Outdoors in the Burren
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.
Explore 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 5 miles from the Burren Yoga & 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 10 minute drive back to the centre, the warm yoga room, with fresh incoming air, awaits
While we enjoy our class in the beautiful light-filled yoga room, Paddi our famous chef is preparing and cooking another vegetarian feast in the kitchen.
It is very important to have great tasting healthy food on all our courses, and Paddi has written her own vegetarian cooking book with 108 lovely recipes.
Even in the Winter we get out for our 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.
5 miles away from the centre is the little picturesque village called Kinvara.
The pier at Kinvara looks out onto DunGuaire Castle.
We go to many locations during our outdoor trips. One location that we sometimes visit is the Cliffs of Moher.
To see other locations we visit, please see
Retreat Holidays – Activities and Treatments
From a distance the Cliffs of Moher don’t look too high.
And yes, they are people standing on the overhand on the cliffs of Moher.
A great way to see the Cliffs of Moher is to see them from the boat trips that we 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 7 churches here.
Kilmacduagh tower and the ruined churches are about 5 miles from the centre.
Other activities we do include surfing on Fanore beach.
There is a surf school located at Fanore beach and it costs €35 for a 2 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.
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 we are lucky not to have midges or other small flies either.
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 centre.
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 we visit these sites which are peaceful and rarely visited by anyone.
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.
We have all ages on our retreats from 14 years of to 70 years of age.
Most people come on their own.
The atmosphere is easy going and friendly and a great way to meet like minded people.
Mulloughmore mountain is one of our tougher mountain walks that we do, and it takes about 1 hour to get to the top.
If the group is up to it, there is also a way to the top which includes a challenging short climb.
There is always a sense of fun and playfulness on our eco yoga retreats, and the Burren Yoga Centre always attracts very nice people.
Walking back after the climb up Mulloughmore, many people’s thoughts turn to Paddi’s excellent vegetarian cooking. No doubt she will have a feast waiting for us when we get back.
The beauty and peacefulness and bliss are all around in the Burren.
I wouldn’t say that the Burren is paradise, but definitely this environment helps us to slip into a world which is more conducive to happy thoughts and feelings.
Sitting in the patio at Burren Yoga.
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.
Our outdoor walks are not like a hill climbing club which rushes up the hill hardly taking the time to stop and rest.
Most of our walks could be better described as strolls in nature, taking time to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and sometimes just taking the time to put up the feet and enjoy the peacefulness of our surroundings.
Depending on the group, some of our walks are more challenging and can last for 2 or 3 hours.
This group was a mixed age group and we enjoyed a walk along by the sea followed by a 15 minute climb to the top of a small hill with beautiful views.
This is the view from the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre patio doors upstairs.
The hill just outside the centre is called Sliabh Carron and takes about 40 minutes to climb to the top.
And this is the road leading up to the entrance to the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre.
We only take a maximum of 15 people on our eco yoga retreats and it is amazing how a complete group of strangers can settle in so easily and within the first day there is a feeling as if we all knew each other for years.
Dave knows all the best places to eat in the area, and this is a great way to taste the best of the local cuisine.
Just read some of the reviews to hear about the high quality of food there is available in the places that Dave will take you to.
This is the famous Ballyvaughan tea rooms that Stephen Spielberg specially flew in to just to eat his favorite cheese cake.
And as Dave says – “The only reason why he ordered the cheese cake is that he has not tasted the pear and almond tart… yet “
Even sitting inside the conservatory of the tea rooms for lunch is a delight.
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 organised 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.
There are mixed opinions about the small rock formations which are made by tourists.
On the one hand they are creative expressions of the people of today and in some way pay respect or even evoke a great appreciation for the huge effort that must have gone into building the huge dolmens over 5,000 years ago… some of which weigh over 20 tons.
However, the majority of people agree that if these modern constructs become widespread, it becomes very difficult to tell which monuments and ancient standing stones are in fact ancient, and which are more modern constructions.
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.
We go to many beautiful places which are well away from the usual tourist places.
One of the nicest beaches that we go swimming on is Fanore beach where we also do the surf lessons during the summer months.
Fanore beach is about 30 minutes drive from the centre, and we often go swimming here during the Summer.
When we 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.
The wild goats wander the hills of the Burren and we were quite lucky to get so close to this big herd.
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.
Most of our walks take about and hour and a half during the Winter and the longest walks in the Summer would be about 2 and a half hours.
But there is always plenty of time to stop and take in the scenery during those walks
The Burren is famous for it’s unique range of wild flowers, and it is lovely to see new varieties string up each month, and it is like seeing old friends that one has not seen in a year.
The exhilaration one feels on these eco yoga retreats has to be experienced to be believed. It is amazing how much we can fit into a weekend or even better one of our 6 day eco yoga retreats.
The walk by the sea in the late evening is a lovely way to finish off another magical day on one of our eco yoga retreats at the Burren Yoga and Mediation Centre.
During the summer, sometimes we go for a walk by the sea and watch the sun go down over Galway bay.
Spending some time in the Burren is ‘like food for the soul’.
We look forward to seeing you here soon on one of our eco yoga retreats.
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