Monday, October 24, 2011

What's Up With County Clare ?

I orginally got the idea for a women's retreat in Ireland about five years ago. I was sitting in the outdoor courtyard of the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, catching my breath from a long flight, when the church bells began to ring in the beautiful church just a few feet from me. At first the melodic sound of those bells rumbling down Main Street past the Poet's Corner, Brogan's and the multi-color shops startled me. Yet, when the tolling of the bells ceased and quiet took over, I got tears in my eyes. I couldn't remember when the last time was that I heard the meloncholy sound of bells ringing through my town. Do we even have church bells anymore or is it that I am too busy running around, planning this, cleaning up after that, calling, faxing, emailing, worrying, babysitting, volunteering, cooking(ha ha), cleaning, car pooling, taking care of this and that......that I have forgotten to listen? Right then, I began to search for the perfect retreat location on the chance that if you throw something out into the Universe it will come back to you.............fulfilled.

I wanted the retreat site to fulfill these parameters:

1. Traditional village not yet ruined by tourism

2. Near / on the ocean
3. Accessibility to music and dance

4. Gorgeous scenery / plenty of adventuring possibilities
5. Access to Irish people

6. Nice rooms with attached bath

7. Hotel/site with pub or access to pubs

County Clare is the perfect place for a women's retreat. It is known for its outstanding natural beauty especially its dramatic coastline. This is an area that is famous for cozy pubs, colorful Irish villages and traditional cottages. Clare is known the world over as having a strong tradition of music and dance.

Ireland is perfect for a women's retreat because it is very spiritual and mystical. and I am not sure exactly why. I believe it has something to do with the fact that they have left their country in a near original state. When you glance out to sea standing most anywhere on the coastline, you do not see high-rise condo's, gas stations, neon signs, used car lots or bill boards. Your view will be almost exactly what it was hundreds of years ago: beautiful pristine beaches and a big sky. This simplistic beauty prevails and permeates your thoughts. After a few days of this, it allows you to think more clearly and relaxes you. It usually takes travellers about three days before it dawns on them that most all of Ireland has been left natural not just the part they see the first day.

In my quest to look for a proper site, I at first started with castles and manor homes (uber large houses). This sounded wonderful and romantic,. I actually found several that at a glance seemed perfect: verdant lawns, private lakes, stunningly decorated rooms, historical significance, gorgeous architectural detailing...amongst other things. But, I soon found out this angle was not going to work. Why?

Because there were never enough bathrooms for a women's retreat. For example, I found a great castle with 16 bedrooms but it only had ONE bathroom. So, after spending months trying to work out a place to stay we found the perfect small boutique hotel located right in the west of Ireland ....right where we wanted to be! . .......with nice sized rooms with 2 beds and a shared bathroom....sounds like heaven.

We are located within a few yards of the ocean in one of the most gorgeous counties in Ireland and surrounded by traditional Irish villages with orginal character. We will be insured of plenty of music in the evenings. Perfect!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Beauty of Clare Will Renew Your Soul

After looking for months that ran into years, we have found the perfect place to host a women's retreat in Ireland. We will spend our week in Doolin, a fascinating village located on the edge of the dramatic Atlantic coast. The County of Clare, where we will spend our afternoons "adventuring" is beautiful and serene. Photographers, writers, painters, poets, gardeners, historians, thinkers and dreamers...all.....will be pleased.

I have had calls asking, "If we want to sleep in.....will that be OK?" The answer to that question is this, "You will be encouraged to do whatever you need to refresh your spirit." If you need to walk alone along a silent path ....we will find you that path. If you want to sit in a corner for hours and listen to music and just observe .......we will find you that corner, a comfortable chair and delightful musicians. We are here to help your vacation be just for you.

We have written a program that is designed to refresh, renew, resolve and replenish YOU. Our daily adventures are designed for this purpose. Our morning curriculum has this in mind. And, remember you will spend your days surrounded by like-spirits. Yet, if you need to be alone we will help you in any way we can. In order to accomplish serenity, sometimes we do need to have time alone, to have times when we are quiet and to be in an uncluttered space where we can think clearly and do mediatative thinking. County Clare, serene and undeveloped, is perfect for the goals of our retreat. Here you will enjoy plenty of fresh air,a beautiful wide-open countryside, and marvelouus opportunties to sit by the seashore and enjoy!

A Gaelic Blessing, circa 1150 *

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and Stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of the Light of the World to you.

* taken from this link:

Let The Beauty of Western Ireland Renew Your Soul !!!

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Then, how much is a video worth? Please find below several videos of that portion of Western Ireland we are going to visit....especially featured are Doolin and the boat trip to the Cliffs of Moher. I found them on google. From time to time, I will post more interesting things for your consideration that I find on the web.
NOTE: We will not nessarily see everthing shown:

Please google these videos:

Youtube: Doolin captured by Kenny

Youtube: The People of Doolin by fps44

Youtube: Doolin Ireland Travel Video by OverlanderTV

Youtube: Doolin Ireland by celticvideocom

Youtube: Doolin Ferry - Aran Island Cruises by mgarrihy13


Thursday, September 29, 2011

October 1, 2011 - The Great Gaze

We first became aware of the West of Ireland in the early 90's. We were having dinner in Dublin with a couple of Americans who had located to Galway for business and they asked us what we had seen so far. We rattled off a loose list of historical buildings, famous sites, statues, a couple of mountain ranges, 18th century churches, 16th century castles, breweries, ruins, ringforts and all sorts of relics, volumes of pubs and every golf course we had read about...filled with confidence that we had certainly seen just about everything you could possibly see in this country. Our friends gave each other a quick glance and then gave us a very long look...the same glazed gaze our son-in-law gave us when one golden October afternoon he was going out the door to the biggest football game of the he had looked forward to for an entire season.......and just realized he had swallowed 2 Excedrin P.M. instead of 2 regular Excedrin.

To our surprise, we were told. "You haven't seen anything till you go to the West!" Up until this point we had been travelling on main roads and following what we later would call the "bus routes." You see.... in Ireland the buses can only travel on main roads being too large to fit on the back roads. That is how some sites, roads and routes got famous....not because they are necessarily the greatest things to see but because they are accessible by bus. Also, if you stay on the main roads several things will occur: wherever you go it will be possibly crowded with tourists and you will most likely see an Ireland that has been somewhat transformed by accommodating tourism. Since all of Ireland seems to be stunningly beautiful, your head and heart will be fooled by letting you think and believe that you have seen the best that this country has to offer......and there is nothing wrong with that....but if you are curious and if you have a deep seated desire to go where you can see mile long beaches totally unscathed and so remote you have to park your car sideways against an old stone wall and crawl over a giant sand dune to see them, don't be complacent about choosing your destinations. Would you get a kick out of spending a night in a pub where whole families play traditional Irish music while passing around different instruments? Does the thought of cruising through wee villages that have not changed since Charles Dickens was alive delight you? Would you find it thrilling to sit and chat with some real Irishmen in a "snug" in a 200 year old pub with no big screen TV and hear Gaelic spoken in the background? Then.....go West!

-On Deck:

-Our First Night in the West: A Plein Air Piano

-What's Up with County Clare

-The 60th Anniversary of The Quiet Man

-The Quiet Man Sites

-How To Have A Quiet Man Party in Your Community: Things You Need To Know

-Kilkee: Undiscovered...We'll Only Tell You About It If You Promise Not To Tell Anyone Else