10-Days: Ireland: A Spiritual Journey

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart USA en route to Shannon, Ireland, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: SHANNON / CLIFFS OF MOHER / GALWAY

We arrive in Shannon Airport and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre driver/guide, who will accompany us throughout our tour. Our driver takes us to the Cliffs of Moher, sheer cliffs dropping 600 feet to the water below, one of the most impressive stretches of shoreline on the west coast of Ireland. We pass through the mesmerizing landscapes of The Burren and arrive in Galway for the afternoon and evening in Galway. Dinner is at our hotel. (D)

DAY 3: GALWAY: EXCURSION TO KNOCK & BALLINTUBBER ABBEY

Today is our day to visit Knock, visited each year by more than 1.5 million pilgrims. We begin with Mass at the Shrine, followed by a tour of the grounds. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available in a special chapel. After lunch on our own, we begin our return to Galway, stopping at Ballintubber Abbey, where Mass has been celebrated daily for over 800 years! This was the traditional starting point for the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Croagh Patrick. We return to Galway for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 4: GALWAY: EXCURSION TO CONG, KYLEMORE, CROAGH PATRICK & WESTPORT

Today we make our way to Kylemore Abbey. En route we pass through the charming village of Cong (deriving its name from cunga, a neck — owing to its position on an isthmus between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask). In Kylemore, we visit the convent of the Benedictine Nuns of Ypres, beautifully set on Lake Kylemore. After Mass we travel via Louisburgh with its fine sandy beaches and we come to Croagh Patrick, an isolated cone-shaped mountain rising 2,500 feet from the shore of Clew Bay. Here in the year 441 AD St. Patrick spent 40 days in prayer and fasting for the people of Ireland. Mid-afternoon we stop in the town of Westport. The town was designed to the plan of James Wyatt, a well-known architect of the Georgian Period. Tonight our dinner is at the 16th century Dunguaire Castle nestled on a promontory over Galway Bay, near the fishing village of Kinvara. (B, D)

DAY 5: GALWAY / ENNIS / ADARE / TRALEE / KILLARNEY

Today we leave Galway and head south, with our first stop at the Friary at Ennis, a charming town of narrow streets. We celebrate our Mass here at the Church of Ss. Peter & Paul. Then we move on to the thatched-roof village of Adare where we stop for lunch on our own. Our final stop today is in the town of Tralee, famed for the lovely Victorian song, ‘The Rose of Tralee.’ We arrive this evening in the popular town of Killarney. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: KILLARNEY: THE RING OF KERRY

We begin with Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney. Then we are off for a thrilling scenic ride (112 miles), a continuously changing landscape of dramatic cliffside views and breathtaking seascapes. Our trip finishes with some free time in the town of Killarney, and those wishing to may take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage on their own to visit the Muckross House. (B, D)

DAY 7: KILLARNEY/ BLARNEY / HOLY CROSS / CASHEL / WATERFORD

Today we are off to Blarney Castle, where you acquire the ‘gift of gab’ by kissing the Blarney Stone. Woollen Mills offers some great shopping. Our next stop is Holy Cross Abbey, home to one of the first relics of the True Cross to have reached Ireland. It was at one time one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in Ireland during the later Middle Ages. Through a special Act of Parliament, in 1975 reconstruction of the old monastic cloister began. Here we celebrate Mass. Our next stop is the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most visited monuments. Here in 450 AD St. Patrick baptized King Aengus. We tour the ruins here, including the Cashel Cathedral, still in very good condition given its age. We arrive in Waterford for the evening. (B, D)

DAY 8: WATERFORD / GLENDALOUGH / DUBLIN

Our first visit today is the town of Waterford, lying on the banks of the River Suir. The factory here is world renowned for its crystal. Then we continue to Glendalough– the Glen Betweenthe Two Lakes. According to legend, St. Kevin retired to this spot to be alone because his good looks made him a source of temptation. He had to drown one persistent lady who followed him; another became a nun. These Sixth Century ruins are from the monastic community he founded. In time, this community became a great center of learning known as “Rome of the West”. We will visit the Interpretative Center for Celtic Spirituality and celebrate Mass at a church en route. We arrive in Dublin for the afternoon evening. (B, D)

DAY 9: DUBLIN – BOOK OF KELLS, ST. PATRICK’S, CHRIST CHURCH, ST. VALENTINE’S

Dublin, the name derives from “Dubh linn”, the Black Pool which was in the heart of historic Dublin. This ancient city was known to Ptolemy the Great. It saw the High King Brian Boru killed nearby fighting the Vikings. Both the Normans and the English invaded it. Henry VIII established Trinity College here to nurture the New Faith (Protestantism), while Catholicism was outlawed for over three hundred years. The famous Book of Kells is kept at the College. James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Molly Malone are among the city’s notables. Our half-day sightseeing tour includes: viewing Georgian Dublin, Leinster House (Parliament), St. Patrick Cathedral (Church of Ireland) dating from 450A.D. and visiting Christ Church (founded by King Sitric of the Dublin Norsemen in 1038 and rebuilt in 1169 by the Normans). Our last stop of the day is the Shrine of St. Valentine, after whom the February 14 holiday is named. After Mass our day is at leisure. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at a typical Irish cabaret. (B, D)

DAY 10: RETURN USA

Transfer to the airport for return flight to the USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.