About Cnoc Suain

Our love of culture & nature, combined with a spirit of adventure and innovation, lies at the heart of this project.

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

Husband and wife Charlie Troy and Dearbhaill Standún are the founders of Cnoc Suain. Dearbhaill, a musician with the Irish music group Dordán, is a native Gaelic speaker, teacher and gifted storyteller. Charlie is a natural scientist and teacher with a passion for Conamara’s natural and built heritage and a lifelong interest in sustainability.

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 and Serban – 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 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).