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My First Airbnb Experience

If you have a computer, read magazines or are a human being, I am sure you have heard about Airbnb. Beyonce bagged a $10,000 a night accommodation with the company during her performance at the Superbowl in San Francisco, the business has been valued at around 1.5bn and the website hosts a collective of unique accommodations like a castle, or maybe you fancy a night in a treehouse? In my (and my boyfriend's) case our accommodation consisted of a cow shed converted into an adorable cottage known as 'The Swallow's Nest' - a haven in the hills of Donegal, Ireland. We met some kind and unforgettable souls on our trip and I say 'souls' because one was our lovely host Allaye, who welcomed us with open arms and brought us mouth watering freshly baked scones, and the other was a sheep called Dolly.

Day Trips

Living the life of serene simplicity for five days might sound like there isn't much to do. No TV, no internet, not even a radio, but the sweet sounds of the countryside and picturesque views out every window was enough to keep us entertained for hours. From reading reviews, it seems that some Airbnb, hosts like to hand over the keys and leave it at that. Luckily for us, Allaye was different, she had prepared an 'off the grid' tour of South West Donegal, to make each of her guests fall in love with the area just like she did. We followed her detailed directions and visited absolutely breathtaking areas of the emerald isle that we wouldn't find in any tourist leaflets.

Glengesh Pass Glenties
Maghera Beach Bridge
Maghera Caves

The Cottage

If you live in the city, you'll particularly like staying at this cosy cottage. Instead of an alarm, you awaken to bleating sheep in the sun. At night, the sound of soft running water in the meadow will help you relax. The mezzanine bed is what makes The Swallows Nest such a clever design. It not only saves space but one side overlooks the living area and vintage style kitchen while the other is lined with a window to the outdoors. It's particularly cosy when it's raining. Allaye told us that she and her husband did all the work to the shed themselves, the interior design is pristine with a healthy mix of homely and fashionable on trend pieces.

Pasta and Campagne
The Shed
Cottage Window

The Soul Cleansing Countryside

Driving to the accommodation you will witness mother nature at it's finest. The cottage is conveniently situated close to a little town called Glenties. However, it is tucked away in the hills just enough for you to experience the bracing Irish wilderness. The words 'ruggedly beautiful' come to mind when describing Donegal. My stay genuinely made me feel like I had pressed pause on the everyday hustle and lived a little snippet of time being adventurous and free. The Swallowest Nest did not only cleanse my soul, as a couple we spent a different kind of time together. We stayed up late drinking wine and playing board games, cooking together, getting lost on country roads and most importantly feeding our new best friend - Dolly the sheep in the mornings. If there is one thing I have taken away from staying at The Swallows Nest, it is that having a connection with nature is much more important than having a connection to wifi, without a phone to waste your time, the world is truly at your feet.

Sheep in the Sun

Need your fashion fix? Here are some fashion related facts about Donegal:

McElhinneys: McElhinneys is a family owned department store in Ballybofey Donegal. The luxury shopping haven has been recognised for its business excellence winning Best Ecommerce Website in Ireland in the European eCommerce awards in 2015 and Best Search Marketing Campaign at the Digital Media Awards this year. Visit their online store at mcelhinneys.com.

Zara Mc Daid: Zara is a fashion blogger and art teacher from Donegal, she has been featured extensively in magazines across the UK and Ireland including Xpose and U-Magazine, while also listed in RSVP magazine's one to watch list. Want to know more about Zara visit her blog at ZaraMcDaid.ie.

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