Reawaken Your Connection To Land, Craft And Spirit:
A Six Day Mindful Journey
May 21-27, 2023
“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.” - John O'Donohue
This trip is designed to gently guide you through a unique experience of travel that weaves together explorations of place with mindfulness practice to rejuvenate your connection to self and your sense of belonging in the world.
On this trip, we will take our time. We will disconnect from the busyness, stress and burnout of our everyday lives to gift ourselves the beauty of being truly present in the moment. Our days will be invitations to reawaken our senses as we visit unique sites, walk the landscape, and learn how local craft, culture and history are deeply interwoven.
To help us slow down, we will sew a variety of mindfulness practices into the fabric of each day, including morning sits, mindful eating, walking, and tea-drinking. We will spend time outside on the local land, and soak up the spring energy that ignites our inherent creativity. We will also explore how local handcrafts like knitting and weaving are an expression of our relationship to the land and can be used to expand our practice(s).
This trip is designed for anyone longing for exploration, connection, healing and joy. All backgrounds, root traditions, and levels of experience with mindfulness are welcome.
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
There are so many ways to grow our energy of mindfulness and to reconnect our mind with our body. During this trip, we will experience a few simple mindfulness practices including sitting meditation, mindful walking, mindful eating, periods of rich silence, and time to connect with each other through discussion and sharing.
Through mindfulness and meditation practice, we learn that we are profoundly interconnected, that we inter-are. On this trip, we will use the life of a sheep as an example to help us practice with the concept of interbeing.
In Ireland, we will be a part of all the things that make sheep possible. We will feel the sun and rain that grow the grass the sheep eat. We will walk the landscapes and hills where the sheep grow and bear their young. We will meet the humans who care for, and in turn rely upon, these animals. The fleece that we touch will start to come alive for us. We may look again at our wool sweaters and socks. Perhaps we begin seeing them as extensions of a deeper understanding of how our lives are embedded in landscape, history, and culture. As we follow the lifecycle of the sheep from its birth, life, death, and transformation by us humans, we start reconnecting to an inner wisdom of belonging that we may have forgotten. It does not matter if you are a knitter, a sock-wearer, or an admirer of sheep. By practicing being in the world in this way, we grow our capacity to see clearly how all things and beings are intimately interwoven.
Note: Below is a general overview of the anticipated flow of the trip. Some details may be subject to adjustment and change depending on conditions, and we invite you to relax into the wonder of being fully present in the moment, knowing that Jenny and Sarah will ensure the beauty of your experience, regardless of its form.
DAY 1 - Sunday 5/21 - ARRIVAL
Our group will be together for the first time, and our journey will begin, with a welcome breakfast of tea and scones at Carrygerry House.
After introductions, conversation and sustenance, we will travel 40 minutes to the ancient mystical site of Lough Gur, where we will be joined by Nóirín Ní Riain: teacher, theologian, musician, and lover of ceremony. In this powerful place steeped in old wisdom, Nóirín will facilitate a private experience for us to set the spiritual intention/container for the trip, as well as acknowledging, commemorating, and integrating the powerful feeling of being fully present together in Ireland at this moment. We will all have the chance to practice what it means to us individually to relax into the wonder of being here, now.
After a light lunch, we will be able to rest and take in the beautiful countryside on our 2.5 hour journey to Leenane, our home base for the next few days. The tiny picturesque village is situated on Killary Fjord, nestled between water and mountains. We will finish our day with a group dinner and welcome circle, where we will review the week's itinerary. The evening will be open, for you to unpack, settle in, and go to bed early should you wish.
DAY 2 - Monday 5/22 - WEAVING HISTORY
Waking up slowly, we’ll enjoy our first full Irish breakfast and settle into our surroundings. Today will be about using history and craft as a way to orient ourselves to place. We will use Ireland’s traditional woolcraft industry as an entry point.
In our morning visit to the Connemara Sheep & Wool Centre, we’ll see how fiber weaves together tradition, land, and artistry through a woolcraft demonstration and talk. There will be an opportunity to peruse the gift shop for locally-made gifts. If you like, you may acquire some knitting or weaving materials that may be used to practice mindful craft throughout the trip.
In the afternoon at an optional visit to Killary Sheep Farm, we’ll integrate the history and craft we learned about with the living sensory experience of a beautiful working mountain sheep farm. We will smell the smells of the farm, take in the visual beauty of the landscape overlooking Killary Fjord, and be present with the liveliness of the roaming ewes and lambs. This will allow a knitting together of what we intellectually learn of land, culture and history with our own personal embodied present moment experience in this place.
There will also be space for rest, relaxation and exploration of the walking trails around the hotel. In the evening, meander to the village for dinner or enjoy the hotel’s a la carte menu. We will close the day with a gentle evening meditation and sharing session.
Day 3 - Tuesday 5/23 - CONNECTING TO LAND
Today, we root ourselves in intimate connection with this land. Our day will begin with a grounding meditation practice, and you will be invited to enjoy your breakfast in delicious noble silence. After breakfast, we will travel to The Lost Valley, an area of Western Ireland whose striking natural beauty and quietude holds a deep history of The Great Famine of the mid-1800s. The Bourke Family will take us on a 3-hour walking tour of this land to strengthen our mindful outdoor practice. Lunch will be an outdoor picnic.
Dinner will offer the opportunity for more independent exploration of Leenane followed by an evening mindful practice and sharing to integrate our outdoor experience.
DAY 4 - Wednesday 5/24 - FLOWING AS A RIVER
Today we will learn what it feels like to go with the flow. After breakfast, we will embark on a water journey on Lough (Lake) Corrib to expand our sensory experience of this place and see a different perspective on the landscape. We will be able to view the outside of Ashford Castle, which sits on the banks of Lough Corrib. After the boat trip, we will have the opportunity to wander through the local forest and find our way to the tiny village of Cong, where we can have a late lunch.
The afternoon will be at your leisure. Tonight, dinner will be shared at the hotel to mark our last evening in Leenane.
DAY 5 - Thursday 5/25 - OUR TRAVELING SPIRIT
After several days of rest and presence, today is a day for movement and magic. We will travel southward from Leenane, stopping in Galway town for an early lunch. After that, we may have the choice of either staying in Galway town for shopping and atmosphere, or paying a visit to the nearby Irish Fibre Crafters.
Later that afternoon, we will arrive at Killaloe Hotel and Spa and have the rest of the day and evening open for exploration of the local town and the pick of its many restaurants for dinner.
DAY 6 - Friday 5/26 - CELEBRATING COMMUNITY
As we conclude our trip and our time together, we take time to reflect on our travels and to celebrate the joy of our experiences and connections. In the morning we’ll visit Derek, owner of Irish Hide Designs just outside of Limerick. His family has been in the sheepskin and cowhide business since the early 1800s, and we will learn how his business brings traditional craft forward into the present day. Learning this aspect of craft allows us a deeper connection to the entire life cycle of the sheep and the land on which they spend their lives.
In the afternoon, there will be free time to wander the beautiful neighboring villages of Killaloe and Ballina, or perhaps treat yourself to a relaxation experience at the hotel’s spa. In the evening we will gather for a farewell dinner followed by a Closing Joy Circle. A Joy Circle is a lovely simple ceremony that allows us to be fully present with our tea and our friends. As part of our Joy Circle, we will have a chance to reflect and share what this trip created for and within us.
DAY 7 - Saturday 5/27 - DEPARTURE AND TRANSITIONING HOME
Today we will prepare to return home, filled with the richness of experiences and connections we have shared over the last week. A final morning practice will be offered before breakfast before we make our way to the next place on our journey: Shannon Airport, or…?
Killaloe Hotel and Spa, Kincora Harbour, Killaloe, County Clare
This trip will include extended periods of walking over uneven terrain in a range of weather conditions. Please consider this when booking.
Sunday May 21 - Saturday May 27th 2023
Cost of Trip: $2,750 double occupancy
Single Room Supplement: $400
Arrive & Depart: Shannon Airport
Sarah believes in joy as a spiritual pursuit. She is a mindfulness meditation practitioner and facilitator in the Plum Village tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. She lived in Africa for many years working with artisan cooperatives and textile producers, who showed her how making things with our hands is a way to embody our innate sense of being interwoven with the world.
Sarah holds an MA in Nature-Culture Sustainability Studies from RISD and Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide certification. She is a student of many teachers including Robin Wall Kimmerer, David Abram, Mary Oliver, the Brewster flats, adrienne maree brown, Kate Fletcher, Larry Ward, her Grandmother and Aunt (both master knitters), her dog Lari, and all alpacas everywhere.
Sarah lives in Sandwich with all her yarn.
Jenny is passionate about helping people know greater wholeness in body, mind, and life. As an acupuncturist and wellness consultant for over 25 years, she has worked with hundreds of people on their journeys of healing and connecting more wholeheartedly with themselves, with those they care about, and with the cycles and rhythms of nature.
Jenny is a lifelong traveler both in North America and overseas, and a travel advisor and tour guide for the past 6 years. She loves planning off-the-beaten-path trips that allow people to connect deeply with the Earth in other places and with the people who live there.
Jenny lives in Chatham with her husband, sons, and pup Trixie. She has been knitting since the age of 8 and recently decided to finish the sweater she started before meeting her husband in 1999.
Contact Jenny with any questions or to declare your interest. A $500 deposit will hold your space in our group of 8-12 travelers. Deposits are non-refundable unless Sarah and Jenny need to cancel the trip; however, deposits may be used for another Interwoven or Jenny Wood Wellness trip.