Testimonials of the Fiddlers Retreat experience that is continuously enjoyed by men and women of all ages from 12 to 80; all levels of music ability from absolute beginner to professional level players, from all corners of the world.

Since I came back to Japan from Ireland I am still thinking of my unforgettable time at Fiddlers Retreat. Everything I have experienced was just amazing and I am sure it is something I couldn't experience if I was on a normal holiday trip! I've learned so much from the lessons, enjoyed exploring the local areas afternoon,and enjoyed lovely time with lovely meals at home.

The most special experience was the sessions at the local pubs.
I still cannot believe that I played the fiddle with local people in local pubs!
I had only 2 years experience in fiddle when I decided to attend Fiddlers Retreat, but I have come to enjoy playing the fiddle with more confidence thanks to Theresa. It was an amazing experience and will stay in my memory forever. I would like to thank you for making such a great holiday opportunity,Theresa! Your hospitality and smile made me happy. I would love to come back again some day.
Best Wishes,
Akiko

 

 

I have been trying to get into Irish fiddling on my own for some time and went to Theresa's Fiddler's Retreat to improve on my techniques and learn about the art from it's source. There is probably no one better than Theresa to go to for this experience because its easy to see that she sincerely loves traditional Irish music. She shares her love and knowledge gracefully and patiently. She helped me with some technical aspects of fiddling but also improved my confidence about playing. Our lessons were very enjoyable and a great way to start the day. The food was delicious and Theresa was very accommodating to my vegetarian diet. We shared traditional Irish meals and great conversation. The evenings in the pub were awesome; I felt like I got to see "real" Ireland and I even had a chance to play along at one of the sessions! I would recommend this holiday to anyone who wants an "off the beaten path" Ireland experience. Theresa will introduce you to people and places that would be nearly impossible to find if touring on your own. My boyfriend, who is a non-fiddler also had a great time on this trip as beyond the fiddling, Fiddler's Retreat offers so much in the way of experiencing traditional Irish culture. This was a vacation that we will never forget!
Thanks again for everything Theresa.

Catherine and Mike

 

 

I have been a professional violinist for the past 20 years. Classically trained, I have been playing in Irish bands for the past three years. I met Theresa on my last trip to Ireland and we got together to play violin and drink coffee! She was so open, unassuming, and knowledgable about all styles of Irish music. Within the first few minutes of our mini-lesson, she taught me a few things that instantly made my playing much more authentic and traditional sounding.

Theresa is a true teacher and has a gift of conveying traditional Irish violin technique easily. She is a wonderful violinist and person and I highly recommend her Fiddler’s Retreat Workshop. 
Christine Flowers

 


" I still remember some people very surprised when i told them that i came from the southern most capital in the world, Montevideo, which es the main city of the smallest country of South America , and i mentioned that my intention was to live some days very close to the heart of irish culture, playing and learning irish fiddle music. I never felt too far from my home country thanks to the hospitality and warmth of the irish people.
Having lived a week in a real irish atmosphere, talking with the people, learning a lot of tunes, taking trips and sightseeing medieval castles and abbeys, playing at the pubs at night, enjoying the delicious traditional food. This meant to me one of the most important experiences of my life and i dream of returning one day. In that week i had the oportunity to play in three special and differents pub sessions.
The first was in a warm and friendly setting, with some musicians playing a great variety of reels. I remember a man telling a story with great charisma in his own way of expression, with a particular irish accent that surprised me, and i noticed that the patrons of the pub were in a deep and respectfull silence while he related his tale. The second pub, was the largest of the three sessions that i attended. Lots of musicians, lots of village folk, and it was a very energetic and charming session. The last session was in a very special small, warm, and intimate family run pub, where i had the privilege to play one of my most favorite irish slow airs. That was really an experience that i will carry in my heart and soul forever.
Theresa is a wonderful fiddler, an excellent teacher and an incredible host. She puts all her passion into what she does, and delivers it with such happiness, making you feel like you were at home. An experience worthy of repeating."

Marcelo Saldías Lüscher
Montevideo, Uruguay, South America.

 


" I stumbled on 'Fiddler's Retreat' a couple of years ago, but never had the courage to actually book a week of private fiddle lessons. I'm self taught and don't read music and only play 'by ear'. Recently I played with some friends who gave me a little confidence, I decide then to take the plunge and go to Tipperary. I Emailed Theresa Bourke told her that I was a novice, and that I was scared stiff at the idea that I might have to play in a pub during that week. But everything went smoothly, and after the first lesson when I learned a new tune my confidence grew and grew, the second day in the evening we played in a local pub with friends, of Theresa it was magic. The whole atmosphere makes you want to play, the week went terribly quick, We went out almost every night in different Pubs to soak up the music.
The evening meals cooked by Theresa at home were great and my friend Mary who came with me and although she doesn't play the fiddle enjoyed every minute of our stay and had time to visit the towns and villages around Loughmore and Thurles.
I thoroughly recommend it, I certainly will go again. The net result is that I am playing more and better than before with much more confidence. A great holiday!
Alain Chassaigne

 


"As a non playing guest I was rather apprehensive about accompanying Alain to Fiddlers Retreat but I needn't have worried because I had a great time. Within minutes of entering Theresa's house I felt completely at home. The food, accommodation, music, conversation and setting were excellent. While Alain and Theresa played music I explored the pretty village, enjoyed long walks or wallowed in the sheer luxury of reading, without interruption, for a couple of hours. In the afternoons, Theresa whisked us off to destinations of our choice. I particularly enjoyed Cashel and Kilkenny.The evenings were great fun, I even did poetry readings at a couple of the venues!
It was wonderful to see {or should I say hear} Alain increase in confidence and expertise. I know Alain would like to go again and so would I.
Ps the farm pub is not to be missed.
Mary

 


Theresa Bourke's Fiddlers Retreat not only allowed me to learn excellent traditional tunes with a phenomenal teacher, it gave me a real sense of the Irish community. From friendly locals I met on the road, to the fantastic musicians, I think I experienced the best of everything Ireland has to offer. I saw my technique improve noticeably throughout my stay. 
The morning instruction gave me the chance to observe, play, and ask questions, while the evening sessions immersed me in the music to force me to use what I had l learned. And the only thing that could beat the beautiful afternoon sightseeing was the delicious and hearty meals. I couldn't wait to tell all my family and friends about my wonderful experience, Its difficult to convey just how amazing of a time I really had and I would recommend this retreat to anyone in a heartbeat!!!!
Monica Nigon

 


The Fiddler’s Retreat has become one of the most influential experiences of my life. My family and I had always wanted to make a trip to Ireland and experience its’ authenticity, and that’s exactly what Theresa showed us. Having now had real exposure to the Irish culture and learned so much about the Irish fiddling style, I have grown as a musician. The Retreat has given me a confidence in my playing, and I’ve never played as well as I do now. 
On top of the musical aspect, Theresa showed us Ireland through the eyes of a local. The music sessions and the afternoons we spent doing historical tours and sight-seeing, gave a real taste of what the country is all about. Staying in a real Irish home, with traditional Irish cuisine and a truly accomplished fiddler, showed me what it meant to be Irish. The trip to Ireland through Theresa’s Fiddler’s Retreat was the chance of a lifetime. Not a day goes by, where I don’t feel comfort at thought of being back in Ireland, and re-living the experience.
Ailsinn McDougall

 


Our 17 year old daughter spent five days with Theresa at her Fiddler's Retreat this past April. It was the most incredible experience she has had in her 10 yrs of fiddling. Being brought up in a Canadian family with strong Celtic roots, she soaked up every minute possible both musically and culturally. We have three other children and as a family play a variety of traditional Celtic instruments. We had always hoped to go to Ireland someday and when the opportunity of the Fiddler's Retreat presented itself, we could not pass it up and we spent 2 weeks in total in Ireland. 
As parents travelling to a foreign country and leaving our child in the care of a virtual stranger, we had absolutely no reservations after about 30 seconds. Theresa welcomed us into her home with what we soon found to be typical, warm, genuine, Irish hospitality. We rented a cottage about 10 minutes drive from Loughmore and were able to join our daughter on the afternoon sighteeing trips and in the evenings, participated in the sessions with the local musicians.
Our daughter has flourished as a fiddler and as a family we can't begin to explain all that we have gained. We would all go back in a heartbeat.
Theresa's goal is to have people experience the spirit of Ireland and there is no question for us that she accomplished that. We feel that during our week with Theresa we truly lived like the Irish and for that we thank her!
Terry and Rob McDougall, Canada

 


I came to FIddlers Retreat as I had decided to accelerate my learning with additional tuition supplementing my weekly seasonal lessons in Glasgow. I thoroughly enjoyed the tuition, company and chat of host and otherstudent (Diane Hite), sitting down to a lovely mealand the surrounding countryside. I Had been previously taught to read from sheet music and my playing skills where basic prior to arrival had only played by ear once before (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye) but with huge class size. The one to one tuition enhanced my learning by ear skills and made me much more attuned to this method.
The music sessions in the pubs (Although not confident enough to participate) in were some of the highlights for me. The visit was great and exceeded my expectations, visiting another part of Ireland whilst being looked after and taught by a welcoming, very patient and well qualified host (That’s u Theresa). You learn the very different method of playing by ear from a professional musician and you will leave with much greater confidence and enthusiasm.
Gerry Gallagher, 48 and Losing Count!, Glasgow, Scotland

 


This was my first trip to Ireland with a fiddle on my shoulder, and, as I relaxed into my seat on the high-speed train from Dublin, I was already imagining the musical treat in store at Theresa Burke's Fiddler's Retreat, which came highly recommended by a friend.
Loughmore in County Tipperary is a quiet village, rich in history, an ideal place to get away from it all and concentrate on Irish music.
We got plenty of exposure to the music in all its forms, from the regular morning learning-by-ear classes at home, via an evening music-and-dance extravaganza at the excellent Brú Boru centre, to late-night pub sessions, some crowded, some intimate. People we met were welcoming and shared their music generously: you pick up fairly quickly when and where to join in, and being invited to start a tune or two in an intimate session was a real buzz.
Famously, they do things slightly differently in Ireland, so go with the flow. Dinner might be at five one evening, depending on the evening's activities, and you will usually have to sort yourself out with a sandwich at lunchtime. The food is good and plentiful, and Theresa's dinners provided a relaxed and enjoyable opportunity to get to know our hostess and fellow guests. Afternoons were spent in towns like Kilkenny and Cashel, where we were free to explore- such exploration somehow always leading to a sampling of local produce in liquid form...
In terms of organisation, Theresa's low-key approach works well, and things happen without fuss, which suited me down to the ground. I came away from Loughmore having had a lot of fun, understanding a lot more about the place of music within the culture, and with many points to work on in my playing.
Just two things to add: 1) Theresa was an All Ireland fiddle champion as a teenager back in the 90's- we had to force that information out of her!- and
2) Fiddler's Retreat is not exclusively for fiddlers- other instruments by request.
Christopher Smith
England


Andy Sugden

Age: 52

Plymouth, England.

Ability prior to Fiddler's Retreat: advanced learner.

Ability after Fiddler's Retreat: slightly more advanced learner.

I'd seen an article about FR in Fiddle On magazine and thought it looked to be just what I wanted from a fiddle course. The small class size was very appealing, the location looked stunning, the promise of visits to sessions in the evenings right up my street.

I was made to feel welcome from the moment I arrived in loughmore (the travel directions on the website were easy to follow); Theresa is a very warm and gracious host. The home cooked food is delicious and the accommodation is very comfortable.

As a teacher Theresa is both patient and encouraging. Every type of tune from jigs and reels to polkas and hornpipes are covered. First she'll play the tune slowly, then at normal speed before going through the tune with you, explaining bowing techniques and ornamentation far better than any book could. She was also very helpful by pointing out how my technique could be improved, a wandering bow being a particular fault of mine. I can say, without hesitation, that both my understanding of Irish music and my fiddle playing benefited from my stay at Fiddler's Retreat.

Besides the food, company and fiddle tuition, the highlights of my visit were the evening pub sessions. The local musicians were welcoming and inclusive, inviting us visitors to lead a tune if we wished. Theresa also took us on guided visits to local places of interest including Cashel and the hotel where Arthur Guinness fist brewed his elixir.

I had hoped to gain a better understanding of the fiddle and Irish music from my visit to Fiddler's Retreat, my hopes were fulfilled and more. The one-to-one tuition is priceless, you couldn't ask for a better teacher than Theresa.

If you too wish to experience real Irish music, as opposed to that often put on for tourists, go to Fiddler's Retreat. If you are a fiddle player wishing to improve your technique, Fiddler's Retreat is your place to go. If you want to enjoy fine home cooking and a relaxing atmosphere in beautiful country side, you'll find it at Fiddler's Retreat. I certainly hope to return some day.

 


Last summer my Dad and I went to Ireland for his 60th birthday. The trip was amazing and could not have been better. He took Theresa's class, and loved it. The one on one attention and her in depth knowledge was great. His skills dramatically improved. I would suggest anyone to take her class, you will not be disappointed.

Woody and Barton Palmer

 


We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Theresa and overall experience in Ireland and at Fiddlers Retreat where your hospitality was excellent for both myself and for Anne & Shuna. I am retired and am a late starter to fiddle music so find it difficult to memorise tunes and play without music. However, your patience and teaching method has improved my fiddling skills. Anne & Shuna enjoyed walking around your lovely village and the sightseeing tours. Overall the content of the 3 day stay was just right. The lessons, the sightseeing tours, hospitality and the evening sessions were just what we wanted.
Regards and many thanks for a lovely time,
David & Anne Thomson

 


We were a group of three ( one Austrian and two from England ) and it wasgreat fun to stay at your place. Not only did I learn very much about Irish fiddle music but also very much about the Irish way of life. Every day in adifferent session in an Irish pub was absolutely great !
Thank you very much Theresa

Oswin Donnerer
Austria

 


"Excellent tuition, food, and an authentic Irish Experience at Fiddlers Retreat"

For someone who wants to learn/improve their Irish fiddling skills, this place cannot be beat. Theresa is a great teacher and knows all the tunes. She is also an expert chef--I am on a restricted diet, and Theresa made an amazing array of food meeting my requirements. I visited FR in March 2006 from the states and plan to return next year and beyond.

The rural atmosphere and sessions in small cross roads towns are a real contrast to the slick professional sessions in the cities. The music is amazing and the people are incredibly friendly.

The area is very scenic and somewhat off the beaten path. Definitely not touristy, you see the real Ireland.

My only complaint is the extra pounds I put on from overeating...

Diane Hite.
 

 

"Amazing Retreat"

The Fiddler's Retreat was a fantastic experience. I am a 17 year old fiddler from Alberta, Canada and I spent three days with Theresa at the F.R. this past summer. Everything was great. I learn't more tunes in those three days than probably any other three days in my life and it was a great way to get comfortable playing the irish music before heading out on my own to the pubs. The food was incredible aswell and the sightseeing tours were a great way to see Ireland. Overall the F.R. was an amazing way to start our trip to Ireland and i would definitly recomend it to anyone who plays the violin or just likes the music. It was outstanding!

PJ Jump, Red Deer, Canada

 

 

"Unforgettable Irish Fiddling Adventure"

"So Maya, how was your Thanksgiving?" a coworker would ask, to be followed by a slow smile, revealing both confusion and envy, as I answered: "Well, naturally, I spent the holiday in the Irish countryside, learning traditional fiddle, visiting medieval castles, and swilling hard cider and Guinness!" And I must say, Theresa Bourke's "Fiddlers Retreat"-- which is open all-year long in charming Tipperary County, Ireland-- was a most unique and unforgettable way to spend that long November weekend. In just three days, I learned and memorized many traditional songs for Irish fiddle under Theresa's expert instruction, ate absolutely SUPERB home-cooked "nouveau-Irish" cuisine made from fresh, locally-grown ingredients, and visited must-see tourist attractions, including the enchanting castle ruins at Cashel and the lovely, bustling town of Kilkenny. If you are a violinist, or any musician, with an interest in Irish music, I urge you to check-out FR! For me, it was honestly worth every penny-- even with the jet-lag.

JCMaya, Jersey City, NJ

 

 

"A Wonderful Holiday"

I spent a week with Theresa in Loughmore studying traditional Irish fiddling, and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Her food and hospitality were wonderful, and the fiddle instruction was top-notch.

If you're looking for great value for your money, I strongly suggest that you try the Fiddlers Retreat...even if you're not a fiddler! You will get a real taste of Irish life, hang out with a fun hostess, and travel all about the county touring the pubs, the attractions and enjoying the ride!

 

 

"Fabulous Fun and Fiddlin' "

This is truly the experience of a lifetime! Theresa, our host, treated us to the most fabulous times. Meals are wonderful, accommodations are excellent, instruction in fiddling is top-rate and her willingness to tour us around to attractions was unflagging.

We enjoyed touring the area, attending sessions in a variety of pubs and the wonderful hospitality of a top-notch hostess. Great value for my money, this trip to Ireland was a great succss and one that I would repeat in a heartbeat.

Don't miss out! Even if you're not a fiddler, Theresa will share the real Ireland with you, and you'll never regret spending time in Loughmore!

Michele Amy, Canada

 

 

"Enjoyable and Effective way to get ahead with your playing"

My name is Erez Avisar from Jerusalem, Israel.

Before I came to Theresa's house I could'nt play even one tune correctly. She taught me the basics and much more than that - she beleived I could do it! In the end of the week I got to play along with Theresa about ten(!!!) tunes - like a real session! so you make the judge! The food she made for us and the accomodation (in her house) were five stars if not more! And I also got to see aound Ireland - those amazing places and the Irish wonderful culture! Thanks Theresa for everything - you gave me the push that I really needed!

Erez.

 

a review by Julie Harvie, Scotland

Being a fiddle enthusiast, I decided this year to scan the internet for some kind of fiddle tuition during the summer months. That's where I came accross 'Fiddler's Retreat'. I thought it sounded like my ideal holiday. An experienced traditional Irish fiddle tutor, good food and accommodation set amidst the beautiful scenery of Tipperary. What more could I ask for? I had to go!

Having spent a week in Fiddler's Retreat I can honestly say that I certainly wasn't disappionted by any aspect of the trip. On arrival I was given a warm welcome by Theresa and was very pleased by the standard of the food and accommodation throughout the week.

Theresa taylored the fiddle tuition to suit me each day and I received one to one attention. I learned a lot from her strong rythmic style of playing. My host also arranged for sight seeing outings and trips to sessions most nights which were great craic!

I would thoroughly recommend Fiddler's Retreat to anyone who wants to experience Irish traditional music, food, culture and friendship!

 

A review by Miki Kawabata, Japan.

Thank you very much for a great experience! Fiddlers Retreat is one of the best choices I have made in my life. Thank you for giving me encouragement and for showing me how to enjoy playing the violin. I enjoyed playing the fiddle, eating delicious food and I have come to love Ireland very much, With Love. Miki.
 

A review by Helge Fleischer, Germany.

Theresa, it was a great pleasure to have been part of your fiddle class. The fire for Irish fiddle music was ignited in my heart, I enjoyed your home cooking every day and thank you for making me feel like part of your family. It shows but one week on the calendar but for me it was one of the best weeks of my life. Helge.
 

A review by Richard Williams, Scotland.

Thank you for a wonderful fiddle and holiday experience, for your kind words of encouragement, helpful hints and for drawing out the best of my ability. I feel my fiddle playing has improved tremendously. As you know, prior to my arrival I was only interested in the fiddle playing aspect of things, however, I must congratulate you on the balance achieved with the organised trips to beautiful places such as The Rock of Cashel, Lough Derg, Kilkenny City etc. The visits to the evening pub sessions were something else! On top of this was all the fiddle playing we did at home into the early hours after the sessions. And the food! - your meals were so delicious, I was sure I was going to put on weight - but no, I can only think this was due to the high quality of the food itself and of course the way you prepared and cooked it all. All I want to say is a big Thank You for a very special week of emotional experiences that will remain with me for the rest of my days. With warmest regards, Richard.
 

A Review by Larry Pontious, USA

Hi! My name is Larry Pontious and I live in St Louis, Missouri, USA. I took a couple years of violin lessons in my teens, and 30 years later I picked it up again. This time, I decided to becom
e a fiddler and I started learning Old Time music. Then I fell for the second love of my life, Irish Traditional Music. Since then, I feel like a kid in a candy store and simply cannot get enough of this music. 

I couldn’t think of NOT going to Ireland to see it, hear it, and live it. And that’s what I did. As part of a two week vacation, I spent 3 days with Theresa at the Fiddler’s Retreat and it was absolutely fabulous. I’d say it was an once-in-a-lifetime event, except that I plan to go back! 

The day starts out with a wonderful breakfast, followed by lessons with Theresa. She is as good a cook as she is a fiddler! In the afternoon, you have the chance to sightsee in Co. Tipperary. I will always remember the Rock of Cashel and would like to spend more time at Kilkenny. Most evenings involve going to a session. Listening to a live session is exciting enough, but getting to participate is priceless. In regards to fiddling, Theresa introduced several new techniques to me that improved my playing, and surviving the sessions has increased my confidence. An unexpected benefit was meeting some wonderful people and making a new friend that lives in Tasmania. We still keep up with each other and hope to go back to F/R in 2009.

With no reservations at all, I highly recommend the Fidder’s Retreat and only wish I could join you there.

A Review by Gerry Gallagher (48 and Losing Count!), Glasgow, Scotland

I Had been previously taught to read from sheet music and my playing skills where basic prior to arrival had only played by ear once before (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye) but with huge class size. The one to one tuition enhanced my learning by ear skills and made me much more attuned to this method. I decided to attend Fiddlers Retreat to accelerate my learning with additional tuition supplementing my weekly seasonal lessons in Glasgow.

I really enjoyed the tuition, company and chat of host and other student (Diane Hite), sitting down to a lovely meal and the surrounding countryside. One of the highlight were the music sessions in the pubs (Although I was not confident enough to participate)

The visit was great and exceeded my expectations, visiting another part of Ireland whilst being looked after and taught by a welcoming, very patient and well qualified host (That’s u Theresa)

You should go if you want to learn the very different method of playing by ear from a professional musician and you will leave with much greater confidence in all areas of your playing.

 

 

A Review by Brittany Rogers, 18, Maine 
I am a senior at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. I grew up learing a mixture of Suzuki and classical violin. I have always been interested in broadening my repertoire with Irish fiddling but never go the chance to study. Part of being a senior at Gould, we are required to perform an independent study project of ones choice. I have Irish roots and have always been interested in the culture. When I was thinking up ideas for this senior project, I came across the Fiddlers Retreat program. Through the emails back and forth with Theresa, I knew that that would be a perfect project and immediately knew that would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and also a perfect senior project. I did not expect it to be a life changing experience. Theresa makes you feel right at home with her cooking and hospitality. Not to mention her fiddle skills are remarkable. I took all the tunes I learned from her in the week I was there and returned back to America to record the tunes. You get to emerse in the Irish culture through their music and that was all anyone could ever ask for. Everything about the week abroad was perfect and is worth every penny. To anyone thinking about coming, I highly recommend it if you would like to gain the complete Irish culture through their music, food, and lifestyle.
Brittany,
Gould Academy

 

 

A Review by Elise McKenna, 18, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

When I attended the retreat I had been playing fiddle for almost 2 years - after the retreat I was a LOT more confident with my playing and with playing techniques, like ornamentation and tone.
I decided to attend because I was impressed with the website, which my fiddle teacher had shown me, and was eager to not only better my fiddle playing, but to experience Irish culture in general.
I LOVED the retreat. I was surprised that it was better than I had imagined. I felt extremely comfortable and at home, was very impressed with the tuition and how friendly the atmosphere was. I thought it was great that I got to travel to see different sights each day - brilliant! The sessions were very good, and I also got to know some new friends though going to the retreat. I'm still in touch with them one year on! No complaints.
My mum and uncle travelled with me, deciding to stay elsewhere, and travel around themselves. They truly enjoyed their time in Ireland and thought that the area was beautiful.

Fiddlers Retreat is not only a fantastic experience music-wise, where you get to work with a brilliant and friendly player, picking up some great tips and advice for your own playing, but you get to do so in a comfortable atmosphere, while experiencing fine Irish culture in a lovely setting. You'll possibly meet new people, who become good friends...you already have music in common, which is a nice start! Well worth a visit, no doubts!!!

~All the best,
Elise xxx

 

 

A Review by Maya Roney, 25, Jersey City, NJ

Intermediate/Advanced violinist

I Googled "fiddler's retreat," looking for a mini adventure on which I could improve my violin skills, and the Fiddler's Retreat Web site popped up. I have always loved Irish music and it seemed like a such a unique program. So I set off on my own across the Atlantic, not really knowing who or what to expect! Theresa was warm and welcoming from the start. Her home is delightful and cozy. I especially loved looking out the window at the old castle across the street, which, at the time, was covered in a light dusting of snow. I have never forgotten the songs and techniques I learned, and it has influenced my personal music style a great deal...I don't know if I'll ever go back to playing classical music! Hearing the live music sessions at the local pubs was a real treat. Even if I hadn't been a violinist myself, I think I would have had a fantastic visit. The food was simply wonderful: all fresh and locally-grown ingredients, artfully combined to create delicious, modern, yet comforting and distinctly Irish dishes. The location is also superb, with plenty of site-seeing opportunities within a short drive. This is a guaranteed one-of-kind experience and I hope to go back someday. If you've come across this site and are thinking at all about going, my advice to you is to book your ticket...you have everything to gain and nothing to regret!

 

 

A Review by Carolyn Goddard

A Parents Perspective on Fiddlers Retreat

My son Patrick attended the Fiddlers Retreat  when he was 17 and it was an exceptional experience I believe for him and certainly for our family. He was a Grade 6 level classically trained violinist that had taught himself Celtic fiddling. He had found Fiddler’s Retreat by researching online. Theresa had given him some pre-work to do before arriving in Ireland.

We dropped Patrick off at Theresa’s the day we arrived in Ireland. My husband, myself and our other son enjoyed an incredible meal at the Fiddlers’ Retreat and got to know Theresa before we headed out to do some touring in the area.

As well as working with Patrick, Theresa arranged for us to go with her and Patrick to one of the local pubs and listen as they participated in the music making. It was a unique experience for us as we did not have any contacts in Ireland and never would have been comfortable doing this on our own.

After picking up Patrick we continued on with our family holiday in Ireland. Patrick told us all about how much he learned fiddling with Theresa, the lovely accommodations, (the family joke is how Patrick had such a luxurious time while we stayed at a hostel!!) and the fabulous meals. Because of the expertise that he gained, Patrick continued to fiddle nearly every evening we were in Ireland and this added immensely to our overall experience in Ireland.

As a parent we were pleased to offer this experience to Patrick and thought it was definitely good value for the cost. Patrick continues with his fiddling today and has entertained with his Celtic music on countless occasions. We certainly credit Theresa and his experience at the Fiddler’s Retreat for enhancing his interest and skill level.

Sincerely,
Carolyn Goddard