Some time ago I was on the lookout for a low-key, rustic retreat when I came across Lake Isle Retreats in Fermanagh, a small rural hideaway where you can regain your physical and mental strength through yoga, t’ai chi and meditation – while enjoying an intoxicating feast of Eastern food and traditions (of which later).
My friend and I arrived at Lake Isle’s Mandala House on a dark Friday evening, after a surreal drive through fog-covered fields, with a full moon beaming down eerily on the lakes. To welcome us, there was a warming dinner – a preview of the gorgeously nourishing but feather-light food we were to be treated to all weekend. We then experienced the magic of a moonlit t’ai chi meditation session, followed by mantras sung by candlelight with our hosts.
The second day was an active affair, with an early-morning trip to Inis Rath Island to visit the Hare Krishna temple. We joined its residents for a traditional Vedic prayer ceremony to the beat of Bengali drums and Indian kartal bells. Next up was a walk at nearby Florence Court Estate, through swaying, creaking moss-covered pines, jumping over streams and sinking our boots in the dewy grass.
We ended the day with Buddhist meditation, more yoga and t’ai chi, a sleep-inducing massage, and bed by 9pm.
On our last morning we enjoyed a delightful Indian culinary session with the gastronomically-gifted resident cook, before reluctantly saying good-bye to our wonderful hosts, already planning our return. Something to think about for the next bank holiday…
For more inspirational food feasts, go here