Tucked away in a quiet corner of County Clare. you'll find Ireland's own slice of nirvana. Run by Michelle Moroney and her husband, Michael, a trip to the Cliffs of Moher Retreat is a perfect blend of the pristine Irish countryside, the wild Atlantic Ocean, delicious, organic food and soothing, soulful exercise.
It seems there's a lot to love about practising the ancient art of yoga at the edge of the world in County Clare: "People have come from Australia, just for the retreat," says Michelle, "and we had a couple come from Kansas for the weekend once."
I think the Irish welcome is huge. They [guests] get lost going for a walk and the local farmer gives them a lift back in a tractor.MICHELLE MORONEY
Cliffs of Moher Yoga studio, County Clare © Cliffs of Moher Retreat
As for what else she thinks draws their guests? "The people .. the land, the history. It's a very special experience to come here. And it's very accessible; it's three hours from Dublin, and it's not far from Galway city, yet there's a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere."
It's this friendliness that made Michelle and her husband fall in love with County Clare after years spent travelling the globe teaching yoga. Natives of County Meath, they quickly moved west upon their return to Ireland. "All the local people were so welcoming. I never get asked where I'm from .. I've always really felt welcome."
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare © Cliffs of Moher Retreat
Open since 2013, the retreat has grown over the last ten years and, as friendly as everyone is, the retreat's glorious surroundings don't go unnoticed: "It is beautiful, stone walls, lots and lots of sea. But then literally, a few fields away is the total drama of the Cliffs of Moher. We have free access to the cliffs: the guests walk up there to do meditation, and watch the sunset."
Hiking on the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare © Cliffs of Moher Retreat
[It's] really inspiring here. We're on this rolling, sloping, gentle landscape, where the beauty is subtle.MICHELLE MORONEY
People genuinely cry when they walk in that room," says Michelle of the retreat's yoga room. "It's more than just the view; there's something really special about it." This elemental connection between place and people is evident throughout the retreat experience, with organic and freshly prepared food served at mealtimes – even the vegetables are grown on the grounds. And the great outdoors?
Well, it also contributes to the overall well-being of guests: they can take guided walks up to the cliffs, relax in the hot tub and, of course, enjoy as much yoga as their body, soul and mind desire. So who's ready to practise the art of yoga in Ireland?