Photos from previous retreat. Taken by Katherine Sleadd

Photos from previous retreat. Taken by Katherine Sleadd


All tickets include accommodation, events, food, and most drinks. Except the ‘Non-Residential ticket’, which excludes bed and breakfast. If you're interested in sharing a room with someone you don't know, please contact me. Also, you’d like to attend as a group, please contact me as I can offer a substantial discount on four or more people.

SPARK | With Peter Rollins and Special Guest Pádraig Ó Tuama

Spark is a five-day bespoke retreat carefully crafted to 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 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.

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 avoid burn out, reprioritize your life or work out a new direction..

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.

The Dates

13th - 17th October (Registration and wine reception starts at 2:00pm).

The setting

I know what you’re thinking: if this is a retreat, then it means bunk beds, bad food and cold showers. Not at all… You'll be staying in the 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 and Peter the Great. The Inn was also a favorite spot of C.S. Lewis, who celebrated his honeymoon there with Joy Davidman.

Indeed, the Inn overlooks a 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 meals and activities. There will be various wine receptions, as well as plenty of tea, coffee and other refreshments. In terms of the food, 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.

The content

I'll be curating a schedule full of seminars, workshops, tours, music, magic and more. Apart from myself, the other main contributor this year is poet and public speaker Pádraig Ó Tuama. Pádraig stands as one of the leading experts in the art of communicating meaningful content in a meaningful and popular way.

We will also have a host of other experts and artists including social media coach Spencer Burke, musician Alana Henderson, entrepreneur Rebekah Johnson, punk theologian Barry Taylor, speaker Jay Bakker, artist Jonny McEwen, comedian Leonie Pony and graphic designer Micah Purnell.

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 may grab 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, find a book deal, or face personal shadows. Or perhaps you’ll opt out of everything for a while, sitting by the outdoor fire and taking in the view.

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, as well as bringing in various experts. There’ll be optional tours, as well as plenty of time for walks, conversations and lounging around open fires with a drink in hand.

What does it cost?

The cost pp ranges from $1600 - $2000 (based on two people sharing). Less if three or more share, and more for single occupancy. There are also a limited number of non-resident tickets that exclude bed and breakfast.

Can three or more people share a room?

Absolutely. There's one Super Deluxe Family Room that can accommodate up to 4 people (one double bed and two single beds) while many of the other rooms can be fitted with an extra, high quality, single bed.

Can I come early or stay later?

We'd recommend it! I’ll happily help you work out where to explore, or you can extend your stay with the Old Inn. We’ve negotiated a special rate for people who want to spend extra nights at the Inn, all you need to do is contact them directly and let them know that you're attending my event. But be quick, as spaces might be limited. I'm also happy to recommend other places to stay.

What happens if I pay but can't go?

Because we have to book the hotel, speakers and tours in advance, refunds can't be given. However we can offer you credit toward future Spark events. You’re also welcome to sell your ticket on to someone else. So think carefully before you buy!

What are my transportation options?

The closest airport is the George Best City (BHD). It’s a 15-minute taxi ride to the hotel, and there is a taxi rank at the airport (Uber also operates in Belfast). The other local airport is Belfast International (BFS). There is a bus at the airport that takes you directly into the city. From there, the best option is to grab a taxi from the station. Dublin airport (DUB) is also a great option as the flights are often cheaper. It’s just under 2 hours from Belfast and there’s a bus outside the exit that will take you up (some of the buses don't take credit cards, so buy your ticket in advance or use either Euro or Sterling).