"An intimate place to be,
To feel the peace,
To touch the soul,
To smell the earth and trees,
A place of new life.
That is our dream."
The Clare 250 Cancer Centre is day centre for those diagnosed with cancer in Co. Clare and is nestled in 48 acres in the woods of Ballygriffey, on the outskirts of Ennis.
It features a library, meditation room, meeting room, spacious kitchen and dining room as well as a large sitting room with floor to ceiling windows. There is also a separate church on site that can hold up to 60 people at any given time. There are also plans for a healing garden which visitors can tend to if they chose or simply use the space for meditation. As a non traditional day centre, instead of imprinting an idea of what it should be, it is hoped that given time, it will grow organically into what it is meant to be.
While spaces like the day and dining rooms allow for social interaction, we were conscious of the fact that some may prefer their own company. To that end, the idea of a library materialised.
For many, books are more than just a pastime, they are a comfort, a means of suspending the realities of daily life, a means of discovery. They enlighten us; push the boundaries of our thinking and our compassion. With busy lives and busy houses, it is hard to find the time to lose ourselves for an hour or two in a good book.
Decorated to promote relaxation and calm, the library in the centre is a quiet space with six large armchairs for the readers comfort and the shelves are packed with works of fiction and nonfiction, kindly donated to us by friends of the charity.
Meditation is used around the world to help find clarity of thought, calmness and to uplift the spirit. When going through a life changing illness, your mind can be a storm of thoughts that disturb your mood, your sleep and your ability to deal with what is happening in the moment. Finding the freedom and the space to shut down for a while can be difficult.
While meditation can be practised anywhere, a special room has been created to provide a space of solitude for those who wish to have that time for themselves. The simple act of focusing on your breathing and grounding yourself for a brief time can help with what tomorrow will bring.
The woodland theme has been included her for those who may not be able to spend time outdoors. Soft lighting and calm, meditative music enhances the experience.
For most houses in Ireland the heart of the home is the kitchen. With that in mind we wanted to create a more natural, less clinical looking space.
The kitchen will cater for day to day visitors with hot and cold beverages and snacks, while also being able to cater for large gatherings and special events throughout the year.
The spacious dining room is colourful and bright and is the perfect spot for a cuppa and a chat. The room looks out on to partially covered decking, which will be the perfect place for tea and scones in the spring and summer days.
To pay tribute to the thousands that have taken part in the Clare 250 Mile Cycle, the walls are adorned with just some of the many photos taken of the event since the 1980's. The is not only functional but lays out our history and is a wonderful exhibition of the county's generosity and kindness.
The largest room in the centre is the day room. With its high ceiling and floor to ceiling windows along one wall, the room is bright and airy. Whatever the weather, this room brings nature up close and personal without venturing outdoors.
The wood burning stove surrounded by a large stone chimney is a favourite feature of the room with the chandeliers hanging above bringing a touch of elegance. This space can accommodate up to sixty people for larger events that will be held from time to time but it is also ideal for a few hours relaxation in solitude or with company.
When we travel to Lourdes, we bring a group of strangers who, by the end of the week, have counselled and comforted each other. We hope the same will happen within the grounds of the centre.
Through our experience on our annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, we have come to realise that in trying times people look to something greater than themselves for guidance and strength. With that in mind, a chapel was included in the plans for the centre. However, with the land available, the decision was taken to build a small church a short distance from the main building.
The church can hold up to sixty attendees at any given time and is the perfect location for prayer and reflection. In keeping with the natural surroundings, the altar stone is Burren Rock from the entrance of the property and the tabernacle and holy water font are both encased in trees that were felled to create the road.
Throughout the grounds there are ample opportunities to sit a while in the open air. Dotted around the building and the walkway are seats carved from some of the trees that succumbed to the power of Storm Darwin in 2014. They have been placed in secluded corners to allow visitors the opportunity of rest and private reflection outdoors. The large, partially covered decking outside the dining room will also have seating available, perfect for those balmy Spring and Summer days.
Opening Hours, directions and contact details can be found here.