Expert tip: This is one of the most popular yoga retreats offered in Ireland.
Come join Burren Yoga for a stress-free weekend of relaxation, Vinyasa flow yoga classes, meditation, scrumptious veggie food, and enjoy local Burren eco-walks surrounded by beautiful nature. It is an ideal weekend to let go of the stresses and strains of everyday life and to let go into a very peaceful and tranquil environment with a gifted teacher and share some time with like minded people.
At the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre, you have a choice of accommodation of shared room, single room, twin room (only if 2 of you are booking together), and double room (only if two of you booking or you want to treat yourself to the room for yourself).
The accommodation contains one room for 6, two rooms for 4, three single rooms, and two double rooms. The accommodation can sleep up to 21 people but Burren Yoga only ever takes a maximum of 15 people on any of the retreats. The men are sharing the room in one of the dorms and women in the other.
The mattresses are very high-quality orthopedic mattresses with a top layer of memory foam, ensuring one of the most comfortable sleep. The bed linen is high thread count Egyptian cotton and lovely to slip into after a full day of yoga, meditation, outdoor activities, eating amazing vegetarian food, and laughing and socializing with like minded people. All the beds are freshly made up before you arrive and there are also fresh towels laid out on your bed.
There are 4 shared bathrooms (each with a shower, hand basin, and toilet) and an extra toilet shared between the 15 retreat participants. The accommodation doesn't have any en-suite bathrooms at the yoga center. One of the bathrooms has a bath where you can soak and relax.
The shared accommodation has bunk beds. These are not ‘the usual bunk beds’ and the top bunk is hand carved and suspended from the ceiling. The lower bunk is completely independent of the upper bunk with plenty of headroom in between. Please be aware that the bedrooms are very small and there are no wardrobes. There is very little shelf space to store your belongings.
Burren Yoga is trying to have a maximum of 4 people in the room for 6, and 3 people in the rooms for 4, but this all depends on male-female ratio on the retreat. The beds are not normal ‘bunk beds’, one bed is suspended from the ceiling and the other is a free standing divan underneath it. Most of the beds are individually carved ‘works of art’ by Johnny Ray who carves spirals and curves into all his work.
The rooms do not have any wardrobes. There is limited shelf space for storage. All the rooms are spotlessly clean with underfloor heating, timber floors, and hotel quality mattresses and bed linen. You will be supplied with a bath and hand towel.
There are only 3 single rooms so you may need to book well in advance in order to secure one of these single rooms. The rooms are very small and do not have any wardrobes. The door does not open fully as it opens against the bed. There is limited shelf space for storage. All the rooms are spotlessly clean with underfloor heating, timber floors and hotel quality mattresses and bed linen. You will be supplied with a bath and hand towel.
The twin room is actually a small single room with bunk beds. There are only 2 single rooms with bunk beds so you may need to book well in advance in order to secure one of these twin rooms. The beds are not normal ‘bunk beds’, one bed is suspended from the ceiling and the other is a free standing divan underneath it. Most of the beds are individually carved ‘works of art’ by Johnny Ray who carves spirals and curves into all his work.
The rooms are very small and do not have any wardrobes. The door does not open fully as it opens against the bed. The room is so small it is only advised for a couple or very good friends, but at least you will have it to yourselves. There is limited shelf space for storage. All the rooms are spotlessly clean with underfloor heating, timber floors and hotel quality mattresses and bed linen. You will each be supplied with a bath and hand towel.
The double room has 1 standard sized 4.6-inch wide double bed. The room is very small and does not have a wardrobe. The door does not open fully as it opens against the bed. There is limited shelf space for storage. All the rooms are spotlessly clean with underfloor heating, timber floors and hotel quality mattresses and bed linen. You will each be supplied with a bath and hand towel.
This course is suitable for complete beginners as well as advanced people. This retreat will focus on bringing your awareness into the present. Getting in touch with your physical body, the breath and observing the thoughts within the present moment.
Each Yoga class will be a learning process for you to learn more about anatomy and learn a firm foundation on yoga principles as you move into each posture with awareness. Get deeper into your own body and release tension and get ready to feel renewed, energized and feel more clarity. Each morning will begin with pranayama (breathing practices) followed by the morning Vinyasa yoga class. Yoga is a breathing practice so there will be a focus on the breath during the Vinyasa yoga classes.
The morning Vinyasa yoga classes will be dynamic and very good for improving flexibility and removing energy blocks helping you feel fully alive during the rest of the day.
These morning yoga classes will give you a firm foundation and stability in your body. The standing sequences will increase tone and strength in the body, while seated postures will bring more flexibility to the hips and in the spine. Towards the end of each class, there will also be more grounding postures to help you feel fully within the present moment.
As the weekend progresses, the body and mind will become more balanced. It is guaranteed to leave you feeling toned, stretched, rejuvenated, refreshed and full of energy on all levels.
The morning meditation practice will be breath focussed meditation. One sits in a comfortable meditation postures and rests one’s awareness on the breath flowing through the nostrils. With practice and proper guidance, one gradually learns how to observe the thoughts rather than being caught up in them and one settles into a calmer peaceful more tranquil state.
After the first day, Kathryn will then guide you into a loving kindness practice or Metta! You will look at Buddhist terms such as Samantha and Vipassana, what it means to really let go and most of all, to practice every day to quieten that monkey mind! Every day on this retreat you will be reflecting in the meditation and using certain tools to help bring more awareness into your lives. You will practice loving kindness (Metta) meditation throughout the retreat.
Beginners will be introduced gradually to meditation, which will deepen and lengthen in practice over the week and those wanting to just sit for longer periods will be allowed space. On Saturday after breakfast, Dave will lead the group on a guided outing and you will either do a hill walk in the Burren hills or a walk by the sea. All these activities are optional.
The guided outings are an important part of each eco yoga retreat and it is a lovely way to see some special places in the Burren well away from the usual tourist places.
During your guided outing you will stop off for lunch at one of the best local restaurants or cafes. One favorite is the Ballyvaughan tea rooms where Stephen Spielberg flew in especially to order the cheesecake.
Depending on the group, on one or more days you will practice the full moon yoga sequence ‘Chandra Krama’. The main focus will be on the hips and spine, it is a therapeutic sequence for the lower back, hips, and sacrum. Concluding with meditation. This is a great sequence for those who drive a lot, sit at desks regularly or feel pretty stiff in the lower back and sacrum. You will come away from this sequence feeling more open and renewed.
Each yoga class will be designed so that you can slowly build up your yoga practice with each person practicing at its own level. On Saturday afternoon you will have a yoga class from 17:00 - 18:30. This will be a slow relaxing restorative yoga class where you will explore some deep Yin style restorative postures.
A restorative yoga practice can rest your body deeply, stretch your muscles (stretch connective tissue), lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and relax your nervous system, moving you into a peaceful state of deep relaxation. Concluding with a meditation.
By the end of the retreat you will be feeling lighter, more open in your body and your mind, and fully refreshed to bring this new energy and new practices into your everyday life.
Karma yoga is a way to carry out a task and watch oneself in the process. One tries not identify with the ego, and try not to be attached to the fruits of one’s work, but one carries out the task to the best of one’s ability. This is an opportunity to get to know oneself. It is also an opportunity to put in your own good energies to help others without looking for a reward. Karma yoga teaches you to let go of the ego and a closer understanding or insight into your internal world.
In yoga ashrams and yoga centers, out of practical necessity, Karma yoga is used for the smooth running of the center in a shared way. All tasks possible from growing and preparing the food, building, cleaning, maintenance, and D.I.Y. are carried out by the course participants and ashram residents itself, bringing not only an appreciation for the basics of life but also challenging the ego.
Recognizing that this is also your yoga holiday, in the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre, this important yoga component has been incorporated in a light practical way which ensures all who come to experience the Karma yoga concept and at the same time giving benefits to the center is a very practical way which is good for all on the course.
During this course, you will be taking a turn to tidy away the tables and counters in the kitchen, load the dishwasher, wash and dry any dishes that do not fit into the washer, clean the kitchen, sweep the floors and set the table for meals. Please be aware that you will be expected to take part in Karma yoga as part of the yoga course, but also note it usually takes no more than an hour over the course of a weekend.
If you don’t feel you could participate in this activity then perhaps this course is not for you. Karma yoga is a wonderful way where course participants contribute to the well-being of the others in the group and also the smooth running of the center.
On Saturday after breakfast, Dave will lead the group on a guided outing and you will either do a hill walk in the Burren hills or a walk by the sea.
This retreat is located at the Burren. The Burren is a magical area on the wild Atlantic way located on the west coast of Ireland and most of it is located in County Clare, with a smaller section inside County Galway. It is comprised of spectacular shaped limestone hills which plunge down into the Atlantic ocean.
It is famous for its unique range of wildflowers, ancient archaeology, breath-taking geological features, and many internationally known places such as the Cliffs of Moher, the traditional music location of Doolin where one catches the ferry to the Aran Islands, the Aillwee caves, and much more.
The Burren is about 50 kilometers by 25 kilometers in an area running along the west coast of Ireland starting at the picturesque seaside village of Kinvara and running down through Ballyvaughan, Black Head, Fanore beach to Doolin.
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The food at Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre is a combination of the best healthy vegetarian ingredients combined carefully with fresh herbs and spices to produce amazing vegetarian food which not only is a delight to the taste buds and the enjoyment of eating, but one feels good afterwards as all the ingredients have been carefully combined together to be good for one’s health and wellbeing.
Burren Yoga can cater for any special diets including vegan, wheat and dairy free, coeliac, or any special diet to cater for allergies or intolerances. Please make sure you let Burren Yoga knows about any special diets when you fill in your booking form.
During the guided outings, Dave will bring you to one of the local restaurants or cafes for lunch. Dave knows all the best places in the area and the restaurant owners look after you very well, giving you the best table and making sure you are well looked after.
Although all the food prepared within the center is vegetarian you are welcome to try whatever catches your fancy on the menus of these excellent places to eat. The places you go include the Ballyvaughan tea rooms where Stephen Spielberg flew in especially for the cheesecake, Linnane’s seafood restaurant, and much more.
There is real tea and real coffee at the yoga center and a huge range of herbal teas. The water comes from Burren Yoga's own well which is 160-foot deep into the Burren rock and comes out crystal clear with many natural elements which are very good for you. All the water is filtered and you are welcome to bring your own bottle to top up during your stay. You are also welcome to help yourself to tea or coffee in the kitchen at any time during your stay.
The Burren Yoga retreat holidays are not just about yoga. They are as much about reconnecting to our inner nature through contact with the natural unspoilt surroundings in the Burren.
Many of us spend much of our time living in cities. Many of us have quite hectic lives. And much of our activities are very far removed from the natural lives humans have enjoyed for hundreds of thousands of years - until quite recently. It is mainly within the past 100 years that human lives in the Western world have changed so radically. Much activity in life is now related quite heavily to commercialism and consumerism.
One good thing about taking a weekend or a week to oneself at the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre is that one is able to leave behind the fast pace of modern living and to allow oneself to return to the more natural environments which we have evolved to live with over hundreds of thousands of years. And not surprisingly, our inner selves thrive within this natural environment. Even if one did not practice yoga or meditation within the Burren, one would benefit greatly from the peace and tranquility which develops from within in such an environment.
Lough Bunny is a lake about five miles from the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre. It is crystal clear and most of the water is less than chest high, so it becomes quite warm in the summer. Lough Bunny is a great spot during the summer months and is a beautiful pristine un-spoilt lake and an ideal spot for swimming in natural surroundings. The water is very clean and is fed by a number of natural underwater springs.
The silence of the Burren. No cars. No tractors. No air craft. No mosquitoes, no snakes, or biting insects. And fresh clean air coming in from the Atlantic ocean. This place is like food for the soul. The silence is one thing that surprises people. Many people are so used to be surrounded by noise, whether it is traffic, people talking, TV, radio, or music that when one takes all that away, the silence of Nature can feel so peaceful and refreshing.
After a refreshing swim what better place to simply unwind and relax. From Lough Bunny, it is a short ten-minute drive back to the center, the warm yoga room, with fresh incoming air, awaits. While you enjoy your class in the beautiful light-filled yoga room, Paddi the famous chef is preparing and cooking another vegetarian feast in the kitchen. It is very important to have great tasting healthy food on all courses, and Paddi has written her own vegetarian cooking book with 108 lovely recipes.
Even in the winter you will get out for your walks in the Burren which has one of the mildest micro climates in Ireland. The south westerly wind blows in from the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic ocean and keeps this part of Ireland a few degrees warmer than the east coast of Ireland. For that reason we rarely get snow here, and provided you bring your rain gear and layers of warm clothing it is ideal weather for outdoor activities all year round.
Five miles away from the centre is the little picturesque village called Kinvara. The pier at Kinvara looks out onto DunGuaire Castle.
You can go to many locations during your outdoor trips. One location is the Cliffs of Moher. A great way to see the Cliffs of Moher is to see them from the boat trips that you can take. The boat goes right in under the Cliffs, and the height of the Cliffs are staggering seen from that angle. It is a great way to see the huge amount of birds living on the sides of the cliffs including a spectacular amount of puffins.
Kilmacduagh tower is one of the most intact round towers of this type in Ireland. It’s said there have been seven churches here. Kilmacduagh tower and the ruined churches are about five miles from the centre.
Other activities include surfing on Fanore beach. There is a surf school located at Fanore beach and it costs 35 EUR for a two-hour surf lesson including hire of a wet suit and a board.
Depending on the ever changing light on the west coast of Ireland, the Burren Limestone sometimes looks like lava. The combination of changing light and changing skies, this place is unique on earth.
These hills are ideal for climbing. The limestone rock gives secure footing under foot, and it takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour to get to the top of most of the hills. The scenery over Galway bay and the Atlantic ocean is spectacular. Some of these large boulders were deposited by the glaciers which moved across the Burren millions of years ago. The Burren is often described as looking like another planet. The limestone rock was formed 360 million years ago when it was the bed of a shallow coral sea.
Poulnabrone Dolmen is the most famous dolmen in the Burren. However these days one often sees tour buses at this location. The best time to visit Poulnabrone is in the middle of the night with a full moon. It produces an eerie reminder that one is standing beside a man made dolmen which is estimated to be at least 5,000 years old. That makes it older than the pyramids. Poulnabrone dolmen is near Carron village and about 15 miles from the center. Many archaeologists claim this is a burial tomb because they found a few bodies buried nearby.
But there is also a belief that these dolmens were possibly used as ritual places rather than burial tombs, as they more resemble an ancient altar raised to the sky rather than a wedge tomb which sits down well into the ground. And that later settlers a couple of thousand years after it was initially built and used for rituals, were unaware of it’s intended use, and used it to bury their dead.
There are many more ancient sites in the Burren which the tour buses do not go near, and sometimes you might visit these sites which are peaceful and rarely visited by anyone.
One feature of the Burren which never ceases to amaze our visitors are the endless miles of stone walls which are seen cris crossing the countryside and even running up the sides of these limestone hills.
Mulloughmore mountain is a very special place. The silence which surrounds this ancient mountain, unchanged over millions of years.
The limestone rock is excellent underfoot for walking and has a slightly textured surface which gives good grip with walking boots. Mulloughmore mountain is one of our tougher mountain walks that we do, and it takes about 1 hour to get to the top.
The Burren is famous for its wide variety of wild flowers which do not exist together anywhere else in the world. These range from wild orchids to gentian violets below. The best time for the wild flowers is from May to July. July and August is the best time for butterflies, dragon flies, and some other prehistoric-looking green beetles. And one great thing about a yoga holiday in Ireland is that you are not pestered by mosquitoes, or other biting insects that one puts up with in other parts of the world. The Burren is a very dry location and you are lucky not to have midges or other small flies either.
Corcomroe Abbey is a beautiful ruined abbey which is about 5 miles from the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre. This is a great place for taking photographs and also an interesting place to explore.
These outdoor walks are not like a hill climbing club which rushes up the hill hardly taking the time to stop and rest. Most of the walks could be better described as strolls in nature, taking time to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and sometimes just taking the time to put up the feet and enjoy the peacefulness of your surroundings. Depending on the group, some of our walks are more challenging and can last for two or three hours.
Taking time in nature is always fun and feels great for the soul. This is even more so, when you have an experienced local guide who will take you to the best locations each day, and you do not have to worry your head about where to go or where to eat. It will be all organized for you.
And if you prefer to just relax at home in the yoga centre, or to take time out from the group, you are very welcome to do so.
When you are walking in the hills we rarely meet anybody else as there are very few people living in this part of Ireland. The green roads through the Burren are mainly used by walkers. However, this part of the world is very uninhabited and often we don’t come across another human being during our walks in the wild. As a result there is no light pollution and many people are amazed at the amount of stars they can see here at night. Coming down the hill one needs to take care, and it is a good idea to bring walking boots as these help protect one’s ankles.
Please book your flight to arrive at Shannon Airport (SHN), Dublin International Airport (DUB), Cork Airport (ORK), Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC) or Kerry Airport (KIR). Transfer information to Burren Yoga is available upon request.
The nearest bus stop is in Gort village which is 6 miles from the Burren Yoga Centre. The recommended bus companies (faster, cheaper, toilets on board) are Go-Bus or Citylink. Do not take a bus to Kinvara. The Burren Yoga Centre is 5 miles from Kinvara. From Dublin International Airport (DUB), it is recommended to take the bus direct from the airport to Galway city rather than traveling into Dublin city. From Shannon Airport (SHN, if your flight arrives very early, it is recommended that you take the Bus Eireann number 51 bus direct to Galway city and to spend the day there.
Although the train is slower, more expensive, and much fewer times to choose from than the bus, some people prefer to travel by Irish Rail Train. From Dublin take the Galway train as far as Athenry, and then change trains. From Athenry take the Limerick train as far as Gort.
There is only one taxi driver in Kinvara, and he often has his phone turned off, so it is possible to get stranded in Kinvara. Go to Gort instead, as Gort has many taxi drivers and a taxi from Gort costs approx 12 EUR.
From Shannon Airport (SHN), the reduced fare taxi costs 60 EUR and the taxi driver will team you up if anybody else is flying in close to your arrival time. You need to book this taxi yourself at least 24 hours before you arrive.
From Galway city, the reduced fare taxi costs 40 EUR and the taxi driver will team you up if anybody else coming from Galway close to your time. You need to book this taxi yourself at least 24 hours before you arrive.