Can a retreat be different? By Catherine Galway of Welcome Home Retreats

Can a retreat be different? By Catherine Galway of Welcome Home Retreats

What is a retreat?


Look up ‘retreat’ in the dictionary, and you will find: ‘an act of moving back or withdrawing’

…which could be true of a retreat - pulling back and away from the everyday in order to sustain and to, perhaps, try something new; an immersion of sorts.


And truly, retreats ought to be that and more… they should be replenishing and inspiring - they should turn our heads and hearts in the right direction, towards something we seek.

What makes Welcome Home Retreats different?

Welcome Home Retreats promise guests a singular retreat and a very different retreat experience. 


Firstly, expect luxury - now, that’s a little unexpected isn’t it?  You can expect fine food and, at the end of the day, a pre-paid honesty bar….not what you expected? Check ✔  


And the luxury extends to the singular accommodation we seek out. Our retreats work hard at creating a sense of home and well being and for this reason, we select spaces that are singular and which embrace the landscape of Kerry.  Within this environment we can breathe and we can unwind; we connect with the world around us and celebrate the part we play in it.  Our next retreat will take place in the beautiful Barrow House.  Perched overlooking the water, we have full and sole use of the property, making it our home for 4 nights. Spaces to be quiet, spaces to stretch out, spaces to chat into the night….

Images of Barrow House

Barrow House has been painstakingly restored to its finest Georgian glory.  Each room is different from the next, with furniture sought out to fit just right.  Views from every window give a sense of being somewhere very special and far removed from the crowds.  Choose from Puffin with its Qing Dynasty opulent Marriage Bed, or Heron with the ‘Tracey Boyd’ bed and telescope for night stargazing…every room is beautiful.


The outdoor spaces include a deck hanging over the water which is where our yoga sessions will take place.  Within this walled garden area there is also a sauna which we will be using  - with the option to plunge into the ocean or to stand under the outdoor shower to cool off.  Throughout the extensive gardens there are nooks and crannies where guest can retreat to including the beautiful wooden cabin ‘An Áit Ciúin’ which looks across the bay and the newest edition of a beautifully handcrafted Pagoda in the woods also looking out across the water to the mountains.


Our team too has been carefully and strategically selected to balance and compliment the delivery and guest experiences.  We are flying in Miss Char Holmes who will stay with guests and lead them each day through their yoga practice.  Char was Head of Yoga for Virgin Active UK before establishing her own business and her own retreat in Ibiza.  Having spent the winter in India, she has topped up her already incredible yoga teaching as well as achieving her Master Teacher training.  Her singular style allows students to fully tune in to the yoga experience. 

Image of Yoga Pose

The goal during yoga practice is to challenge yourself physically, but not to feel overwhelmed. At this "edge," the focus is on your breath while your mind is accepting and calm. Yoga develops inner awareness. It focuses your attention on your body's abilities at the present moment. It helps develop breath and strength of mind and body.  We are incredibly fortunate to have Miss Char Holmes with us leading guests each day on the mat.  

 yoga pose - Char


 Our hiking guide, Maurice has extensive hiking experience having hiked through Spain, Italy and, of course, his beloved Kerry.  A Kerry native, Maurice has extensive knowledge of the Kerry landscape and will take guests to very particular locations seeped in history and myth.


What can guests expect?

Through the pillars of yoga, meditation, outdoors, water immersion and luxury, we have designed a different experience - it is a carefully curated, bespoke retreat experience.  To allow us to be there for our guests, places are limited.. 


Over a 4-night all-inclusive stay, guests will ask and answer what are known as the 4 Soul Questions - Who am I?  What do I want? What is my purpose?  What am I grateful for?  


This journey is exciting and it is liberating.  Imagine if you could ask and answer these questions for yourself…imagine all the new roads that would stretch before you.


When we do this, when we take this time to journey within, we begin to find our FLOW.  When this happens, everything becomes easy.  


Through this process guests will uncover their purpose and how to move towards their life’s goal with ease and with grace. 


This may sound all too good to be true - unless you have experienced this it is quite hard to believe.  And it is very easy to disregard as ‘hippy nonsense’ or something that just isn’t for you.  


BUT….this is for everyone.  If we all began to live in this way, life, and the world, would be so much calmer and easier. Changing the world one heart at a time.  I can only say, give it a try.  Be open.  Be curious.  Be excited. 


So, what can guests expect each day? It is not so very different from what you may already have an interest in (otherwise why would you be reading this?)  


We open and close each day with our sunrise and sunset with Yoga and Meditation, exploring our physical and inner selves.  Each day then is filled with a deep connection to the environment and what it means to us as beings living on this planet.  When we find our connection to the planet, we see how truly unique we are and what we can offer.  Through hiking, immersing ourselves in water (the Atlantic Ocean, rivers, plunge pools, lakes), grounding exercises and experiencing  award-winning activities such as the Dingle Sea Safari, we see how we fit into the wider world.  


This is an all-inclusive luxury retreat and an essential part of that means including the best of food.  All meals are carefully planned and balanced to bring you an awareness of healthy eating and how essential that is to our overall well being.  Finally science has accepted and acknowledged that we do not have 1 brain but 3 - the brain itself, the heart and the gut.  All three feed us information; in order to live to our fullest potential it is important to learn how to listen and respond to that information.  Gut health and heart health are crucial.


This retreat experience fundamentally offers guests an opportunity to draw closer to their true self.  Sometimes we need a new dynamic to shift things for us; this retreat will give guests that shift.  And then, suddenly and almost miraculously, that illumination allows us to hear and see our flow.  Like a beautiful yoga asana, our life comes into our control and our realm opens up.


Image of Catherine with Scenery in the background

At Welcome Home I want to look after you, to welcome you, to offer you experiences that will nurture and nourish you so that you leave with tools you can draw upon, and experiences which can be replicated in your own home, wherever that may be.  I want to help you uncover who you are and to reach your own, unique potential.  I want to provide an opportunity for that dynamic shift.


All of our practices have a take away element - it isn’t just about these 4 nights, it is only the beginning.  Post retreat you will have supports to allow you to sustain this new dynamic way of being.


What does a retreat like this cost?

If you have read this far you will want to know our prices.  We offer a 2-tier price option.  Tier 1 is for your own room, Tier 2 is there for flexibility  and to allow for people’s budgets.  If you have a friend, a sibling, a partner who might like to come too and you are willing to share, this is the option for you. Note though that rooms are either a double or king size bed. 


Our rates are ALL INCLUSIVE and this includes: 4 nights accommodation in the iconic Barrow House; all meals and drinks; all scheduled activities; all transportation whilst on retreat activities; transfers to/from the property and Kerry airport or local bus/train stations.


We also offer payment plans.


If this sounds like something you’re interested in, drop me an email on:



Welcome Home Summer Solstice Retreat

June 20 to 24 2024


Find out more here: 


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