Sacred Grounding and Creative Exploration in Ireland Retreat
Friday, June 2- Friday June 9th 2023
with Sarah Brokke + Mary Bue
“If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the tongues of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forest while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted, like trees.” Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted
Ireland! Ireland. What can be said about such a mystical, epically beautiful place, hosting a deep history and culture, and incredible people? World-renowned poets, playwrights, musicians and artists have gone far to capture the luscious green of the hills, the epic cliffs and beaches, the ancient ruins, and the contemporary splendor of vibrant culture and wisdom. Evidence of the human presence on the island dates back to 33,000 years ago, and with six million people inhabiting it today. Our time together will provide space to delve into the complexity and evolution of Irish history. We will ground this exploration in both the breathtaking physical landscape and art of the people who live there.
Our home for the week is located on the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, the rugged and epically beautiful western coast of Ireland. Situated on An Caoláire Rua (Killary Harbor), we will be immersed in the deep history and ancient culture of this mystical place, through field trips in Connemara, conversations with local experts, and beyond. We have curated this adventure to hold space for both education and internal investigation, tactile and intuitive, a retreat for both growth and rest.
Celtic Mysticism and the Sacred Feminine
Ireland is the birthplace of ancient wisdom wrought out of a connection to the earth and sacred beings. Stories and places abound centering on figures such as the Cailleach (Divine Crone and creatrix of the landscape and weather); Brigid (the Daughter of the Dagda, known as the Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Inspiration); and Danú (the divine mother of the Tuatha Dé Danann, of the Gods and of the earth, considered to be the mother goddess of Ireland and is the personification of nature, fertility, wisdom and strength).
Leenane is a place of contrasts. Situated at the head of Killary harbour, a 16km Fjord, it nestles under the Maamtrasna and Maamturk mountains on the Galway-Mayo border.
The area has been inhabited since prehistory, evinced by ancient tombs and the potato ridges climbing the mountains. Leenane is famous for the stunning and varied beauty of its location. It is this which has been attracting artists, sportsmen, geologists and leisure seekers for over 150 years. The contrasts of sea and mountains offer vistas alive with colour; the intense green of the hills in summer, the oranges and russets of the autumn mountains, the slate blues of the winter seas. Sheep dot the high hills, roaming wide and free, and salmon can be seen leaping the beautiful Aasleagh falls at the head of the fjord. – leenanevillage.com/
Wild at Heart
At times austere, at times sublime, Connemara is a place of legend, folklore and profound beauty. The late writer and cartographer Tim Robinson spoke of the landscape’s “huge, luminous spaces”, and it’s no surprise that artists and photographers, poets and playwrights have all found inspiration here.
Bounded by the Atlantic and set within a particularly scenic corner of County Galway, the region is famous for its wild terrain and soft colors. Rust-colored bogs are dotted with polished grey-blue lakes; old dry-stone walls are threaded over hills; and coral beaches, sandy bays and little harbors are edged by an ever-changing ocean.
Connemara is not just about the landscape, though – it’s about the Irish language, cherished by the locals. It’s about the charm of towns and villages such as Leenane, Roundstone, Clifden and Letterfrack. It’s about the ponies, the music, the pure flavors of local food. It’s about as good as it gets.
Painting in photo grid: Sarah Brokke Cailleach 18” x 24” Oil on Canvas, 2020. Private Collection.
Spend a week immersed in lush emerald green lands and sparkling blue waters next to Ireland’s only Fjord. Amidst the unique constellation of the group that gathers, we’ll ground and center into this gorgeous and wild place on earth. Inspiration for artists and poets, mystical habitat for faerie and selkies, how can we not become inspired and refreshed by this rugged nature, deep and delightful culture, and the elements of this coastal place?
Our utmost intention for this week is grounding and deep process. Everything is optional, with many opportunities built in for sacred rest and reflection. You are most welcome to opt out of any excursion or practice to sit in nature, stare at the fjord, take a walk, or choose your own adventure.
Our practices will include
- Connection & Investigation with Ancient Mysticism and Culture
- Creative Exploration: Drawing, Journaling
- Grounding / Centering techniques
- Witnessing Nature / Forest Bathing
- Low-intensity Yoga Asana (postures and flowing practices)
- Yoga Nidra (“Sleep of the Yogi”)
- Mantra / Chanting / Sacred Sound practices
- Dance / Free Movement
- Dream work
- Journaling / Self-Reflection
- Ceremony / Ritual to honor the Sacred Feminine
- And much more!
Throughout the course of our week together, Sarah will guide you in exploring intuitive methodologies, step by step, to create an artwork that depicts a part of you from the inside out. This process is applicable for all levels, from beginners to advanced artists, and will employ multiple mediums and mark-making, providing the opportunity to engage in a deeply soul-filled visual expression. All supplies will be provided.
Excursions & Activities
Amongst the self-reflection, art-making, yoga, and grounding experiences in nature, we have a few special excursions planned.
We look forward to a day trip to the vibrant city centre of Galway where you can choose your own adventure – museums, food, shopping, wandering the cobblestone streets, colorful shop facades, and bohemian cafe culture. One evening we’ll take a visit to Leeanne Village for dinner on your own and hopefully we can catch some live pub music. Experience a unique “Wild Swimming and Sauna” afternoon just a short walk down towards the fjord from our lodge, and you can choose to add on massage, an outdoor adventure like kayaking or high ropes, or simply rest / read / write / draw / dream on our day of Sacred Rest.
Galway Day Trip (Tentative, subject to change)
Our home in Ireland is about an hour away from the beautiful harbor city of Galway (Gaillimh), which is a city of medieval roads, colorful storefronts, and a vibrant music and art culture. On our way to the city, we’ll make a couple of stops at sites focused on the deep history and beauty of the natural landscape. We’ll start our venture driving across the epic beauty of Connemara with several planned stops, including a stop at the Brigit’s Garden (Gairdín Bhríde), an open air museum themed on Celtic seasonal festivals, regarded as one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland, which focuses on fostering reflection, creativity, and connection. Moving on from there, our time in Galway will allow you time to explore a variety of options, which could include the Galway City Museum, the markets, incredible food, galleries, art, pub culture and/or the harbor itself.
We plan to close our our day trip on our way home with a stop at Glassiaun Beach, which is known for its white sands and turquoise water.
We’ll have an afternoon “Wild Swimming” and Sauna experience on Killary Fjord:
Relax in this architecturally designed Scandinavian sauna, enjoy the uninterrupted views of Mweelrea mountain and surrounds, cool off in the crystal clear waters of the Killary Fjord. The Sauna sits on the shore of the Killary Fjord allowing you an uninterrupted view of the Fjord and Mweelrea mountain as you sit back and relax. It’s proximity to the sea means that a fresh dip in the crystal clear waters of the Fjord is only a few steps away.
Optional Add Ons:
Killary Adventure Company offers MANY outdoor adventure activities you can choose from on your day off as you wish such as: Giant SUP, Kayaking, High Ropes Course, Raft Building, Giant Swing, Archery and more. Check out their adventures here
Massage: We hope to bring in a massage therapist from the region to our lodge for any guests who would enjoy some body work to ground, center, and rejuvenate even more.
The Lodge sits on 185 acres of the wild rugged Connemara region. The Lodge has a large outdoor area complete with outdoor seating and two fire pits, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and sea – the perfect place to sit and watch the sunset over Killary Fjord, surrounded by nature.
There is access to a private stone covered beach on the Killary Fjord which we can access here for private swimming.
Each room within the lodge is spacious with en-suite bath, many with rainforest showers. The rooms are individually designed with unique signatures, cozy and bright. All rooms (except one) are shared — think wonderfully posh summer camp vibes; no beds are shared.
- Instruction with Sarah & Mary
- Transport to-from the Dublin airport (at pre-arranged times)
- Lodging (variable rates based on occupancy)
- Transport on excursions
- Meals while at Lodge – ala carte breakfast, lunch & dinner (two meals on your own while on excursions)
- Coffee & tea
- Admission / entrance fees
- Food/bevvies outside of the villa
- Travel insurance (Mary highly recommends AIG Travel Guard)
- Medical care
- international phone / internet fees your provider may have
- Passport or visa fees if you plan to stay longer
- Yoga Mat (please bring your own)
There are many flights to Dublin daily, where we will arrange a time to pick up the group with a coach bus and transport you to our lodge in Western Ireland.
Our experience begins with dinner approximately 6:30pm on Friday, June 2nd, so our coach will depart the Dublin airport around 1pm (approximately 3.5-4 hour journey) allowing time to check in, get settled and dine.
If you prefer to make and research other travel arrangements to our lodge, that is perfectly fine, however not included in retreat package.
We are so here to help with any transportation questions and will do our best to connect travelers should they be looking for companions to fly with!
I have been a practicing and exhibiting visual artist for more than twenty years, 18 of which have been devoted to teaching at a collegiate level. Few experiences are more powerful and enriching than combining travel and education, which I’ve had the great fortune to do with many students over the years, recently co-leading retreats in Florence, Italy with Mary. I could not be more thrilled to share a place so deeply inspiring and instrumental within my current body of work, focusing on the sacred feminine. Immersing ourselves in the mystery and incredible beauty of Ireland, we’ll explore and stretch our creativity together through sacred grounding and intuitive listening, employing curiosity and an open, inquisitive mind, whether you consider yourself a beginner or advanced artist. Any questions? I would be happy to answer any you might have at sarahbrokkeart @ gmail.com (no spaces). You can also check out my most recent work on Instagram @sarahbrokke
I am a songwriter, traveler, Nada Yogi, adventure seeker, retreat guide, former yoga studio owner, and yoga instructor since 2009. Grateful to be named “Best Songwriter” of 2020 by City Pages and have been writing music and performing since 1998, with 8 albums out now. Based out of Minneapolis, I roam this beautiful world as much as possible and since closing my yoga studio have taken to guiding these magical retreats – to Bali, to Malta, to Taos, and just this past spring in Italy with Sarah! I believe deeply in the richness of a creative life that is ever unfolding. One doesn’t have to play an instrument, write a novel, paint like Frida, or write like Mary Oliver to live a creative life. Every moment that unfolds offers opportunities to make something beautiful. While this may seem like a lot of pressure, rest in knowing that potential is ever unfolding, even in the silent and restorative times (like sleeping!). I look forward to sharing this beautiful & inspiring place with you in 2022. Please let me know if you have ANY questions. I am pretty much an open book (most of which can be discovered in this website or listening to my music!). Contact me via the contact link here or at marybue @ gmail.com
$3,300 – Single (There is only one – first come first serve)
$2,500 – Shared rooms – all rooms have en suite bath. No beds are shared.
$600 Deposit (non-refundable*)
Please note that preferred payment options are check, Apple Pay, or Zelle. A fee will be added for PayPal or Venmo due to their admin charges.
Half Payment due by January 31st, 2023 // Full payment is due by April 15th, 2023.
HOW TO PAY
Email Mary at marybue @gmail.com (no spaces) to claim your spot and include the following:
- Name of preferred roommate
- Agreement to pay deposit or in full within 24 hours of email confirmation
As the retreat approaches, you will receive an informational email with more information about Ireland, getting there, what to pack, and more about our time together. You’ll also receive a waiver of liability to sign, knowing that you choosing to participate in this experience at your own risk.
Full refund (minus deposit) before January 31st 2023*
50% refund (minus deposit) between February 1st to April 15th, 2023*
No refunds after April 15th 2023*
** Foreign travel may require vaccinations for COVID-19. Please take into consideration before registering for this retreat that there will be no refunds for anyone who doesn’t get the potentially required vaccination for foreign air travel.
*** In case of extreme personal circumstances, we will consider full refunds less small administration fee on a case by case basis if your spot can be filled.