Narosa School of Surf, based in North West Donegal, has reopened its newly refurbished surf shop and cafe on Magheraroarty Pier, offering daily surf lessons and beach camps for children .
The surf school founded by Lee Wood and his business partner Duncan Halliday in 2009, began as a two-person facility in Dunfanaghy, offering lessons at a time when surfing was yet to be established as a mainstream activity in Ireland .
Thirteen years later, the business is a hive of activity with a growing team of 30 employees, expanding in 2021 to bring surfing to more people by opening its second brick-and-mortar location in Magheraroarty.
A view of some of the stock now available in their shop
Manager Lee Wood shared: “When we opened the surf school in Dunfanaghy we were literally going door to door offering lessons to anyone who wanted them! We are excited to start our second summer season at Magheraroarty and continue to share our love of surfing with as many people as possible.
Narosa Magheraroarty’s positioning with the Donegal Gaeltacht brings a new direction to the brand, as the Irish language is integrated into signage, marketing and retail. Irish-speaking staff lead the team at Magheraroarty to ensure communications can be conducted in both Irish and English.
Dunfanaghy remains firmly open as Narosa’s flagship store with accommodation, in its prime location in the former AIB bank on the high street.
There’s a vibrancy to the place that comes from an energetic team, which is shared with new and long-time guests. At the heart of the company, Lee Wood drives a simple vision of a love for the ocean and a desire to share it with as many people as possible.
This vibe carried over to the recently opened Magheraroarty store, and both places have the effortless appeal of being places you just want to hang out.
Beautiful design underpins the Narosa brand, as all visuals are produced in-house by designer Jude Wood. In addition to surf gear, swimwear and wetsuits, Narosa offers a full collection of clothing in its boutiques for children and adults, such as organic cotton sweatshirts, dresses and t-shirts with original hand-drawn graphics by Jude.
Creating and executing a beautiful design that had longevity was absolutely essential to opening Narosa Magheraroarty.
‘Something really special
“From the moment we discovered the building by Udaras na Gaeltachta, we knew there was potential to build something really special there,” says Lee.
Overlooking a perfect point break and framed by the Atlantic Ocean and Muckish Mountain, the backdrop is truly spectacular.
“It was a whirlwind project for us last year, as we went from concept to completing a full store fit-out in six weeks. It wasn’t a straightforward process, but we worked with our good friend and master carpenter Philippe Hetier Bespoke Furniture, to bring this vision to life”.
Philippe Hetier is well known in Narosa as, together with Lee Wood, he ran the wooden surfboard brand Tonn, the first of its kind to be designed and shaped in Ireland.
This love of surfing and surfboards subtly runs through the design of the store, as the waves are carved into the wooden cladding and honeycomb structures. [the core design element of Tonn surfboards]are evident in the frames and details.
Proximity to fantastic waves was key when Narosa Magheraroarty opened, and the team of highly experienced surf coaches teach surf lessons and kids’ camps throughout the week on the beach five miles away. minutes on foot.
“Surf setups don’t come much better than this,” says director Duncan Halliday.
“We have a perfect beginner’s beach with progressive waves as well as a left hand point break for more experienced surfers, all within a five minute walk of our shop.
Lots of offers at the cafe bar
“If that wasn’t sweet enough, you can return to the shop and warm up afterwards with a coffee and a pastry in our café-bar”.
A passion for specialty coffee and good food is another part of Narosa that seems to go hand in hand with surfing and is a key part of the Magheraroarty setup.
A passion for quality is evident when Lee tells us, “We just want to do everything we do to the best of our abilities. Whether it’s brewing a cup of coffee, designing a hoodie, or teaching a surf lesson, we
want customers to leave Narosa feeling like they’ve experienced something special”.
The Narosa Magheraroarty Surf Shop and Café is open now and accepting bookings for adult surf lessons, kids lessons and camps. Narosa’s head office in Dunfanaghy offers the same service as on-site accommodation.
More information can be found at www.narosalife.com, and booking inquiries can be directed to [email protected] or (074) 9100565.