Pictures from Ireland

“A Creative Spirituality: The Celtic Perspective”

Led by:

The Rev. Kiran Wimberly
The Centre for Celtic Spirituality
Armagh, Northern Ireland

May 28 – June 6, 2012

Trip map


After Patrick’s extraordinary missionary effort in the 5th century, Christianity thrived in Ireland, taking on a distinct flavor because of its isolation from the rest of Christendom.  Intentional Christian communities - monasteries for both men and women – sprouted up all over Ireland and thrived as centers of spiritual growth, scriptural study, artistic expression, self-sustaining agriculture, and hospitality to the vulnerable of society.  Though destroyed by Viking raids in the 10th and 11th centuries, their legacy lives on and continues to inspire us today in what we call “Celtic Spirituality.”  The prayers, poetry, stories, wisdom, illuminated manuscripts, high crosses, and beautiful artistry that survive today give us insight into the rich, creative faith of Celtic Christians.  The “Creative Faith” pilgrimage will allow you to enter into the world of these Celtic Christians and find inspiration for your own faithjourney today, revitalizing your own creative expression of faith through prayer, creative writing, art, music, and social action.


Rev. Kiran Young Wimberly is an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) minister and the Pilgrimage Director with the Centre for Celtic Spirituality in Armagh, Northern Ireland, linking international pilgrims with Celtic Christian heritage and reconciliation work through pilgrimages, retreats, sabbaticals, and study tours.  She accompanies groups on their journeys as a practical and spiritual guide, offering insight from the Celtic Christian tradition, pastoral support, daily worship and theological reflection to help pilgrims get the most out of their experience and apply learnings to their daily lives.  Kiran was trained at Princeton Theological Seminary, has served in congregational ministry, and has two young children.


DAY 1: Monday, May 28, 2012 - Depart Newark Airport for the nonstop flight to Dublin. M

DAY 2: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - Arrive Shannon and travel southwest via Adare Village, with its hundreds of years old thatched cottages, to the picturesque town of Tralee.  We will have a welcome dinner and overnight in The Grand Hotel, Tralee. LD

DAY 3: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - In the footsteps of St. James and St. Brendan we explore the Dingle Peninsula with its beautiful seascape.  We visit the Gallarus Oratory, Ireland’s best preserved pilgrims’ church dating from about the 8th century and celebrate Eucharist in the ruins of Kilmalkedar Church.  After dinner at the hotel we will have an evening program at Siamsa Tire Folklore Theatre, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre.  Overnight The Grand Hotel,Tralee. BD

DAY 4: Thursday, May 31, 2011 - We travel to the Shannon Valley and explore the legacy of the late Bronze Age and Celtic culture at Craggaunowen, a living history village.  Here we will explore the Crannog – a Celtic homestead constructed of wattles, reeds and mud.  We visit St. Brendan’s Cathedral in Loughrea where one can see Irish craftsmanship and art at its highest level.  Architecturally notable are the stained-glass windows by An Tur Gloaine and the banners to designs by J. B. Yeats.  Overnight in Sheraton Hotel, Athlone. BD

DAY 5: Friday, June 1, 2012 - We travel to Armagh to explore this city, the spiritual capital of Ireland for 1500 years.  Armagh is the most venerated of Irish cities and the seat of both Protestant and Catholic Archbishops.  St. Patrick called Armagh “my sweet hill” and built his stone church where the Anglican Cathedral now stands.  We visit the Roman Catholic Cathedral here and also visit St. Patrick’s Trian Heritage which features three major exhibitions; The Armagh Story, Patrick’s Testament and The Land of Lilliput.  Overnight Armagh. BD

DAY 6: Saturday, June 2, 2012 - We celebrate Holy Eucharist at the Church of Ireland Cathedral and have an afternoon excursion to Navan Fort, the great mound which was the spiritual capital of ancient Ireland and the stronghold of the Kings of Ulster from 700 BC.  We visit the Navan Center which interprets the archaeology and mythology of the area.  Evening at leisure.  Overnight Armagh. BD

DAY 7: Sunday, June 3, 2012 - We travel north into the heart of Ulster and visit the Ulster-American Folk Park, one of the best open air museums of its kind, where we explore the legacy of the Scots-Irish emigrants many of whom traveled to Pennsylvania where they settled.  Here we can see replicas of an emigrant ship, an American general store, wagons, the birthplace of Andrew Mellon and much more.  We continue to picturesque Donegal, a seaport town on the northwest coast with wool mills, a castle and the ruins of a Franciscan monastery.  Overnight in the village of Letterkenny, Silver Tassie Hotel, Donegal. BD

DAY 8: Monday, June 4, 2012 - We travel to Sligo, the cultural heartland of the northwest and the heart of “Yeats Country”.  On the way we see Drumcliffe and visit Yeats’ grave in the churchyard.  We see Creevykeel Court Tomb, visit the Belleek Pottery Factory and then have some free time in the afternoon to enjoy Sligo Sligo is a seaport and fishing center and has the remains of a Dominican Monastery, Sligo Abbey, built in the 13th century.  Overnight Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo. BD

DAY 9: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - We visit the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery which is the second largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Europe and is almost 700 years older than Newgrange.  Archaeologists have discovered 65 tombs, stone circles, passage graves and standing stones here. Then we travel to the Strandhill Peninsula to take a boat trip around Lough Gill to Parke’s Castle which was built in the 17th century.  We return to Sligo via Yeat’s Country.  Overnight Sligo. BD

DAY 10: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - We travel to Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain of Ireland.  We celebrate a Pilgrim’s Eucharist at the St. Patrick statue.  The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption.  We will then drive to Galway City through the lovely Connemara region.  We will visit Kylemore Abbey, a lakeside castle that was later turned into an abbey when Benedictine nuns sought refuge here.  Overnight Hotel Meyrick, Galway. BM

Rev. Dr. Johnston McMaster

Assistant Professor and Programme Co-ordinator, Education for Reconciliation Johnston McMaster is lecturer and co-ordinator of the Education for Reconciliation programme, Irish School of Ecumenics, Belfast. His doctorate is from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, USA on Methodist Stewardship in Irish Politics.  The research was interdisciplinary including history, theology and politics and critically examined the period from the first Home Rule Bill of 1886 to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985.  Dr McMaster has co-authored Communities of Reconciliation:  Living Faith in the Public Place and Churches Working Together:  A Practical Resource.  A co-authored chapter is included in an ISE Festschrift, Towards a Life-Giving Ethic:  Engaging Biblical Texts of Violence in the Violent Context of Northern Ireland.  He is the author of Churches on the Edge:  esponding Creatively to a Changing Time and has contributed chapters to publications and journals on Ethical remembering:  Commemoration in a New Context, Living Towards the Vision:  A Theological Praxis of Conflict Resolution, The Role of Religion in Making Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, An Inter-Religious Cartography of Peace.  His most recent publication was A Passion for Justice:  Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition.  Dr McMaster has been involved in the development of a community education programme for Northern Ireland and the Border Counties.  This includes the development of teaching methodologies, curriculum design and delivery.  He has lectured in Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, South Korea and the USA and has been involved in the development of inter-church programs in Northern Ireland.  He has also been engaged as consultant with statutory and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland and chairs a number of initiatives as well as working collaboratively with community relations networks.  Dr McMaster’s areas of interest and on-going research include reconciliation and peacebuilding, socio-political hermeneutics, empire studies, faith after Christendom, Celtic Christianity and spirituality, ethical remembering, social ethics and inter-faith dialogue.  He is currently engaged in researching and writing a book on Skills for a Ministry of Reconciliation, and has planned another on Decommissioning a Culture of Violence:  Towards an Irish theology of Active Non-Violence.  Forthcoming contributions to publications will include Hikma, Hokmah, Sophia as an Abrahamic Ethic for Life: Fethullah Gülen in Dialogue with the Wisdom Traditions of Judaism and Christianity, On Fire with the Justice of God:  Re-reading Romans as a Political Proclamation Towards a Desired Future and Acknowledging the Past Through Visioning the Future.
Areas of expertise:
Celtic spirituality and contemporary social ethics, communities of reconciliation, religion and violence, the shape of faith in a post-Christendom era, peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, sociopolitical biblical hermeneutics
Courses taught:
Education:  Doctor of Ministry, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary, North Western University, Evanston, Illinois


Mary Fleeson was born in 1969 and grew up in a small market town in Shropshire, she has lived on Holy Island since 1997.  Mary studied Foundation Art at Stafford College, specialising in textiles, and then gained an honours degree in Three-Dimensional Design from the University of Central England in Birmingham in 1992.  About her work Mary thinks that her style originates from doodling in lessons at school, (not something she recommends as a way of succeeding in exams!) combined with opportunities during her education to experiment with many different types of media and techniques.  Together with her Christian faith, living on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and being surrounded by it's natural beauty and visible history, is the greatest inspiration for Mary's work; a feeling of being part of a rich cycle of life which began in pre-history and encompasses extremes of peace and violence, poverty and prosperity.  She also studies early manuscripts and ancient calligraphy from around the world to gain an insight into how calligraphy and illumination have enhanced works, both religious and secular, throughout the ages.  Music is also a wonderful inspiration for her art, particularly the work of David Fitzgerald, (cofounder of the band 'Iona') and Jeff Johnson, (an American Christian with a Celtic heart).  Poetry and prose also play their part, both the experiece of writing and reading it, C.S. Lewis, Stephen Lawhead and Stephen Baxter are favourites.


Founder and Director of Tearmann Centre, Michael Rodgers returned to Ireland after twenty years missionary service to serve on his congregation’s leadership team.  During this time he began to explore his own roots, a journey that led him eventually to mystical Glendalough.  He spent much time exploring the valley and its story.  People heard about him and began requesting accompanied walks.  He found that as they walked together individual stories quite spontaneously emerged, and in the way of pilgrimage the listening ear they would receive and offer became an important part of the experience.  It became apparent that there was a hunger in people for a more natural and soulful expression of spirituality, and for opportunities for the companionship of like-minded souls.  Michael encourages an experiential approach that incorporates history, legend, spirituality, Christian tradition and awareness of nature and the environment.  Michael is the co-author of the following books:  A Celtic Pilgrimage.  [Columba Press. 1996] and Glendalough, A Celtic Soul Journey.  [Ciúnas Books. 2003].

Price: $2,499.00  Price is based on double occupancy with 10 or more participants without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Newark, NJ.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single Supplement:  $199.00

* Pricing is based on a minimum of 10 participants traveling together. Pricing is based on the exchange rate of 1.36 Euro to the dollar and if rate changes, price will change. Taxes and airline fuel surcharges are NOT included and will be added to your final invoices. These are currently $325.10 per person.*

$200.00 per person deposit due with registration and copy of passport.

Final payment due February 10, 2012.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until February 9, 2012: - $100.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ After February 10, 2012:  NO REFUND
◊ If entire group cancels due to fewer than 10 participants, no penalty.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, M Meals on Aircraft

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