Our Story

About Holistic Centre “Embrace”, a Social Enterprise

Over the last 4 centuries, many generations adapted this family property to the needs and requirements of the times. They extended, enriched and transformed this beautiful, unique farm and true to this tradition Jim and Juliette Stewart, the current owners, added their contribution, when they decided to transform “Connolly Farm” into a Holistic Retreat Centre.

After being confronted by a potentially life-threatening illness in 2010, they personally felt the restorative benefits of relaxing Complementary Therapies, a listening ear and living on their peaceful 95 acre farm….and so a little seed was planted.
The farm already boasted an existing clinic (offering Physiotherapy, Reiki, Yoga, Energy Medicine and Keep Fit for the over 5os), a lake for coarse fishing, overnight accommodation as well as other facilities and beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains and the surrounding countryside, which made them realize they had the foundation for a retreat centre right on their doorstep.
Consequently Jim and Juliette made the decision to share their unique place with others who may want to have a relaxing, peaceful time.
Over the next few years the existing facilities & buildings were lovingly restored; services expanded and in the autumn of 2014, Holistic Retreat Centre “Embrace” opened its doors to anyone seeking a supportive, peaceful place to reflect, restore, recharge and  learn new skills.

Anyone in need of some ME-Time, can choose to be supported by Complementary Therapies,  Yoga, Tai Chi and Keep-Fit Classes and Designated Walks,or simply chill out, without taking part in any organized programme.

In their endeavour to offer a unique package of services, therapies and accommodation, the ecologically minded owners have planted over a 1000 trees about 7 years ago and added an additional 14000 trees in the summer of 2013.
They have also installed solar panels to provide some of the electricity required.

Who are we?
Jim Stewart’s family has lived on the farm for many centuries and his own working career started as a farmer and later on developed in many different directions. At present, in retirement, he is responsible for all necessary repairs and maintenance at “Embrace”.

His Dutch wife, Juliette, was born and lived in The Netherlands until the age of 24. She studied for 3 years to become a Sports Teacher, followed by 4 years of studying and qualifying as a Physiotherapist. After working for 5 years in Switzerland, to gain experience in her profession, she moved to Northern Ireland to marry Jim and in 1986 set up her own Private Physiotherapy Practice, situated on the farm.

Using her additional qualifications as a Reiki Practitioner and Yoga Teacher, she worked for many years, as a volunteer in the Marie Curie Hospice Belfast, treating patients as well as carers and staff, but it was only after her personal experience of caring, that the extend of the impact of illness and stress on patients as well as carers really became clear.
She started a local support group for carers on the farm in May 2012 (supported by Unltd Ignite) and the whole idea of the centre has  been developed with the needs of carers and cancer patients in mind; both groups prime examples of people having to cope under very stressful circumstances.
However, “Embrace” is open to ANYONE seeking some TIME OUT in a supportive environment.

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