Ever heard of forest bathing?
The Japanese have long believed that spending time in woodland is a balm for both the body and the soul.
Now you can test the theory out for yourself at the Glengarriff Forest Gathering, a day-long retreat in an ancient Irish woodland, happening on the weekend of the Autumn Equinox, September 21st, 2019.
Set in the tranquil and historical Glengarriff Lodge, a wide range of walks, talks and workshops, both educational and therapeutic, are planned for the day.
Organisers, West Cork events company Gra Anam (Soul Love), are pitching the event as ‘an intimate gathering to connect with yourself and nature’.
Probably a decent opportunity to go offline for a few hours too.
So, what goes down at a forest gathering?
Guests will be collected at Casey’s Hotel in Glengarriff village at 9am and whisked away to the site, where they will stay until the bus returns at 9pm.
Tickets aren’t cheap (€120pp here) but they do include 12 hours of immersive forest activities designed to help guests to detox from the everyday world.
A seasonal lunch will be served before Forest Therapy Guide Kerry Walker explains how forest bathing, also known as ‘Shinrin-Yoku’, can create a sensory connection that has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve mood, boost the immune system and aid sleep.
Respected eco warrior Ted Cook will be leading a woodland walk ‘filled with science, storytelling and wisdom’, while educator Nikki Keeling of the Manch Project will be holding a practical and informative workshop on tree propagation and reproduction.
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Author and bioregional herbalist John Slattery will be presenting a talk on herbalism, wild plants and ancient cultures and, later, market gardener, eco-therapist and shamanic practitioner Helena Walsh will be sharing some indigenous everyday practices to help guide you through the changing seasons.
Mike O’Sullivan’s workshop will offer practical tips and advice on how to help our declining bee population to thrive with minimal interference.
The day will end with a delicious dinner and a screening of Call of the Forest, a feature documentary that follows visionary scientist, conservationist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, on her journey to the most beautiful forests of the northern hemisphere.
Not a bad way to welcome the first days of autumn.