Kathleen Norris

This retreat was an eye-opener for me. I’m grateful to have seen the beauty of Northern Ireland, and also to learn more about the long-standing political tensions there. It was inspiring to hear from people who worked to establish the peace that ended the terrible violence of “The Troubles,” and from people who are working today on peace and reconciliation. I loved the quiet of the countryside in County Down and the spectacular Mourne mountains, the lively haven of the Corrymeela community, and the illuminating experience of our long walk through Belfast. Gareth Higgins, a native of Belfast, is ideally suited to open up the treasures of this unique part of the world. 

- Beloved Author Kathleen Norris

Penny Nixon

The eight days I spent in Northern Ireland were nothing less than magical for me. Gareth and Brian provided a soft place to land as they held the retreat participants in safety, trust and humor. The land of my grandfather called to me at a cellular level and I felt like I had arrived home.  The amazing people we were introduced to only strengthened my resolve to dig deeper into the work of peace and reconciliation. The retreat was real—like the people in Northern Ireland—no gimmicks, no pretense, no pat answers—just a deep soul-to-soul encounter of grace. It will be unlike any other retreat you’ve been on. You will experience yourself gently opened to story—the story of the land, of the people, and if you are ready, the story of your own soul’s journey.

- Penny Nixon

Michael Bush

I have journeyed twice to the North of Ireland for this beautiful, creative, and life-giving retreat.  Gareth offers insight, opportunities for reflection, and engaging stories that inspire and challenge me to live and tell a better story through my own life.  I delighted in ample opportunities to hear from other story-tellers, poets, and spiritual leaders, laugh and cry together with the other retreat participants, stand in spots filled with the stories and memories of past struggle and hope, and venture into stunning physical landscapes of sea, mountains, and pasture.  I am deeply thankful for the experience of these meaningful, powerful, and playful days. I will assuredly return to make new discoveries and new friends.

- Michael Bush

Dwight Lee Wolter

"Roughing it" ~ to me ~ means "no room service after 10pm." It was, therefore, a battle, of sorts, within me, to choose between the allure of a week of spiritual, cultural, musical, historical and joyful exploration ~ pitted against living in 400 year old, thatched roof cottages in Northern Ireland with a small assembly of strangers and a strong suggestion to set aside social media and news outlets in an attempt to build community. But I am glad I did! The food, the silence, the talks, the walks; the poets, priests, politicians, historians and troubadours that we visited and who came to visit us ~ all of them helped advance reflection, introspection, understanding and community-building ~ all the while respecting diversity. And there was plenty of time built-in for solitary walks, crafting one-to-one friendships, and exploring the geography of what is truly a magical, mystical isle.

 - Dwight Lee Wolter