Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dzogchen Beara Care Centre

For the past week I have written about my stay at the Dzogchen Beara Care Centre, West Cork, Ireland. Some of you have asked for further information about accessibility, costs, and about how the centre will help someone living with illness. This post will look at all those questions. (A long post, but maybe just go to the section you are interested in). I hope it is of help, but feel free to contact me, or of course anyone from the Dzogchen Beara team with further questions.

View of cliffs and see, and stunning sunrise from Dzogchen Beara Care Centre
View from Dzogchen Beara Care Centre
Just a note... you don't have to be ill to be staying at the Care Centre. It is a beautiful location to just restore your batteries. Or use it as a base to explore the Beara Peninsula. Better than any hotel. Not just my words, but that of many other guests. And you don't have to be a Buddhist or be into meditation either to be visiting or staying at Dzogchen Beara.

How I initially got here

After years of a slowly improving well being from ME/CFS my health started to decline again in 2012. After almost two years I felt I had lost all the ability to find my way out again. Getting ill first time round, there is still that sense of hope of recovery. To have to do it all over again, I simply felt I was stuck. Stuck in how to move forward.
I needed to find my balance again. I thought that maybe a week or so away from home, in a place that could provide some healing- some understanding would be a good idea. I explored such places on the internet and came across the Care Centre at Dzogchen Beara. (Then know as the Dechen Shying Care Centre). I had heard of this place from a few people over the years so started to look into it a bit more seriously.

Dzogchen Beara Care Centre conservatories of private rooms
Dzogchen Beara Care Centre conservatories of private rooms

I booked my stay at the Care Centre during March 2014. What I found was an amazingly kind, warm, friendly, supportive and accessible place. With stunning views to add to the 'package'. I was hooked within hours... (See Extraordinary Generosity link at bottom of page).

I have been back several times since. Partly with the help of a Rehab bursary to work on my book Into the Light which was 'conceived-born- and launched at the Care Centre.
During last week's residency, I wrote a daily blog about my experiences and thoughts.

I have only ever stayed at the Care Centre so can only tell you about that. 
There are 7 rooms at the spacious Care Centre, a large open communal kitchen, a family room, and the most beautiful meditation room. 
For other accommodation at cottages and hostel (and many courses/retreats) see Website.
Dzogchen Beara Care Centre wheelchair accesible rooms
Dzogchen Beara Care Centre wheelchair accessible rooms


  • Although it is a Care Centre, it does not mean that personal care is provided. If you need a carer, you need to bring someone along.
  • What they do give, is their warmth and support in whatever way they can.
  • There is the option for one-to-one spiritual care during your stay. This is not counseling, but a supportive chat to help find ways to deal with for example acceptance. I have availed of this during all my stays here and have build up a relationship of care and trust with John, one of the  support members.
  • There are weekend and week long retreats too, which deal with loss and grief and meditation. See the website.
  • The vision of this centre is from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Dzogchen Beara Care Centre wheelchair accesible rooms
Dzogchen Beara Care Centre wheelchair accessible rooms
Wheelchair Accessibility rooms: 1, 2, 3, 4

  • The whole building is spacious, bright, warm and fully wheelchair accessible.
  • Rooms 1, 2 and 3 have two have two single beds, of which one is a high-low bed.
  • Room 4 has a low, small double bed.
  • These four rooms are fully wheelchair accessible, with wooden flooring, wide doors, and plenty of sockets for charging wheelchairs or scooters or other equipment, and have plenty of space to move around in.
  • Fully accessible bathrooms, with grab-rails and wet-room showers.
  • Room 1 has grab-rails on both sides of toilet; room 2,3,4 has only a fold down grab rail on the right of the toilet. (Right side, as in seated on the toilet, with a ledge on the other side to lean on)
  • There are shower chairs/seats available on request.
  • There is a manual hoist available.
  • These rooms also have a private conservatory attached to the rooms, which are spacious, and have a recliner chair and other furniture.
  • My experience is that furniture can be re-arranged to suit your specific needs.

Room 5,6,7
  • These rooms are at the other quieter end of the building. They are smaller and don't have 'wet-rooms'. They do have the views of the sea.
  • Those who need a carer to accompany them on their stay at the Centre often book one of these rooms for the carer (as extra room)

Food and kitchen
  • There is a large communal kitchen, where guests can sit together and have a chat.
  • The counter and cupboards are normal height. 
  • One low level drawer has cups, plates etc accessible for wheelchair users.
  • There are two fridges, and a freezer. One fridge is for general use. The other is for guests own foods.
  • There are teas, coffee, biscuits and etc provided. Self service.
  • Self catering breakfast is included. There are cereals, milk, bread, eggs is in the fridge and cupboards.
  • A large delicious vegetarian lunch can be ordered (€10)  and eaten at the Shrine room. But as this is a little tricky to reach by wheelchair (steep hill), lunch can be brought up to the care centre.
  • Diets are catered for in terms of the booked lunch. Ask in advance of stay. But do bring your own dietary foods with you!
  • You can do your own food too. Bring supplies!
  • If you need support, bring someone along.
  • Shops are far away, so do bring plenty of snack and other foods if you do not intend to leave the building for the duration of your stay.
  • For me the lunch is big enough to be my main meal of the day. I bring frozen soups from home for at night.


  • In the morning at 9am there is a guided meditation at the Shrine Room. Which is located down the road from the Care Centre. This is open to anyone.
  • As the Shrine Room is not easily to get to by wheelchair, they kindly offered to move this meditation up to the Meditation room here at the Care Centre during my stays. This way, I, and other guest with mobility impairment are able to join in in the meditations.
  • To me it is a beautiful way to start the day.
  • At 3pm there is a Loving Kindness meditation, again at the Care Centre Meditation room.
  • Both these meditations are free and open to everyone who stays,  or visits Dzogchen Beara for the day. 
  • These meditations are guided in such a way that they are open to complete Beginners and the more experienced in meditation.


Wifi. No-wifi

  • Just a note for people hooked or reliant on their phone, there is very poor phone reception, so you are (wonderfully) cut off from the world. Very peaceful.
  • There are a few location on the grounds (near car park) where there is most reliable phone reception. Occasionally there is reception in the building. Occasionally.
  • There is no wi-fi.


  • The Dzogchen Beara complex consists of a series of buildings, stunning paths, trees, ponds, and a gorgeous little cafe/bookshop, walks and a meditation garden.
  • The road is narrow so can be a little tricky to feel safe on on my mobility scooter.
  • And it is steep.
  • From the cafe down towards the Shrine room and meditation garden it is Very Steep.
  • Staff suggest to Not go out on your own if you use a wheelchair or scooter. They prefer to walk alongside you, especially on wet days. Or when road and paths are wet from previous rain.
  • For walkers, there are some lovely walks and views to explore.

Beyond Dzogchen Beara

  • The Beara peninsula is just beautiful. It is worth a trip out for the day. 
  • There is a wheelchair accessible taxi available from Castletownbeare. They can provide a trip around the area. Staff here can tell you more about that.

What this place means for me and how I use it.

For me this place means a break from the daily routine.
A different location.
Meeting new people.
A place where I can simply BE.

I find peace and acceptance.
And an amazing place to create. A few sculptures saw the light of day here, and my Into the Light book was formulated and launched here.
sculpture in the making at dzogchen beara care centre by ME/CFS artist Corina Duyn
sculpture in the making

I have build up a routine during my stays, and now know what I would need to make my stay easy. I contact the centre in advance of arrival. When I get here, my room has been set up for me, for example a small table is placed in the conservatory to sculpt on...

I rest a lot.
I sleep a lot.
I hang out in the recliner in the conservatory. Looking at the glorious views, or listen to the wind and rain...
I don't listen to the news or watch tv.
(There is a telly and videos in the family room - also books, and a radio in the bedrooms.)

If you book for the first time, and have requirements, and questions, please make sure to make contact the centre in advance.

I hope you will make a trip here some day.
I recommended staying for a few nights at least. It takes me about two or three to feel ok after the journey and to settle in. And to settle into the beauty and silence.

I love it here!
But you properly gathered that already...

Links and further reading

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