I stayed at the Tara Retreat Centre for a month in April 2017 to focus on creative work, and I am happy to vouch for the wonderful environment that TRC offers artists. I was delighted to get to stay in Brown House, with its view out onto the green hill and the flowers; the cattle slowly grazing their way across the hill, and the butterflies nectar-grazing their way across the garden patch, provided a wonderful interlude to reading and writing.

It was of great benefit to get to spend time without the noise of the city and emails going ‘ping.’ While I was able to get cell phone data reception on one hill, there was no reception on most of the TRC’s grounds; I was able to make contact with my family and friends every few days, but wasn’t interrupted in my living and working environment. Rather than spending spare time online, I took advantage of the many marked trails on the TRC’s grounds, and especially enjoyed the route across farmers’ fields that ends at a waterfall. The environment was so clean with comparison to the city that I noticed my eye whites getting whiter after I’d been in residence for a few days. Even if I didn’t like to hike, it would have been worth going just to breathe.

The meals were delicious. I’ve got a pretty robust appetite, so the homemade muesli and yogurt helped me get my engine started in the mornings, and the gorgeous offerings at lunch and supper kept me going nicely. I had to buy myself a TRC cookbook so I could try to recreate some of what I ate at the centre at home. The lentil lasagne was probably my favourite. Sitting down to lunch provided a great break from work, and the people I sat down with were a delight. The kitchen staff and the volunteers at the TRC are great fun, and their friendliness as well as their hard work help make the centre a calm and convivial environment.

Stephanie Yorke, from Nova Scotia, Canada