• Kilkeel and Cultra (map)
June 2018 Higgins-Wilcox Retreat flyer (1).jpg
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Mourne Mountains

You’re invited to join us on a journey of hope, healing, creativity and community. Staying first in 400 year old thatched cottages in Mourne country and then a lovely old country house by the sea outside Belfast, with a group of friends old and new, enjoying the landscape on amazing walks, hearing music and story, meeting locals, experiencing the peace process in encountering people directly involved in activism and change, and getting to know the culture of northern Ireland, immersed in Celtic culture ancient and new. Good food, inspiring art, and beautiful journeys on foot will form the heart of this soulfully unique and transforming experience. This will be an eight day experience - for 25 guests only - that might just last for the rest of your life.



“…one of the most profound spiritual journeys I have ever undertaken, in the delightful company of deep spirited and utterly engaging fellow travelers. At the right time in the right way, it has changed my life…”

“…a fabulous opportunity to experience the physical beauty, the political culture and history and the warm, friendly people of Ireland. An opportunity to slow down, reflect and connect with interesting, diverse people in substantive, heartlevel ways…”

“…a unique experience…to journey with total strangers through the beautiful city and countryside, learning about conflict and peace both in the healing of Ireland and our own internal search for peace. With storytelling, poetry, mysticism to round out a life-changing adventure while developing lifelong friendships.”


Gareth Higgins is a northern Irish writer, storyteller, and peace activist, now living in the US. Author/coauthor of four books, on spirituality, cinema, and peacemaking, he was founding director of the Wild Goose Festival and Movies & Meaning. He is passionate about art, storytelling, and experiencing the miracle of ourselves just where we are. He’s a big fan of Gandhi, Bayard Rustin, and Kermit the Frog.

Gareth says: “I was privileged to become friends with John O'Donohue in the few years before his death in 2008. John used to host what he called 'tours', based in County Clare, for pilgrims who wanted to experience Ireland in authenticity rather than the more antiseptic/corporate tourist trip where feet don't touch the ground and souls might as well have stayed on the plane. I was lucky enough to be involved in facilitating what turned out to be the last tour John led in Ireland. I've been privileged to co-lead a few similar trips in the last couple of years, with the amazing musicians and spiritual teachers Karen MooreBrian McLaren and David LaMotte. I'm delighted to be joined on this upcoming trip next June once more with my great friend David Wilcox whose gifts for expanding our ideas about storytelling, engaging difference, and walking through difficult journeys will animate us beautifully. Our trip is very much inspired by the kinds of things John led people into on his trips: mornings will be gathered conversations, afternoons we will walk the landscape, and in the evenings there will be music, storytelling, and certainly firewater magic. You'll meet friends and colleagues with whom we have been honored to walk some of the journey, peacemakers and poets and politicians, you'll walk by the sea and on mountains, and there'll be plenty of time to take by yourself for whatever you need.”


David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. First inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell, Wilcox is now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans. His lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched. He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, “Music still stretches out before me like the headlights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me.” David has joined us on Ireland retreats several times before, and his growing familiarity with the landscape and spirit is a perfect complement to his gift of storytelling and healing through music and laughter.

The trip takes place June 18th-26th, 2018. You will need to depart the US on June 17th to arrive on the morning of June 18th, and the retreat ends in time to return to the US by the evening of June 26th. Applications will open on October 10th, 2017. If you're interested, and want more details, please send an email at this link, and we'll send you the information and application form. Places are strictly limited - we can accommodate 25 guests, and expect the trip to be over-subscribed. So if you know this is for you, or if you're asking maybe, click here to let us know. We are eager to welcome you to Belfast in June.

Cost (excluding airfare) of $2440 per person includes:
• The services of all guides and retreat leaders, support staff, and guests from the world of arts, media, politics and peacemaking. • Four nights in 400 year old thatched cottages with traditional Irish breakfast foods.
• Four nights in 140 year old country house by the sea on the edge of Belfast with traditional cooked breakfast.
• Lunch or dinner each day.
• Transport from Belfast hubs to accommodation, and on organized trips throughout the tour.
• All admission fees to sites such as cultural centers, museums, etc.
• The use of all accommodation facilities including lounges, gardens, etc.
• A life-changing experience of spirit, imagination, and community.   

To request an application form, please send an email at this link. Please email retreatireland@gmail.com with any questions. There are only 25 spaces available on this wonderful adventure, so please apply soon! Thank you!

And now, the famous Belfast fish - come with us in May and we might even take you to see it in the flesh/porcelain!

A final note: In order to make the tour accessible, there may be a limited number of subsidized spaces for folk who are able to help behind the scenes - we have a waiting list for these spaces, so please contact us if you would like to be on the list. We've also been glad to help people raise support to join the retreat, including folk with continuing education and sabbatical funding. If you're able to get to Ireland in May, but if the cost of the tour is a stretch, please let us know, we'd love to hear from you! We'd be glad to help you find ways to join us if we can.