Gillick's World: Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way Re-published August 2015 | Page 15

Cnoc Suain The Restful Hill Cnoc Suain, pronounced ‘Kunnuk Soo-in’, literally means ‘restful hill’ in Gaelic/Irish. Celebrating the fresh air and the peace and quiet, Cnoc Suain is a cultural retreat located in a 17th century hill-village amidst 200 acres of Connemara wilderness. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Galway, just outside of the village of Spiddal. The thatched-roof cottages, dating back to 1691 were restored, stone-by-stone, and over the last 16 years Charlie Troy and his wife Dearbhaill Standun have instituted award-winning programs to re-awaken the knowledge of Gaelic- Irish culture. After a tour of the facilities with Charlie, Dearbhaill invited me to enjoy coffee and freshly baked scones, as she related that both she and Charlie have educational backgrounds that combine, music (Dearbhaill is an accomplished fiddler), entertainment, botany, geology (Charlie was a science teacher), horticulture and storytelling. They dreamed of creating an educational retreat that would provide guests with an unforgettable experience steeped in Gaelic culture. Visitors can attend day or overnight programs—as couples, families or groups—to explore the mystery of the bogs (complete with tales of the bog men), learn about herbs and participate in cooking lessons, enjoy literary evenings, musical adventures (learn to play the tin whistle), traditional dancing, a Gaelic lesson…or simply walk in the wilderness and be transported back to the 17th Century. The restoration of the stone work and thatching of the cottages was accomplished with the help of two Romanian workers who were just finishing a contract in the area. The cozy cottages now include modern conveniences including a kitchenette. This is yet another “Secret” of the Wild Atlantic Way! For more information, visit