Pictures from Ireland, Scotland and England

Three Thin Places

Exploring our Celtic Spirituality

A Pilgrimage to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland

Led by:

The Rev. John Morton
The Episcopal Church of St. John in the Wilderness
Flat Rock, NC

September 1 - 14, 2013

Trip map

DAY 1: Sunday, September 1, 2013 - Depart the Charlotte Airport on United Airlines to Newark. There we will transfer to our trans-Atlantic flight into Edinburgh, Scotland. M

DAY 2: Monday, September 2, 2013 - We arrive at the Edinburgh Airport where we will be met by our driver.  We will enjoy a tour of Edinburgh and visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, standing at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile and against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur's Seat.  It is the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty, The Queen.  This fine baroque palace is associated with Scotland's rich royal history.  We will visit Edinburgh Castle, this instantly recognizable fortress is a powerful national symbol and part of the Old and New towns of the Edinburgh World Heritage site.  We visit the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary, built in the 19th century in the west end of Edinburgh’s New Town.  We will cross the border into England where we will have dinner and overnight at Berwick-Upon-Tweed. MD

Note that access to and from the island is via a causeway and therefore governed by low tides.

DAY 3: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - We begin our day walking across the tidal causeway, the ancient route of pilgrims across the sand and mud flat from the mainland to Holy Island, Lindisfarne, with its Priory and Castle.  In 635 AD St. Aidan came from Iona and chose to found his monastery on Lindisfarne, one of the most important early centers of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England.  The Christian message flourished here and spread throughout the world.  On arrival we will have a talk from a member of the Community of Aidan and Hilda on various aspects of the history of the island and the northern Saints.  We will depart on our coach and visit the exquisite 15th century medieval Midlothian Rosslyn Chapel before returning to Berwick-Upon-Tweed for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 4: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - We depart Berwick-Upon-Tweed and travel back into Scotland.  Upon arrival in Oban we visit the Oban Distillery, famous for its single malt Scotch Whisky.  We take the 4 PM ferry to Iona, the “entry way of Christianity into Scotland”.  St. Columba landed here from Ireland in 563 AD and founded the monastery that was to become the most important in Europe.  Dinner and overnight Iona. BD

DAY 5: Thursday, September 5, 2013- Today we step back into the Celtic spiritual history of Scotland.  We meet at St. Martin’s Cross in front of the Abbey and embark on a challenging Pilgrimage Walk of IonaSt. Martin’s Cross, dating to the 8th century, is the finest High Cross in Scotland and is decorated on one side with the serpent-and-boss and on the other with Holy figures.  Today’s expedition around the island will be somewhat challenging.  We will be visiting places of both historic and religious significance.  The walk is optional and, for those who do go on the walk, good hiking shoes and rain gear is a must.  For the remainder of the day, there will be time to explore the several shops unique to Iona or spend time in quiet prayer and reflection.  We attend evening services at the Abbey. BD

DAY 6: Friday, September 6, 2013 - After breakfast we visit St. Oran’s Chapel, built in the 11th century.  Surrounding the chapel is the Reilig Odhrain, the sacred burial ground which is said to contain the graves of 48 Scottish kings, including that of Macbeth’s victim, Duncan.  We continue to Nunnery Church and Church of St. Ronan for morning prayers and singing.  This afternoon we take the ferry to Oban for dinner and overnight Oban. BD

DAY 7: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - We depart Oban and travel through the picturesque countryside along the west coast of Scotland.  We visit St. Conan’s Church at Loch Awe and stop at the picturesque village of Luss before we arrive at Stranraer to take the afternoon ferry to Belfast, Northern Ireland.  We continue to Armagh for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Sunday, September 8, 2013 - This morning we meet with the Director of the “Centre for Celtic Spirituality”, The Rev. Grace Clunie, for a welcome and tour of St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral.  We attend worship and learn about its history from the Celtic perspective.  After an early lunch we continue to Downpatrick where we visit Down Cathedral and Saul Church.  Saul is claimed to be the oldest ecclesiastical site in Ireland.  In the year 432 AD St. Patrick built his church here. We return to Armagh for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 9: Monday, September 9, 2013 - This morning we leave Northern Ireland and cross into Ireland where our first stop will be the peaceful Mellifont Abbey, followed by a visit to Bru na Boinne, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO where we visit Knowth, a pre-Christian, megalithic ancient buriel tomb.  We stop to see the Celtic Crosses of Monasterboice, some of the most in-tact high crosses in Ireland dating back over 1000 years before continuing to Glendalough for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 10: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - This morning we explore Glendalough, the setting of some of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements.  At the visitor’s center we see a film, “Ireland of the Monasteries”, which will give us a brief history of the monastery.  We will then have a guided tour of St. Kevin’s Monastic City led by Fr. Michael Rodgers who has returned to Ireland after twenty years of missionary service.  He will lead us on a spiritual journey from the Monastic City along the Pilgrims’ Way to the upper lake and visit the remains of St. Kevin’s Cell and the Reefert Church.  We can gaze across the lake to see St. Kevin’s Bed and the ruins of Tempall na Skellig, “Church on the Rock”.  Dinner and overnight Glendalough. BD

DAY 11: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - We visit St. Brigid’s Cathedral which commemorates the saint who founded a religious community here in 490.  Here, monks and nuns lived under the same roof and a perpetual fire, a pagan ritual, was kept burning until the 16th century.  We offer prayers at St. Brigid’s Well before continuing to Clonmacnoise, the monastic community founded by St. Kieran in the 6th century.  At Clonmacnoise we see more High Crosses.  The site also includes the ruins of a Cathedral, Eight Churches, Two Round Towers, and a large collection of early Christian Grave Slabs.  Continuing on to Galway where we board the Corrib Princess for a 3 hour cruise with dinner and entertainment along the famous Steamers Line, which is the lake’s traditional trade route.  The journey takes us along the majestic River Corrib and onto Lough Corrib providing unsurpassed views of the many historic monuments and natural amenities that make this the most spectacular waterway in Ireland.  Overnight Ennis. BD

DAY 12: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - We depart Ennis this morning heading east and stopping at Cashel to visit one of Ireland’s most famous sites.  It is here that, according to legend, King Aengus was baptized by St. Patrick.  The Rock of Cashel rises as a giant circular mound and is topped by the monastic ruins.  You will find the shell of St. Patrick’s Cathedral built during the 13th century and destroyed by fire in 1495.  We will continue to Kilkenny Town, a wonderfully medieval Irish town.  We see St. Canice’s Cathedral, one of the finest of all Irish cathedrals.  We continue to Dublin for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 13:Friday, September 13, 2013 - Our first stop this morning is Trinity College to see the magnificent Old Library and the 1200 year old Book of Kells, the beautifully illuminated version of the Gospels designed by monks in the 9th century.  We visit the Gothic Christchurch and explore the Cathedral and its vaults.  We visit the Guiness Distillery and have dinner and overnight in Dublin. BD

DAY 14: Saturday, September 14, 2013 - We depart the Dublin Airport aboard United Airlines for our departure to Newark.  There we will transfer to our flight into Charlotte Airport arriving in the afternoon. BM

Price: $4,549.00.  Pricing based on double occupancy and excludes airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Charlotte International Airport.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement is $379.00.

** Pricing is based on the exchange rate of $1.32 to the Euro and if rate changes, price may change.  Price excludes the airline taxes and fuel surcharges which are $556.24 as December 17, 2012 and may change.  These will be added to your final invoice. **

Final Payment due June 3, 2013

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until June 2, 2013: $400.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ June 3, 2013 - July 17, 2013: $600.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ July 18, 2013 or later: NO REFUND

$500.00 per person deposit due with registration and copy of passport.

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.