About the Song House Ireland
Our mission is to create a space where individuals and groups can renew, transform and reconnect with Nature and Spirit, through song, culture and stillness
Meet the team
Candy Verney is a woman of vision, creativity and courage, so when she got the call to purchase the then Poets House in 2015, she took the leap and answered that call. She has since converted it into a comfortable, sustainable and beautiful retreat centre with fruitful organic gardens.
Candy is a choir director and trainer, who for the last 25 years has been building communities through song, facilitating thousands to find their voice. She is also a Song Book author having published her own song books and collaborated works for both choirs and children – see here
To taste the wonderful work created and facilitated by Candy – Click here to learn about a Community Choir Leadership Training Course which runs from the Song House here in Donegal.
Together with The Pan European Choir consisting of members from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, Candy runs a local choir from the Song House called Cór an Chroí, Irish meaning choir of the Heart. Click here for a video where you can see Cór an Chroí and The Pan-European Choir together performing ‘Nead Na Lachan’ (The Ducks Nest) At St Ann’s Church in Gortahork and here they are performing a song by local song writer Andrew Roddy- When the Ice Came.
Sinéad Gallagher Sinead started her journey with The Song House in September 2019, when she attended a Spiritual Ecology weekend hosted in collaboration with St Ethelburgas’ Centre for Reconciliation & Peace. This was quite literally a life changing experience for her, already in the initial phases of a career transition from a training and rehabilitation organisation hired by the HSE, Sinead was seeking work that aligned more deeply with her values and sense of purpose in her work.
After the potency of the weekend itself, which delved deeply into the values of interconnectedness, stewardship, compassion, service and reciprocity, Sinead found herself in the midst of an inspiring conversation with Candy, who happened to be looking for someone to help her with her work at the Song House the following year. Seeing this as a beautiful opportunity and gift, Sinead put herself forward for the role and started working with The Song House in February 2020, as an admin support, which has since morphed into an events coordination role. What’s most interesting about this turn of events for Sinead is that ‘what’ we do matters, but not nearly as much as ‘how’ we do it and if the ‘how’ involves listening that inner calling to something deep and valued, the ‘what’ reveals itself in the most unexpected of ways.
Aaron McGee is a creative digital designer who specialises in wordpress websites and graphic design. As well as this, Aaron also deals with our content strategy and digital marketing campaign management.
Introduced to to the Song House by mutual friend Conór from Donegal Tour Aaron joined the team in early 2017 as online coordinator.
His role has grown to include consultancy on and implementation of digital products and content. This includes our schedule of online events in 2020-22 to deal with the constraints of delivering courses and events throughout the pandemic.
Robin’spassion is working with organisations that support men getting their lives on track. The Song House facilitates this work. But he also combines taking on the maintenance role at the Song House, enhancing the garden with designing and constructing unique walls and gates, and working with volunteers.
Sustainability and Eco Values
In line with our mission, it has been a major priority that the Song House is restored and maintained to the highest environmental standards possible.
- An Air Sourced Heat pump provides all heating and hot water
- Triple glazed windows throughout the house
- In 2019 we installed a series of 14 solar panels
- We use recycled building materials where possible
- We have designed and developed an organic garden around the Song House
- We make our own compost, and encourage guests to contribute to this
- We have a herb garden for use by visitors
- Recycling facilities
- Ecological cleaning products
Surroundings and History
The Song House lies in the heart of the Donegal Gaeltacht – an area where the native Irish language is commonly spoken. Sandwiched between wild and expansive Atlantic sandy beaches on one side, and the Derryveagh mountain range on the other, with superb views of Muckish mountain to the east. Enjoy a good hike? From the summit of Errigal or Muckish mountains you will be rewarded with a panorama of the whole of northwest Ireland.
Every day, something of staggering beauty can take your breath away: wind blown patterns in the sand, unusual cloud formations, an unexpected cluster of wild orchids along a lane, or the lark’s song high above the bogland.
This Donegal cottage was originally restored and named The Poets’ House, and was a centre of literary activity for over 20 years. Regular visitors included the legendary Seamus Heaney.
The area is steeped in living myth and tradition, history and archaeology. If you love traditional culture and music, you will find plenty of it in the pubs and halls around.
The house sleeps 12 -14, all bedrooms looking out onto Muckish, with additional accommodation for 6 in a B&B only 5 minutes walk away. Click here to download and view our room plan.
- 4 twin bedrooms + spare bed
- 5-bed family room
- Well-equipped, cosy kitchen/dining room with open fire
- Large workshop room approx. 30 sq metres
- Parking for 4 – 6 vehicles, with further places nearby
- Large organic garden, planted with many herbs, shrubs and fruit bushes, which are available for guests
- Fire pit, overlooking the mountain
Flights, ferries and buses:
Dublin airport and ferry
Daily Coaches from Dublin to Falcarragh (4 hours). The coach picks up at Dublin airport, and Dublin city centre:
Easy transport from ferry terminal to city centre
Belfast airport and ferry
Daily Coaches from Belfast to Falcarragh (2 ¾ hours).
The coach doesn’t stop at the airport, but if you phone them, they’ll arrange for a taxi to drop you from the airport to meet the coach on the main road: http://www.gallagherscoaches.com/Map.html
Easy transport from ferry terminal to city centre
Hourly minibus from Belfast airport to Derry: www.airporter.co.uk
Local buses will get you from Derry to Letterkenny, then on to Falcarragh.
Regular flights from London Stansted to Derry (Ryanair). Local buses to Letterkenny (line 234), and then to Falcarragh (line 64). You can make the journey much faster by taking a taxi from Derry airport to Letterkenny (c.€40), then catch local bus to Falcarragh.
Regular flights from Glasgow and Dublin to Donegal airport. 30 min drive from Song House. The car hire at Donegal airport is more expensive. If there’s a group of you, I can book you a minibus, coach or taxi to pick you up.
Coach from Galway
Bus Feda collect from the Cathedral in Galway City Centre, see here for timetable: http://busfeda.ie/donegal-galway-timetable
Walking from the coach stop off in Falcarragh
The Song House is 20 mins walk. At crossroads, take the southerly road signposted Muckish mountain and Glenveagh National Park. Song House is 1 mile up that road. Pass Maura’s house on left, a bright yellow/white chalet type bungalow. Road curves slightly to right, and drops down a little. Just round the bend you will see Song House , a long white traditional looking house, on left, next to road. Just after, road takes a sharp curve to left.
From Letterkenny, take N56 towards Dunfanaghy, then turn left onto R251 at Termon. Go over Muckish pass, and down the other side. You will start to see the sea and Falcarragh in the distance. Keep on same road for about 15 mins after the pass. At a fork in the road, keep to left, but you will see Song House, a long white house, set up on the hill ahead of you. 100 yards on, when the road takes a sharp turning to the right, Song House is directly after the bend, on the right. Either park on the steep short drive, or you can also park opposite in a small lay-by.