four-beated gait of the horse, in which each foot touches the ground separately, as opposed to the canter, which is a three-beat gait.
Halt: When the horse is at a standstill.
In Front of the Bit: A term used to describe a horse which pulls or hangs heavily on the rider’s hand.
Leader: Either of the two leading horses in a team of four, or a single horse harnessed in front of one or more horses. The “near” leader is the left hand horse and the “off” leader is the right hand horse.
Leg Up: Method of mounting in which an assistant stands behind the rider and supports the lower part of his left leg and giving a boost as necessary as the rider springs up off the ground.
Manege: An enclosure used for training and schooling horses. Also called a school.
Nearside: The left hand side of the horse.
Offside: The right hand side of the horse.
On the Bit: A horse is said to be “on the bit” when he carries his head in a near vertical position and he is calmly accepting the rider’s contact on the reins.
Overreaching: Faulty gait in which the hind footsteps on the heel of the front foot on the same side. Occurs most often when the horse is galloping or jumping.
Rising Trot: The action of the rider rising from the saddle in rhythm with the horse’s trot. (Also called Posting Trot.)
Transition: The act of changing from one pace to another. Walk to trot and trot to canter are known as “upward transitions.” Canter to trot and trot to walk are known as “downward transitions.”
Trot: Moderate-speed gait in which the horse moves from one diagonal pair of legs to the other, with a period of suspension in between.