Retired Psychiatric Social Worker
I have recently completed a meditation course with Susan O’Brien at Big Moon Cottage Meditation Centre in Castletownshend, West Cork, Ireland I visited her home which is in a beautiful, rural and peaceful setting. The guidance on meditating was on a one-to-one basis which I feel really facilitated the meditation learning . I received my instruction in a very calm atmosphere which she has created for her teaching. As a teacher, Susan is incredibly supportive and very clear in communicating her vast knowledge of the subject. Her belief and enthusiasm demonstrates a confidence in meditating and facilitates learning and practice. Her teaching involves practical step-by-step guidance using written material. She demonstrates her research and guides one to an understanding of the value of meditation. Susan’s teaching method is professional and she shows you the way in a non-judgmental, calm and empathic way. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she welcomes questions. Susan is a brilliant teacher. She has the ability to narrow matters down to a level each person will be able to understand. I feel Susan could reach any audience and be able to communicate meditation in a way everyone can understand. Lucky the person who meets her on their meditation journey.
Robert, Cork City
I have visited Big Moon Cottage on 3 occasions to participate in short 2 - 4 day mediation courses. The first thing that strikes you is the beautiful peaceful location. Susan is a friendly and chatty host but also a very knowledgeable teacher. In particular, she has an ability to make meditation simple to understand and to make starting a basic meditation practice practical and easily accessible to all. Hers is a secular approach to meditation, one which doesn't require the student to take on any extra religious or spiritual beliefs, thereby making it available to absolutely everyone. At all times Susan simply seeks to make meditation simple and practical. I personally experienced the benefits of starting a basic meditation practice almost immediately and would like to thank Susan for my very enjoyable visits to Big Moon Cottage.
I stayed with Susan for a Meditation and Mindfulness weekend in April and what a wonderful time I had. Susan was the best host possible and made me feel at home immediately. Big moon cottage and the surrounding area are so beautiful that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a stay here to anyone. Totally peaceful and serene and perfect for a meditative time out. Susan is a kind teacher and provides a comprehensive course covering the many many aspects of meditation practice, mindfulness and the inner personal dimensions. She spoke with me at length about anything I wanted to know and I really had some deep insights during our time together. I can't thank her enough and encourage anyone who is thinking of giving mindfulness a go to visit Big Moon Cottage
Imelda, Clonakilty, West Cork
What an experience, I found this course amazing. It teaches you how to meditate which is a very powerful tool for the rest of your life. It helps you to make what you initially thought as impossible, possible. When your mind is racing, it helps ground your thoughts. Meditation is my sanctuary. Susan is a truly inspirational teacher and I cannot recommend the course highly enough.
Claire, Cork City
I arrived at big moon cottage to be welcomed with open arms by the beautiful Susan. I'll remember the day as long as I live, I was at my lowest ebb, struggling with addiction and a break up and very unhealthy coping mechanisms. The path I took that day with Susan is the path I'm still on to this day, almost 2 years later. Her gentle, patient and compassionate approach opened up a whole new world of peace and well being for me. She has now become a treasured, lifelong friend
Recently I was in need of a break from my usual daily life so when the opportunity came for me to avail of a few days at Big Moon Cottage I just couldn't resist. I love West Cork anyway but had never been to Castletownshend/Skibbereen area. As I drove into the drive at Big Moon Cottage I just knew I was in for a treat. I had the most restorative few days there and loved the great food and Susan's hospitality. I've never seen anything like her generosity in sharing the beautiful home and sacred space that she has created in this beautiful part of the world. I felt totally and utterly at home - but without my usual "I must do this and I must do that" when in my own home! I was warm and toasty and slept like a log in that peaceful place.
When I awoke in the mornings I sat and read for a few hours in the south-facing sun room, drinking my favourite tea, looking out at the view and thought to myself "I've arrived!" It's rarely I give myself the permission to just be and I could be that and more at Big Moon Cottage. My afternoons had me rambling down the boreens (little roads) around the cottage, towards the sea. There I discovered quiet little beaches with the most stunning scenery. It was breathtaking. I had a blissful couple of hours one afternoon on Traharta beach, which I had all to myself. Just me, some cows in the field behind me, the sea-birds and gulls, a view that would take your breath away, and the water gently lapping around the rocks and rock pools.
Each evening Susan and I shared a communal meal which I so enjoyed and we chatted about our take on life, love and the universe. This time of communion was the perfect balance to the time and space that I was allowed, all to myself, during the day. Susan was respectful of my need for quiet time to recharge and I'm indebted to her for that. I hit the road back to Dublin fully restored and happy and filled with gratitude that I could be allowed to experience such a magical, wonderful place. I'm looking forward to returning and doing it all again.
Food for Living
Despite meditating for years, I decided to take myself away for a weekend of meditation to Big Moon Cottage. In many ways I wanted to get back to basics. I was greeted by such a lovely space, in the foothills by the Atlantic coast of West Cork, with the most stunning and beautiful scenery all around. Not only this, Susan’s warm and generous welcome made me feel instantly at home. Everything about the weekend was perfect – from the meditation space to the yummy breakfasts.
But what really made the weekend special was Susan, her open and engaging way and her in tune teaching style that allowed me to really develop my meditation practice. In going back to basics I was able to take my meditation practice to the next level. I would recommend a weekend away like this to everyone, allowing you to take a little time away from the world and connect back with the deeper part of you.
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Dr. J. de Bruin
Emergency Doctor in The Netherlands
My experience at Big Moon Cottage
It was a short trip from Europe, bringing me to the lovely green land, the strong winds, the fierceless clouds and the ongoing motion of the sea. From the start it was very nice to be there, in Ireland, and especially in the Big Moon Cottage, where I was given a very warm welcome by Susan. My room was cosy and warm, the shower was nice and hot (and I needed that, after my long walks), the atmosphere in the house was like home.
In the afternoon there was room for a chat with Susan, or for stilness in the sun room. In the evening meditation lessons were given, in group or sometimes just Susan and me. During meditation you could easily make contact with your higher self and sometimes feel the presence of the angels. I think it was because of the atmosphere in the house, that this contact was made so easily. So for me, this trip to Ireland and the stay at Big Moon was peaceful and loving, making it possible to be me!
Walking in the door of Susan’s house was like taking a deep breath and leaving your cares and worries behind you. With such a warm welcome and beautiful house (and food! Still dreaming of those crumpets!) it was the perfect setting for a course of this kind. I had wanted to learn meditation for years, as a way to relax and stop the mind babble, and Susan is a very experienced and patient teacher who creates a very open and relaxed space to share and learn in.
I found learning about the physiological benefits of meditation as well as the mental aspects very interesting. The course structure allowed for plenty of ’me’ time which is great (time for a bracing walk to the sea!) and Susan was on hand to answer any questions and concerns. Knowing she is available for support after you leave the cocoon of her home as well is very reassuring indeed. I came looking for peace of mind and I believe I found it in the beautiful setting of Susan’s lovely home and surroundings.
I met Susan in January 09, at this stage I did not know how Susan and Meditation would change my life for the better. I had experienced stress, moving house, rearing 2 babies, my husband losing his job, my health had suffered and my mind was in a state of emotional exhaustion and totally stressed. I travelled to Lanzarote to meet Susan, I was nervous and to be honest skeptical re Meditation, I had read reports on how good meditation was for your mind and health. I met Susan and immediately felt at ease, she is a warm and genuine person that encourages you to embrace meditation.
I can honestly say 2 months later I practice Meditation twice a day, people have noticed I am calmer and more accepting of life, I no longer stress about things I cannot change. I would like to thank Susan once again for her encouragement and for teaching me to meditate. I am a better person due to Susan and Meditation.
An inexplicable force led me to Susan’s door during a chronic pain illness, amongst other things. I had reached the rim of a very dark place and had two options left, one was too awful to recount and the other was to pull myself back, groping in the dark for a flint and a spark. Susan was extremely accommodating to me in my special circumstances and I spent a wonderful week with her in Big Moon Cottage. I felt free to express myself there and, when needed, a day of wallowing in my own personal mire on the couch was granted. The beautiful scenery is almost medicine enough. Not to mention the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.
I knew nothing of meditation when I arrived and, to be frank, it saved my life. Susan's teaching, and our enduring friendship, has been a constant source of joy and a reminder to simplify, simplify, simplify. Meditation has given me the clarity to get through anything with grace, poise still being a work in progress. It has not, however, given me the savvy to talk her out of one of those beds!