Our Team

Olivia Kelly

Owner


Olivia manages all aspects of the retreat which include retreat planning, booking management, hosting guests, menu planning, recipe testing, cooking, promotion of the retreat, networking and of course all the usual business management and administrational aspects that are involved in running any type of business.

Olivia’s background and qualifications are a melange of business, culinary, social science and social care which she finds are all very conducive to her current role.  The most recent course she has undertaken was the MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at The Mindfulness Centre in Dublin. In 2014 Olivia graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery school.

Olivia holds a social science degree, B.Sc. (hons) Sociology and Criminology as well as various social care qualifications including certificates in Learning Disabilities, Bereavement and Counselling, Manual Handling, Human Growth and Development. Her business qualifications include certificates in Public Relations Certificate, Entrepreneurial Skills/Business Appraisal,  Sales and Business Development.


    Liz Richards

    Yoga Teacher


    Liz Richards is a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor with over 700 hours training and 6000 hours teaching experience.  Liz has steadily earned a reputation of excellence throughout her yoga teaching career.  Liz’s passion for yoga is preceded by a love of ballet, modern dance, gymnastics and equestrian sport in her teens.

    Liz’s enquiring mind and a desire to immerse herself more deeply in the philosophy behind the system of yoga and the hugely transformative nature of the practice led her to continually progress and further her own development and understanding of yoga and it’s benefits.  Liz specialises in Classical Hatha Yoga using the Vinyasa Krama System for all levels from beginners to advanced students. Liz is an exceptional and inspiring teacher followed by many. Liz runs a busy yoga studio in Wicklow town.


      Naomi Sturdy

      Yoga & Pilates Teacher


      Naomi has been teaching for over 10 years, starting out as a Physical Education teacher and then moving on to Yoga and Pilates teaching fulltime. She is a 500 hour qualified Yoga teacher and continues to study both in Ireland and abroad refining and progressing personal practices and techniques, as well as teaching qualifications. Naomi now teaches yoga teachers  YTT, yoga teacher training in Dublin. ‘My overall Philosophy is that we can experience great happiness and this starts with ourselves.  Through taking care of both our bodies and our minds we can really begin to live to our full potential. At the core of my own practice and teaching is the concept of challenging ourselves to grow and learn. Through taking time to connect to ourselves we can gain greater understanding, clarity and appreciation for ourselves and others.  I believe that each of us has a wealth of resources to deal with our lives effectively and live the lives that we love and enjoy. My classes are inspired by the Hatha style in which I trained and I love to also integrate flowing sequences.  I encourage each individual to challenge themselves to their own abilities in all postures. Movements are taught with a focus on alignment, breathing and relaxation”.


        Ross Cousens

        Tai Chi Teacher


        Ross is one of a number of qualified Master Ding Academy instructors teaching Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung in Ireland. He has been training under Master Ding since 1997 and has been assisting Master Ding with classes, seminars and retreats across Europe since 2001.

        Ross’s teaching aims to integrate the life affirming principles found within the ancient Chinese practices of Tai Chi and Chi Kung, with the hectic lifestyles that we all lead today.

        This fusion of the ancient and modern worlds is attained through the mindful practice of Tai Chi and Chi Kung on a daily basis. This inner discipline results in the much sought after Strong Body and Still Mind, as often described by Tai Chi texts. A movement based mind/body system teaching centeredness, stillness within, relaxation, flow and sensitivity. With a little bit of fun..


           

          Dr.Donn Brennan MB, BCh, BAO, MRCGP, MSCI

          GP and Ayurveda Doctor


          Doctor Donn Brennan, from County Kildare, was one of the first western medical doctors to train in India in Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health. He qualified in medicine in 1979 at UCD and spent the following decade working in different specialities in hospitals throughout the island of Ireland before becoming a General Practitioner (GP) in the UK. Since 1990 Donn has worked fulltime promoting, lecturing and consulting in Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health. He has featured in many newspaper articles and on radio and television. He has lectured and consulted in almost all the major cities in Ireland and Britain as well as Iceland and the Channel Islands. He has also given many seminars, advanced talks and courses including introductory courses for medical doctors and pulse diagnosis courses. In addition many thousands consult with him for ongoing health advice. Dr Donn Brennan is the founding President of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association in the United Kindgdom, which is the representative body of Ayurvedic practitioners and is currently assisting in government proposals for regulating the standards and practise of Ayurveda in the UK. He is also a director of the European Herbal Practitioners Association.


            Lou Horgan

            Yoga Teacher


            Lou began practicing yoga in 2000 and qualified to teach in 2004. Her journey began by attending a yoga class in a gym in Dublin, within a year she sat in a Himalayan ashram beginning to understand the true essence of yoga, far from its western interpretation. India led to London and an interdisiplinerary training with the Life Centre (Yoga Campus). In that time Lou trained not only with some of the UK’s leading teachers but international teachers such as Richard Freeman and Shiva Rea. It wasn’t until she met Rod Stryker of Para Yoga she found a teacher that communicated the science of yoga, using all elements, not only asana and pranayama but the more subtle practices of mudra mantra and and corner stone of any yoga practice, meditation. Rod took these ancient yogic techniques, “downloaded” by ancient cave dwelling sages and seers and communicated their relevance to Lou as a woman living and working in a busy city of the west. In July 2013 Lou graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition qualifying as a nutritional health coach. Lou believes the body is our greatest tool in connecting us to our true essence and the food we eat has all to do with how that miraculous machine operates. In the thirteen years Lou has been teaching her classes have evolved with her experiences in life. The journey yoga has taken her on, physically mentally and spiritually is always growing evolving and ultimately like life and the universe that we inhabit, expanding. Lou’s classes are not just a yoga class, she shares so much knowledge, her classes feel spiritual and get a real sense of connection to yourself and to nature.


              Geoff Fitzpatrick

              Mandala Meditation Facilitator


              I have two great passions, one is the exploration of consciousness the other is the construction of mandalas. In effect these are two sides of the same coin. The first time I saw a mandala was about 25 years ago. A group of Tibetan Monks came to Trinity College Dublin. They spent a week creating a magnificent Kalachakra sand  mandala. I was mesmerised by the experience, the colours, the shapes and the sound of the chak purs are as vivid in my memory today as they were all that time ago. It was eight years later in that very same university whilst studying psychology I came across mandalas for a second time.  I studied the work of Carl Jung and Stanislav Grof both of whom saw the mandala as a powerful psychotherapeutic tool.

              During this time at college I learnt how to meditate and cultivated a strong daily practice. The deeper my meditation experience evolved the more fascinated I became with consciousness and the nature of reality. After graduating from college I studied spiritual enrichment at the Milltown Institute of Theology for two years.


                Adam Kelly

                Personal Trainer, Life Coach, Sport Scientist


                Adam is the founder of Pura Vida Fitness, Greystones and also director of South Beach Pavillion, (SOBE) Greystones BSc Hons – Sports Science, Higher Dip in Entrepreneurial Studies, Dip in Life coaching. Adam is a Sports Scientist, a Life Coach, personal Trainer, triathlon L2 Coach, Irish Sports Council Tutor and former Triathlon Editor for Outsider Magazine. Working daily as a personal trainer, Adam though his work with over 1000 different bodies, uses a number of common tools, techniques and exercises that if done optimally gets you closer to that perfectly functioning body. Adam trains and races in Triathlon (Swimming, cycling, Running) with special interest in X-Terra Triathlon (off road triathlon). He teaches Ashtanga yoga to his clients. He has competed throughout the World in World and European Championship races. He is involved in other sports such as surfing and snowboarding. In 2009, Adam trained for and successfully completed an ascent of Mt Blanc, and snowboarded off its summit, just one example of the crazy adventures he subjects himself to.


                  Frances

                  Chef


                  Frances is a gem! She has many years food and catering experience. She is fantastic and a lovely person. Frances is a great cook and she shares my passion for vegetarian food. Frances keeps free range hens and we are grateful to be able to use these lovely fresh eggs. Frances used to have an artisan business where she sold her homemade curds, jams, pates and lots of other homemade goodies. She loves working at The Courtyard and we love having her.


                    Tina

                    Chef


                    Tina is a fully qualified chef and has been working in the industry for many years. We are very lucky to have Tina on our team, she is skilled, an excellent worker and a lovely person. She is also a vegetarian which of course adds value to the team. Tina is very sociable and enjoys chatting with the guests. Tina and Frances have become friends having much in common, including keeping animals, growing vegetables and living a self-sufficient lifestyle. The 3 of us form a perfect trio in the kitchen.


                      A special mention to my parents Noel & Dee.

                      Noel and Dee have spent the last 14 years restoring this special property from what was a very  dilapidated state. The courage and vision they had for this project was unquantifiable. The results are truly remarkable, thanks to a combination of Noel’s practical skill-set and self -learned knowledge of the renovation of old buildings and Dee’s exquisite taste of decor and finishing touches. The property has appeared in many renovation and interior design magazines to date.

                      Dee officially retired from being a teacher last year, her passion is working with autistic children, she still sub-teaches as she is finding it hard to let go! Dee grows herbs and vegetables in her vegetable garden and also forages for fruit for her jams. It’s wonderful to have access to her herb garden when cooking for the retreat, I pick/borrow some of her vegetables, when they are in abundance, of course! Dee kindly gives us jars of her lovely jams to use on the retreats.

                      Noel retired as a vet and food scientist about 15 years ago but then found his new career in property renovation! He is still working daily on a project which we hope will be the last renovation project in the courtyard. He is currently working with Sean, who is a skilled craftsman on our new dining room which will be ready in summer 2017. This will be a large atmospheric room in the same raw material style as the yoga room, preserving the old stone walls, retaining and exposing the old wooden ceiling joists with an open fire and a really warm ambiance. Noel and Dee are generally always present during the retreats and they love welcoming and interacting with our guests and I know our guests love their presence, though I am encouraging them to relax into retirement and travel more.