Catholic Pilgrimage to Ireland

Ireland is known as the land of saints and scholars. This tour features a mixture of pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland. From the Rock of Cashel; the ancient crowning stone of Irish kings, to the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick, and St. Kevin’s bed and tower in Glendalough, to the Book of Kells; an illuminated manuscript containing the four Gospels transcribed by Celtic monks around 800AD, widely regarded as Ireland’s finest treasure, there is plenty to enthrall and enjoy. Together with spectacular scenery, opportunities to meet the locals, and the comfort of staying in deluxe hotels, you will enjoy an informed, educational, and worthwhile learning experience on your tour of Ireland.

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Please keep in mind that we can customize a tour to your particular needs. Perfect for families, small groups and couples traveling together. For groups of four or more we highly recommend a private driver/guide with private transport.

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Dublin City

At Dublin airport we meet our Irish tour guide who will give us an overview of this picturesque and charming city. We will have an orientation tour on the way to the hotel through central Dublin including O’Connell StreetCustom House, and the Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe and site of Pope John Paul II’s Mass to over one million people in 1979. Relax after your journey and enjoy an afternoon at leisure before the welcome dinner this evening.

Overnight and dinner in Dublin.

Day 2 Georgian Squares, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Shopping on Grafton Street

Today we will enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of Dublin, seeing the Georgian squares characterised by colourful doors. Then shopping on Grafton Street and a visit to Trinity College which is the oldest university in Ireland founded in 1592 by Elizabeth 1st. We will visit the ancient library containing over twenty thousand manuscripts, among which is the Book of Kells, an manuscript from the 9th century written by the monks at St. Colombo’s monastery on the island of Iona.

Before lunch we will visit St. Patrick’s Anglican Cathedral, built in 1213. This Gothic Cathedral has a splendid interior, with some beautiful tombs and monuments and ornate stained glass windows in the Chancel.

Afternoon free at leisure.

Overnight in Dublin.

Day 3 Wicklow, Glendalough, Cistercian & Franciscan Abbeys, Waterford

Today we will travel through the beautiful mountains of Wicklow, called the ‘Garden of Ireland’. Morning visit to Glendalough, an ancient monastic city, established in the 6th century by St. Kevin, in the heart of “the valley of the two lakes” (Gleann da Loch). It was a very important centre of learning as well as a pilgrimage destination.

There are many legends concerning St. Kevin and he is often compared to St. Francis of Assisi. The Interpretative Centre traces the history of its community through an exhibition and an audio-visual, which relates to the Golden Age of early Christian Ireland. Then we’ll be taken on a guided tour of the site, which includes a Round Tower, the ruins of the Cathedral, and “St. Kevin’s Kitchen” surrounded by an old cemetery. This route continues to Baltinglass where the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey are found. Continue to Castledermot where we see the remnants of a Franciscan Abbey, before arriving in Waterford.

Overnight and dinner in Waterford.

Day 4 Rock of Cashel, Killarney

Today we travel to the “Rock of Cashel”, standing high in the middle of the “Golden Vale”, these religious buildings, dating from the 12th century, form the most spectacular medieval set in Ireland. The Cathedral, the Round Tower and Cormac Chapel, which is the first Irish Romanesque church, testify to the importance of the site.

The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster. Here we find the two traditions and cultures meeting through the story of St. Patrick’s Cross.

Overnight and dinner in Killarney.

Day 5 Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, Gallerus’ Oratory.

The Dingle Peninsula is the most northern of the Kerry peninsulas. From Inch, where David Lean made “Ryan’s daughter”, we continue along the Eagle Mount and the cliffs of Slea Head. In Early Christian Ireland monks were looking for isolated places, Gallarus Oratory, a beehive hut, is one of them. The oratory dates from the 9th century, and testifies to the very good quality of construction. The oratory used to be place of prayer for monks. Our next stop isKilmalkedar Church, built in 12th century, once part of a complex of religious buildings, in the Romanesque style.

Overnight in Killarney.

Day 6 Limerick, Cliffs of Moher, Galway.

Drive north to Adare and Limerick. Visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and the Burren today. Then continue to Galway to visit Clonmacnoise, which overlooks the Shannon and is Ireland’s most important monastic site. The site was founded by St. Ciaran in the 6th century and consists of a walled field containing numerous early churches, high crosses, round towers and graves.

Overnight and dinner in Galway.

Day 7 Connemara, Mayo, Knock, Sligo, Yeats Country.

Today, we will see Ballintubber Abbey, originally founded by St Patrick when he brought Christianity to Ireland in c.441AD. The present Abbey was founded in 1216 by King Cathal O’Conor.

Later on our Christian path we will visit Knock and the shrine situated in the plains of East Mayo. It is one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. On 21st August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people; women, men and children, witnessed an Apparition. We will visit the Basilica, the largest church in Ireland. Knock is a very popular pilgrimage destination, and in 1979 Pope John Paul II visited this holy place.

Travel through Sligo, made famous by the renowned Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Visit Carrowmore cemetery, not far from the mountain called Ben Bulben. It is a cemetery aged around 6,000 years. Fascinating landscape, history, burial technique, and legends.

Overnight and dinner in Sligo.

Day 8 Donegal, Derry, Belfast.

In the morning after breakfast we will depart for Donegal and Derry and enjoy a city tour, including a walking tour in Derry to see O’Doherty’s Tower and theTower Museum, which tells the story of the town from the days of St. Columcille to the present. Following Derry we visit the North’s number one attraction, theGiants Causeway, the hexagonal basalt columns are impressive.

Overnight and dinner in Belfast.

Day 9 Mountains of Mourne, Downpatrick, Dublin.

Today we will enjoy beautiful scenery travelling through the Mourne Mountains and arrive at Downpatrick which is believed to be the burial site of not only St. Patrick but also of St. Brigit and St. Colmcille.

It was in Saul, only a few miles from Downpatrick, that St. Patrick established his first church and from here he developed Ireland to become the ‘Island of Saints and Scholars’. It was John de Courcy, a Norman conqueror, who recognised the importance of the site after the discovery of the Saints relics in 1183. He was the one who started Down Cathedral, which incorporates parts of the 13th century version. Nearby visit to Struell Wells, the final pilgrimage site. Situated about a mile from Downpatrick, we can enjoy a walk if the weather and time allow it! Once known throughout Europe, these wells are said to have been blessed by St. Patrick.

Overnight in Dublin.

Day 10

After breakfast we depart from Dublin International Airport, on our flight back home to US with fond memories of Ireland.

Slan abhaile!

Group rates available for groups of 10-250 people. For pricing, dates and additional details, please call one of our group travel advisers at 1-800-832-1848.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

 

 

Enjoy Ireland at its best on our Emerald Ireland vacation

Tour Includes:
  • Round Trip Group Airfare
  • Confirmed Reservations at Deluxe Hotels for 9 nights
  • Full Irish Breakfast each day
  • Dinner on 7-nights
  • All Transportation by Luxury Motor Coach
  • Services of a Professional Driver/Guide
  • Admissions to all religious sites
  • All taxes and service charges
  • Concierge service in Ireland while travelling
  • Travel Documents and Personalized Itinerary
  • Prices based on per person sharing
  • Single supplement will be additional
Highlights:
  • Dublin City, Trinity College & Book of Kells, Grafton Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Wicklow & Glendalough, Franciscan & Cistercian Abbey’s, Waterford
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Killarney & Dingle Peninsula
  • Gallerus’ Oratory, Slea Head, Connor Pass
  • Adare, Limerick, Cliffs of Moher & the Burren
  • Killary Harbor and Quiet Man Country
  • Galway, Connemara, Marian Shrines at Knock
  • Sligo, Donegal, walking tour of Derry, Belfast
  • Mountains of Mourne, Downpatrick