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IRISH CASTLE WRITING RETREAT

SPRINGFIELD CASTLE, LIMERICK, IRELAND

3- 6TH FEBRUARY 2022

SOLD OUT!  

To join the waiting list for cancellations email:

scottishretreat2017@gmail.com

Immerse yourself in creativity in a setting brimming with inspiration. 

Join Noelle Harrison for 3 nights on her restorative creative writing retreat in historic Springfield Castle surrounded by 200 acres of woodland in the south west of Ireland.

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We invite you to a bespoke retreat experience. Totally immerse yourself in your own writing world with the option of joining two creative writing workshops, and a 1:1 session on your writing with author Noelle Harrison.

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Noelle Harrison

On our retreat, we will have Springfield Castle all to ourselves with its elegant furnishings, portraits and antiques. On offer are luxurious bedrooms, with views across the 200 acre estate. Numbers are limited on our retreat, for an intimate and nurturing experience.

Included in the retreat, is daily brunch and a three-course dinner together in the dining room (Vegans are catered for).

dining-room

Afterwards we gather by the fireside in the drawing room. Fruit, tea and coffee will be available throughout the day.

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We will also be offering the options of experiencing the ancient arts of archery and falconry, particularly useful for any historical novelists!

falconry archery

Early February is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to your writing. As the days begin to lengthen, and the light grows, join Noelle on our Irish Castle Writing Retreat and step towards spring by unlocking your creativity, building focus and vision for your creative writing.

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Our Irish Castle Writing Retreat is suitable for all those who wish to write whether you are beginning to write or working on a novel.

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Map of Springfield Castle, created by artist Cliona Croke

Prices

Our bedrooms are elegant and comfortable. We have single occupancy and shared rates if you’d like to come with a writing pal. Most rooms have private bathrooms.

baroness-room

All prices below include your accommodation, brunch and three course dinner, fruit, tea and coffee, morning meditation, two creative writing workshops (optional to attend) and fireside share each evening. (Please note wine is an additional cost if you would like it with your dinner.)

For an additional £90, you can choose to have a 1:1 session on your writing for one hour with Noelle. There are only six 1:1 slots available over the three days so please book yours as soon as you can.

Not included in any of the rates: transportation to and from Springfield Castle, and optional archery and falconry. Alcohol is not included either.

There are eight bedrooms available in the castle 3 bedrooms in the East Tower on our creative writing retreat. Please email: scottishretreat2017@gmail.com to book your preference as soon as possible.

 King-size 4- poster bed with en-suite bathroom: £ 550 p.p. / £875 (single occupancy) – SOLD OUT

 Queen-size bed with en-suite bathroom: £775 (single occupancy only) – ONE LEFT

 Twin bed with private bathroom: £550 p.p. / £875 (single occupancy) – SOLD OUT

 Queen- size bed with shared bathroom:£625 (single occupancy only) – SOLD OUT

 Single Room with shared bathroom: £575 – SOLD OUT

To book your place, please email scottishretreat2017@gmail.com for booking details. 

We ask you to please pay a non-refundable deposit of £100. Bookings can’t be confirmed without the deposit.

In the event of cancellation due to changes in Covid regulations, we will re-schedule the retreat. We do advise you to take out private insurance.

Balance for the retreat will be due on or before 23rd December 2021. Please read terms and conditions below.

How to Get There

Our Irish Castle Retreat is situated at Springfield Castle, Drumcollogher, County Limerick in Ireland.

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The closest airport is Shannon Airport. If you wish to arrive by public transport, we can arrange a minibus pick up at Shannon Airport at a pre-arranged time for the group for an additional cost.

There are daily flights from London to Shannon, and on Thursdays from Edinburgh, returning on Sundays.

Car hire is also available at Shannon Airport. The west of Ireland is magical and if you have the time we would recommend taking time to explore the area either before or after the retreat. If you’re coming from the U.K. you might like to take the ferry if you have a car.

There is also the option to fly to Dublin Airport and hire a car, or take the train to Limerick and on to Charleville. From there a taxi can be arranged for the 35 minute drive to Springfield Castle.

Accommodation

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Staying in Springfield Castle you will feel like you are stepping back in time. The beautiful drawing room is filled with antiques and works of art perfect for our fireside gathering in the evening.

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The elegant large dining room with its rich red walls, and fine silver candelabra lighting up the large mahogany dining table provides us with a stunning backdrop for our meals.

The study is a cosy, sitting room with leather sofas and an open fireplace, and next to a small library. The perfect nooks for a writing hideaway. The large kitchen with its “always on” 4 oven AGA cooking range is a welcoming space for to make your own tea or coffee or snacks.

The East Tower is entered through an archway to a private courtyard with a wonderful fountain in the centre and encircled by the stone walls and buildings, some dating back to the Norman times in Ireland. With a view of the Norman Tower House, East Tower also has a large dining room where we can change location for our evening meal, a big kitchen and underfloor heating. The kitchen door leads out onto a large patio facing west with barbeque and herb garden and a fire pit.

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Upstairs the huge living room is airy and bright perfect for our Morning Pages. Downstairs there is an amazing basement room with stone walls built on to the foundation rocks hewn from the limestone hill on which the castle stands. We can use this space for an evening gathering and create our own little pub atmosphere. It has a solid oak medieval style castle door leading to a private garden.

At the castle and in the East Tower leisure facilities include a full sized snooker/billiard table, table tennis, a hard court tennis court, boules, archery and our newly installed hot tub.

The Food

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The Food philosophy at Springfield: they grow as much of their own produce as possible in the walled kitchen gardens.Whatever they don’t grow or produce is sourced locally, from a range of excellent local suppliers.  While the food is local the inspiration for their meals come from around the world with their family diaspora bringing home dishes from across the world. On our retreat, Vegans are catered for. Please let us know if you have any specific food allergies.

The Grounds

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The estate has many ancient trees up to 400 years old. There are fields of quietly grazing deer and acres of woodland walks tempting you to explore. Springfield is a prime example of an Irish Castle with gardens. The organic farm, woods and gardens at Springfield are all yours to roam. Pathways trail through a giant broadleaf forest offering the chance to take time to wander in nature and take inspiration from your surroundings.

Sustainability

Springfield castle aims to be as sustainable as possible with their own woodlands, sustainable organic farm and gardens.

The heating is 95% run using wood grown in the castle’s 50 acres of broadleaf forest which we are managed under a continuous cover forest system. As the trees are thinned and pruned new seedlings are encouraged to replace and renew the forest . The best trees are favoured for sawmill logs that will be used for furniture and construction so locking up the carbon they sequester from the atmosphere naturally.
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The History

The story of Springfield Castle is associated with the patronage of poets. The legacy of storytelling in the castle and tower house is the perfect setting to ignite our creativity.

Steeped in history, it is the ancestral home of Lord and Lady Muskerry, whose motto Forti et fideli nihil dificile which means “nothing is difficult to the strong and faithful”  underlies over 700 years of family history.

 The earliest castle at Gort na Tiobrad, the Irish name for Springfield Castle, is reputed to date from 1280 when one of the Fitzgeralds, a junior member of the Earl of Desmond’s family, married a lady of the O Coilleains, who were the Gaelic Lords of Claonghlais. He took the title Lord of Claonghlais and subsequently built a castle at Springfield. The Tower House was built around 1480.This was the beginning of a long association of the Fitzgeralds with the area. They were patrons to Irish poets and musicians. As you enter the impressive gateway to Springfield Castle a plaque on the wall commemorates Daithi O’Bruadair, a classical Irish poet of the seventeenth century who lived at the castle with his patrons, the Fitzgerald family, recording their lives (and general events). He described Springfield Castle,as “a mansion abounding in poetry, prizes and people.”
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Your Bedrooms

Please Note: Prices below include accommodation, guided morning pages, creative writing workshops, fireside share, brunch and dinner for three nights 3- 6th February 2022

To book 1:1 session for one hour with Noelle add an additional £90 on your final rate

Please let us know if you require to be collected from the airport for an additional fee. 

Plus if you would like to take part in archery and falconry for an additional fee. Please note alcohol is not included and wine be an additional cost with your evening meal. 

To book your space or for more information please email: scottishretreat2017@gmail.com

Baroness’ Room Queen Bed with en-suite bathroom – Booked

Single Occupancy £775/ £450 p.p.

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The Baroness’s room with it’s rich colours and fabrics overlooks the lawns to the west of the castle. It has a 5ft (queen) half tester bed and an en-suite bathroom which has a gigantic bathtub with hand held shower.

Barons Room King-size four poster bed with en-suite bathroom – Booked

Single Occupancy £875/ £550 p.p.

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The Baron’s room is a beautifully light room with a 6 ft (king sized) four poster bed. The windows overlook the front of the castle with a great view of the mature trees (sometimes the herd of red deer can be seen grazing in the field) and along the avenue. It has a spacious en-suite bathroom with a walk in shower and a freestanding slipper bath as well as a sofa.

The Garden Room with Queen Bed and en-suite accessible bathroom  – BOOKED

Single Occupancy £775 / £450 p.p

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The Garden room on the ground floor is a lovely airy room with a 5ft (Queen) bed. The beautiful fern pattern fabric in the curtains is taken from a design by the early 20th century American interior designer, Elsie de Wolfe. There is a very large en-suite tiled shower room suitable for wheelchair use. As the bedroom and bathroom are on the ground floor it is well suited to guests with less mobility.

Green Room King Bed or Twin Beds with private bathroom with sauna – BOOKED

Single Occupancy £875/ £550 p.p.

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The Green bedroom can be made up for you as either a 6ft (king) bed or two single beds. The room overlooks the front of the castle grounds. The bathroom is situated just across the hall and is very large with a sauna and walk in shower as well as a very large bathtub. This spacious bathroom overlooks the courtyard.

Grey Room King/Twin Beds with en-suite bathroom – Booked

Single Occupancy £875 / £550 pp

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The Grey bedroom, also at the front of the castle, is an elegant coloured room with a very high ceiling. This room can also be made up as either a 6ft (king)or as 2 single beds to suit your needs. It has its own shower, toilet and sink.

Oak Room – Booked

Single Occupancy £575

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The Oak bedroom with it’s large and luxurious ornately carved antique 4 poster single bed is a pleasure to sleep in.

Shares a bathroom with the Yellow Room.

Yellow Room – Queen Bed – Booked

Single Occupancy only £625

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The Yellow bedroom is a cosy double room with a queen bed and lovely view. Shares bathroom with the Oak Room.

Arch bedroom queen  bed with en-suite bathroom – Booked

£775 single occupancy only

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Located over the archway into the courtyard, the arch bedroom is a charming retreat with slit windows and a 5′ queen bed. It has its own bathroom with bath and handheld shower.

Bedrooms in The East Tower

The Clock Suite – BOOKED

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The clock suite is on the first floor leading off the long sitting room. It has two bedrooms one is a large double room with a 5′ queen sleigh bed and colonial travel trunk furniture. The other room has two single beds. These share a lovely bathroom with a generous bathtub and a luxurious walk in rain shower. Built in the walls of the old clock tower in the courtyard the bathroom features a double glazed window with a view of the clock works.

Tower Room One – Booked

£775 single occupancy only

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The first floor tower room features a fine brass 4 poster bed (5′queen) and has a lovely bathroom with a victorian style slipper bath with views over the walled gardens and courtyard fountain. It also has a large balcony overlooking the herb garden.

Tower Room Two – Booked 

£775 single occupancy only

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The second floor tower room is a french style room with a french (5′queen) bed and wardrobe and it also has a victorian style slipper bath. It looks out over the walled garden and on a clear day to the Galtee mountains.

Tower Room Three

£775 single occupancy only – Booked

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The third floor room has a rich mahogany 4 poster bed(5′queen) and wardrobe and has a shower room with a vast walk in rain shower. The tower windows frame views to the woodland and courtyards. The room is light and airy with skylights in the ceiling.

Irish Castle Writing Retreat

The Programme 

(please note slight variations might be made to this schedule depending on booking times for archery and falconry)

Thursday 3rd February

Arrival between 4- 6 p.m.

Welcome Circle with Noelle 6- 7 p.m.

7-8 p.m.

Three Course Dinner (Vegans catered for)

8-9 p.m. Fireside chat

Friday 4th February

Fruit, tea, coffee, & toast available in kitchen.

8.00  a.m. Optional guided meditation with Noelle in East Tower Long Room  leading into personal writing time.

9-11 Writing time for you (or 10-11 1:1 session with Noelle)

11- 12 Brunch is served. (Vegans catered for)

12- 2 p.m. Optional Workshop: Creating Characters & Emotional Authenticity with Noelle

2- 4 Optional archery

4- 6 Time to write or explore (or 1:1 Sessions)

6.30 – 7.30 3 course Dinner

7.30 – 9 p.m. Fireside share in Castle Drawing Room guided by Noelle

Saturday 5th February

Fruit, tea, coffee, & toast available in kitchen.

8.00  a.m. Optional guided meditation with Noelle in East Tower Long room leading into personal writing time.

9-11 Writing time for you (or 10-11 a.m. 1:1 session with Noelle)

11- 12 Brunch is served. (Vegans catered for)

12- 2 p.m. Optional Workshop: Symbols and settings with Noelle

2- 4 Optional falconry (we have yet to confirm this booking)

4- 6 Time to write or explore or 1:1 Sessions

6.30- 7.30 Dinner

7.30- 9 p.m. Fireside share in Castle Drawing Room guided by Noelle

Sunday

Full breakfast 9- 10 a.m.

Closing Circle and Check Out

About Your Tutor – Noelle Harrison

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Noelle Harrison is a fiction writer and extensively published author. Her novels and short stories have been translated and published in thirteen different countries. She has taught creative writing in Ireland, UK & Norway for both adults, teenagers and children in schools, and for organisations such as The Inkwell Writers Group in Dublin, Meath County Council in Ireland, The Big Smoke Writers’ Factory in Dublin, and Litteraturhuset in Bergen, Norway. Noelle has a Masters in Creative Writing with Distinction & an Associate Fellowship in Higher Education both attained at Edinburgh Napier University. She has lived and written in Ireland, Italy, Norway, and Scotland, and brings an array of cross-cultural skills to our retreats. Noelle’s most recent novels The Gravity of Love was published by Black and White Publishing in May 2018, and The Island Girls and The Boatman’s Wife were both published by Bookouture in April 2020 and January 2021. Her forthcoming novel The Girl From Across the Sea will be published by Bookouture in November 2021.

Noelle is also a qualified Yoga Teacher specialising in Yin, Restorative, and Menopause Yoga as well as Journaling. You can check out her weekly classes on www.restandrise.co.uk

Check out Noelle’s website to read more about her writing & books here.

You can follow Noelle on Instagram@noelle.harrison5

Booking Terms and Conditions

To book your place please pay deposit of £100. Email: scottishretreat2017@gmail.com for bank transfer details. Your booking is confirmed once we have received the deposit.

All deposits are non-refundable. If we are forced to cancel due to Covid Regulations we will reschedule the retreat.

Full payment is due by 23rd December. After this date we can’t offer any refunds unless we find someone else to take your place on the retreat. We recommend you take out your own private insurance.

No participants under the age of 18 years of age are allowed on the retreat, and no pets. There are three resident dogs at Springfield Castle.

All participants take part in the writing retreat and we ask you to only bring partners or friends who wish to write as well.

To create a relaxed space for everyone on our retreat, we are taking all precautions and procedures for a Covid safe environment. Numbers are limited on the retreat too.

Testimonials for Aurora Writers’ Retreats

‘Noelle’s Pure Fiction writer’s workshop turned into Pure Inspiration. Spending the weekend with an incredible author who freely shared her vast knowledge was simply amazing and by Sunday evening I felt like a completely new person. New doors of wisdom had been opened to me. I learned concrete techniques I could implement straight away, got loads of invigorating encouragement, and have been busy writing ever since. You’ll know where to find me the next time Noelle’s in town.’ Hilde, Bergen, Norway.

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‘I took part in Aurora Writers’ two-day writer’s retreat in Lauder, Scotland in February 2017 with Noelle Harrison and Melody Nixon.  Their approach was clear, practical and inspiring.  Whether you’re a beginner or advanced writer,
the teaching catered to every level.  Noelle and Melody’s experience, knowledge and know-how leaves you roaring to write.  If you get the chance to attend one of Aurora Writers’ Retreats don’t pass it up!’

Ila, Bergen, Norway

‘Noelle’s course is helpful, fruitful, and satisfying. The weekend as a whole is a delight and Noelle has a way of bringing out imagination in everyone, which results in stellar writing. The setting was idyllic and the community feeling among us was warming to my soul! I wish everyone, writer or not, would take this course to experience a positive outlet to express inner creativity and to dive into their subconscious. I continued to write my short story well beyond the retreat and was motivated to keep going. A great writing event and wonderful life experience!’

Elizabeth, U.S.

‘I first of all want to thank you both for a wonderful Sunday. I often struggle to spend an hour doing such worthwhile things, to have a day retreat was BLISS! Lizzie and Noelle delivered everything they promised, and more! I felt connected and held and I was surprised at how connected I was to the other goddesses!’

Kirsty, Scotland

‘A wonderfully nurturing and creative day. I found the pairing of yoga and writing very evocative. Thank you!’

Claire, Scotland.

‘Such an enriching experience with a great bunch of women.’

Lynne, Scotland.

‘I love yoga but had never seen myself as at all interested in creative writing – indeed I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t for study or for work for more than 40 years, and wasn’t sure it was something I could do at all.  Noelle and Vanessa put together a wonderfully integrated day where different kinds of yoga and prompts to writing flowed together effortlessly.  And I’m not sure how, but a poem flowed out of me – leaving me delighted and refreshed that a seam of creativity had opened up. ‘

Kate, Scotland.

‘I’m now going to incorporate yoga into my writing routine as I left the retreat feeling positive and relaxed. I can’t wait for the next retreat, I’ll definitely be going back.  I met a lot of welcoming lovely people who I hope to keep in touch with. We also had use of the spa at David Lloyd afterwards which rounded off a perfect day. I highly recommend Aurora Writer’s retreats.’

Jodie, Scotland.

You can read a full review of Jodie’s experience on our Beltane Retreat day on her blog right here

‘After a day at Aurora Writers Into The Light Yoga & Creative retreat in Edinburgh, I am adorned with the armour of my intrepid warrior self, the peaceful warrior and the creative warrior. No longer shall I walk this journey of literary and creative discovery on my own. No longer shall I be the lackey of self-doubt and trepidation. With my new literary companions from Aurora’s Writers’ Retreats forever by my side, fuelling me with the memories of an unforgettable and powerful session and a connectivity that stretches from Harrogate to Scotland, across to Norway and around the world, bringing together all women who have a bloody good story to tell.’

Francesca, Harrogate, U.K.

You can read Francesca’s full review of the retreat day on writing.ie

‘Noelle gives you confidence and holds space for everyone to ask questions, develop their knowledge and intuition. The exercise and meditations were a new way to connect to my deck and my readings have become clearer since I started the course. I would highly recommend this course for anyone that would like to learn about tarot or even deepen their knowledge of it.’ (Anais)

‘Both courses were extremely in depth and engaging, and have given me a new appreciation for the Tarot. There’s really nothing I can fault about the classes; the notes were extensive, the subject matter was beyond interesting, and your calming and knowledgeable presence gave the courses a very welcoming atmosphere.’ (Euan)

‘This course was excellent! I learned so much about Tarot and Noelle was a fantastic teacher. Of course, you can’t expect to do this and suddenly be amazing at Tarot reading. It takes practice but Noelle and everyone else on the course were so supportive and I was always made to feel very welcome. The sessions were manageable to attend via Zoom and it was nice meeting new people with a common interest.’ (Jess)

‘This retreat put me in the autumn spirit while giving me an invaluable tool for creative writing and development. The symbolism, imagery, and energy of the Tarot are a perfect vehicle for creative thinking. Noelle and Becky’s expert guidance has enabled me to use Tarot in my regular writing practice to generate new concepts and ideas, as well as develop current projects and overcome blocks. My current project already feels more nuanced and meaningful after the insight I gained from the retreat. Thank you!’ Brittany

‘I found the idea of using tarot cards in creative writing very original and inspiring. A great deck of cards could help anyone come up with new ideas for their story, or help them go over some writer’s block they might have. I recommend the tarot decks I used: one is a tarot with illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli, the other one is the Deviant Moon tarot by Patrick Valenza.
Noelle & Becky taught us some helpful techniques that we could use in order to improve our creative writing process. Highly recommended.’
Adriana
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SCOTTISH BORDERS RETREAT, FEBRUARY 2017

“My experience with Noelle, both working with her and attending PICTURE THIS!, is that she is a devoted and charismatic teacher. She connects with participants in a very special way so that the creative work is focused. Noelle has built very structured yet dynamic and enriching courses. The fact that she guides you step-by-step make her courses particularly attractive. The result is that you get to experience what she is teaching rather than hear about it. Creative blocks and fear of writing melt away and creativity kicks in. By taking one of Noelle’s writing courses, I believe you get a deeper understanding of what the craft of writing is and what your role should be in wanting to master it.” Karen Rosenstock, Litteraturhuset Bergen & Skrivekunstkollektivet

Last year I did a short story course with Noelle Harrison at Aurora Writers. I wrote The Spirit of the Lake, an idea that I had been tolling with for a while. But Noelle managed to make me focused and together we turned the story into something that I am really proud of! If you have time and chance to do a course with Noelle, don’t hesitate!! Nina, Bergen, Norway.

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PICTURE THIS, NOVEMBER 2017