In September, we decided to honeymoon around Ireland, we wanted to stay local as we’re very aware of the carbon footprint that would be involved in doing long haul flights. There are so many amazing things to do right on our doorstep, so we decided to take advantage of it and offset our carbon footprint by planting native trees. We spent five days doing the “not just a yoga retreat” in the BigStyle Atlantic Lodge on the Wild Atlantic Way. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision.
Driving through Louisburg, we looked at each other with thinking “what did we get ourselves into?”. On arrival, that feeling totally lifted! We were welcomed into the lodge, which immediately felt like an old friends house. Kris and the lads have really created something magical on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Atlantic Lodge is reminiscent of Irish College but for grown-ups. Once you step into the Lodge the rest of the world just kind of melts away. Thankfully, in this particular Irish College, the Irish and awkward dancing is replaced with surfing, hiking and outdoor hot tubs. I remember during my Irish college days, the food was questionable at best so I survived on a diet of Drifter Bars, brown bread and jam. But in the Lodge you are spoiled with an array of comforting and delicious vegetarian goodness. Porridge, paella, pizza and chickpea burgers to die for.
Our Arrival To The Yoga Retreat
Day one, we drove up from Lahinch, had something quick to eat and then prepared for our first surf lesson. Getting in the sea is one of my favourite things to do – nothing really bonds you with a group more than collectively being battered by the sea 🙂
I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from the rooms but it was so much better than what I had in my head. It was like a slightly pared-back version of a modern hotel room rather than a hostel. There was a fab ensuite and an incredibly comfy bed (probably made more comfy with the post surf tiredness). The walls in the rooms and corridors were covered in pictures of the guys adventures around the world. The style and pictures gave it a really personal touch, which I loved.
We went downstairs for a chill out by the fire while Pete, our fantastic yoga instructor, cooked us up a feast. This man is a miracle worker, he managed to get Joe to happily eat vegetarian for the full five days. We genuinely thought he’d be sneaking out for a steak at some point to keep him going. The pizza making workshop was so much fun. Everyone got hands on, rolled out a pizza and topped it with whatever hey fancied. We all had a couple of drinks and shared the pizzas as they came out of the oven.
Yoga & Other Bits
Every morning we did a yoga class and followed it up with a hearty breakfast. Activities consisted of hikes, surf lessons, acro yoga (this was so much fun), a massage workshop and sea swims. There was a good amount of chill out time between activities which was great. Being forced to sit and chill was a blessing in disguise. During the down time, people just chatted, played games, read books and just completely unwound.
There was nothing about this yoga retreat that didn’t leave you feeling revitalised and centred again. We were there from Mon – Fri and when we left we were the perfect balance of rested and energised. It also isn’t your average yoga retreat as you are free to have a few drinks if you fancy it. One of my favourite moments was following up a sea swim with a couple of beers and chats in the hot tub while looking out across the bay, soaking in the Wild Atlantic Way.
The key to this amazing place is the team that work here – they’re more like a family than colleagues. As I said before, it’s like being welcomed into an old friend’s home. With stunning views of the West Coast, this is a place I was genuinely sad to leave and I would go back without hesitation.
They also provide amazing surf and adventure retreats to Portugal, so you have the added bonus of some (pretty much guaranteed) sun. Regardless of the retreat you choose, you’re guaranteed to have the craic and return home reenergised.
If you’re looking for a yoga retreat on the Wild atlanticWay, I couldn’t recommend a stay in the Atlantic Lodge more, you can find all the info you need on the BigStyle website.
The lads are building a new stand up paddle boarding school in Dun Laoghaire this summer. I will definitely be down the second it opens and will report back.