Ard Nahoo review
An eco haven with treatments & yoga in Ireland
The Quick Read: Ard Nahoo is a lovely, art-filled eco retreat on six acres of tamed gardens and wild marshland in the heart of Yeats’ country. Come for peaceful self-catering holidays with the option of booking treatments or dropping in on a yoga class, or attend one of the dedicated yoga, relaxation or detox retreats which take place throughout the year. Set near Dromahair in North Leitrim in the west of Ireland, the retreat is owned and run by talented massage therapist and yoga teacher Noeleen Tyrrell and her husband Brendan, who live on site with their two children. There are three self-catering eco cabins, a light-filled yoga studio, treatment rooms, a small indoor/outdoor spa area and brilliant walks from the door. Families and children are welcome – it’s a particularly lovely getaway for mothers or parents with their babies.
More on the self catering wellbeing retreats: Come at any time of year to self-cater in one of the two larger eco cabins, enjoy treatments, use the spa and dip in and out of yoga classes. There’s also a 2 night Ultimate Escape for two or Personal Retreat for one in Hawthorn which includes accommodation, an organic welcome pack, a massage of your choice (back, neck and shoulder massage, a ‘skinglow’ facial or a ‘fabulous footsie’ treatment), dinner on one night in the cabin and a soak in the hot tub – read a word from the queen on her stay.
More on the group wellbeing retreats: Ard Nahoo also run group retreats throughout the year. Come for yoga, yoga and detox or to learn more about holistic therapies such as the Alexander Technique.
More on the spa & treatments: Uisce (which means water) is an outdoor dry-wet spa area featuring an infrared detox sauna and an outdoor hot tub on a sheltered deck with restful views overlooking the hills and across Loch Nahoo. You can use it by the hour. Treatments (book in advance) take place in calming rooms adjoining a light and cheerful relaxation area. They are available Tuesday to Saturday, by appointment, and use Dr Hashuka products. Choose Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage (€45), a Skinglow Facial Massage (€45), a Fabulous Footsie Massage (€45), a Craniosacral Therapy (€60), Reflexology (€60), a Lomi Lomi Massage (€65/90) or a Full Body Massage (€90).
There are two sensitive therapists – Nicola, who is ITEC trained and has been practicing for 5 years, and owner Noeleen, who gives out a good, kind, healing vibe and really knows her stuff. She learned massage in San Francisco 20 years ago and has trained in various other techniques along the way in the US, Ireland and England. She also has a diploma in reflexology and is a registered craniosacral therapist and reiki practitioner.
More on the yoga: Noeleen also teaches the group and private yoga classes – she has practiced for 20 years and teaches predominantly Hatha yoga with strong Anusara and Iyengar influences. She runs both an intensive and a part time yoga teacher training course each year. Classes take place in Ard Nahoo’s custom built light and airy yoga studio – the only one in the North Leitrim area. It has large windows running along two sides, allowing in plenty of light in and connecting you with the grounds beyond.
More on the outside: Ard Nahoo is in a remote location set amongst 6 acres of wild, rugged grounds that include a nature trail and a wise woman mandala that makes an ideal place for a short meditation in warmer months. Spend your days walking and discovering the wild and rugged landscape – there are plenty of interesting walks either from the doorstep, or a short drive away.
More on the art: Art is prevalent in and around Ard Nahoo. There are interesting paintings, colourful textiles, hand made iron beds and wall hangings by local artists inside, and outside, striking metal work at the large entrance gates, the Wild Woman mandala and interesting garden sculptures.
More on the eco cabins: The smallest eco cabin is ‘Hawthorn’, an open plan hut with twin beds and a double futon loft bed set close to the yoga studio. The two larger eco cabins, Holly and Willow, are the ones to go for if you have your family or a group of friends. They are stylish, comfortable and genuinely eco friendly, with a relaxing Scandi vibe, cosy wood burner for cooler months and large verandas with barbecues for summertime.
The light and airy cabins have been tastefully decorated: blonde wooden floors predominate, walls are painted in soft tones using mineral pigment paints and large windows take in the wild marshland views. The stylish pellet stove keeps the open-plan living space cosy and also provides impressive amounts of hot water.
The bathroom is clean and compact with just a shower to help minimise water consumption, and there’s a well equipped kitchen. Bedrooms are simple but homely with comfy beds, warm duvets and pretty linens. There is one kingsize bed per cabin – in the big upstairs bedroom along with a single bed. Downstairs plenty of bunk beds are split between two smaller rooms that are tastefully done to suit both adults and children. On group retreats you’ll need to be happy to share accommodation quite closely with others.
Food and drink: Noeleen provides a welcome pack of essentials such as organic eggs, bread, butter, milk and jam or marmalade, coffee and tea, and you can order delicious and organic home-cooked vegetarian meals in advance like Sweet potato tagine with Moroccan cous cous, Thai vegetable curry with brown rice or Spinach and ricotta lasagne with green salad (all €10 each). They’re great value for money, they come is generous portions and will be waiting for you in the fridge when you arrive so all you have to do is reheat them. There are a few pubs and shops nearby, but it’s hard to beat heating up one of these up and bringing a bottle of wine with you to drink in front of the fire. Menus change regularly – you can also order puddings like Banana and Butterscotch Pudding, stone fruit crumble or Eton mess (all €4 each).
More on the eco friendliness: Ard Nahoo has been awarded the EU Flower eco stamp, verified by an independent organisation and valid throughout Europe. There are strict guidelines in place regarding recycling and composting (separate bins are provided in the cabins), water (basically don’t waste it, with notices to remind you of this above all the sinks) and energy consumption (the cabins’ heating and hot water systems are fuelled by a wood pellet stove). The two larger eco cabins are made of local timber, minimum concrete and no petro chemicals – they’re well insulated with hemp, heated with wood pellet stoves and powered by a wind turbine, and inside they are decorated with natural paints.
Fellow guests: Couples, pairs or groups of friends and families enjoy self-catering chill out breaks for weekends, a week or two throughout the year, while solo travellers, mainly women, come for group retreats. Lots come here to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions – you can even arrange a Healthy Hen Party here.
Costs: Prices start at €300 (£255) for a weekend or €500 (£425) for a week’s self-catering Chillout Break for two (or three people if the 3rd is a child) in the smallest cabin ‘Hawthorn’, to €550 (£465) for the weekend or €750 (£635) for the week in the two larger eco cabins, Willow or Holly, which sleep up to six. The 2 night Ultimate Escape costs €225 (£190) per person sharing in Hawthorn, the 2 night Personal Retreat costs €360 (£305) alone in Hawthorn. Yoga and health group retreats cost from €300 (£255) per person for a weekend.
What’s queenly: Ard Nahoo has a remote, wild location with great walks and fresh air. The owner Noeleen’s yoga classes are inspiring and positive, and you won’t find many therapists who’ll give a massage as good as her. The two main eco cabins are stylish, comfortable and genuinely eco friendly.
What’s lowly: While the main bedroom in each cabin has a comfortable kingsize bed and single bed, the other two bedrooms only have bunk beds – great for families or groups of friends, but if more than one couple are planning to share they’ll need to decide who gets the big bed!
Getting there: Fly to Knock airport in West Ireland, then hire a car and drive – it’s about an hour to Ard Nahoo.
© Queen of Retreats