Six of the best fitness retreats in Ireland

Wellness retreats, yoga workshops and fitness camps – take your pick of the best active breaks, says Ciara McDonnell.

Six of the best fitness retreats in Ireland

Wellness retreats, yoga workshops and fitness camps – take your pick of the best active breaks, says Ciara McDonnell.

Fit At Fota

After a fantastic day last year, the Fota Fitness Mega Bootcamp is returning on Saturday, October 19.

Ideal for those of us who are craving an autumnal kick-start, this high-octane day out will push you to your limit, with a range of activities all based around an ethos of fun.

Throughout the day, you’ll test your strength and fitness with a mixture of body weight, resistance and teamwork-based exercises in the stunning surrounds Fota Island Resort.

You’ll start the day at 10am with a group warm-up and from there, you’ll be split into teams, each headed up by its own Fota Adventure Drill Sergeant.

After working up a sweat with a series of drills, circuits, and weights-training exercises, you’ll get to tackle the onsite obstacle course and then learn how to handle a bow and arrow at the archery station. The morning will finish with a cool-down and some light refreshments.

Ideal for a group of friends, the bootcamp is taking place from 10am-1pm on Saturday, October 19. Tickets for the Mega Bootcamp at Fota Island Resort cost €27.50 per person and can be booked through the Glofox app.

Spaces are limited and pre-booking is essential, for more information contact or call +353 (0)21 467 3131.

Strike A Pose

Ballynahinch Castle in Galway is the venue for a three-day yoga escape hosted by the team behind Yoga Mara.

Sisters Rachel and Hannah Healy aim to bring balance and calm back into hectic lives through yoga, mindfulness,good food, and great company during this fantastic opportunity to reset.

The retreat will take place in the stunning Lettery Lodge studio on the grounds of Ballynahinch, with accommodation in the castle proper.

Guests will be guided through different yoga styles, including Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Yin Yoga & Yoga Nidra over the course of the three days.

You’ll check in to Ballynahinch Castle Hotel from 3pm on Sunday, November 17, taking some time to relax before your first Yin Yoga class and relaxing Yoga Nidra session in Lettery Lodge that evening.

Tuesday sees three yoga classes staggered throughout the day, with lots of time for exploring and relaxing in between, and Wednesday includes a last morning Vinyasa Flow class before checkout at midday.

Including With energising and relaxing yoga classes, breakfast and dinner each day and a variety of optional daily activities all included, the Yoga Mara Escape at Ballynahinch Castle runs from Sunday, November 17 to Wednesday, November 20 and is available from €850 per individual or €655 per person sharing.

Seaside Detox

Led by Dublin-based nutritional consultant Maria Donlon, Life Cleanse three-day detox retreat offers guests the opportunity to kick-start a new health regime.

Specialising in nutrition combined with yoga, the retreat runs from Friday to Sunday, incorporating a detoxifying diet with plenty of yoga sessions and bracing beach walks.

You’ll enjoy a vegan diet packed with superfoods throughout the weekend, all with a view to alkalising and boosting your system. You won’t go hungry though — this is healthy food, and plenty of it.

The next beach retreat takes place from January 10-12 January and costs €365 with accommodation in an ensuite bedroom.

Life Cleanse also run urban retreats, which are a day of mindfulness and yoga with detox and nutritional talks and a yummy healthy lunch in Rathmines in Dublin.

The urban retreats costing €99 per person.

Digital Detox

Unplug and unwind at the Creacon and Wellness Retreat in New Ross, County Wexford. The award-winning wellness centre offers a slew of therapies and workshops to soothe your mind, body and spirit in tranquil surroundings.

The centre offers massage, reflexology, acupuncture, psychotherapy or daily yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes, as well as specialised workshops hosted by local, national and international facilitators on all aspects of wellbeing.

The centre is located at the foot of rolling hillside, with plenty of space to walk and explore.

There’s an onsite art studio where guests can avail of paints, brushes, and drawing tools to sketch or paint away to their heart’s content.

Fitness aficionados can head to the gym or head out to the garden for a run.

Mealtimes are a treat — all food is prepared with ingredients chosen for their seasonality and most come from the centre’s own gardens.

The ethos at Creacon is that food is medicine, and mealtimes reflect this in the most delicious way possible.

The Buddy Break is a midweek two-days-and-one-night break and includes one night’s stay, dinner, and two classes, as well as use of all the onsite facilities and costs from €196 for two people.

Into The West

Founded in 1999 by yoga teacher Dave Brocklebank, Burren Yoga Retreat offers the opportunity to practice yoga in one of the most spectacular places in Ireland.

Their yoga retreat weekends are capped at 15 people, ensuring lots of individual instruction in each class. Accommodation at the centre is simple, but comfortable.

Unusually, they have three single rooms onsite, welcoming solo travellers with ease. Some 90% of the visitors to the retreat centre come on their own, says Brocklebank, and lots of enduring friendships have come about as a result of a weekend retreat.

Food is a source of immense pride at the centre. Their chef Gearoid prepares vegetarian feasts each day, based around local organic ingredients.

The atmosphere at Burren Yoga is warm and welcoming — ideal for those who need a restorative trip for both body and mind.

Weekend retreats at Burren Yoga Retreat start at €320 and include all meals, accommodation, yoga classes, and a trips around the local area.

Reach For Results

The gold standard of bootcamps, Kathryn Thomas’ Pure Results is hugely popular, and with good reason.

As high-energy as the woman herself, the retreats are packed to the gills with hikes, fitness classes, and talks, all designed with the aim of setting you off on the best path to wellness in mind.

Their weekend retreats take place at Seafield Hotel in Wexford, The Avon in Wicklow, and Parknasilla in Kerry and are structured with precision, ensuring maximum bang for your buck. You’ll eat food prepared by some of the country’s top cooks — all dairy, wheat, and sugar-free, and you’ll have plenty of time to relax at a yoga or relaxation class each evening.

The next weekend retreats will take place in January 2020, with dates yet to be confirmed, but if you can’t wait that long, then check out Fit Fix, a one-day event happening at Kilkenny Castle on October 26.

The day kicks off with a HIIT class from ex Ireland rugby player Megan Williams. The rest of the day will include some of our favourite classes such as Boxercise, Bands & Bells.

The Pure Results team will also have some fantastic food and nutritional demonstrations and advice from leading experts. Tickets to Fit Fix cost €89.

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