Escape to a once-in-a-lifetime retreat where you can practice movement, mindfulness and the art of healthy eating in the stunning countryside adjacent to the famed Cliffs of Moher. Restorative classes, vigorous walks and beautiful amenities make this retreat a true gem for yoga lovers!
You arrive at the retreat centre in County Clare, Ireland just as the sun is about to set on the most clear, beautiful evening. A fire burns brightly in the common area and you make your way to your room, lovingly set with fresh Egyptian cotton linens and calming blue curtains. Yoga is in an hour, so you join the rest of the group in the kitchen for welcome bites of delicious chocolate oat energy balls, strawberries and a soothing Tulsi and cardamom blend tea. From there, head to the yoga shala, a truly spectacular studio set on a hill with views to the sea and beyond, even as far as the Kerry Mountains. The mats are arranged facing the large glass front with candles lit around the room, including one held by a polished Buddha. As you set an intention for the weekend, all the stress that had been building on your shoulders gently drifts away…
For the bride looking for a bit of R&R before the big day, the Cliffs of Moher Retreat offers total serenity and immersion in a quiet, scenic location where you can unwind and concentrate on caring for yourself. There is a variety of retreats to choose from depending on what you are looking for, including the one I experienced, ‘Connect to Nature.’ The yoga and vegetarian diet will aid with detoxing and clearing up any skin or gastric issues and the hikes will work on toning the muscles without having to spend time at the gym. This retreat is also perfect for wellness hen parties as there are plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with your friends, from sharing a room together to chatting away in the hot tub and accomplishing a scenic hike!
Welcome to complete relaxation. The yoga taught at the retreat is very restorative and concentrated on breath, stretching and mindfulness. If you have only done yoga a few times or even not at all, you can definitely still come on this retreat because the pace is very mellow and you won’t be pushed into doing anything you don’t want to try. Take in the burning of incense and listen to the mantras spoken to you, like, ‘The way you do anything is the way you do everything,’ meaning that it’s important to take care of the tiny details and understand the foundations fully to master the difficulties in yoga (and life). You may even get to take your first Yoga Nidra class, aka the ‘sleep of yogis,’ completely focused on relaxation. Each day, end your class covered in a provided soft blanket and an eye mask sachet as you lie in complete bliss in savasana.
Grounds & Greens
The retreat centre is comprised of five completely refurbished houses, a state of the art custom yoga studio with meditation deck and luxury amenities including two hot tubs and a glass fronted sauna. With 14 bedrooms, the retreat sleeps up to 30 people, so you don’t have to worry about feeling overwhelmed by a huge crowd in class. There is a charming communal space in each of the five houses with a cosy fire to curl up to and read during your downtime. Don’t forget to say hello to the two affectionate outdoor cats who mightily defend the property!
For each of your meals, head to the dining room where the most delicious smells waft from large serving dishes filled to the brim with colourful, gorgeous vegetarian cuisine. The retreat is a detox in many ways, including for your body so you will be eating ingredients like veggies, coconut, ginger and…did I mention veggies? The first night, we had Shepherd-less Pie made with sweets potatoes and quinoa and the most fresh bib lettuce picked from a vegetable garden. Everything, even the Green Goddess dressing was phenomenally good so I didn’t have to worry about being hungry even though I normally don’t stick to an all vegetarian diet. There are even delicious desserts like raw chocolate cake for those of you with a sweet tooth!
Work Up A Sweat
The cliff walk is definitely a highlight of the retreat, but it is not for the faint of heart! If you are seeking a completely restorative retreat, inquire about one without the hike, perhaps their cooking or meditation retreat. The ‘Connect to Nature’ weekend includes a vigorous 9 mile walk up craggy rocks as you skirt the edge of the cliffs. However, if you are looking for a fit holiday, it is perfect for you and the views of the cliffs are absolutely out of this world!
After the hike, relax your muscles with a soak in the cedar wood hot tub where cedar oils seep into the water with a rich and rejuvenating scent. Follow this with 10 minutes in the sauna and you will be feeling ready for a power nap before yoga at night. Or, if you book ahead, you can enjoy a relaxing massage by the on-site specialist. If you’re feeling up for more excitement instead of downtime, head 10 minutes down the road to The Rock Shop, where you will discover a treasure trove of crystal gems, Irish handmade jewelry and souvenirs to take home. cliffsofmoherretreat.com
Written by Kristie Landing