Pictures from Ireland

Exploring our Celtic Spirituality

A Pilgrimage to Ireland

Led by:

The Rev. Canon Marianne Borg,
Dr. Marcus Borg and
Dr. Dominic Crossan

September 9 - 24, 2007

Trip map

DAY 1, Sunday, September 9, 2007 - Depart from Newark Airport for the nonstop transatlantic flight into Dublin.  Dinner and breakfast on board the aircraft. DB

DAY 2, Monday, September 10, 2007 - Arrive Dublin. We begin our pilgrimage with a short drive north of Dublin to two historic hills that symbolize the primordial conflict between the lords of this world and the lordship of Christ: The Hill of Tara, center of the high-king of Ireland, and the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick, in the 400s, lit a Paschal fire as a challenge to the pagan High King of Ireland.  We return to Dublin for dinner and overnight. D

DAY 3, Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - We will have a group meeting at our hotel this morning.  We continue to the National Museum of Ireland with its impressive Celtic artifacts.  This afternoon, we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral which contains the largest and most interesting collection of church monuments in Ireland. Dinner and overnight in Dublin. BD

DAY 4, Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - We drive a short distance north of Dublin to visit the Stone Age passage graves at Newgrange, older than the pyramids of Egypt and among the most impressive ancient sites anywhere in the world.  Then we visit Monasterboice, one of the most famous religious sites in Ireland.  Here we will see the famous 10th century High Crosses, including the finest one in all of Ireland.  Dinner and overnight in Dublin. BD

DAY 5, Thursday, September 13, 2007 - We begin our last day in Dublin with a morning visit to the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle which boasts a diverse collection including the oldest fragments of the New Testament, plus Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an, the Bible, European medieval manuscripts, and artifacts from other religions.  Afternoon visit to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells, the most richly illuminated of Ireland’s medieval manuscripts.  We will continue to Glendalough for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 6, Friday, September 14, 2007 - Today we explore Glendalough, the setting of one of Ireland's most important monastic settlements.  We will see a short film, "Ireland of the Monasteries", which will give us a history of the monastery.  We then take a pilgrimage walk through St. Kevin's Monastic City and visit the remains of St. Kevin's Cell, the Reefert Church and Tempall na Skellig.  Also, through the graveyard, over the river, and left about ⅓rd of a mile down a slope is the old Abbey Church.  We will have the afternoon free to explore the lake on our own.  Dinner and overnight in Glendalough. BD

DAY 7, Saturday, September 15, 2007 - This morning we drive through the Gap in the Wicklow mountains along the ancient pilgrim road from Glendalough to County Kildare to visit the the famous 8th and 9th century Celtic High Crosses at Castledermot and Moone.  There is also an almost perfectly preserved 10th century round tower at that former site.  Those crosses include the second tallest in Ireland.  Richly carved with depictions of the Crucifixion, Adam and Eve, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, and the Sacrifice of Isaac, these High Crosses are among the best preserved of the granite ones in the Barrow Valley.  We will return to Glendalough for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8, Sunday, September 16, 2007 - We depart Glendalough and stop at Clonmacnoise, the site of St. Ciaran's Monastery, a tiny 9th century church believed to contain the tomb of the founder.  We continue through to Rossaveal where we will board a ferry to the port of Kiloran on Inis Mór, Aran Island.  We will have dinner and overnight on Inis Mór. BD

DAY 9, Monday, September 17, 2007 - “No angel who ever came to Ireland to help Gael or Gall returned to Heaven without first visiting Aran, and if people understood how greatly the Lord loves Aran they would all come there to partake of its blessings.”  Cormac mac Cuilennáin, King-Bishop of Cashel, died 908 AD.  We will spend three nights on this extraordinary island.  Our guide and lecturer will be Padraigín Clancy who lives on the island.  St. Enda founded a monastery here in 485 AD which drew many men and women of faith to the island and resulted in the 10 monasteries that were eventually built here.  We begin our introduction to the island this morning with a visit to what remains of his monastic site — the stump of a round tower, the fragments of a High Cross, and two smaller churches.  Our hope for the afternoon is that Padraigín, a scholarly expert on St. Brigid, will be able to introduce us to this remarkable 6th century Irish saint and abbess.  Dinner and overnight on Inis Mór. BD

DAY 10, Tuesday, September 18, 2007 – We continue our exploration of Inis Mór, beginning with the exceptionally impressive Bronze Age fortress of Dún Aonghasa overlooking a sheer 300-foot drop to the Atlantic.  The afternoon is free for personal exploration and meditation.  Dinner and overnight on Inis Mór. BD

DAY 11, Wednesday, September 19, 2007 – Our final morning on Aran. We visit the monastery of St. Brecan at the “Seven Churches.”  It was a contemporary of and maybe even competitive with the monastery of St. Enda.  We also see the only clochán or beehive-cell—built with dry-wall corbelling—on Inis Mór.  In the early afternoon, we return to the mainland by ferry.  Dinner and overnight in the beautiful Connemara Hotel near Galway City. BD

DAY 12, Thursday, September 20, 2007 - We travel south today along the coast through the Burren, a great rocky expanse in Ireland's County Clare.  Its ancient, awe inspiring stone structures hold secrets from the past.  We will see Kilmacduagh (Church of the son of Duach), the monastery which was founded by Saint Colmán MacDuagh about AD 600.  The most conspicuous feature of the well-preserved round tower (33m high) is that it leans almost 50cm from the perpendicular.  These tall buildings served as watch towers, belfries and places of refuge during attacks by marauders.  The extensive remains include a cathedral, Church of St. John the Baptist, Glebe House, O'Hayes Church and St. Mary's Church.  We travel to Dingle town on the Dingle peninsula for dinner and overnight.  There is a saying: Dingle isn’t heaven, but it’s a local call from there. BD

DAY 13, Friday, September 21, 2007 – We begin our time on the Dingle peninsula with an extended drive along the beautiful coast.  We will visit ancient beehive huts from the Bronze Age and an ancient Christian church, Gallarus.  Dinner and overnight in Dingle. BD

DAY 14, Saturday, September 22, 2007 - Excursion to Mt. Brendan for those who wish to make the climb — dependent, of course, on the weather!  Named after the Celtic saint Brendan the Navigator, it would be — if it had a few more than its 3127 feet — the highest mountain in Ireland.  We will drive in one or two smaller coaches as high as we can on the mountain, and those who wish will have the opportunity to hike up the mountain.  Those who wish to remain in Dingle will have the option for other excursions (cost not included), or a day in Dingle town.  Dinner and Overnight Dingle. BD

DAY 15, Sunday, September 23, 2007 - We depart Dingle this morning with our first stop at the Rock of Cashel, a giant circular mound rising 200 feet above the surrounding plain.  Legend has it that the devil, flying over Ireland in a hurry, took a bite out of the Slieve Bloom Mountains to clear his path and spat it out here in the Golden Vale at Cashel.  We will see a spectacular group of medieval buildings in a stunning site.  From Cashel, we continue on to our hotel near the Shannon Airport.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel. BD

Day 16, Monday, September 24 - Depart our hotel for our return flight to the USA arriving back this afternoon. BL

Price: $4,999.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Air from Newark, NJ.  Air transportation available from other cities.

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, S Snack

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.