Creating an ‘extraordinary’ wellness experience in County Cork

CHRIS DUNNE caught up with a woman who gave up life in the busy corporate world, to open a wellness centre in Monkstown
Creating an ‘extraordinary’ wellness experience in County Cork

Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Wellness at Monkstown, Co Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

TAMAN Wellness in Monkstown is possibly Cork’s best kept wellness secret since opening almost three years ago.

Its secluded setting and views overlooking Cork harbour offer an oasis of calm in our crazy modern world.

Designed, managed and run by wellbeing advocate Bláithín McDonnell, Taman Wellness revolutionises your everyday self-care offering into what can be described as an extraordinary wellness experience.

I went to meet owner Blaithin McDonnell to learn more about her journey from the corporate world into complementary therapy and to learn more about her journey to Taman Wellness.

“Taman Wellness is a complete escape from the busy-ness of modern life with luxe interiors designed to be restful and restorative and the healing power of nature harnessed in the landscaped gardens and tropical courtyard. When we succeed in marrying connection of the self with connection to nature, we enhance our health and happiness which in turn promotes long life.

“From the moment of arrival, guests are cocooned into the heart of Taman Wellness and wrapped in the luxurious surrounds of this other world so that disconnection from the everyday is immediate,” says Blaithin.

“I designed Taman Wellness in response to a personal need. Having enjoyed a successful corporate career in large multinationals across multiple areas, I suffered a health scare in 2017. When the illusion of who I thought I was stripped away, I didn’t recognise what, or more importantly, who was left.

“We are so accustomed to identifying ourselves by our job titles, the companies we work for and the roles we play, that it is becoming increasing rare that we actually take the time to really sit and think about who it is we really are and what it is we want to be. For me, when all the labels I identified with were stripped away, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and the end of one chapter allowed for the beginning of another.”

Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Wellness.
Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Wellness.

Blaithin had a vision.

“What Taman Wellness became was what I felt I needed at that time; a place to be supported back to the fullness of my health and wellbeing; somewhere I was truly seen and valued as a person; a place where I felt held. By focusing on my own wellness, I developed rituals to bring balance back to both mind and body and created what can only be described as an extraordinary wellness experience.

“At Taman, treatments are prescribed and tailored in response to my client’s particular needs and intentions and people invariably leave feeling lighter, freer and more balanced.”

For many, wellness has become a new buzz word, for more a welcome trend towards enhanced wellbeing.

Taman Wellness provides many services for well-being.

“Treatments centre around Reflexology, Reiki and Intuitive Energy Healing. In general, energy healing treatments offers clients the opportunity to pause. When we take a pause, we begin to see things more clearly. We start to notice where we are putting our energy and our focus. We take ownership for our own wellbeing. True wellness brings peace, clarity and happiness. Life flows more easily, we prioritise better, we have more caring and connected relationships. My reflexology and reiki treatments are restorative and prescribed to the client’s individual needs and treatments include rituals to harmonise mind and body.”

A recent visit from Helen Murphy of @daily_divadiary sums up the healing space that Bláithín has created: ‘Calming, grounding, cathartic, gentle, powerful, peaceful. There aren’t adequate words to describe the two hours I spent with her. Bláithín is a highly skilled Reflexology and Reiki practitioner, or a more truthful description would be to describe it as her vocation. She is intuitive, kind and her hands wield a little magic.

“She has created a private little haven and there’s a warmth to her space that is impossible to recreate in a larger spa setting.

“Finished with the most luxurious of touches, after your treatment you can nestle into the bespoke chaises in the indoor relaxation room or snuggle up under faux fur throws under the stars in the outdoor relaxation courtyard to totally reset and reboot.’

What inspired Blaithin to take the leap from the corporate world?

“ Our world today operates at an extraordinarily fast pace,” says Blaithin.

“ We live in a culture that rewards busy-ness and a society where the expectation is that we are always on and always available. So accustomed are we to this way of existing, that we often don’t have the time to stop and question what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and even if we did, the weight of expectation to be doing all the time bears down heavily upon us.

 Taman Wellness at Monkstown, Co Cork.
 Taman Wellness at Monkstown, Co Cork.

“Being busy is seen as a badge of honour and few feel this pressure more than working mothers.

“My journey of recovery ultimately became my journey into wellness. I began to recognise how, in an effort to meet all expectations, I had put my own wellbeing at the bottom of the pile.

“I freely admit now that my priorities had been skewed. Somewhere along this path of self-discovery, a light bulb went off. What if I was able to give to others what I felt I had needed most as a working mother in today’s society? What is I could marry my desire to take care of people with wanting to take care of myself? What if I could create a sanctuary that could promote being, a safe place to be seen authentically for who you truly are, a space where we could all heal together?

“And so, the spark became a dream, the dream became a vision and when the vision was sprinkled with a whole lot of courage, the reality of Taman Wellness was born.”

Blaithin had lots of support and encouragement.

‘I couldn’t have built Taman Wellness without the support and encouragement from family and friends,” says Blaithin.

“Courage and bravery got me so far but it was their belief in me that ultimately inspired me to create the luxurious healing space I have today.”

What advice would Blaithin give to someone taking that leap?

“Our own wellbeing is our greatest asset. Life is so much better when we feel good, leaving us free to embrace opportunities and really enjoy ourselves.

“For anyone considering their own personal circumstance, I believe it is certainly imperative that they reflect on what it is they want from life, how it is they want to feel and what is their highest vision for themselves? When they can answer these questions for themselves, they become empowered to make better choices and better decisions.

Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Wellness at Monkstown, Co Cork.
Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Wellness at Monkstown, Co Cork.

“I also think it’s important we assess our Why? Why are we doing what we are doing? When we can truly answer our own personal Whys, we begin to flow with life. We become co-creators of the life it is we want to live and the life we deserve.

“If you finally come to a place of inner knowing that you wish to alter the course of your career, then you know that you have made the best decision for you having asked yourself the right questions. At that point, change is not to be feared and we must challenge ourselves then to see change as an opportunity.”

What’s next for Bláithín and Taman Wellness?

“For me, my journey with Taman Wellness is a journey of continuous learning and continuous personal transformation. I thrive seeing my clients embark on their own success stories and it is a joy to see them take this time for themselves, something we all need to do in this era of being constantly ‘on’. What I envisage for Taman Wellness is to continue to do more of what I love, by bringing integrative health and wellbeing to a wider audience.”

Located in Monkstown, treatments at Taman Wellness are by prior arrangement only.

Blaithin offers evening appointments to facilitate those who are already time poor, but there may be a waiting time of a few weeks for these, due to demand.

Bláithín can be contacted on 087-7381416. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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