Recharge, Revitalise and Renew

For the healthcare workers, the real heroes


The Details

Our frontline workers are the true heroes emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic. Facing trauma after trauma their selflessness and bravery in the fight against Covid-19 has had a real and direct impact on every citizen of Ireland.

Now it’s our turn to give back.

Nestled in the idyllic surroundings of the Notre Dame Global Centre at Kylemore, The Heroes Retreat is a free three-day retreat for a healthcare worker and a partner/family member that provides a healing/renewal space for our true heroes who risked their lives and safety for us and our communities.

So, What Can We Do?

With recovery as the focal point, the retreat addresses how to heal in mind, body and spirit after periods of high stress. Made up of group-led workshops, (psychosocial support is available for all throughout the weekend) spectacular hikes and outdoor workshops plus time alone in nature, the retreat offers space for reflection. Nourishing food, complementary therapies and rest make up the toolkit for the recuperation of our participants, while music, laughter, fun and exploration feeds the soul. The facilitating team will include Clinical Psychologists, Complimentary Therapies, Acupuncturists and Walking Guides to bring the landscape to life.

Follow suit in thanking our healthcare workers by investing in their wellbeing and recovery and nominate your Healthcare Hero today.

Supported by the Kirby Group

Following support from Kirby Group, who donated a sizeable amount to cover costs, we are currently in the position to offer up to 28 frontline workers and their partners The Heroes Retreat experience free-of-charge. We are asking you to follow suit in thanking our healthcare workers by investing in their wellbeing and recovery. But, that’s not enough. Are you willing to really recognise the contribution of our Healthcare Heroes and to invest in our healthcare workers the way they invested in us, and our safety, over the past 14 months? We need your help to extend this exciting and uplifting initiative to as many of our Front Line Heroes as possible.

About the Global Centre

The Notre Dame Global Centre at Kylemore is located in St. Joseph’s Hall, a self- contained building adjacent to the main Abbey building. The centre is located in the picturesque Connemara region in County Galway, approximately 77km from Galway City. Connemara is known for its remarkable beauty, and there are many activities close by. Tours of the Irish-speaking Aran Islands, pilgrimage hikes, visits to a sheep farm, and witnessing the famine trail, are all popular options. Other guests opt to bask in the solitude and scenery, and find time to write, paint, or photograph.

Day 1

  • 2 PM – The Big Hello
  • Onwards: Guests can arrive and enjoy the magnificent Kylemore Estate and avail of wellness activities; Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness
  • 6 PM: – The Big Meet: Welcome, Introductions and Barbecue with Entertainment

Day 6 – Nature Heals

  • 8:00 AM Wellness activity
  • 9:00 AM Breakfast
  • 10:30 AM Gentle hike with Archaeologist Michael Gibbons and ‘Power of Green’ workshop with lead facilitators. Held and embraced by the mountains, lakes and seas of nature the workshop will focus on gentle processing the impact of Covid-19 on fronting healthcare workers. With nature and an experienced psychologist you will be supported to process, let go and heal.
  • 1:30 PM Lunch and relaxation activities at the centre
  • 2:30 PM Downtime which can include a Self-Guided tour of the Estate, the Museum, Gothic Chapel and Victorian Walled Garden. Avail of wellness therapies and activities.
  • Optional: Blue Moments –  Immersed in the wild Atlantic Ocean your 5 senses will be reset by the healing power of the blue. Let the sea be your healing guide.Connect and Have Fun
  • 6:00 PM Reception
  • 7:00 PM Connemara banquet, music and entertainment

Day 3

  • 8:00 AM Wellness activity
  • 9:00 AM Breakfast
  • 10:30 AM Guided Hike at Kylemore Mountain
  • 12:00 PM Legacy Moment with a parting gift you will be inspired to ensure your self care and your colleagues are prioritised.
  • 1:30 PM Lunch and depart

Founded by Elite Multi-Code Athlete, Performance Coach & Social Entrepreneur Alan Kerins

Alan Kerins

Alan Kerins is an an elite multi-code athlete, Performance Consultant, Executive Coach, Public Speaker, humanitarian, social entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Alan has the distinction of winning both All-Ireland football and hurling medals for both his County and Club – a feat rarely achieved. Alan founded The Alan Kerins Projects in 2005 where he raised approximately 20 million euro directly and indirectly for many vital and life saving projects and programmes for communities all over the World. Alan is also performance consultant, executive coach and public speaker. He has used this professional expertise to design, develop and lead the Inner Winner Institute, working with companies such as Aer Lingus, HP, Medtronic, Veolia, Vodafone, INM, Salesforce, and UNESCO.

The facilitating team will include:

Dr. Eddie Murphy

Clinical Psychologist, and Adjunct Associate Professor, UCD School of Psychology. He is a well known TV psychologist, where his trusted style, practical, respectful and hope orientated approach has a strong solution focus. His passion and enthusiam about wellbeing is anchored in evidenced base psychology. He is an author of the best seller ‘Becoming Your Real Self – A Practical Toolkit To Manage Everyday Problems- Penguin Ireland.

Eddie is an ex critical care nurse and understands and is at the forefront of responding to healthcare workers as a result of psychological impact of covid pandemic. In particular he is concerned about stress, burnout, long covid and compassion fatigue for healthcare

Dominic O. Vachon, M.Div., Ph.D.

The John G. Sheedy, M.D., Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine . Prior to joining the Hillebrand Center, Vachon served as Director of Behavioral Medicine and Caring Science Training at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Vachon is also is a practicing psychologist specializing in neurofeedback therapy. Past research has focused on the relationship between empathy and burnout. Other areas of interest include factors in maintaining caring behaviors in difficult work, the psychology of helping interactions, physician-patient dynamics, and the role of spirituality in helping others. Dr. Vachon provides workshops nationally in the area of maintaining balanced caring behaviors in the helping professions.

As director, he is responsible for management, programs, research, student outreach, and scholarly engagement. In addition to teaching undergraduates, his work with the Center includes researching the physician-patient relationship, teaching effective communication skills, and collaborating with local and national organizations to advance the science of compassionate care in healthcare. Dominic O. Vachon earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Notre Dame, graduating in 1980 with a degree in psychology and philosophy, and earning his master of divinity degree in 1985. In 1993, he earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago.

His recently published book, “How Doctors Care: The Science of Compassion and Balanced Caring in Medicine,” is available for through Cognella Academic Publishing.

Nominate Your Healthcare Hero

  • Please be as specific as possible ie. Hospital Name, Ward Name, Care Home, ICU, Covid Ward,

Terms & Conditions

  1. Heroes’ Retreat is open for applications on behalf of anyone who worked at the medical frontline during COVID-19, either in a hospital, care home or ambulance service in the Republic of Ireland
  2. Applications can be submitted using the application form available on the website
  3. Applications have to be submitted by email and received no later than July 18th
  4. All applications will be reviewed  by a panel chosen by Iconic Camino to validate they meet the required criteria
  5. Successful Applicants will be chosen by random selection
  6. Successful applicants will be contacted directly by Iconic Camino by July 20th
  7. Proof of employment of winning nominees may be required as part of the validation process
  8. All successful candidate and guests must be vaccinated and proof of vaccination will be required as part of the process
  9. No Children are permitted
  10. If you are a winning applicant and you are unable to attend on the retreat dates, this place will be released and a new applicant will be chosen by random selection.

Experience the Connemara Camino