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Ireland Trail Running + Wellness Retreat Fall 2024

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Phase 1 ~ Prepare

The real journey begins before you’ve even left home! There are some additional steps involved with preparing to travel mindfully in addition to the usual preparation like booking flights, reviewing your packing list and even reading interesting facts and tips about traveling in Ireland. You’re in for a journey that has the potential to open your mind to new experiences, and possibly open your heart to new insights about who you are and what really matters to you. To help you prepare for this process, visit your To-Do list to watch the video called “Travel with H.E.A.R.T.”, which tells you more about the steps shared here. And we encourage you to set an intention for your retreat and then write that intention down. Need some guidance on how to set an intention? Add the Transformational Travel Journal to your retreat package and we’ll mail it to you before the retreat expressly for this purpose.

Phase 2 ~ Arrive

When your retreat eventually begins, you will meet your retreat leader and fellow retreat participants in Dublin for a short transfer to our first hotel in County Wicklow, one Ireland’s trail running hubs known for its scenic trails and epic running events. At this phase of the journey, it’s normal to feel a bit nervous, simply because you’re in a new place and meeting new people for the first time. At this initial phase of your journey, the newness of it all can affect people in different ways, so notice what feelings and behaviors this brings up for you. Do know that the other women are going through their own process as well, so be curious and set aside any assumptions and expectations you may have in order to observe what is. The retreat’s opening meeting on day 1 is one of the main ways your retreat leader supports this process. 

Phase 3 ~ Connect

During our first couple of runs in Glendalough and neighboring areas in the Wicklow Mountains, you’ll encounter a range of trails and weather conditions (oh the refreshing feel of Irish mist on the skin!). In these unusual conditions you may experience brief moments of self-doubt, but trust that you belong here, even in those moments that challenge you. If you’re new to trail running, really lean into the mindful running clinics and tips offered by your retreat leader, as these techniques make it easier to pace yourself well and avoid tripping on the many rocks and roots you’ll encounter on these trails.

Phase 4 ~ Be Mindful

As our journey takes you from County Wicklow to County Clare, home to the Wild Atlantic Way, we encourage you to ask yourself how you can engage more deeply with the people and places through which you're traveling. To support this process, we encourage you to run without a GPS-enabled watch and turn off your phone's notifications (what we call the Presence Policy), using it only to take pictures and videos you can share later. Even in a place as stunning as the Cliffs of Moher, it's possible to miss a lot of the experience due to the distraction of your digital devices. As your retreat leader offers you more mindful running techniques on the trail to help you run more efficiently, you'll probably start to notice that your mind isn't so busy with thoughts of what's happening back home. You may even start to feel  a little lighter physically. You won't even care so much that wifi at the hotels is not so reliable, so you're spending less time online and more time looking into the faces of people around you.

Phase 5 ~ Embrace Challenge

After an exhilarating run along the Cliffs of Moher, we travel south to Killarney, where we’ll slow down and stay for three nights at the family-run Lake Hotel, on the shores of Lough Leane. This gives us plenty of time to explore Killarney National Park. For many travelers, this is the point at which their chronically stressed nervous system starts to turn off, and healing can truly begin. This process is subtle, and how it occurs for each person is very individual.

If you're curious to learn more about what that process looks like, read this blog post about Amy Mangueira, an overworked professional who finally broke the cycle of burnout and anxiety during her Ireland retreat with us in 2021. In addition to the on-trail mindful running clinics your retreat leader offers, she will also lead sharing circle discussions, during which you can reflect with the group about what you observe shifting for you. Even if you're not sure of its significance yet, that will come in time.

Phase 6 ~ Reflect

Nearing the end of our retreat, we complete one of our most blissful runs, which takes us through some of Killarney’s highest, heather-filled meadows. By this point, you’re a pro at pacing yourself mindfully and using the mindful breath techniques you’ve been practicing all week to run with ease and flow. At this point, we encourage you to be thankful for what you have accomplished this week, not necessarily in terms of the miles run or sites visited, but how many moments of awe you experienced, meaningful connections made with new people and nature's beauty appreciated.

You can also take this time to practice gratitude, a mindfulness practice that can actually rewire your brain to make you more stress resilient, which will certainly serve you well when you return home to your busy life. If all this sounds like a lot, rest assured that your retreat leader is still present to support you wherever you are in this journey, giving you space to discover things at your own pace, with no expectation or pressure.

Phase 7 ~ Integrate

Our retreat draws to a close, your retreat leader will facilitate sharing circles in which you’re encouraged to share with the group what you have shifted or possibly even transformed within you during the week. Openly sharing these insights is a powerful practice in itself (even if it is a little awkward!) because verbalizing your observations and feelings is a powerful mindfulness practice in itself. As always, your retreat holds a safe space for everyone to speak without judgment. You can also process your thoughts by writing in your own personal Transformational Travel Journal.

Not only did you just have a powerful immersion in a foreign culture, but you also took an immense amount of time to focus on your self care, your mental wellbeing and feeding your soul with activities you love (like running!) with an amazing group of like-minded women. You may feel in a hurry to get back home and back to all the responsibilities waiting for you there, however, in the days and weeks to come, do pause to appreciate all this retreat gave you in addition to the Instagram-worthy pictures!

This Retreat is Level II

This retreat is rated Level II. This means it’s suitable for you if:

  • You’re comfortable running/hiking six days in a row. Our shortest run is 30 minutes, but most are around 3 to 4 hours (including hiking sections, water breaks and photo ops).
  • You must be able run at least 8 miles on the road.
  • You’re OK with running/hiking on trails with loose dirt, rocks and some muddy sections. These trails feature a variety of surfaces, not all of which are easy to run on, but your retreat leader will provide tips and techniques for navigating the terrain and pacing yourself in this hilly environment.
  • You're OK with some exposure to cliffs or other high terrain
  • You’re game for running in the rain (don’t worry about what to wear; we provide you with a comprehensive packing list).
  • You have (or are willing to acquire before the retreat) trail running shoes.

Learn more about how we manage run pacing here:

Trail Running in Ireland

Located in the Northern Atlantic, Ireland's vast landscape is characterized by agricultural lowlands, hills, lakes and bogs surrounded by coastal mountains. Known as the Emerald Isle for its lush vegetation, this is a diverse island of extraordinary natural beauty and has a deep artistic and historical heritage.

The weather in Ireland is mild and ideal for trail running, as the country typically avoids the extreme temperature fluctuations. In September, the temperatures are typically between 48 and 55 degrees. We undoubtedly will encounter wind and some rain, however. For this reason, we recommend carrying a light wind/rain shell jacket on every run.

We spend most of our time at sea level, so elevation is not a factor in this retreat. A couple of our runs do take us into the "mountains" though these are low mountains that take us no more than a few hundred feet above sea level. The trails we're running are well-established, and some have been in use for millennia. The trail surfaces include dirt road, wide dirt pathways, singletrack trail and boardwalks (to traverse the shoe-sucking mud bogs!).

Traditional Irish Pub Meals

No visit to Ireland is complete without experience an authentic Irish pub--or two--so that's exactly what we do! With verdant green hills and pastures, there’s a huge opportunity for locally grown produce as well as some of the best beef, pork, and lamb in the world. There’s also some amazing seafood to be eaten, and not just fish and chips. Irish dishes include more than just meat, potatoes, and cabbage. We've sought out some of the coziest, renowned Irish pubs along our travel route for lunches and dinners that don't just satiate but also immerse us in the culture and history that make Irish pubs so cherished the world over. 

Most meals are included in your retreat package. We make every effort to accommodate your dietary preferences and restrictions. However, there are occasions when we may face limitations. You'll have a chance to indicate your specific dietary requirements in the retreat participant intake form. Please note that alcoholic drinks are excluded, and snacks and beverages outside of meals are not included.

Optional 2-Night Irish Castle Extension Package

Indulge in a 2-night escape at an authentic Irish castle just outside Dublin, for a refreshing start to your retreat. Upon arrival at Dublin Airport, a private driver will take you to the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, overlooking Dublin Bay, and close to the historic village of Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire. Spend your first day exploring nearby villages or relaxing in the hotel's jacuzzis and steam rooms. The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel before taking a scenic walk or run up Killiney Hill to take in the stunning views over Dublin Bay or take a stroll down to the picturesque village of Dalkey and explore the shops, restaurants and cafes, or visit Dalkey Castle & Heritage Center. On day 3, after breakfast, your Retreat Leader will pick you up at the hotel to start your retreat.

Head over to the itinerary tab to learn more and add this extension to your retreat package. 

Add-on +US$38

Transformational Travel Journal

One of the best ways to deepen your experience with mindfulness during and after your retreat is to add the Transformational Travel Journal to your package. This co-branded journal by Run Wild Retreats in partnership with the Transformational Travel Journal provides an intentional space to write, draw, sketch and otherwise creatively express what meaning this travel experience has for you. Filled with thoughtful writing prompts, inspirational quotes and mindfulness-inspired ideas, we highly recommend using this journal to help you enhance your mindful running experience. 


Dublin, Ireland
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