Now there are hundreds of yoga retreats to choose from, but one that is on an isolated island in Ireland led by a seasoned practitioner and teacher of yoga, who is trained in Los Angeles by names such as Ana Forrest, Maty Ezraty, amongst many others, offers up her diverse training and personality to her students who make it to their mat.
Ducky Punch, Irish born, but a resident of Silverlake, returns to her home country about twice a year. She is energetic, vibrant and offers doses of her eclectic self to the beginner and skilled yogi, alike. I’ve recommended her to every family member and friend who practices yoga and not a negative review yet.
I met Ducky about 8 years (we joke about it being somewhere between 7-10 years) ago in a beautiful yoga studio she owned and operated in Los Feliz. It was where I practiced during the summer when I came home annually while I was away living in Barcelona. When I permanently moved back to LA and signed up at One Down Dog, I realized not only did she have two public classes there, but was a vital part of the yoga teacher training. I signed up and had the privilege of being trained by her and other outstanding teachers. The style I resonate with in my own teaching and practice is the one I learn on my mat when I am in her classes. The technique, anatomical precision and the importance she places on the physiological, as well as the mental, the humor she offers mid class, are what fill up her grounding classes week after week.
So, as I realized that her retreat would run in Europe as I was galavanting the continent, I decided to make the journey here myself (more like a pilgrimage).
I used to be a type A planner and a heavy duty one in fact. This trip is the direct opposite of my past self as I take it as it comes and sometimes pushing it to last minute with arrival to the airport or to the bus station. So, a night before my flight, I finally pulled up the bus schedules and realized that flying into Dublin was probably not the best idea, but it was too late to back out. In fact, I flew into Dublin from Barcelona, took an express bus (3.5hrs) to Cork.
I decided to spend the night in Cork and so happy I did. I discovered a delicious fish spot called The Fish Hatch, which also caters to the Imperial Hotel.
I spent the night and grabbed bus 237 from Cork to Skibbereen, to be greeted by the lovely Punch herself.
Mind you, there’s still a ferry ride that awaits us, hence why I’ve referred to it as a pilgrimage. However, the serene and scenic green pastures, with occasional Wifi breaks on the AirCoach, helped me sort out other travel details. Yes, there was free wifi ON THE BUS and charging capabilities with a USB cable. There seems to be a lot of that all around in Ireland. So businessmen and bloggers alike, you’re all set.
So if you ever need to make the journey to this part of Ireland, I provide you with the bus times, as well as the the moral support and reminder that the journey in itself is really as important as the destination. Plus, what awaits you on Heir Island with Ducky is going to be all you need to look forward to.
How to make the pilgrimage:
1. Get to Dublin (Cork is closer if you find a better flight in).
2. Go through customs
3. Exit to street level (ask information) or directly go outside and find AirCoach company if in Dublin. If you land in a Cork (find bus 226A to center) and skip to step #6.
4. Buy single or round trip ticket to Cork. Prices and info here.
5. Get on bus, connect to wifi and charge up. Enjoy the ride (3.5 hours to Cork)
6. From Parnell Square in Cork, take Bus 237 to Skibbereen. Schedule here.
7. I got picked up from this town and got a ride to the ferry. You might need to hitch a ride or take a quick taxi
8. Take the ferry to Heir Island from Skibbereen and voila.
For more info on the retreat itself, read this article. My thoughts and pictures of the actual retreat will be coming soon.