2018 was a hell of a year, right? GCN celebrated 30 years in publishing amongst other things and our calendar was chock full of exciting events and projects to mark and celebrate this milestone. I was so happy and proud to collaborate on all of those things but must admit, there were points throughout the year when my work-life balance left a lot to be desired and stress was a constant companion. One sunny weekend in July, the wonderful folks at Creacon invited me and my better half to experience their ’Overnight Escape’. Needless to say, jumped at the chance of a momentary reprieve.
Originally a rustic inn in the sunny southeast, Creacon Wellness Retreat was established by Derek O’Neill and his late wife Linda as a serene haven that nurtures your complete wellbeing; spirit, mind and body. Nestled in the picturesque hills of New Ross, Creacon is, in the nicest and most comforting sense, a home away from home that allows a proper rest, respite and rejuvenation.
We check into our beautiful room overlooking the luscious front garden and receive a delightful ‘welcome juice’. One lovely difference from a regular hotel stay is that there are no televisions in any of the bedrooms. This helps us stick to the ‘quiet policy’ where guests are encouraged to be in their rooms by 10.30pm with lights out at midnight. In a world where we increasingly have no down time, this is a most welcome directive.
Dinner is a communal aff air and again unlike a regular hotel break, you are encouraged to sit with other guests and socialise. Better-half and are initially ‘stranger-danger’ about this rule and reluctantly sit with two other women but are soon delighted and happy about this encouragement towards openness as we make fast friends with Sam and Alef. In fact, we spend the rest of our time in Creacon hanging with our new pals when not in classes or treatments!
On our first evening, we attend a Tibet Singing Bowls Meditation led by Suzanne (more on her later!). I’m a total newbie to all this and have never been on a wellness retreat before, so initially feel very unsure of myself but Creacon have fostered a very accessible version of meditation and wellness in that each instructor is so down-to-earth and gentle you never feel like you’re not doing it right.
Next morning, we’re up bright and early and after a communal breakfast we attend Five Tibetan Rites Yoga with Jonathan. This type of yoga only has ve asanas (positions), each working towards 21 repetitions and 21 breaths. There is no twisting or contorting in this yoga, just core strength exercises and basic movements. It’s more difficult than it sounds but also a very enjoyable morning exercise expertly instructed by Jonathan. One thing notice and really enjoy about Creacon is that people from the local area also access it and attend the classes.
Later in the afternoon I’m booked in with the marvellous Suzanne for an ‘Ultimate Massage’ and by Dolly, it lives up to its title! Suzanne is a wildly energetic and empathic person and it’s a joy to spend time with her. There are Tibetan Singing Bowls, hot stones and THE most invigorating massage I’ve ever experienced. It’s a revelation. Part massage, part therapy session and all embracing, emerge from the treatment room utterly changed and that’s not hyperbole. Any scepticism felt melted away within five minutes of my treatment. My sleep that evening is of the dreamiest variety!
We wake early on our last day rested and ready to eat again. After a delicious communal breakfast from the ‘Food is Medicine’ programme (which is much tastier than it might sound!) we decide to spend some time in the garden before check out. So with a New Yorker and novel in our hands, we find a leafy area with a hammock. It’s so quiet and peaceful that I’m napping more than reading but think that might be a good sign of a successful de-stressing weekend.
Some getaways leave you needing a getaway to recover, but this staycation with a diff erence left us renewed, refreshed and ready to take on the world. It’s comforting to know that if those stresses begin to build up again, Creation Wellness Retreat is a haven away from home.
Creacon’s Overnight Escape package is €195 pps, or €225 for the solo traveller. Visit www.creaconwellnessretreat.com for our rates, special off ers and booking.