1. Visiting awe-inspiring ancient forts, dolmens, wedge tombs and other very old sites. Though our schedule won’t be set in stone like the photo above, (as mentioned in other sections of this website and below, you are free to participate in as many or as little of the activities as you choose) we actually will be visiting the iron age fort featured in this photo. It radiates a sense of history and the presence of those who came before us many hundreds of years ago and is just magnificent–in itself and in its commanding views of surrounding limestone landscape of The Burren, the Aran Islands to the southwest, the North Atlantic Ocean, and the stunning Connemara area across the ocean to the north.
2. Bodywork, lots of types to choose from: Thai, reflexology, Swedish, deep tissue, deep flowy lomi, targeted treatment. Energy work/facilitated mediation and relaxation is also an option. You’ll get two sessions of body or energy work: a 60 minute session and a 30 minute session. You can choose either for each session or a combo. To be scheduled on the first evening.
3. Making merry at the pub and listening to real trad (traditional music) by Irish musicians. Gus O’Connor’s Pub, Doolin and McGann’s Pub, Doolin are examples of at least one of the pubs where we’ll have a fun evening out with the locals.
4. Hiking/trekking/walking: We will have organized group treks and walks into the hills and on the beach and to see Really Old Stuff (neolithic megalithic structures and monuments, see below). No one who chooses to go will be left behind. If you don’t want to join in and rather kick it at the cottage, then by all means, please do.
5. Art/journaling: prompts and exercises using inspiration from our surroundings, natural and historic, designed to jolt your creativity, brainstorm solutions to problems, clear your head
6. Marking the Spring Equinox on March 20th with a visit to an ancient site oriented toward the sun’s location on the equinox
7. Dancing, whenever we feel like it. Or not. It’s up to you.
8. A special guest Irish storyteller We may sing and drum too, if it feels right. If you don’t want to, ya don’t hafta.
9. Facilitated relaxation/guided meditation exchange with partners.
10. Making herby remedies with a local herbalist using local plants.
11. Exploring the local villages, artisan/craftsman/etc shops and free time. (Remember, all your time is free time. Going to the village is scheduled free time, and we’ll have scheduled free time at our lodgings, but you can make any other time your free time as well).
All of these activities are included but none of them are mandatory. You can participate in all of them, or none if them, if you choose. This is your time.
There will be a schedule that you can choose to follow if you want to participate in what’s going on at the scheduled time. The schedule will have some flex in it. Example: say we are out at a pub the night before enjoying some Guinness and trad music. We get to bed late and most folks roll out of bed between 8 and 9:30. We had a post-brekkie walk into the hills to visit a ring fort or something else old and beautiful planned for 9:00. So we move the walk back a bit. We won’t schedule any bodywork or other individual sessions in the morning at a time that could conflict with a possible later start to a morning group activity, so no one will have to choose an organized walk over something individually scheduled.
Though none of the activities are mandatory and there will be no pressure to participate in them, we welcome you to take part, to try something new perhaps, and would love it if you do. It’s totally up to you. That being said, if it is important to you to be able to participate in all the activities and you want to feel you are able to, note that every day will include a scheduled (again, always optional) walk or hike of up to 4 or 5 miles, (some days a few shorter strolls). Some of these walks will be on terrain without any designated trail or obvious footpath with an elevation gain of up to ~1500 feet. Some of it will be on ground which is soft and boggy, with potentially uneven footing. It will not require special technical skill and we won’t be trying to set any records, but you will be much more comfortable if you are used to walking on varied footing with some elevation gain. If you are new to exercise or it’s been a while, you can likely build up to it in a couple months before the trip. For the enjoyment and safety of everyone, including your own, check with your physician first if this is the case, and/or if you have a condition that could affect your ability to participate in the walks, if you want to participate in them.
8:00 am: breakfast
9:30 am: walk/trek/hike
1:30-3:00 pm: no scheduled activity as a group, some may be getting bodywork
3:00 pm: group activity (art, guided relaxation with a partner, journaling session, short sightseeing trip)
6:00 pm: dinner
7:00-10:00 pm: individual time, songs, dancing or storytelling by the fireplace (we will go with the flow)
Further afield outing days:
7:30-8:30 am: breakfast
8:30-~5:30 (or later if we have dinner out): visiting ancient sites like Loughcrew, portal dolmens, wedge tombs and Blackhead ringfort in the Burren, County Clare; herbal remedy making session with local herbalist and naturopath; Kylemore Abbey in the Connemara area; coral strand/beach walk; Diamond Hill walk in Connemara Nat’l Park)
7:30-10:30: relax/free time (your time is always yours, so anytime can be free time whenever you choose)