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Ireland Writing Retreat 2024 | Carolyn Flynn


A generative and restorative writing immersion in County Kerry, Ireland

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Ireland Writing Retreat
on the Ring of Kerry

June 9-13, 2024

A generative and restorative writing immersion in County Kerry, Ireland

With Carolyn Dawn Flynn, acclaimed novelist, memoirist and TEDx speaker

And writer and poet extraordinaire Jona Kottler

Join us for an exhilarating writing immersion along the Wild Atlantic Way in County Kerry, Ireland, a place that has inspired writers, poets, musicians and myth-makers since ancient times. 


This writing retreat is part immersion (you will generate amazing pages!) and part inspiration. You will get mentored craft support and vision-making for your pages. And you’ll gain inspiration and personal transformation from the soul-stirring scenery of Ireland’s sparkling green mountains and wild blue sea.

Let a country that reveres its storytellers embrace you as you immerse yourself in the magical ring of Kerry for five days and four nights of inspiring craft talks, mentored support and a vibrant writer community. 


This immersion is for writers at any stage of their journey. You may write fiction or creative nonfiction. You may be writing essays, Medium blogs or Substack musings that someone has told you could be a book. You may be writing a narrative memoir—or a hybrid that blends poetry, prose and multimedia forms. You may be at the exquisite beginning, the messy middle, the fantastic ending—or you may not even know. No matter! This immersive getaway is designed to help you deepen and refine your work-in-progress, emerging with clarity and vision.


We’ll tap into the poets, storytellers and myth-makers that have shaped this landscape, from Amergin to Yeats, Edna O’Brien to Sally Rooney. Carolyn and Jona will provide mentored support and group talks that will strengthen your storycraft and embolden your writing.


Every day will launch with a series of prompts for writing with intent, building pivotal and memorable scenes that are the vital underpinning of story. 

The retreat offers time to generate new, focused pieces and a strategic plan for emerging out of the retreat and into the world of the written.



carolynflynn.com    |     Memoirist, novelist and essayist Carolyn Dawn Flynn was longlisted for the Mslexia International Memoir Prize for Boundless, a becoming-of-age memoir, and shortlisted for the Elixir Press First Novel Prize for Searching for Persephone.

Her essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Under the Gum Tree, The Colorado Sun, The Tampa Review, The Whitefish Review (Montana Prize for Fiction), Albuquerque Journal, Sage Magazine, Albuquerque the Magazine and Wilde Frauen.

Known as The Story Catalyst, Carolyn Flynn is the winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction for “Pretend”, author of “Resurrection,” published in Fourth Genre. An excerpt from Searching for Persephone (“First Cut”) appears on The Write Launch, and excerpt from her novel-in-progress I Don’t Remember It That Way appears on The Petigru Review. I Don’t Remember It That Way was a 2021 finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books.

See her TED talk, “Tell a Better Story, Live a Better Life” here.



jonathakottler.com | Jonatha Kottler is an American writer and educator from Albuquerque, NM, recently based in Scotland.

Her work has appeared in Nasty Women and in publications including The Guardian and NY Magazine.

She holds an MFA in Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and graduated from the Book Project at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She is completing her first novel.

She teaches in the honors program at the University of New Mexico and serves on the board of directors of the New Mexico Humanities Council.



Sign up by Nov. 20 to get the pretty early bird rate









Parknasilla Hotel, nestled in the shadows of the Kerry mountains amidst islands, inlets and hidden beaches, is a magical place in Ireland.

Here, you’ll feel the restorative power of nature and marvel in the splendour of the seascape and landscape that surrounds you.

Parknasilla Resort and Spa is synonymous with four star luxury hotel accommodation and memorable holiday experiences.

Parknasilla is tucked away amidst its own 500 acre estate on the Ring of Kerry along the Wild Atlantic Way near the charming town of Kenmare, the colourful village of Sneem and the Killarney National Park, with its famous lakes and jaunting cars.



  • 4 nights/5 days lodging at Parknasilla along the Ring of Kerry, on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners* 
  • “Writer’s date” field trip, location to be announced
  • Time to write, write, write!
  • Daily craft talks customized to your writing needs
  • Mentored support and customized prompts with 1:1 and 1:2 meetings
  • Guest poet and speakers to be announced
  • Free time to stroll along the paths along the sea near Parknasilla

    (*One dinner on your own)


  • Airfare to Ireland
  • Transportation from the airport to Parknasilla 

See our FAQs below for tips about choosing your airport and your flight.
Public transportation — buses and trains — are available throughout County Kerry, and we can guide you. More details about this in the FAQs.









DEPOSIT OF $995 secures your spot. If you register by Nov. 30, you may make a deposit of $500. We will set you with installment payments to spread out the expense.

REMAINING BALANCE to be paid by May 1.


Ireland Writing Retreat, Ring of Kerry, ring fort
Ireland Writing Retreat, Waterville, standing stones

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s included in the tuition?
  • 4 nights/5 days lodging at Parknasilla along the Ring of Kerry, on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners* 
  • “Writer’s date” field trip, location to be announced
  • Time to write, write, write!
  • Daily craft talks customized to your writing needs
  • Mentored support and customized prompts with 1:1 and 1:2 meetings
  • Guest poet and speakers to be announced
  • Free time to stroll along the paths along the sea near Parknasilla

    (*One dinner on your own)


What’s not included?
  • Airfare to Ireland
  • Transportation from the airport to Parknasilla 

Keep reading for tips about choosing your airport and your flight.
Public transportation — buses and trains — are available throughout County Kerry, and we can guide you. Keep reading!

What are the accommodations like?

This is a four-star resort with many amenities included in the rate.

Some participants will stay at Parknasilla hotel, while some may stay at Parknasilla villas. Villas are spacious, and those participants will have a private bedroom and bath but share kitchen, living room and patio space with other participants. 

Check out the accommodations here.

What kind of food will be served?

All meals are included in the rate.

For guests at the Parknasilla hotel, breakfast is included. For guests at Parknasilla Villas, you are in a self-catering cottage, and we will stock your refrigerator with groceries suited to your taste and dietary needs.

The restaurant has spectacular views. Please let us know ahead of time of dietary needs.

We picked the place because we knew they would take care of you and the food would be delicious!

When should I arrive?

We begin at 6ish Sunday night June 9. 

If you are traveling across many time zones, you may want to arrive to Ireland a day or two before, to acclimate to the time change.

May I check in late?

We prefer that you arrive when the program commences, barring any unexpected flight delays.

When I arrange the flight, what’s my best city destination?

The closest airport is Shannon Airport. You may opt to fly into Dublin, London or Edinburgh if you’re planning to travel before the retreat.

If you fly into Dublin, there is a great train service that will get you to Limerick, and from there, you can a) get a bus or b) rent a car.

There is an airport in County Kerry, and I do know people who have flown into it. It is in the northern part of County Kerry, a bit from Parknasilla, but definitely a beautiful drive from the airport to Parknasilla if you are willing to rent a car.

If you are arriving at Shannon, allow three to four hours for transport to Parknasilla. Google will tell you it takes 2 hours 44 minutes to drive from Shannon to Parknasilla.


Do you recommend renting a car?

Absolutely. If you are brave and feel capable of negotiating a deep rewiring of your brain so you can drive on the left side of the road, I’m here to tell you it’s totally worth it.

(This is Carolyn… Ask Jona her viewpoint. She lived in Scotland for four years and didn’t drive! Carolyn has driven all over Ireland and Scotland, including a quite memorable adventure with a flat tyre on the Isle of Mull…)

On my first jaunt with the poet David Whyte tour in Ireland in 2018, riding in vans all across County Clare and County Galway, I thought this seemed impossible. The reason to choose this adventure? You will see so much more of Ireland than you can imagine.

Please note: Even after many years of driving in Ireland, my experience is that it always takes longer than you think. So add at least an hour to any estimated travel time on Google maps.

The roads are narrow, and if you are an American, you’re driving on the left side of the road — plus, there are many farmers and tractors on the road!

And did I mention that there are many single-track roads? This is a fancy word for there is only one lane. “Only one lane” is a fancy word for “if another car is coming toward you, you need to pull to the side of the road and negotiate a pass.” Which one of you will pull over into the turnout — the one who is nearest the turnout! (Does this sound like a game of “chicken”? No worries — Irish drivers are cordial and everyone is looking out for everyone else.) 

That said, I still recommend renting a car in Ireland — you’ll see so much more of the countryside. If single-track roads are not for you, no worries — you can still get from Shannon to Parknasilla and drive the whole Ring of Kerry without encountering a single-track road.

What should I pack?

Spring in Ireland means every day is a new kind of weather. It’s often said that in Ireland, you can experience all four seasons in one day. For that reason, we advise dressing in light layers. And definitely bring rain gear. 

For outdoor adventures, the resort recommends wearing removable layers, as mornings may be cool and warm quickly. Wear hiking boots or shoes that are lightweight and well-vented with traction; avoid sandals or anything open-toe. Also wear good wool or synthetic hiking socks; we advise against cotton.

Bring a sweater or jacket for evenings on the patio. 

Pack sunscreen, and a water bottle that you fill up and drink from constantly. It’s vital to stay hydrated.

That soft Irish mist can be deceptive when it comes to the sun. Definitely bring a sun hat and sunglasses. And expect the sun to be up late as we near the Summer Solstice. That’s part of the allure of the northern latitudes in summer.

What kind of physical condition do I need to be in?

The official hikes are mild to moderate. Yoga and nature walks are available at Parknasilla during unstructured time.

What about the spa treatments?

Spa treatments are available at the resort, at your own expense, during unstructured time in the afternoon. Spa treatments include facials, warm Himalayan salt massage, vibrational sound therapy, Thai massage and cranial sacral therapy.

What is your smoking policy?

No smoking allowed

Do tell. What are the other amenities on the site?

Walking trails, and a host of outdoor adventures. 

What is your COVID policy?

We expect you to understand that we want to provide everyone at the retreat with a safe experience, as does Parknasilla and the country of Ireland. 

Because we want to protect the integrity of the retreat, the health of all participants, facilitators and essential workers, we ask all retreat participants to present proof of up-to-date vaccination and a COVID-free test.

We also expect you to understand that everything about this pandemic is rapidly evolving and could change in directions we cannot predict.

We reserve the right to request other accommodations, should a new outbreak occur or new conditions emerge.

We also expect you to observe any policies implemented by Parknasilla or the country of Ireland, such as social distancing and masking guidelines while in public areas.

To keep up to date on the travel requirements, go to the U.S. Department of State website.

To keep up to date on the U.S. guidelines for vaccination, go to the Centers for Disease Control website.

What is your refund policy?

While we recognize that life has its disruptions, we have a strict refund policy. We must do this because we commit to a contract for accommodations, food and other costs once bookings are taken for a retreat. In addition, we incur costs when we are required to re-advertize the retreat when bookings are cancelled.

So here’s the policy, and make sure you read carefully! 

All deposits are non-refundable and cannot be held over to future retreats.

If you cancel within three months of the retreat, the remainder of your payment (minus the deposit) will be refunded ONLY if a replacement is found to take your place. Naturally, you probably know that it becomes increasingly difficult and less likely as a retreat approaches to find substitutes who can both pay and travel at short notice.

No refunds are possible if you cancel within two weeks of the retreat.

If you register as an early bird, you do have more options. Though we cannot refund your deposit, you may receive a one-hour consultation with one of the retreat mentors.

If we have to cancel, all payments will be returned in full.

From The SoulFire blog