11-Days: A Journey to Ireland

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

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

DAY 2: ARRIVE 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. 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. This evening we gather for dinner at Dunguarie Castle. (B, D)

DAY 4: GALWAY / ENNIS / ADARE / KILLARNEY

We depart for Ennis, a charming town of narrow streets. We celebrate Mass in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. We leave Ennis and head south to the thatched-roof village of Adare. We arrive this evening in the popular town of Killarney. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: 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. Tonight dinner is on our own to explore the local restaurant scene. You might want to consider going to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, situated at the entrance to one of the most beautiful glacier valleys in Western Europe. This Cottage has been family run for over 150 years and it continues the tradition of hospitality made famous by Kate. Your tour escort will have other suggestions for you on where to dine. (B)

DAY 6: KILLARNEY/ BLARNEY / CORK

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 the city of Cork, Ireland’s second largest city, where we will celebrate Mass. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: CORK: VISIT TO COBH & JAMESON DISTILLERY

After breakfast we visit Cobh, with one of the most spectacular vistas in all of Ireland. We will visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, which tells the story of the 2 million-plus emigrants who departed from Cobh Harbor to foreign lands. Cobh was also the last port of call for the Titanic before she sank. Naturally, we will also have some time for a ‘spirited’ visit to the famous Jameson Irish whiskey distillery. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure in the historic seaport town of Cork. Some of the main streets are built over channels where ships nuzzled their anchor-chains a century ago. Dinner tonight is at a local pub. (B, D)

DAY 8: CORK / WATERFORD / DUBLIN

Our first visit today is the town of Waterford, lying on the banks of the River Suir. We enjoy a visit of the world famous crystal factory. The afternoon is at leisure in Waterford. We then continue to Dublin for the evening. Dinner tonight is at a local pub. (B, D)

DAY 9: DUBLIN: EXCURSION TO GLENDALOUGH & VALE AVOCA

Our first stop today is to Glendalough– the Glen Between the 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 then drive through Vale Avoca. We return to Dublin and the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, we go to Jury’s Cabaret for dinner and a comedy show. (B, D)

DAY 10: DUBLIN: CITY TOUR, PLUS GUINNESS BREWERY

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. Our last stop of the day, for those interested, is a stop at the famous Guinness Brewery. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping and browsing. Tonight we have a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 11: RETURN USA

We transfer to the Dublin airport for our 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.