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 living on their peaceful 95 acre farm…….and so a little seed was planted.
Before Juliette’s retirement in December 2022, she offered Physiotherapy, Reiki, Yoga, Energy Medicine and Keep Fit for the over 50s in her on-site clinic. A lake for coarse fishing, overnight accommodation , as well as other facilities and beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains and the surrounding countryside already existed, which made the owners realise they had the foundation for a retreat centre right on their doorstep.
Consequently they made the decision to share their peaceful oasis with others.
Over the next few years the existing facilities & buildings were lovingly restored and, in the autumn of 2014, Holistic Retreat Centre Embrace opened its doors. The ecologically minded owners have, since 2010, gradually planted thousands of trees.
In May 2019 the planting of all 95 acres, with a variety of native trees, was completed, bringing the total number of trees now between 75,000 and 80,000! They have also installed solar panels to provide some of the electricity required.
Embrace facilities are available for rent by 3rd party practitioners looking for a quiet and peaceful setting for courses, retreats and classes. You can find out more about the facilities we offer for rent and book here.
We are a registered Social Enterprise meaning we are driven by a mission to help people, reinvesting profits back into Embrace to continue benefiting those that use our facilities.
Who are we?
Jim Stewart’s family has lived on the farm for around 4 centuries. 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 Physical Education Teacher, followed by 4 years of studying Physiotherapy and she qualified in 1979 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 in premises which are now part of Embrace.
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 Embrace was originally developed around the needs of carers and cancer patients.