Pictures from Ireland

A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Ireland

Led by:

The Rev. J. Patrick Peters
St. Paul Episcopal Church
Columbia, PA

July 13 - 28, 2008

Trip map

DAY 1, Sunday, July 13, 2008 - Depart from Columbia by coach to JFK Airport for our nonstop transatlantic flight to Shannon, Ireland.  Dinner on board the aircraft. D

DAY 2: Monday, July 14, 2008 - We arrive at Shannon Airport where we meet our driver and guide who will accompany us throughout the pilgrimage.  We begin with a stop at The Ennis Friary, a 13th century Franciscan Friary with numerous 15th and 16th century sculptures carved in limestone.  Traveling toward the Cliffs of Moher, we stop to visit St. Bridgid’s Well, one of the most famous holy wells in Ireland.  We see the Cliffs of Moher and continue to the villages of Lisdoonvarna and Ballyvaughan past Poulnabroune Dolmen, a 5000 year old tomb.  We travel through the Burren, a limestone area famous for its natural beauty and wildlife.  We continue to Kinvara and stop for a photo opportunity at Dunguaire Castle, a small 17th century castle, built 500 years ago.  Galway Bay.  We continue to Galway City to visit the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, Galway’s finest medieval building.  The church has one of only two smiling angels and it is said that Christopher Columbus prayed here before his trip to the New World.  Overnight Galway. BD

DAY 3: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - We tour Connemara, a wild region of bogs, mountains and rugged coastline.  We visit Aughnanure Castle one of over 200 tower houses, fortified residences and places of power and control, in County Galway.  We will visit Kylemore Abbey, a romantic castle built in the Gothic Revival style.  Originally built as a castle, it became an abbey when Benedictine nuns, fleeing from Belgium during World War I, sought refuge here.  We walk to Omey Island, a once thriving community devastated by famine and one of the few tidal islands in Connemara.  Tonight we will enjoy a dinner cruise with Irish entertainment on board the Corrib Princess.  Overnight Galway. BD

DAY 4: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - We travel to Clonmacnoise, the site of St. Ciaran's Monastery, a 9th century church believed to contain the tomb of the founder.  We stop at Locke’s Distillery Museum, established in 1757.  Locke’s is the last remaining example of a small pot distillery in Ireland.  Our next stop is Trim Castle the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland.  We will continue to the Round Tower and High Crosses in Kells.  In the churchyard on the top of the hill are found the 100 foot tall Round Tower and a number of High Crosses.  The tower dates from before 1076, the year Murchadh Mac Flainn who was claiming the High Kingship of Ireland, was murdered in the tower.  We will continue to Newgrange.  Overnight Newgrange. BD

DAY 5: Thursday, July 17, 2008 - We travel to Bru na Boinne to visit Knowth to see the Stone Age passage graves and the Hill of Tara where disputes between clans were settled and new laws were passed.  We will see the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick lit a Paschal fire as a challenge to the pagan High King of Tara.  Later we will visit Mellifont Abbey, founded in 1142 and the first Cistercian Abbey in Ireland.  Overnight Newgrange. BD

DAY 6: Friday, July 18, 2008 - We travel to Dublin this morning to visit the National Museum of Ireland with its impressive Celtic artifacts.  We visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral which contains the largest collection of church monuments in Ireland followed by a visit to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells, the most richly illuminated of Ireland’s medieval manuscripts.  Overnight Dublin. BD

DAY 7: Saturday, July 19, 2008 - Our visits today include Christ Church Cathedral, one of 2 Protestant cathedrals in Dublin.  The cathedral was built on the site of a Viking wooden church which was founded in 1083.  A stone church was constructed here in 1173 by the Norman invader, Stongbow, and the present cathedral was built primarily from 1871 to 1878.  We continue to Kilmainham Gaol, a grim place where leaders of the 1916 Easter uprising were held before being executed in the prison yard.  There will be free time in Dublin this afternoon before our evening Dublin pub crawl.  Overnight Dublin. BD

DAY 8: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 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.  We will visit the old Abbey Church and have time to explore the lake on our own.  We continue to Kilkenny.  Overnight Kilkenny. BD

DAY 9: Monday, July 21, 2008 - We visit Kilkenny Castle, The Black Abbey, and St. Canice’s Cathedral which features a collection of 16th and 17th century tombstones, black marble monuments to lords, ladies and bishops, and to Edmund Purcell, 16th century captain of the Ormond's notorious gallowglasses (mercenaries).  We will also see the 12th century font and St. Kieran's chair, built into the cathedral walls and still used in the enthronement of the bishops of Ossory, the Bishop's Palace and library, founded in 1679 and containing 3000 works from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the Red Book of Ossory, a 15th century manuscript which chronicles the lives of early saints.  Overnight Kilkenny. BD

DAY 10: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - We travel to Waterford to visit Waterford Heritage Museum and the crystal factory.  We continue along the scenic coastal road via Dungarven toward Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown.  Between 1848 and 1950, 6 million Irish disembarked from this port town to seek a better life.  They were driven away by famine and poverty.  Cobh was also the last port of call of the doomed ship Titanic.  Overnight Cork. BD

Day 11: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - We visit St. Finbarr’s Cathedral in Cork City and then travel to Blarney Castle where we will kiss the Blarney Stone.  To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk in order to win the prize, the gift of eloquence.  We will also visit Blarney Woolen Mills.  Overnight Cork. BD

DAY 12: Thursday, July 24, 2008 - We travel to Glengarriff in Bantry Bay and take a ferry to Garnish, a small island of 37 acres known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty. We continue to Bantry and on to Healy Pass, located on the spine of the Caha Mountains.  Healy Pass spoils you with some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland.  We continue to Killarney.  Overnight Killarney. BD

DAY 13: Friday, July 25, 2008 - Today we travel to the world renowned Ring of Kerry around the Iveragh Peninsula.  We see the Staigue Fort, a 5th century ring fort in the Kerry Mountains.  At the western end of the peninsula we will cross to Valencia Island to visit the Skellig Experience which shows how early Christian monks lived on the nearby islands.  We will see an audiovisual display about the construction and history of the monastery on Skellig Michael, the largest of the Skellig Islands.  We continue to Waterville and on to the attractive village of Sneem with its brightly painted houses and we pause at Moll's Gap and Ladies' View to enjoy spectacular views of the famous lakes.  On our way back to Killarney, we will visit Muckross House and gardens.  Overnight Killarney. BD

DAY 14: Saturday, July 26, 2008 - We go to the Dingle Peninsula to see Gallarus Oratory, the best preserved, unmortared early Christian Church.  We see Beehive Huts, early habitation sites, and continue to Dunbeg Fort, begun around 800 BC, and used through the Celtic period up to the 10th century.  We see Kilmalkedar and Riasc, sites famous for carved crosses and a slab bearing classical Celtic and Christian motifs.  We visit the Blasket Center and the Blasket Islands and continue to Limerick.  Overnight Limerick. BD

DAY 15: Sunday, July 27, 2008 - We will visit King John’s Castle, a fortified 13th century castle on King’s Island’ in medieval Limerick.  The castle opens a window into the lives and stories of the people through political upheaval, war and famine.  We continue to visit the Cragganowen Project known as “Cragganowen: The Living Past” designed to bring Bronze Age and Celtic culture to life.  A major feature is a Crannog ('young tree’) which is a reconstructed lake-dwelling of a type found during the Iron Age and Early Christian periods.  We see the 'Brendan Boat', the hide boat which Tim Severin sailed from Ireland to the United States, re-enacting the voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, (who died c. 583 AD).  St. Brendan is reputed to have discovered America centuries before Columbus.  Tonight we will enjoy a “Farewell to Ireland” banquet in Bunratty Castle.  Overnight Limerick. BD

DAY 16: Monday, July 28, 2008 - We will travel to Shannon for our flight to the U.S. and meet our coach for our drive back to Columbia. BL

Price: $4,389.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from New York, NY JFK.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement costs available on request.

Final Payment due March 13, 2008

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until February 1, 2008: $200 per person.
◊ February 2 – May 1, 2008: $300 per person.
◊ May 2 – June 1, 2008 : $1,000 per person.
◊ After June 1, 2008: NO REFUND

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.