Our lovely Etain was at a very alternative, untraditional and zen hen party last week. If you’re planning for a bride who has been there and done that, this unique hen party idea will give you tonnes of inspiration. Read on for more on Hippy Hen Party, A Completely Unique Hen Weekend in Ireland…
Having attended many over the years, my friend Amanda wanted to do something completely different for her hen party, and managed to pull it off in exceptional style. She located the Boghill eco retreat in Clare and a gang of twenty girls headed down for a special hen party weekend.
HEN PARTY DAY 1
On arrival Friday evening, we unpacked and explored the local landscape, (complete with rescued donkeys and forest walks, and possibly a risky short cut!) before returning to base for a delicious homecooked vegetarian meal, complete with homemade cake. The resident poet (yes really!) Alan, lit us a spectacular bonfire and we each placed some wood in the flames with our intentions, before chilling out on some picnic blankets and wine. One of the hens also delivered a handknit Michael D Higgins, who soon became the official mascot.
HEN PARTY DAY 2
Saturday morning began with an early breakfast and more veggie fare, before we headed to the lovely sunlit Octagon room a reflexology session (yes, not your typical hen party activity!). We partnered up and practised our skills on our lucky/unlucky partners, and then continued the relaxation with a hen party yoga class. The yoga class had an extra bonus of guided yoga nidra meditation or extra long savasana (there were a few snores from those who had hit the wine hard the night before!). The brave among us opted for a barefoot meditative walk in the grass – the feet got a lot of action over the weekend! There was some super zen sunbathing on the deck before even more eating.
In the afternoon, our creative impulses were challenged with some ceramics which we made from the retreats own on site clay. After some therapeutic clay bashing, we embarked on the more conventional ceramic activity of making candle holders which were left to bake in the kiln.
That night, over some gin and tonic apertifs and clad in our appropriate aran jumper theme (a must for a hen party in the west of Ireland!), we shared the questions for the Mr and Mrs Quiz (check out our Mr & Mrs Quiz Questions here). This might have been an alternative hen but you have to keep a few traditions!
Post dinner, we were ferried into Kilfenora with Michael D in the handbag, by a bus provided by the hostel. The location was halfway between Lisdoonvarna and Kilfenora so the end destination is optional. We chose Kilfenora as it had a trad festival on the weekend in question. There were a few more G&Ts enjoyed and some impressive set dancing moves in Vaughan’s Set Dancing barn (also the scene of the Chinese Pub in Fr Ted) before heading back to the ranch.
Hen Party Day 3
The following morning, there was a spoken word performance accompanied by the harp, by the aforementioned poet and based on details he had gathered about the bride and groom, and the bride had a beautiful bespoke poem as a memento, or even to use on the big day.
Unfortunately we had to depart, but that was probably just as well for the sake of the homemade cake. As the retreat is quite near the coast, we made a short visit to the seaside town of Lahinch, as well as the customary coffee stop in Barrack Obama plaza en route home.
The retreat centre certainly lived up to its promise of an alternative and heathy hen party (gin and wine optional!). It was certainly a thoroughly zen hen and I’d highly recommended. There was a very blissed out bride tribe by Sunday.
There is no alcohol provided by the venue however guests are welcome to bring their own. All food and the return transport to the local village pubs were included in the price. The accommodation is basic glamping style but comfortable with single rooms available.
The Boghill Centre was based in Co Clare. Venues offering packages for similarly styled zen hen venues offering yoga and alternative therapies onsite include the Elbow Room escape in Donard Co Wicklow, the Rock Farm in Slane, Co Meath, and Ard Nahoo Eco Lodge in Dromahair, Co Leitrim.