Fiona Monaghan, General Manager, Failte Ireland West (Irish Tourist Board)
"I would like to thank you both for taking time to show me around Cnoc Suain yesterday evening. It truly is an amazing project and I can only begin to imagine the hours & years of pain-staking work that has been put in to bring the project this far. Given the fast paced world we currently live in, Cnoc Suain is a delightful oasis providing the visitor a unique opportunity to experience the culture and environment of Connemara in a tranquil and historic setting."...
Kat Anderson, NY
"Dearbhaill and Charlie . I had such a nice time and the two of you deserve all the credit in the world for organizing such a delightful program, for creating Cnoc Suain, and for the incredible amount of work and effort that went into the week. So, I can't wait to come back! I can't think of anywhere where I feel more relaxed, engaged, fully alive and have more fun! Many congratulations and with every best wish".
Sima Miska, Miami, Florida, US.
I wanted to share with you my recent travel to Ireland (October 2010) and visit to Cnoc Suain, Conamara, Cultural Retreat, Galway. It is a must see if you are interested in experiencing a unique way of learning about the history, culture, archaeology of this beautiful and fascinating island. The owners, Dearbhaill Standun and Charlie Troy greeted us warmly and took us on a tour of the original stone cottages with thatched roofs, explained the life styles and of the hardships the original settlers had to endure. We then were taken on a short walk to the bog where Charlie explained and demonstrated clearly the life cycle of the bog and its benefits. Later, we were invited to one of the historical cottages to experience making of the soda bread. We were then entertained by Dearbhaill on the violin. To complete our tour, Dearbhaill, a wonderful story teller, recited a poem in Gaelic and she taught us steps to a typical Irish folk dance. Such fun!
Dearbhaill and Charlie's commitment and determination to preserve, to educate, and to promote sustainable life style were clearly evident. We enjoyed our visit tremendously and look forward to experiencing the "immersion into the local culture of Ireland" in the near future.
Safe and happy traveling!
Dan Regan, Tir na Blog, On Your Trip
Sitting in the wilds of the Connemara Gaeltacht, Cnoc Suain calls itself a "cultural retreat" but the culture isn't retreating here. It's running up and smacking you right in the kisser. This is a glimpse into the lives of rural Irish people as it existed for centuries and it's fascinating stuff. As Irish Fest president-elect Barney Walsh pointed out after our visit there, it would have been really easy to make this place really cheesy. But they didn't.
From the restored 1691 stone cottage, made of dry-stacked granite boulders, some as big as a Smart Car to the Sean-nós music in the "new" (only 150 years old) cottage to the St. Brigid's cross making workshop and brown bread demonstrations, the whole experience was great. The fact that it takes place in one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful landscapes in the world didn't hurt. They even arranged a rainbow for us.
I can't recommend a visit highly enough.
Dan Regan, a founder and past president of the Kansas City Irish Fest experienced the Cnoc Suain "Gaelic Cultural Window" programme with members of AOIFE - the Association of Irish Festival Events.
Margaret Cronin, Managing Director, Specialized Travel Services.
Dear Dearbhaill and Charlie,
"With regard to the recent visitors from the German Cruise Ship in Galway. Thank you for sharing Cnoc Suain with our group. The Project at Cnoc Suain is definitely a labour of love and a 'hidden gem' in Connemara. The varied experiences of the group coupled with your hospitality shown to them was outstanding, and showed that Cead Mile Failte and warmth is very much alive at Cnoc Suain. Once again thank you for your attention "
Alicia Coleman, Bryant University student,RI
Hi Charlie and Dearbhaill,
My name is Alicia Coleman and I visited Cnoc Suain with the Bryant University students along with Professor Kennedy and Terri Hasseler this past May. I know it has been some time since we were there but I do have some pictures of beautiful Cnoc Suain that I think you might enjoy. Also, I wanted to thank you again for such a lovely stay! It was fantastic! I have been to Ireland before to visit family but I never made it to the Galway Bay area. We were always further south near Cork but I have told my family that the next time we go back we need to visit the Galway/Connemara area. Also when Charlie took us to the Aran Islands that was amazing! You do not see things that beautiful in the Northeast United States that often so it was very special. Thank you again for allowing us to stay on the farm and I hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed getting to know you. It was a great time and I can't wait to go back to Ireland! Thanks again for everything.
Linda Wilcox, Sparks, MD
"Charlie and Dearbhaill. I can not tell you how many times I tell people about the wonderful trip/experience on my first trip to Ireland. So many days I think of the time we all spent together and it lifts my spirit and soul !!".
Nick Makes, CT, USA
"you guys were two of the most gracious and hospitable people that I have ever met. You truly made me feel very welcome on Irish soil (I am not quite sure why)…. the food was tremendous (far better than my preconceived expectations), the music was enlightening with a wide variety of styles, the Guinness was delicious (and there was certainly enough of it), and best of all ... the people of Ireland were outstanding (we met so many genuinely nice people who made us feel at home ... it was incredible). Thanks so much being a part of one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken…It was so nice, I have a scary thought for you .... we're coming back…Thanks again "
Marlee Champoux, MA , US
" Thank you for the music, the food, the knowledge , the comfort , and most of all the giving of yourselves. I have so many stories of laughter from Ireland, yet I cherish the friendship, thank you "
David and Angela Brennan, Darwen , Lancs , UK
No words can express how much we enjoyed our stay with you. It was a truly wonderful experience..