Pictures from Ireland

Exploring our Celtic Spirituality

A Pilgrimage to Ireland

Led by:

The Rev. Hal Chorpenning
Plymouth Congregational UCC Fort Collins, CO

The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson

May 16 - 31, 2015

Trip map

DAY 1: Saturday, May 16, 2015 - Depart from Denver Airport on British Airways for our transatlantic flight to London where we change planes and connect to our flight into Dublin. M

DAY 2: Sunday, May 17, 2015 - Arrive Dublin.  Time permitting, 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 an early evening Communion Service.  Dinner and overnight Dublin. D

DAY 3: Monday, May 18, 2015 - 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 4: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - This morning we visit 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.  Time permitting we will have some time to explore on our own before joining back together at 5:00 PM to attend Evensong at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Dinner and overnight in Dublin. BD

DAY 5: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 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: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 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 1/3rd 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: Friday, May 22, 2015 - 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: Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 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 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: Sunday, May 24, 2015 - “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 with a visit to what remains of his monastic site in Kileanny as well as the Church of the Seven Comely Saints in the north part of the island.  Dinner and overnight on Inis Mór. BD

DAY 10: Monday, May 25, 2015 - 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: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - This morning, we return to the mainland by ferry. We stop at the graveyard near Creggagh, where John O’Donohue is buried before we continue on to Dingle.  There is a saying: Dingle isn’t heaven, but it’s a local call from there.  Dingle is one of the premier locations for “trad” music in Ireland, and we encourage you to explore the local pubs to hear it.  Dinner and overnight Dingle. BD

DAY 12: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - We begin our time on the Dingle peninsula with an extended drive along the beautiful coast.  We visit the ancient beehive huts, built in the bronze age and used later by pilgrims, as well as the monastic site at Reask and the Church at Kilmalkedar and an ancient Christian church, Gallarus Oratory.  For those who wish to attend, there will be an option of attending a folk concert at St. James Church with Eoin Duignan (additional cost of approx. €15).  Dinner and overnight in Dingle. BD

DAY 13: Thursday, May 28, 2015 - We enjoy a boat trip to Skellig Michael in Port Magee (only possible if the weather and sea conditions permit).  We climb 618 steps ascending over 600 foot (100 m).  It is a demanding climb and there are no handrails.  Anyone with health issues should consider carefully their own physical condition before exploring this site. BD

DAY 14: Friday, May 29, 2015 - Today, we drive north to visit the Durrow Abbey, founded by Colmcille (also known as St. Columba) in the 6th century, we see the great high cross that has recently been moved inside the church to protect it from the weather.  The Book of Durrow, one of the great insular gospel books now housed at Trinity College, Dublin, was written in the 7th century perhaps at this abbey.  We visit St. Colmcilles Holy Welly and local tradition states that Colmcille stopped here to quench his thirst during one of his many journeys throughout Ireland and subsequently blessed the well.  We continue to Kildare for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 15: Saturday, May 30, 2015 - Today we visit Solas Bhríde, a small Christian centre, which has as its focus St. Brigid and Celtic Spirituality.  Sr. Mary Minehan will lead a workshop for us and allow for “integration time” here at the end of the pilgrimage.  Dinner and overnight Kildare. BD

DAY 16: Sunday, May 31, 2015 - This afternoon we board our British Airways flight connecting in London arriving back in Denver this evening. BM

Price:  $4,779.00*.  Price is based on 17 - 20 Pilgrims, double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Denver, CO Airport.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single Supplement:  $759.00

* Excludes airline taxes and fuel surcharges that will be added to your final payment invoice and tips for the driver and guide that are payable upon completion of services.  Estimated taxes and fuel surcharges are $668.00 per pilgrim and are subject to change until the tickets are issued.

* The price is not guaranteed and may change due to the fluctuation of the Euro and the US dollar.  We make every effort to avoid any increase and will only do so if the value of the dollar falls against the Euro.  Your pricing was based on the exchange rate of $1.33 to the Euro.

$350.00 per person deposit due with registration and copy of passport.

Final Payment due by February 9, 2015.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until February 8, 2015:  $100.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ February 9 – March 31, 2015:  $200.00 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ April 1, 2015 or later:  NO REFUND

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.