Michael & Michelle
Our story is a family story. While both of us travelled and lived abroad separately for many years, we grew up down the road from each other in a small rural community in Co. Meath. When our paths finally crossed again in 2004, we formed Yogatraveller, which was a combination of our passions for yoga and travel. We did all the groundwork from the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India, building a website and continuing studying yoga. For the next few years Yogatraveller was grown in Thailand, the Swiss Alps and Gozo, Malta. In 2007 we returned to Ireland to have our first child and shortly after we relocated to this part of Co.Clare where we have been since. After many years of wandering we knew we had found home.
We continued to grow Yogatraveller and in 2009 we opened our very first retreat centre in the cottage we had moved into (we moved out of course!). After 5 years of running retreats in many countries including Thailand, Bali, Turkey and Gozo we were thrilled to put our experience into practice by bringing together all the elements we believe are important for a yoga retreat: beautiful location, healthy food, a warm welcome and of course, excellent yoga. The Little Yoga Cottage was a great success and we ran yoga retreats from that idyllic cottage nestled in the Clare countryside for almost 3 years. During that time our second son was born and life continued peacefully until we first laid eyes on the Farmhouses of Moher Lodge, Liscannor. This was a moment that was to change our lives forever.
Set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and in the fields coming down from the Cliffs of Moher, the moment we laid eyes on the 5 houses that make up the property we knew it was perfect for our dream. Many years prior to that moment, while living in the Swiss Alps, we had dreamed of owning our own world class retreat centre where we could really grow our business and do what we passionately believe in. In 2012 we closed the deal on the 5 houses and began the work on the buildings, which had been lying empty, part finished, for 4 years. We renovated, decorated and moved into one of them and in October 2012, only 3 months after getting the keys we put on our first retreat to past guests. We haven’t looked back, although the work hasn’t stopped.
Running parallel to the purchase was the opportunity to get grant aid from LEADER, a European organization offering financial support to businesses such as ours in rural areas. We started the long process of designing a state of the art yoga studio with a wall of glass, getting planning permission and proceeding with the grant application. In July 2013, a year after we had finalized the sale, we received the amazing news that we were successful and building commenced late in 2013 with the studio opening in July 2014.
During this time our third son came into the world and everyday we are filled with gratitude at the love and abundance surrounding us.
When the studio opened in the summer of 2014, it heralded a new change for our business. We went from running a couple of weekends a year to being fully open 12 months a year. Our team has grown and we are proud to say we employ 14 amazing people. Our team is the heartbeat of our business. We are grateful to be surrounded by people who believe in us, share our vision and work hard to be where we are today. Each of you are an essential part of what we do, and we couldn’t do it without you. We love you all.
A little touch of luxury; we love heat treatments and knew we had to include these facilities into our retreat. We have a large wood-burning hot tub and a smaller gas fired Cedar Wood tub, all chemical free. Our glass-fronted sauna has proven a firm favourite where you they can sweat it out while looking out to sea. We are currently working on a herbal steam room, an Infrared sauna and an outdoor fire pit and seating area. We also built a treatment room for massages and other therapies which is always in use at the free time.
It was always a dream of ours to grow organic produce but neither of us knew where to start. We were so delighted to welcome Mitch Corbitt to our team to bring this dream to reality. What Mitch doesn’t know about natural farming isn’t worth knowing. We are literally blown away by the incredible produce he brings into our kitchen and the taste is out of this world. We have a large dome and several acres and our menus are created around what’s in season.
As the business has grown, so have the facilities. We now have 14 en suite bedrooms and whether it’s upgrading flooring, adding luxury carpets, new beds or other furniture or art we are always striving to make our retreat beautiful, comfortable and an unforgettable experience for our guests. We built a beautiful outdoor deck for meditation and yoga and our landscaping project is an ongoing endeavor. We are currently working on bringing the water from our spring well into the houses for drinking, a large project that will tie in so well with our whole philosophy.
With the help of Mitch, we are retuning the large 5 acre field at the front of the property into a forest garden. We have already planted over 5000 trees, all native species including birch, elder, alder, holly, buckthorn, scotch pine, oak, white thorn, blackthorn and lots more. We have also planted many different species of fruit and nut trees and we love that in the future this field will be teaming with life, long after we are gone, that people can enjoy for years to come.
As our retreats are growing in popularity, we have been working hard to ensure a retreat for everyone. In addition to our yoga weekends and week longs we now offer Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Wim Hof Retreats, Food Experience Retreats and Retreats for Stress. We also have day retreats, surfing retreats and yoga and hiking retreats. We love to swim in the Ocean and are always exited to share this experience with our guests, all year round. We are always learning and growing ourselves and bring this into our work so watch this space for more!
At the heart of what we do and who we are is our family. Nothing is more important to us and the greatest gifts of the past few years have been watching our 3 boys grow. Our youngest son was born a few months before our studio opened in 2014 and life with them is active, fun and never dull. We love life in West Clare and can be found surfing, skating and hiking the land on which we live. We love to travel and are so proud to be sharing this life with our gorgeous boys.