Experience Ireland, a land rich in Celtic Christian spirituality, beauty, legend, music, and history. Visit stone ruins of historic monasteries founded centuries ago. See pre-Christian sites with spiritual significance that are thousands of years old. Marvel at the natural beauty of green hills dotted with sheep, dramatic seascapes, and incredible rock formations. Your interior journey will be paralleled by the rugged landscape. As we walk pilgrim routes and enjoy traditional music, storytelling and good humour, we will encounter the heart and spirit of a people. Irish-born tour leaders Bob and Margaret Nally will give you an insider view on this 12-day tour of their beloved homeland. Includes opportunities for optional hiking and deeper reflection.
This tour can be paired with once-in-ten years Oberammergau Passion Play tickets & a 2-night hotel stay, June 8-10, 2020. PLAY TICKET PACKAGE MUST BE BOOKED ASAP.
Sights, Sounds & Sacred Spaces of Ireland, May 27 – June 7, 2020
escorted by Bob and Margaret Nally
Compatible with Oberammergau Passion Play package, June 8-10, 2020
Day 1: Wednesday, May 27, Dublin
Arrive in Dublin by early afternoon. After dropping off your luggage at the hotel, begin your introduction to Ireland with a tour of the city. Relax before a group welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 2: Thursday, May 28, Dublin
Enjoy a full day in Dublin city! Shop or saunter. Visit the treasures of the National Museum followed by a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, an elegant park in the centre of the city. On the way back to the hotel, browse the shops along Grafton Street—a cobblestone pedestrian street. End the evening with dinner and music in Temple Bar district as we do a final stroll through the charming city.
Day 3: Friday, May 29, Tullamore
Drive through the Dublin Mountains to Annamoe to see a modern-day shepherd demonstrate the skills of his sheepdogs. At Glendalough, learn about the life of St. Kevin and the monastic settlement he founded in the 6th century. Reflect as you walk along the ancient Green Road through verdant trees beside a large pond. Historic stone churches, a round tower, and other buildings date from the 10th century on this site. Then, drive to Kildare to visit with the sisters of St. Brigid on a beautiful site that includes St. Brigid’s well, a historic round tower, and a modern monastery. Spend the night in Tullamore, County Galway.
Day 4: Saturday, May 30, Galway
On the banks of the River Shannon, we’ll visit the ancient monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise, which was founded in the 6th century by St. Ciarán at an important crossroad in the ancient pilgrim route across Ireland. See the stone ruins of churches, a round tower, and other buildings on this site that was pillaged many times by Vikings and others and yet rebuilt again and again. In the afternoon and evening, stroll through Galway—a city rich with poetry, music and history. See the Spanish Arches and St. Nicholas of Myra Church where Christopher Columbus is said to have prayed before his journey to the New World. Dinner will be in a local pub with live music.
Day 5: Sunday, May 31, Galway
After a short ferry ride to Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands, hike up a gentle slope to Dun Aenghus, an amazing ancient fort built of layers of stacked rocks. Stunning views of the cliffs whipped by the wind can be seen from the top. Ride a mini-bus around the compact island to see churches, seashores and quaint shops, or rent bicycles to tour the island instead if you prefer.
Day 6: Monday, June 1, Westport
On a guided tour of the Ballintubber Abbey and grounds, reflect on the cost of remaining faithful as you hear about this place of worship founded in 1216 that was destroyed and renewed many times. Be drawn into worship by the stained-glass windows and art in this recently renovated church. For those who are interested and able, take a 4-5-hour pilgrim walk up Croagh Patrick. Enjoy incredible views of Clew Bay and hills filled with heather and sheep as you walk up Ireland’s holy mountain. Others may choose to visit Westport House and the town of Westport—a lively place with lovely shops and good music.
Day 7: Tuesday, June 2, Sligo Town
Drive to Carrowmore for a tour of this 5000-year-old burial ground and ceremonial ritual site. Visit Céide Fields—another Neolithic site that was discovered under the Irish bog lands. At Drumcliffe, see an ancient round tower, a church, and the burial site of renowned poet W.B. Yeats.
Day 8: Wednesday, June 3, Letterkenny
In County Donegal, take a short hike beside Slieve League to see breathtaking views of this 1900-foot mountain along the sea. Later, take a reflective pilgrim walk called a turas around the village of Glencolmcille—a site with pre-Christian and Christian significance. Enjoy lunch at the Folk Village and visit cottages from various centuries of rural life in Ireland. Drive to Letterkenny through the mighty Barnesmore Gap.
Day 9: Thursday, June 4, Ballycastle, Northern Ireland
Take in the beautiful view of the surrounding countryside from the walls of an ancient stone ring fort called Grianan Aileach. This was the inaugural site where powerful chieftains were crowned. Later, travel to Northern Ireland to walk on the storied city walls of Derry/Londonderry and to learn about its recovery from centuries of conflict between Catholics and Protestants. From there, drive to enjoy the incredible rock formations of the UNESCO world heritage site at Giant’s Causeway. Tonight, lodge at Corrymeela, a centre for peace and reconciliation on the hillside of the coastal village of Ballycastle
Day 10: Friday, June 5, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Enjoy a morning worshipping with the Corrymeela community and learning about this group’s faithfulness in the Irish peace process. Leave after lunch to visit the Titanic Museum in the city of Belfast. Stay overnight in the city and enjoy its culture.
Day 11: Saturday, June 6, Dublin
Royal Meath, where you will visit the renowned Brú na Bóinne, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient passage graves. Drive to the Hill of Tara, once the seat of power of the High Kings of Ireland. Conclude the day in Dublin with an evening of Irish culture and music.
Day 12: Sunday, June 7
Say farewell to each other and to the beautiful land of Ireland as you depart for home, or continue to Oberammergau in Germany to see the Passion Play.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.