About Cnoc Suain

 

Cnoc Suain’s Guiding Principle: Cnoc Suain is dedicated to fostering and presenting the culture, nature & heritage of Conamara with the sophistication and high standard which befits it, and without compromising its integrity and authenticity.

“Cnoc Suain is not preserving Irish [Gaelic] language, music, traditions and crafts to enshrine them. This is no theme park; it is a place of living culture, oozing with pride and determination to share some of the joys of its heritage.”
The Irish Times

Dearbhaill, a native of Conamara, is a qualified teacher, a Gaelic speaker, a professional musician with the award-winning Irish traditional music group ‘Dordán’ and a graduate of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Charlie, ”tireless disciple of natural Connemara – animal, vegetable or mineral”,  is a natural scientist with over 40 years teaching experience.

Their daughter, artist and musician Dearbhaill ‘Derv’ Troy, works alongside her parents in nurturing, developing and promoting Cnoc Suain, and in evolving its vision for the future. Raised on the hill farm, her passions and interests lie in creativity, culture, nature, sustainability and the wildness of Connemara.

A deep love of Conamara’s rich culture & nature, combined with a spirit of adventure and innovation, and a lifelong passion for sustainability, inspired husband and wife, Charlie Troy and Dearbhaill Standún, to found Cnoc Suain – an international award-winning cultural retreat – 23 years ago.

The story so far…      …An scéal go dtí seo

Our dream was to find a place where we could share our knowledge and enthusiasm with others while fostering the unique culture of Gaelic Conamara. In 1995 we discovered this incredible hillside farm on 200 acres of spectacular landscape. With the ruins of 17th century stone cottages hidden in undergrowth and a 3,000 year old standing stone on the hill-top, this place had it all – the cultural, natural & built heritage!

Inspired by what we found, and visualising the possibilities, we set to work.

We wanted the restoration to be authentic and sustainable. Renewable energy heat pumps were installed and careful attention given to the surrounding fragile bogland. Most of the work took place during the boom in Ireland. Workers with skills in traditional craftmanship were hard to come by.

We were fortunate to meet two incredibly talented and committed men from Romania – Dan Cenusa and Serban Popa (pictured) – who put heart and soul into the project. The work necessitated us living a commune-type existence together on the hill for a number of years; ourselves, our three young daughters, Dan and Serban, Connemara ponies, dogs and a flock of sheep.

It’s been an amazing journey, witnessing Cnoc Suain evolve from a dream to a vision to an all-consuming life project, with many challenges along the way.

Twenty three years on, Cnoc Suain has become an international award winning cultural retreat, close to nature and to the Gaelic culture that inspires it. Visitors are immersed in the vibrant heritage of Conamara through our residential programmes and retreats, cottage rentals and experiences (presented in English).