Forest Bathing Experiences

Ann Ward, founder of Xhale has a deep spiritual connection with nature. 
She inherited her great love of the landscape from her mother, whose birthplace was on the volcanic mountain of Slieve Gullion, nestled in between a number of sacred sites. Ann has practised meditation for over 20 years. As a result, she has created immersive, mindfulness experiences, courses and retreats using the gifts of meditation and the landscape.

Ann is an Accredited Meditation Teacher with the British School of Meditation. Ann is also a Certified 
Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) Guide and a Forest Therapy Practitioner with the Nádúr Centre for Integrative Forest Therapy. Her teaching practice is drawn from a number of ancient Eastern traditions and contemporary sources including Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Ann has a rich tapestry of experience in health, community development and peace-building, arts, education and private sectors. Personal empowerment is at the heart of all of her work where she offers transformative experiences and programmes tailored for individuals, groups and organisations. 

What is Forest Bathing?

Forest bathing is all about getting out into nature, and practising mindfulness while you take in your surroundings. Guided meditation and controlled breathing amongst the sights and sounds of the forest have a number of proven health benefits, including:

  • Reducing stress,
  • Improving your mood
  • Helping you to feel refreshed and relaxed 

At the Killeavy Castle Estate, we provide the perfect forest bathing retreat to help you achieve the best results. From unwinding in our onsite woods to enjoying locally foraged produce, our Estate is the perfect place to reconnect with nature.

Testimonials for Our Forest Bathing Experience

A recent participant review... ‘Slieve Gullion is a haven and was the perfect place for this retreat. It was an added bonus that Ann provided a wealth of knowledge about the landscape, a highlight was Ann’s facilitation and enabling me to enter a totally immersive nature experience, nature nourishing body and spirit. It is impossible to single out any one thing as it was the complete package that made it so magical, calming and restorative, warm, glowing, connected, secret smile and supported. I particularly loved using the senses to explore nature and concentrating on one sense at a time allows me to experience aspects of nature in finer detail. Ann, I can’t thank you enough for enabling me to be on this wonderful immersion in nature and a deep reconnection that I was so overdue. Thanks for bringing relaxation, calmness and mindfulness back to me again, I needed it!’ Mary from Belfast.

Nature Retreats at Killeavy Castle Estate - Rest, Reconnect and Re-energise

This restorative relaxation break is an opportunity for you to totally switch off, slow down and reconnect with nature. You will experience the Japanese wellness practice of Shinrin Yoku/ Forest Bathing and take home a taste of the landscape as well as the special holistic benefits of the practice. 

Our nurturing, nature retreats take place in the majestic setting of Killeavy Castle Estate, within 350 acres of woodland and farmland. This is nestled at the foot of the volcanic mountain of Slieve Gullion within the magical Ring of Gullion, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Our Restorative Relaxation Break includes:

  • Relax for 2 nights within the forest environment, in a superior room at the boutique Hotel at Killeavy Castle Estate
  • Enjoy homegrown, local and seasonal produce during your dining experience which has a farm-to-fork ethos
  • Two-course lunch on arrival and on day two
  • Seven-course Taste of Killeavy Dining Experience on the first evening
  • Three-course dinner in the bar on the second evening
  • Two leisurely breakfasts on days two and three

Day One

After lunch, your Holistic Guide, Ann, will welcome you to your first two-hour forest immersion. She will offer you a number of creative invitations including mindfulness meditation, to support you to deepen your connection with nature through your senses. 

Forest Bathing/Shinrin-Yoku is an evidence-based wellness practice which evolved in Japan as a stress prevention intervention. Two hours in the forest boosts your immunity for up to ten days. It also boosts mood, energy and nurtures creativity. You will taste this special landscape during a tea ceremony as part of this experience in the forest with tea specially prepared with herbs and plants from the Estate. 

Then time to chill out before your dinner. Enjoy the Hotel’s complimentary thermal facilities or enjoy the tranquillity of the beautiful grounds of the Estate.

Day Two

After a leisurely breakfast, Ann will invite you on your second forest bathing immersion. Ann will continue to support you to switch off, allowing your mind to rest and deepen your connection with nature. You will experience more of the holistic gifts of this wellness practice. 

We will celebrate this immersion with a tea ceremony with a special homemade Estate tea. Relax with a one-hour Spa treatment of your choice, rest in thermal facilities and chill out before dinner

Day Three

After breakfast, enjoy a Forest tea-making workshop with Executive Chef Darragh, using seasonal herbs and flowers from the working farm. Check out from the Hotel and take home with you the gift of mindfulness and holistic benefits of forest bathing.  


Upcoming Events in 2023

Spring: 3 to 5 April | Summer: 12 to 14 June | Autumn: 4 to 6 September | Winter: 6 to 8 November

From £350 per person (prices are based on two people sharing)

Book Now through the offers sections of the website by calling the Hotel at +44 (0) 28 3044 4888

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