“ Offers training courses, accommodations and a conference facility. „
Teach Bhride, (pronounced tchock Breed) The place of Brede (or St Bridget in the Anglicised form). This wonderful conference and education centre was once the novitiate building for the Brigidine Convent which shares the same grounds. They have their setting in acres of lush green gardens and walkways in the pretty Irish town of Tullow, County Carlow. Tullow is situated about 70 miles South of Dublin. It takes 75 to 90 minutes driving from Dublin or a bit longer by bus. The nearest train station is in Carlow. I have been lucky enough to work there about six to ten times a year for the last six or seven years and I have not found a conference centre to match it for comfort, welcome or co-operation. The centre is a large old building with about 25 bedrooms, six of which are en-suite. All the rooms have comfortable double or single beds, some are twin rooms but most are for single occupancy. The staff accomodation is two ensuite double bedded rooms with desk and chairs. They are situated away from the main residential areas ensuring peace and quiet for the trainers. (You might have guessed that I am one, and appreciate the extra bit of luxury!) The conference/meeting rooms are large and airy. There are three main ones and a beautiful room kept for meditation only. All the meeting rooms are equipped with televisions, flip charts etc. Broadband connection is available too. If anything is missing you can just ask and if it can be found for you it will be. Many groups that come in are self catering, the kitchen is huge and very well equipped with two stoves, two microwaves and a fully functioning Aga. The dining room is also large with round tables which seat up to eight. Larger rectangular tables are available if you want to eat together or more formally. If you wish to be catered for the cooking is good, varied and plentiful. Mary, the lady who comes in to cook for our groups feels like a member of the family and will do her best to accomodate any special dietary needs. (She also makes the best potato salad in the world!) In the last couple of years an extension has been built which added another large meeting room and bedrooms which cater well for those who are disabled. The new lift gives good wheelchair access to all the areas of Teach Bhride. (And helps enormously getting our luggage up and down!) The centre is managed by Sister Carmel McEvoy and staff. Carmel works tirelessly to make visitors welcome (In fact I worry about her!) She is amazing in her ability to remember who you are and what you need to facilitate your work and relaxation. Nothing is too much trouble to her or any of the staff. Since opening, the centre has evolved from a fairly quiet place to a bustling hub of the community. Many classes are run by Carmel or outside facilitators on a large number of subjects. These are well attended and range from the very practical to the esoteric. All beliefs and all non beliefs are made welcome, diversity and dialogue are encouraged and nurtured. This place that was once an integral part of a nunnery with the closedness that that entailed now demonstrates a spirit of openness which is inspiring. The grounds are extensive with many paths and water features which Carmel and her brother and an indefatigable gardener have developed since opening. They are a real pleasure to potter about in and if the weather is good you can sit out and have your lunch. The grounds are enclosed so there is a high level of privacy. One side of the grounds are bordered by majestic old oak trees in which a large and very noisy colony of rooks live. Their cawing is a constant audible backdrop. The town of Tullow is a busy little place with many of the traditional shops that give these towns their individuality. Sadly, the coming of a large Tesco on the banks of the river has threatened a lot of the smaller shops so Tullow might soon go the way of many 'cloned' towns. As it is now it is still attractive and welcoming. It has lots of pubs and a couple of decent places for lunch. There is a town museum overlooking the very picturesque river. The townspeople are welcoming and courteous and not a little inquisitive either! There is always time to chat to you and there is always something going on in the town to chat about! The centre is available for groups or individuals, for conferences, training, holiday breaks or retreats. If you want to know more about visiting Teach Bhride here is the website address. www.teachbhride.com Thank you for reading and please let me know if I have missed anything useful out.