Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tearmann Centre?
Tearmann developed organically, as a Spirituality Centre to meet an apparent need among Pilgrims who walked, in contemplation and reflection through the hills and valleys of Glendalough with Fr. Michael. Tearmann is the old Gaelic word for sanctuary or refuge.
It has since developed into one of those special places, where you can allow your own life to slow down. The ethos at Tearmann, is to give their guest a taste of what is possible if you make a commitment to yourself. We hope that you will find that it is a place to recharge your spiritual batteries by tapping into the natural rhythms, and to the natural wonders of Nature within this amazing Glen. This will without doubt, allow you some perspective on your journey so far, and as a result, will likely reflect a clearer path on your own way ahead, with renewed vigour and a greater sense of both mental and physical wellness.
Tearmann stands since 1993 as a place of hospitality, where people have taken time out, to reflect on their life, faith and soul journey. It provides 7 generous, separate en-suite bedrooms, within in three self-contained, self-catering apartments. Each apartment has kitchen/ dining area and comfortable spacious lounge. There is also a beautiful meditation / prayer room with impressive views of the valley. It is situated on the side of a hill a 5-minute walk from the ancient Monastic City of Glendalough set beside the 3 lakes from where the Glen takes its name. It lies about 1 km from the village of Laragh, Co. Wicklow.
What happens at Tearmann?
At Tearmann, we offer Reflective Retreat breaks. The retreat, is a conscious decision to take time out to ‘reflect’ in a structured manner. The retreat, that we offer, allows the person time, space and quiet, to step back from what might be their difficult, or disagreeable lives, in order to get some perspective on their journey. Sometimes the retreats specifically focus on wellness at work. Sometimes the intensity of a project can lead to stress and strain on an individual or a team, and if they are shown coping skills in advance, the entire project will benefit. We can tailor a package for an individual or a small group of employees to gain perspective on a particular project, or their position within the workforce which may be about to change. To get the most out of a retreat, you will, several weeks in advance, have to fill out a confidential questionnaire, and speak to Paschal, about your desired outcome. Then a retreat will be specifically tailored to suit.
Change is brought about through reflection, meditation and by facing up to not only your limitations, but also to the fantastic potential that we all carry within our soul. We encourage our guests to try as many elements of the suite of grounding experiences on offer. One of them will definitely suit your needs or your style, and you can allow yourself to develop further once you get back to your daily life. At Tearmann, the emphasis is always on the individual, whether they form a part of a group or they come on their own. There are a variety of experiences offered, range from five day Reflective Retreats or Breaks to an extended visit of up to three months for those perhaps on sabbatical, or those who may wish to take time out to work on a specific project. Weekend visits are also available, or you can choose from just a few days mid-week depending on availability.
Within the various programmes offered at the pilgrim centre, regardless of ability, the guest will benefit from the suite of experiential grounding activities on offer, which sit alongside the retreat itself. They are mutually exclusive but carefully considered as to deepen a person’s experience whilst in reflective mode.
- The add on experiences range from elements like Creative writing.
- Yoga, and Somatic movement.
- Sound Baths using singing bowls.
- Guided walks to Sacred Wells.
- Light Hypnotherapy and,
- Ancestral Healing.
A full programme of events, which cater for a maximum group size of 14 people, are available to view on the ‘calendar’. This series of learning and grounding experiences sit comfortably alongside the reflective or wellness retreats. You can decide to engage with the additional elements, or not, but if you feel that you might like to, early advance booking is advisable, as the numbers are limited so that a deeper experience is had by all the participants.
We also offer accompanied tours of the monastic city and its local pilgrim paths. These are conducted in small groups and prior booking is essential. The monastic city tour sessions last approximately one or two hours. These are always by pre-arrangement and are tailored to according to the group.
What are the aims and plan of the retreat experience?
The reflective retreat break is designed as stop along a pilgrim journey taken over a set period of time that might be available to the individual. It is a tailored, integrated and experiential event linking personal life events with the bigger story as expressed in the environment, tradition, legend and spirituality of the valley.
The guests are encouraged to connect with the beauty that is all around them in Glendalough, this special valley of the two lakes, and in doing so, it is our hope that they will find a similar connection within themselves, to their own inner Beauty that lies hidden or forgotten. This renewed acceptance and awareness of one’s possibilities, is where the growth and renewed strength for the continuation of their journey occurs.
Guests in residence are invited to meet in the morning for meditation and introduction to the theme of the day, and again in the evening to share, if they wish, their days experiences.
Later on, subject to his availability, anybody who wishes, can share in Eucharist with Fr. Michael. The themes for each day vary.
The reflective time spent in the company of Fr. Michael will be a special experience. The contemplative reflections and stories are rooted in the Celtic spiritual tradition and examine concepts like Interiority, Exteriority and Presence.
These concepts are outlined in a booklet that is left in each person’s room. The apartments offer pilgrims a quiet, reflective space to take time out. If your desire is to journey on a religious retreat, it will be based upon the Celtic / Christian tradition but welcomes all soul seekers of Any and No faith. This must be booked well in advance.
If we meet morning and evening, what do we do during the day?
An important part of this retreat break, is that people spend quiet time alone, in the form of mindful exploration both within themselves and at the same time maintaining connection to the beautiful environment that surrounds them. Glendalough is situated in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and has many beautiful walks and places to visit including the fine monastic remains. We encourage these explorations to be taken in the spirit of pilgrimage and hope participants will be open to ‘the music of what happens’. The reality is that a great deal of learning unfolds each day for most people.
You will be given a special little keepsake notebook. You will be encouraged to write down Questions and Thoughts that might arise during the day. We love to see, and indeed encourage people to bring back their impressions, photographs, feelings and thoughts to seek clarity on, or to share with others in the evening if they wish. We hope the experience will be very much an interior / exterior experience, based on the belief that the outer landscape always reflects in some way the inner landscape of the soul’s journey.
There is no pressure on anybody to share. But, in our experience, we find that in the sharing, another person’s spirit might be awakened.
How about other times of the year?
Tearmann is open all year, and in fact the winter is an ideal time to stay, particularly for people wishing to be very quiet. This is a time when instinct says that we should be hibernating. It is a time for refreshing the soul and preparing for the new growth of spring. Winter can also be a very creative time for certain types of people. The valley, at this time of the year is generally quieter in terms of people and is the ideal time to capture some unique photographs or painting a winter scene. This is the time when nature is asleep, in preparation for new life in spring. It is the ideal time for the quietest kind of contemplative reflection in order to emerge revitalised and new come the new year.
How long does the retreat go on?
From May to September [inclusive] we offer a selection of Five day retreats beginning on a Sunday evening and finishing the following Friday before midday. However, many people now stay for less than that length of time, due to their busy lives and the retreat is so designed that people can join as a part of their pilgrimage for shorter periods. We also have weekend retreats from Friday evening to Sunday midday.
Can I stay without participating in the retreat?
Yes, of course. However during the summer months priority is given to those wishing to participate in the group retreat. If space is available, it may be possible to join in with some modules, if you so wish.
Can I talk to someone personally and privately whilst staying at Tearmann?
Yes, of course. We understand that the nature of Retreat and Reflection can bring up questions that a guest may need a bit of additional perspective on. There will always be member of the team available to talk with at any time on request. Paschal is a qualified Counsellor/Psychotherapist and both Michael and Breda have done training in Spiritual direction to allow them to act as spiritual guides.
All members of the team are chosen for their ‘groundedness’ and empathetic approach as they work at their own speciality with the guests, and as such they will certainly be able to listen, and will be well placed to be able to suggest a direction, that will be helpful.
Do we need to do any pre-reading?
This is not necessary, or even desirable. The programme is designed to offer participants insights and understanding of old Irish spirituality in a spontaneous and life-giving way. Come with an open mind and with a receptive spirit and see what unfolds. The truly organic experience of coming to that ahaah! moment, is so much more beneficial, memorable and transformative, than if something is meticulously planned. Spirit and Mind, rarely stick to a rigid plan. The house offers a small but very good library plus other resources, art materials, maps, guides etc. We want this to be as organic an experience as possible for you. So, come as you are, and let’s see what unfolds?
Do we need a car in Glendalough?
It is helpful, but not essential. We do have a car park at the Centre which is within walking distance of the monastic city, the lakes and all amenities. The aim of the Tearmann experience is to explore the breath-taking beauty of the surroundings and then make a connection ‘within’.
There are two Public transport links to Glendalough. The 183 bus from Wicklow train Station and St. Kevin’s bus service linking Euston Station in Dublin.
You are strongly advised to bring suitable clothing and footwear to access the various treks. The conditions vary with the season, so a little meteorological research is advisable. There are of course leisurely walks too, but this might limit your experience of the breath-taking, rugged beauty, that is Glendalough.
What clothes do I need?
The weather in Summer will usually not exceed 20 degrees Celsius, but can be chilly in the morning and evening. Ireland is also famous for its rain which also results in our beautiful green land. In the Winter, we advise that some of the mountain routes will be dangerous, and the weather can close in quickly. Strong caution and common sence is advised. At any time of the year, You are advised to check with the team or the locals for the prevailing conditions before heading off.
You will need casual clothes suitable for walking and warm clothes for the evening. A light raincoat or jacket can be a good addition to your wardrobe! An extra pair of sturdy shoes would be helpful if you intend to do a lot of walking.
You are advised to check the forecast before you come and prepare as above. We will advise you in advance as you head off on your path from the centre, as to the nature of the terrain, and any particular precautions that you might need to take.
How and when do I pay and Cost?
Prices vary depending upon the time of the year but reductions, even at peak times, may be negotiable depending upon your length of stay.
Retreat bundles including group/ individual specialist sessions will be costed separately. Group events are generally between €50 – €80 per person, per day depending on which element is being offered. We limit our outdoor event group sizes to 12 people maximum, but workshop room events are limited to a maximum of 8 people. During the Covid 19 , Social Distancing requirements period, this may reduce further for some of the workshop experiences .
Individual Therapy sessions by negotiation.
We limit the Group size so that every participant will feel included. However, as a result, early booking for the additional workshop elements is a must, as the spaces do fill up quickly.
Booking is secured by credit card in advance. We do not have ATM or credit card facilities on site. However there is an ATM in the shop 1 km away. You can also pay by bank transfer. A booking deposit is always required. This deposit is only refundable up to 48 hours before the booked date, so that the appropriate programme can be prepared in advance.
Single shared occupancy €65 per night
Single occupancy €85 per night
Double occupancy €120 per night
How far are shops, restaurants etc.?
There are two small general stores less than1 km from the pilgrim centre. They supply most things apart from fresh meat and fish, which can be purchased from nearby towns 12 km away. There are two good restaurants and pub 1 km from Tearmann in the village of Laragh. The Glendalough Hotel [a short walk] serves both bar and restaurant food.