The Courtyard, Shillelagh, Coolattin, Co.Wicklow




The practice of mindfulness has many forms but can be described as paying attention in the present moment, with an awareness that is non-judgemental and compassionate. It is a way of being, a way in which we relate to what is going on in our mind and externally in our environment and in the universe. It is about being conscious and awake. It is about appreciating what we have in our lives, it is about being gracious. It helps us gain more feelings of happiness and contentment and leads to feeling calm, grounded and improves general wellbeing.

Mindfulness is about recognising thoughts for what they are, just thoughts. They are not necessarily true. Our minds can get carried away and can be very creative, the practice of mindfulness can help to free your mind of over-thinking and bring you back to the present moment, living more in the moment and less in the past or present.

Here’s a nice extract from a book called A Million Thoughts by Om Swami. “When I first started with intense practice. I didn’t fully understand the difference between mindfulness and alertness. They sounded almost identical to me. But after practising for a few thousand hours. Something remarkable happended. I discovered that if you are able to detect a thought with alertness just before if forms fully in your mind, the though disappears on its own, as if alertness actually shot it down’’

Mindfulness can help you let go of the auto-pilot mode that so many of us live in today. In auto-pilot mode we are stuck in habits and we are very detached from the present moment. A simple example of being mindful and practising gratitude would be when you sit down to eat a meal, rather than eating on auto-pilot, ask yourself where did this food come from, how did it get from fork to plate, who grew the vegetables, how did they get here, being grateful of having the privilege to eat such nice food and having enough to not go hungry. Take the time to really taste the food and appreciate the flavours, textures and colours. This simple practice brings you into the present moment. Practising gratitude does wonders for a happy state of mind.

The practice of mindfulness can be something as simple as being aware of the birdsong or trees or the colour of the sky on your daily walk to work. We can walk through city streets or fields and be totally unconscious of what is happening around us, our mind can be full of racing thoughts about the past or future and what-ifs, we are often in a state of auto-pilot, just wanting to get from a to b as quick as possible. It is possible to do the same walk and be aware of your environment, smells, sounds and this awareness of the what is gong on around you frees up your mind to allow you to come into the present moment. Mindfulness can be practised in many ways including meditations, mindful exercises, body scan meditations, mindful walks, breathing techniques and many more.

Our Guest Reviews

The Courtyard is a very special place. Stunning location in the wicklow mountains and then you have the buildings that have been renovated beautifully to create a calm restful open space. The yoga classes with Liz Richards were incredibly well planned so as to be suitable for a large group with mixed ability from total beginner to a teacher trainer. Don Brennan gave a 2 1/2 hour talk on ayerveda that was simply fascinating. I floated home after a weekend retreat and will absolutely be back. Thank you Olivia, that was exactly what I needed.

Isobel Mc Carthy

16 April 2019

The Courtyard Yoga Retreat is a very special place. It provides nourishment for the body and soul. A truly authentic experience in a wonderfully authentic space and place. Superb yoga with Liz a true yogi, who generously shares her knowledge and guides each individual through the practice carefully and attentively. The food is a delight home cooked and delicious. Olivia has mastered the art of creating vegetarian food that tastes absolutely divine. The surroundings of the beautiful original house and courtyard buildings, which have been loving restored by her parents Dee and Noel top off the entire experience offering serenity in the heart of Wicklow. It’s a truly special place.

Patricia Duignan

16 April 2019

An absolutely amazing weekend. Olivia and her family are so incredibly welcoming and professional. The location is just stunning and so calming. They've done such brilliant job at restoring it. You can see how much love and hard work went into it. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it (which is important after lots of yoga!) Liz, our yoga instructor was so knowledgeable and intuitive. I've been doing yoga for nearly two years and I learned more in those few sessions with liz than I've done in all my time practicing. She's so passionate.

Beth Maguire

15 April 2019

Best yoga retreat I’ve been on. Olivia and her family are so kind and welcoming. Place is fantastic and relaxing. Liz the yoga instructor was so knowledgeable and managed the class of beginners to advanced at ease. Food was delicious too.

Hilda Maguire

15 April 2019


Anne Reid

17 April 2019

"Great retreat today. Beautiful venue. Will definitely return"

Carol O Sullivan

10 Dec 2017

"My husband and I have nothing but positive to say about The Courtyard. We made to feel very welcome from start to finish, with a ‘home-away-from-home’ sort of feel the food was an absolute treat and the yoga teaching was insightful and inspiring. Would give 6 stars if we could."

Claire O’ Malley

19th March 2018

"Myself and my Mum had the most fantastic weekend at the Courtyard Yoga Retreat. Everything from the Yoga, to the food, to the setting and the welcome was second to none. Liz Richards is a particularly experienced and excellent yoga teacher. Olivia’s cooking is simply delicious. It is so satisfying, light but filling and extremely tasty and easy to eat. Both Mum and I can’t wait to come back. Thanks v much, Ali"

Ali O Connor

23rd March 2018

"Just back from a most amazing yoga retreat at the courtyard. From the warm welcome, yummy treats by the fire, amazing yoga sessions by Liz, and delicious and nutritious food, it was all just perfect for what I was looking for; rest, restoration, learning, good food and lovely company. Liz is a great teacher, bringing it right back to the basics and through her almost meditative stream of instruction bringing you to a new level of yoga awareness. Thank you all at the Courtyard. I will be back!"

Mathilde Murray-Veldt

14 Jan 2018

"Came to the courtyard retreat with my sister last weekend. It did not disappoint…..beautiful surroundings, comfortable accommodation and delicious vegetarian food. Olivia and her family were very welcoming, always on hand and worked so hard to make our weekend effortless. Liz is an amazing yoga teacher. Her classes allowed us to focus on the body, breath and mind. I felt revitalize and relaxed after a weekend of delicious food, excellent yoga and great company. Wonderful way to start the year!"

Geraldine O’ Gara

15 Jan 2018

"Just back from a weekend yoga retreat and feeling renewed and energised. The yoga classes were truly enjoyable and the vegetarian cuisine was excellent! Olivia is the perfect host and created a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout the weekend. I am looking forward to returning and enjoying another gorgeous weekend in this wonderful venue."

Jackie O’Brien

14th Jan 2018

"Just spent the weekend here . What an amazing place to kick start the year with mind blowing yoga , fantastic food and beautiful surroundings! A great experience I can’t wait to repeat !"

Clara De Paolo

15th Jan 2018

"Words cannot adequately describe how truly amazing the courtyard yoga retreat is … I was looking forward to my weekend but the reality was far better than my expectations. The yoga was incredible and meditative – I learnt more in a weekend than ever before… and the food…… amazing!! A nurturing wellness weekend- I will be back as soon as I can – thank you"

Fiona Barry

18th Jan 2018

"Fantastic day..enjoyed the fresh home made lunch, the desserts & the lovely sweet treats left out for us, The yoga was amazing & Liz is a super teacher, Olivia really made us feel @ home looked after us very well.Great company & beautiful scenic views around the area Will definitely be back"

Deirdre O Farrell

10 Dec 2017