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Spark | A Creative Retreat

  • The Crawfordsburn Inn (N.Ireland) N.Ireland (map)

Spark is a five-day bespoke retreat that is carefully crafted to help spark change in your personal and professional life. This is not designed to help you escape your everyday life, but rather to help you find the tools and inspiration that will enable you to make positive changes in your everyday life. 

The majority of our problems revolve around the worlds of work and love. Whether we experience issues in our relationships or in our vocation, these take up the vast majority of our time, and can cause the vast majority of our pain.

So the two threads I'm interweaving this year, concern our personal and professional lives. And SPARK will fix both in 5 days! 

Well, no… I wish it were true, but making real change in our lives isn't easy, and any seeming short cuts often belie years of difficult preparation and work.

SPARK is however designed to help stoke the fires of change, by bringing in experts who have found transformation in both areas.

I'm curating the event so that people can 'major' on one of these areas, while doing a 'minor' in the other. You might be coming to SPARK primarily to engage with me and others about practical things like how to improve as a speaker, use social media, start a podcast, increase financial support or develop a manuscript. Or you might need space to think about how to make changes in your personal life, engaging with the poetry, music and talks that are there to help you work those issues through.

As someone who has been doing this work for over twenty years, I’ll be offering you the things I’ve learnt along the way, and sharing all the things I wish someone had told me.

Click here to see photos from last years event

The setting

You'll be staying in the AA award-winning Crawfordsburn Inn for four incredible nights. The Inn dates back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and has been patronized by literary figures such as Swift, Trollope, and Dickens.

As well being a regular of contemporary artists like Van Morrison, it has housed Dick Turpin, Peter the Great, and George Bush. The Inn was also a favorite spot of C.S. Lewis, who celebrated his honeymoon there with the love of his life, Joy Davidman.

The Inn overlooks a magical forest park that reputedly inspired Lewis' vision of Narnia. A forest that melts into a breathtaking coastline. All located just 20 minutes from Belfast (winner of World’s Best Region for Tourism in 2017 by Lonely Planet).

The retreat includes all of your meals. You'll enjoy a full Irish breakfast each morning, lunch every afternoon and a leisurely three-course meal every evening in the award-winning Lewis restaurant. There will be wine receptions as well as plenty of tea, coffee and other refreshments.

The content

I'll be curating a schedule full of seminars, workshops, tours, music, magic and more. One day you might want to visit an underground artist collective, walk in the forest, or take a tour of the famous city street art. The next day you could get a drink and listen to directors, screenwriters, poets, and authors talk about the creative process. Alternatively, jump into a workshop aimed at helping you start a podcast, use platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon, grow an audience, or find a book deal. Or perhaps you’ll opt out of everything for a while, sitting by the outdoor fire, taking in the view and getting stuck into the book you've wanted to write, or the script you've had burning in the back of your mind. All while surrounded by an incredible group of likeminded people. Everything is designed to be relaxing, enjoyable and inspiring.

What should I expect?

Think of it as a luxurious holiday, carefully crafted to help inspire you, challenge you, and get your creativity flowing. I’ll be curating the content, so I'll be there speaking, facilitating discussions and answering questions. I'll also be bringing in various experts who will be dedicated to helping you move forward in your work. There’ll be optional tours, as well as plenty of time for walks, conversations and lounging around open fires with a drink in hand.