Nothing helps you reconnect with what drives you as a runner and in life like exploring a foreign land, where every sight and sound is new and stimulating. At this women’s running and wellness retreat in Ireland, you’ll free yourself from the routine of daily life while enjoying the exhilaration of running the Emerald Isle’s most stunning and famous trails like The Wicklow Way, Valley of Glendalough, Cliffs of Moher and Killarney National Park.
You don’t need any trail running experience to participate in this retreat!
This fully guided running retreat will take you through Ireland’s most stunning natural landscapes, fascinating historic sites and off-the-beaten path trails and hidden gems that only our locally based guides know about. Freed from the burden of having to think about navigating, planning meals or taking care of others, you are able to focus fully on your self and your well-being.
Ireland Running + Wellness Retreat Itinerary
Day 1 | Glendalough
Our retreat begins in Dublin City, where we’ll pick you up at a central location at 1 p.m. and drive 75 minutes south to County Wicklow, where our retreat program begins. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our rooms at a family owned hotel nestled in the wooded valley of Glendalough. You’ll have some time to change your clothes before we gather for our Official Retreat Opening Meet + Greet, after which we’ll head outside for a relaxed, refreshing, short shake-out run. We will run past the famous round tower and the ruins of a 12th-century cathedral, then along the boardwalk leading to Upper Glendalough Lake. After our run, you’ll have some free time to freshen up before dinner.
Time on Trail: 90 minutes including stops and breaks
Day 2 | The Wicklow Way
After breakfast, we’ll drive about 25 minutes to the trail head at Crones, where we’ll have our first Natural Running Form Clinic to warm up before starting our point-to-point run along a spectacular and scenic stretch of The Wicklow Way that contours around the lower slopes of Djouce Mountain. Starting on a wooded trail, we’ll gradually ascend through fields of vibrant purple heather bushes to the high country, where we’ll enjoy views of the Irish Sea and Lough Dan. We’ll warm up with a hot traditional Irish carvery lunch, then have some free time before our first of three Wellness Workshops, followed by dinner at the renowned Wicklow Heather restaurant.
Time on Trail: 2 – 3 hours including stops and breaks
Day 3 | The Wild Atlantic Way
After enjoying an breakfast, we’ll begin our morning run along the Spinc Trail (“spinc” being Irish for “pointed hill”) which, after passing Poulnass waterfall, involves a long uphill in the early miles that rewards us with views over Upper Glendalough Lake. Today’s trail features long stretches of boardwalk that save our feet from the shoe-sucking mud bogs prevalent in this area. Later in the run, we follow wooden bridges over creeks and stone paths laid my miners way back when mining was taking place here. We’ll even see remnants of old stone buildings in which they lived. After a late checkout, we leave Wicklow and start working our way to the west coast, stopping at one of Ireland’s most famous pubs for lunch. We arrive in Ennistymon this evening and stay as an historic inn (with spa) for a relaxing evening.
Time on trail: 2 – 3 hours including stops and breaks
Day 4 | The Cliffs of Moher
After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel take a 20-minute drive to the starting point of today’s run along the section of coast known as The Wild Atlantic Way. This point-to-point run along a grassy and gravel coastal path that takes us to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited and iconic natural features. Weather permitting, today’s run is an out-and-back along a section of trail leading to the Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center and the nearby O’Brien’s Tower. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to take photos of this spectacular landscape before you resume running south. Back at the trailhead in Liscannor, you may choose to end your run here, or get in some path and road miles by adding another hour or more of running to the seaside town of Lahinch, where we all meet up for lunch. After lunch, it’s a 3.5-hour drive south to County Kerry, where we’ll check into The Lake Hotel, where we’ll stay for the next three nights.
Time on Trail: 2 – 4 hours including stops and breaks (depending on the option you choose)
Day 5 | Gap of Dunloe
After breakfast, we have a 25-minute drive to Kate Kearney’s Cottage at the mouth of the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain. Today’s run is a relatively easy and relaxed run on an historic road that we’ll share with hikers and horse-drawn carriages (colloquially called “jaunting cars”), through the Black Valley all the way to Lord Brandon’s Cottage on a serene lake. From here, we leave the road behind and enter a magical trail thick with lush ferns and moss-covered trees. At the run’s end, our driver meets us (with lunches packed) and we’ll drive to a nearby scenic viewpoint for a picnic lunch. After lunch, it’s a short drive back to our hotel, where you can enjoy some time this afternoon to explore the historic village before our second Wellness Workshop followed by dinner at one of Killarney’s best restaurants.
Time on trail: 3 – 4 hours including stops and breaks
Day 6 | The Waterfall Run
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll drive out to Killarney National Park. At the trailhead, we’ll have our third and final Natural Running Clinic, then start today’s run along a section of The Kerry Way known as Old Kenmare Road, one of the most scenic and historic roads along the Ring of Kerry. Even though it’s not long, the views and terrain through which we cross is varied and stunning, starting with Esknamucky Glen, a narrow pass between Cromaglan Mountain and Stumpacommeen high in the mountains, then through rolling hills of purple heather and ending at Torc Waterfall. You can choose to end your run here, or run another few miles back to the hotel. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy some free time to have lunch on your own, explore Killarney before our Wellness Workshop, followed by dinner in downtown Killarney.
Time on trail: 2 – 3.5 hours including stops and breaks
Day 7 | Muckross Run and Back to Dublin
This morning, you’ll have the option to participate in an early pre-breakfast run from the hotel that takes you through the ominous stone ruins of Muckross Abbey. You’ll return to the hotel in plenty of time to have a hearty breakfast, shower and pack up. We’ll have our Official Retreat Closing Meeting and take a moment to reflect on the week’s experiences. At 11:00 a.m., we’ll check out of our rooms and board the bus one final time for the return trip to Dublin. We’ll arrive in the city at around 4:30 p.m., where we say our final goodbyes before our final departures.
Time on trail: 30 – 45 minutes including brief stops
The total run distance for this retreat will be between approximately 35 and 48 miles. Each day’s run in this itinerary is represented by time spent on the trail rather than miles run because the mileage covered will depend largely on your run pace. Faster runners will cover more mileage than slower runners on some days. These run times include breaks to enjoy the views, take photos, eat and drink. The precise route and trails run may change due to changes to trail routes, weather conditions, guide recommendations and other safety considerations.
Note that trail running in Ireland can be challenging at times. Your retreat leader will provide mindful running tips and techniques for managing your pace and navigating the uneven terrain.
Wellness WorkshopsHow mindful running helps you stress less and run more
Part I: Stress and Runners
Where does your energy go? Do you ever feel too tired to run? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a training plan that you give up before you’ve begun? Do your long runs or hard workouts so wiped out that you’re pretty much useless the rest of the day? Discover what feeds your energy and what depletes your energy and how to stop the energy leaks.
Part II: Mitigating the Effects of Stress
How do you know if you're doing enough to build your fitness and reach your goals, but not so much that you're becoming depleted? You’ll design your own mindful running practice that will allow you to fulfill your goals and run with confidence. Discover how mindful breathing improves your running efficiency and dial down the stress response in any situation.
Part III: Values Inform Intentions
Running is an important part of your personal self-care routine, and yet, it can be so hard to prioritize sometimes. Fulfilling your potential is about living in alignment with your values. These mindful intention-setting exercises allows you to align your approach to running with you values around wellness, self care and fitness. Come away with a clear approach to balancing health with life's demands.
Natural Running Form ClinicsUse mindful running to be more efficient and recover faster
Part I: Power Posture
Use proper alignment to make gravity do more of the work. This reduces the muscular force involved with running so it feels easier and less strenuous on muscles and joints.
Part II: Focus on Efficiency
Use natural running techniques to drastically improve efficiency. You'll practice changing stride length, cadence and tempo on various types of terrain.
Part III: Find Flow
Put the pieces together to achieve the ultimate trail running experience. Learn to cultivate the circumstances for flow to occur by being relaxed and mindful.
Participant Photos + Testimonials
“This retreat far exceeded my expectations! It gave me an opportunity to learn where I can go with my running and I love connecting with all the awesome, inspiring women!”
–Maude B, Rochester, NY
Learned to Listen
“This retreat gave me a chance to escape from the daily pressures of life, and focus on me, what I want from my running practice and connecting with other women who love running. I learned how to use perceived exertion as a measure to guide me in my runs. It’s so easy to override what my body is telling me, and let numbers and data suck the joy out of running. Now I know how to get more satisfaction from how I feel than I ‘perform.’”
Joanne T., Spokane, WA
Retreat was a Dream
“This last week has been a dream. Run Wild Retreats put together a fantastic trail-running trip that improved my form and solidified a lot of what I’ve been thinking about running more mindfully.”
–Tracey S., Atlanta, GA
Organic and Relaxed
“I was concerned about going on a ‘scheduled’ vacation, but it didn’t feel scheduled at all. Everything was so well planned and coordinated, one experience just rolled into the next and I didn’t have to think about anything except having fun. I actually didn’t even realize anything was scheduled or coordinated, it just felt so organic, relaxed and fun!”
Refreshing and Rejuvenating
“This retreat was the perfect means to explore a beautiful country and share it with some phenomenal women. The time spent in Ireland was refreshing and rejuvenating both physically and mentally.”
–Peggy P., Denver, Co
Be in the Moment
“I learned to give myself grace on the run, be in the moment by setting an intention. Not every run has to be extreme to be incredibly rewarding.”
–Belinda E., Florence, SC
Renewed Love for Running
“Ireland was a wonderful retreat that I will treasure for a long time. I gained perspective, confidence in myself and a renewed love for running.”
–Caitlin S., Dublin, CA
Bringing Home a Positive Attitude
“I’m most proud of putting my best, most positive self forward at the retreat. Some might say ‘being on your best behavior’ around a bunch of strangers is fake, but I found that being positive and showing the best of myself was actually quite authentic. I’m taking from the retreat this attitude of positivity.”
–Katherine G., Tampa, FL
About Your 7-Day, 6-Night Retreat PackageIreland Trail Running + Wellness Retreat
Package Per Person (Shared Room):
Package Per Person (Private Room):
• Six nights’ accommodation in double-occupancy rooms in high-quality hotels
• Daily breakfasts and dinners, some lunches
• Daily guided runs with local runners and retreat leader
• Ground transportation and luggage transfers
• Pick up and drop off at Dublin International Airport
• Wellness Workshops
• Natural Running Form Clinics
• Trail snacks/energy food and drinks
• Run Wild Retreats gift bag
• Retreat Planning Guide
- Alcoholic drinks
- Other incidentals
- Guide gratuity
- Some ground transportation
- Travel/cancellation insurance
- Anything else not listed under “What’s Included”
We are staying in high-quality hotel rooms each night. These rooms all have two twin beds and ensuite bathrooms that you will share with one other person if you book a shared room, or on your own if you book a private bedroom.
Planning Your Travel
We recommend flying to Dublin International Airport on or before Day 1 of the retreat. Our retreat program begins at 1 p.m. (after lunch) on Day 1. If you fly in on Day 1, you are responsible for your own transportation from the airport to the Dublin City Center.
On Day 7, you may choose to be dropped off at the Dublin International Airport at 4:00 p.m., or in the Dublin city center.
- This retreat is rated Level II. This means it’s suitable for you if:
- You’re comfortable running/hiking six days in a row. Our shortest run is 30 minutes, but most are around 3 to 4 hours (including hiking sections, water breaks and photo ops).
- You must be able run at least 8 miles on the road.
- You’re OK with running/hiking on trails with loose dirt, rocks and some muddy sections. These trails feature a variety of surfaces, not all of which are easy to run on, but your retreat leader will provide tips and techniques for navigating the terrain and pacing yourself in this hilly environment.
- You’re OK with some exposure to cliffs or other high terrain
- You’re game for running in the rain (don’t worry about what to wear; we provide you with a comprehensive packing list).
- You have (or are willing to acquire before the retreat) trail running shoes.
September 12 - 18, 2021
SPECIAL: Book early and save $150!
Located in the Northern Atlantic, Ireland’s vast landscape is characterized by agricultural lowlands, hills, lakes and bogs surrounded by coastal mountains. Known as the Emerald Isle for its lush vegetation, this is a diverse island of extraordinary natural beauty and has a deep artistic and historical heritage.
The weather in Ireland is mild and ideal for trail running, as the country typically avoids the extreme temperature fluctuations. In September, the temperatures are typically between 48 and 55 degrees. We undoubtedly will encounter wind and some rain, however. For this reason, we recommend carrying a light wind/rain shell jacket on every run.
We spend most of our time at sea level, so elevation is not a factor in this retreat. A couple of our runs do take us into the “mountains” though these are low mountains that take us no more than a few hundred feet above sea level.
The trails we’re running are well-established, and some have been in use for millennia. The trail surfaces include dirt road, wide dirt pathways, singletrack trail and boardwalks (to traverse the shoe-sucking mud bogs!).
The traditional gastronomy, influenced by the crops grown and animals farmed in the island’s temperate climate and historical influences, is made up of meat, salted butter and potatoes. More recently, a “New Irish Cuisine” has emerged, featuring fresh vegetables, fish, traditional soda breads and a wide range of cheeses, locally made on the island. Traditional Irish Pubs, filled with Irish music, memorabilia and tavern-like warmness are an outpost of Irish culture, and popular among visitors to the island.
About Your Retreat Leader Charlotte Roennau
Charlotte Roennau is a former professional sprinter who has evolved into a mindful long-distance runner whose priority now is to run for fun. Once known as Denmark’s fastest woman, Charlotte’s competitive mindset was wired for goal setting, performance and achievement. But as career stakes rose—along with them, the pressure to perform—she discovered the drawbacks to gold medals. Failing to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in the 400 meter hurdles led Charlotte to period of depression.
Putting her track career behind her, Charlotte forged a new career path that combined her sports-science degree with a new interest in mindfulness and yoga. Charlotte spent a decade using sports as a tool to create peaceful co-existence, social cohesion and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Her work with Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) and Global Education through Sports (GES) brought the core values of sports to bring kids, families, communities and cities together in conflict areas with respect for diversity, religion, culture and gender.