Destination: Strand Hill, County Sligo, north west coast Ireland.
No Bikram Yoga studio in sight. What you will find is a small coastal village set between the great Atlantic and the hugely impressive, Knocknarea Mountain.
First, I catch up with family in Dublin. My younger brother, Ian & his wife Muireann, are visiting her family from Australia and my sister, Heidi lives in Dublin with her partner Gary and their two rug rats. I better clarify here: “rug rat” is an endearing Australian term for children!
A night of spirited conversation coaxed by Guinness supplementation was of course to be had at the Stags Head before we set off the following day. I flirted with the idea of taking a Bikram class but the promise of a wee ocean swell pushing the tide was all that was required to get us on our way. It had been a long time between sets and for the first time in a long time, I chose a cold bath over a hot room!
Strand Hill: We scored on all accounts: small but clean waves, sun (the delicate Irish stuff), good company and great music. 12 of us stayed at the Ocean Wave Lodge, a self catering B&B nestled between The Dunes and The Venue, two of the many pubs, hosting trad’ Irish tunes all weekend. Butt on stool, pint in hand, ear tuned to Seamie O’Dowd + a few other Dervish members jamming, makes for a grand night.
Voya Seaweed Baths
Recovery! This traditional marine cure therapy, indigenous to Ireland, attracts 40,000 visitors to Strand Hill every year. No plant known has a comparable quantity of minerals and vitamins. Harvested by hand and dropped into a warm bath, the seaweed gently tickles your back and butt, releasing detoxifying nutrients, cleansing, healing, relaxing and regenerating. Voya Seaweed Baths →
Step into this hidden chasm, halfway down the slope of Knocknarea Mountain and you lose yourself in another world. An entrance to the world of Tolkien perhaps! Digest the beauty, add the images to your dream toolbox and you’ll be set for the next year. It’s a hard place to find so ask a local.
Many thanks to Perfect Day Surf School. Ian used to surf coach with these guys a few years back so Tom & his daughter Elisha sorted us with wetsuits and logs to get amongst it. Only 1-2ft but long, clean lines under the back drop of Knocknarea, place this village among the most remembered places I’ve surfed. Last winter the swell was so big, waves were breaking into the car park. Ah yeah, kinda happy with 1-2 foot, thanks!
Heidi and Ian completed the original design & build for endlessbender.com, setup for my 365 Day Challenge in 2009 – “12 months, 12 countries, a Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge in each”. I haven’t seriously blogged since I completed the journey. During the challenge I was just a practitioner, traveling the world; there was much to write about. As a new teacher, it was difficult to find direction for the blog. I felt my words under the microscope of the Bikram Yoga Police; haha the world of Bikram – “My way or the highway!”. Whatever; I’m back. Hence the rebuild, thanks to Heidi; same look, same feel, new tagline. I’m be bringing the site up to date with a new direction so stay tuned, more to come!
Check out my 365 Day Yoga Challenge if you want to read up on some of the archived posts.