If things like thread count and a central location are important to you, the Gyreum is probably not top of your list of places to stay. Then again, if the thought of getting back to basics in an inspirational retreat appeals, this massive tent-like timber eco retreat in Castlebaldwin, Sligo, could be just what you need. Meaning “the round place” (from the Greek gyr-, meaning “round,” and the Latin “-eum, for building), the Gyreum is a wind- and solar-powered lodge sunk into the hills and blanketed in wildflowers.
Ireland’s first eco lodge to be awarded the EU Eco-Label for tourist accommodation, the Gyreum is about the greenest place to stay you will ever find: Wind turbines generate electricity, heating is geothermal and passive, and waste water and toilets are processed via a reed bed system. Water for toilets and showers is sourced from the rainwater that runs off the massive roof. An organic vegetable garden is fertilised using the neighbours’ stables, a wormery, and a compost heap; and any food scraps are used to feed pigs and hens.
Though basic, the Gyreum is not lacking in comforts. You can relax in front of an open fire and watch movies in the circular hall or read in the glass-domed library. Guests describe the powerful atmosphere of the lodge, which is aligned to three solar events and points toward the megalithic cairns of Moytura, Carrowkeel, and Queen Maeve’s tomb on top of Knocknarea.
Stay in a two-person tent complete with air mattresses, pillows and duvets in the (floor-heated) main area of the building, or choose from the 4-, 6- and 9-bed mixed dorms. Rates start at €15 per night.
The Gyreum is not easy to find, and it is certainly short on luxuries, so if you’d prefer a more comfortable place to stay for your next visit to the northwest, have a look at the holiday homes in Sligo available on PlacesToStay.com.