Ard Nahoo

»Yoga and wellness in rural Ireland«


Arriving at Ard Nahoo is like stepping into a warm pool of peace. There are just three cabins on this property that are either hired privately or shared with other retreat guests, which makes human neighbors low in numbers. The only other neighbors on the six-acre property are the occasional cow and the resident dog Buddy who likes to drop by to say good morning. The welcome pack of milk, eggs, butter and freshly-baked bread straight from a nearby farm sets the tone for a rural idyll, far from the madding crowd.

  • What we love
  • The warm welcome from head teacher and owner, Noeleen
  • Soaking in the outdoor hot tub under a starry sky
  • The peace and quiet of rural isolation
  • What to know
  • Drive with caution on the narrow, winding roads
  • Yoga sessions can be taken as part of a stay-over retreat or day-class options
  • Cabins can be booked as part of a yoga retreat or simply as a holiday
  • Why go
  • Special-interest retreats like Birth Preparation
  • Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Certification available
  • Family-friendly destination

Set against a backdrop of meadows and sky, Ard Nahoo is a boutique retreat with a big reputation. Featured in several well-known publications and now on our own site, this eco-minded destination is owned and run by the warm and knowledgeable Noeleen Tyrell, and her partner Brendan Murphy. The first impression they have created has a big impact. The artistic front gates open onto a winding lane that meanders its way towards the main compound. The converted barn houses the yoga studio and treatment rooms, with the inviting outdoor hot tub waiting patiently under its canopy for new muscles to soothe.

The three Eco-Cabins were built to have a low impact on the environment without sacrificing the comfort of their inhabitants. They’re basically cosy cottages, with separate bedrooms and fully functional kitchenettes for guests who prefer to cook rather than take the option of ordering their vegetarian meals to arrive ready to heat-and-eat (an additional cost unless specified in the retreat package).

Specific retreats at Ard Nahoo run at predefined times of year and the full calendar is on their website. Generally they are during the warmer months but this is not set in stone. The center itself is open all year round for personal retreats and accommodation in the cabins. In this case, yoga classes and other services can be booked ad-hoc. Those in search of rejuvenation can come to Ard Nahoo for a day (€90) or choice of residential retreats: Weekend Yoga & Relaxation Retreat (€300), 3-day Detox (€420); and 5 Day Yoga Holiday (€495). A 10 month, part-time Yoga Teachers Training Course is also offered with an intensive option for those who are able to live on-site and complete their training more quickly. This is the 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification and covers all of the requirements for becoming a teacher. There are occasional special-interest classes like the 2-hour Birth Preparation Workshop. This is an empowering way for impending mothers to use yoga as a mental and physical preparation for labor and delivery. It incorporates breathing techniques that help to control pain during the birth. In a nod to the continuing recession, the Budget Yoga Retreat (€230 per person for groups or €260 for a single room) is a great value weekend that is offered as a stay-over package or on a day-only basis with no stay-over (€90).

The rates for most residential retreats include shared accommodation, meals, yoga, guided walks and the daily Uisce Hour. Uisce, pronounced Ish-ka, is the Irish word for water and Uisce Hour is spent soaking in the outdoor hot-tub that overlooks Loch Nahoo or steaming in the sauna. Uisce Hour should not be confused with Uisce Beatha - literally, the water of life. Uisce Beatha is the Irish term for whiskey, and is an entirely different way to unwind that isn’t offered at Ard Nahoo!

Guests can recharge with a €90 full day retreat that does not include a stay-over. The day includes morning and evening yoga in the bright eco yoga studio that brings nature inside with beautiful views of the grounds, pond, and Wise Woman Mandala. The after-yoga brunch is a spread of homemade treats like feta and tomato quiche served with wholemeal breads. Uisce Hour is before the afternoon guided walk, and the early evening is either for private solitude or chatting with other guests before heading home.

Visiting Ard Nahoo is a unique experience. Many past guests have described their time there as transformational and even those who arrive for a quiet weekend with their families - eschewing the yoga options - describe the visit as an opportunity to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones. In short, a restorative retreat with a warm welcome that won’t break the bank.

About the area: Dromahair

Dromahair is a village that could have been built by the Irish Tourism Board to typify the charm of the Emerald Isle. Cosily nestled on the banks of the Bonet river, Dromahair is a collection of historic cottages, warm country pubs and the occasional castle. Rolling green hills and all the other requisite Irish pleasures are in abundance although the weather is typically Irish - rainy and fairly cold. The July mid-summer high temperatures only reach around 18 degrees C (64F) and the winters drop to a soggy and cold 3 degrees C (37F). To reach Dromahair, there are daily flights into nearby airports at Knock Ireland West and Strandhill Airport. Sligo is a half hour drive and Dublin Airport
 is also fairly accessible (3-hour drive).

Image credit: Ard Nahoo

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