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Course Venue - Ennismore Retreat, Cork

Currently our accredited venue in Cork, Republic of Ireland for courses in Certificate in Therapeutic Play and Diploma in Play Therapy. The courses will be held at the Ennismore Retreat Centre.

Ennismore is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. It is described by the staff at the centre as a place where you can feel valued and nurtured. The house facilities have been recently upgraded to a very high standard with a warm and hospitable welcome awaiting all of the guests.

The Centre is well situated with ring road access to main motorway routes: North to Dublin, East to Waterford and West to Limerick and South to West Cork and Kerry. The train and bus stations are in close proximity by bus or taxi. (see link to directions)

In the main Centre itself there are 33 bedrooms (Including 2 twins) each with wash hand basin and simply furnished. A reliable lift serves both floors. The Centre staff do their best to respond to particular accommodation needs (e.g. rooms on the level or near bathrooms or lift), and can best do so if alerted at the time of booking.

The food in Ennismore is of excellent standard - it is both wholesome and creative. The chefs are always available to discuss any particular dietary requirement that one might need.

Training room for Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills

Training for the Certificate Course will take place in the main conference room; a spacious bright and airy room. This room boasts magnificent views over the gardens, extending to Cork harbour.

Training Room

View from Training Room

The Gardens

The gardens and grounds are extensive enabling trainees to make the most of the opportunity for reflection.

William Wrixon Leycester, the first occupant of Ennismore was a great traveller and gardener but it was Helen Wrey Leycester who married William's son Joseph who lovingly extended and developed the gardens during the first half of the twentieth century.

The gardens at Ennismore have always been a joy to those who are in it - not just' when the Leycester family who lived here from 1837 until 1950. Unfortunately little is known about the site before the house was built and the when the gardens started, although the large lime tree predates the rest of the gardens.

The Leycester family first lived at Vosterburg, just down the road in Montenotte and built Ennismore, first called East View in order to see the river on which the ships of the Cork Steam Packet Company steamed as they returned to port. It was largely built of stone from the ruined Church next to Vosterburg.

South West Ireland, with its mild climate, has many beautiful gardens and it must have been a joy and a challenge therefore to introduce semi-tropical and rare species which would find it hard to survive further north or east. Helen Leycester's family were incurable travellers and therefore were able to bring back from various parts of the world, particularly Africa, all manner of rare and unusual plants and bulbs, some of which still survive. The large blue flowers rather like alliums, which found in a large inert heap, longing to be split and replanted, are an example. These flowers were brought back from Rhodesia during the 1920's by Robert Leycester, one of Helen's son who was an incurable traveller and a dedicated maker of gardens.

The Lime garden is where Helen Leycester had a large variety of Acers & Yuccas planted which still survive. The Cornus still blooms after all the years and is probably the most admired shrub in the garden. The high magnolia still blooms despite suffering the effects of time.

The Ginkgo Biloba just to the south of the house, a prize specimen if ever there was one. It looks over the "enclosed" garden which used to be the vegetable garden. In the centre there is now a fountain and four large pillars which were part of the public lighting in one of the quays in Cork where the ships used to tie up. The little box hedges still survive after all the years. Perhaps this garden should be known as "the cloisters"? From here there used to be a gate into the lime garden. This has now been replaced by vertical bars, this allows a tempting glimpse to what lies beyond. The green house, of which only walls remain, housing rose beds, was where delicate annuals were started. It was heated by underground smouldering fires of coal or turf, and new plants brought from far flung places spent their winter there.

The drive as one approaches the house has still some of the many less common specimens of oak and beech including the Irish Oak.


Trainees coming via Cork International Airport can reach the centre by Bus Eireann to Cork City and then Bus no. 8 from Patrick Street. Otherwise a Taxi service is available direct from the airport, and journey time is 30 minutes.

Those coming to Cork by Iarnrod Eireann can take the no. 8 bus as above, or a taxi which takes 10 minutes from the city centre.

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