Beara Peninsula,

October 2020

A weeklong creative retreat for women, with Dr Sharon Blackie


The Wise Woman, in the tradition of these lands, is profoundly connected to place and the natural world around her. She has fallen into the land’s story; she has become part of the land’s dreaming.

She is a land-whisperer, a place-conjuror, a story-weaver; she knows how to listen for the wisdom of the Earth.

She is the inheritor of the traditions of the Cailleach, the wild old woman of Gaelic mythology who made and shaped the land.

In Ireland, the wise woman we know as the bean feasa is also a walker-between-worlds, a conduit for the wisdom of the Otherworld which is so inextricably entangled in this one.


Dreaming ourselves awake

Over the course of six days, we’ll explore the native Wise Woman stories and traditions of Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe, bringing them alive and making them relevant to the world we live in today. What does it mean to be a Wise Woman in these challenging times? How do we reclaim our wisdom as women, each of us in our own unique way?

At the heart of this retreat is a deep exploration of skills and practices which will help us develop a rich relationship with the land and the other-than-humans who inhabit it with us. We’ll work with story and ceremony. We’ll talk about ways to build meaningful and authentic traditions based on the native wisdom of these lands, and about what it might mean to reclaim our indigeneity. We’ll talk about enchantment, about rekindling the mythic imagination. We’ll talk about dreaming, about waking up – and about dreaming ourselves awake.

Your guides

Retreat Leader:  Dr Sharon Blackie

Dr. Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer and internationally recognised teacher whose work sits at the interface of psychology, mythology and ecology. Her highly acclaimed books, courses, lectures and workshops are focused on the development of the mythic imagination, on the reclaiming of indigenous Western spiritual traditions, and on the relevance of our native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, social and environmental problems we face today.


Facilitator:  Selena King

Selena King has been involved in group work for many years. Working with ceremony, myth and Earth-centred wisdom, she enjoys creating and holding a safe space in which personal transformation can occur. Selena is part of a community of others who are gathering to re-member the ancient, native spiritual practices of Britain. She is also training to be a Death Doula.

What’s included

– 6 nights lodging in a single room at Dromgarriff Estate (see below for more details)

– breakfast and a light lunch (for these meals, you help yourself from the pantry)

– a two-course vegan dinner prepared by our resident cook, Ali

– all tuition and facilitation costs

– time to immerse yourself in the wild, mythic landscape of the Beara Peninsula in south-west Ireland

– a soulful community of like-minded women

– a list of suggested reading and resources



This retreat will take place amidst a stunning location on the Beara Peninsula, in the south-west of Ireland. We will be staying in two large designer houses on the beautiful Dromgarriff Estate, near the popular village of Glengarriff. The houses have private access to the shores of Bantry Bay, overlooking Garnish Island, and are surrounded by lush woodland.

The nearest airport to Glengarriff is Cork, with regular bus service to the village. Glengarriff is the gateway to the wild and beautiful Beara Peninsula, which is steeped in the myth and folklore of An Chailleach Bhéarra.

We will have a maximum of 20 participants; 18 single rooms are available, and one shared twin. Bathrooms are plentiful, but 8 rooms are en suite.



Plentiful vegetarian food is provided, organic wherever available. At lunch and breakfast, you help yourself from the pantry. Two-course dinners will be provided by our evening cook, Ali, but please note, with apologies, that meals are of necessity group-based and on this retreat, with just a single cook, we cannot provide alternative meals to cater for individual special diets. Straightforward vegan (dairy- and egg-free) and wheat-free diets are fine. But if your diet means that you do not eat legumes, for example, or grains – or if you have any serious food allergies at all – then unfortunately we don’t have the resources to safely cater for you. If in doubt, or if you’d like to check what possibilities might be available to you, then please feel free to email me. If you are usually a meat/fish-eater, please don’t worry that our meals will be low in protein! – we’re very conscious of the need for balanced nutrition.

Please note that all participants are expected to work together on a rota basis to clear dishes and maintain the dishwasher, as well as to keep the houses clean and tidy during the retreat. 



All costs are per person, and are fully inclusive of tuition, accommodation and food for six nights.

– Single room with shared bathroom: 1445 euros.*

– Single room en suite: 1545 euros.*

– If you are travelling with a friend and would like to take advantage of a discount for a shared room, the cost per person is 1245 euros.*

A non-refundable deposit of 500 euros will be required on booking; the remainder will be due three months before each retreat begins.

T&Cs/ CANCELLATION POLICY: Please recognise that when you register, you are making a commitment to attend. We then commit to reserving a place for you. And so, although we recognise that life can change rapidly and that unexpected things might occur, we have a strict refund policy, and an equally strict policy of fairness means we do not make exceptions to it for any individual. You may cancel at any time before the final payment is due, but all deposits are non-refundable, and cannot be held over to future retreats or courses. Once you have made your final payment, 3 months before the retreat begins, then no refunds are possible.

If for any reason we have to cancel for personal reasons, all payments will be returned in full. If the retreat has to be cancelled due to events entirely outwith our control (eg due to extreme weather or other global events) then refunds will be made but will exclude deposits, as we will already have paid venue, taxes and related costs. With apologies, we do not and cannot make exceptions to these rules, so please take out travel insurance to minimise your risk if the unexpected happens.


This retreat is currently full. You may apply for a place on the waitlist by emailing Sharon (sharon[at]sharonblackie[dot]net). When you do so, please include some information about yourself, where you are from, and what you hope to gain from the week. This process ensures that all of those who sign up have a compatible set of expectations, and are committed to the work we’ll be doing together and to co-creating a gentle, nurturing and supportive sisterhood for the duration. We are also, when considering applications for these retreats, aiming at bringing together as diverse a group of women as possible. 

If a place is available for you, you will be able to pay with your credit or debit card via PayPal or Stripe.

Please be prepared to go outdoors in all weathers; if you have an aversion to rain and wind, then a retreat on the west coast of Ireland focused on deepening our relationship with place might not be for you!


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