9-Days: A Spiritual 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: SHANNON / CLIFFS OF MOHER / GALWAY

We arrive in Shannon Airport and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative. 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 dinner at the hotel. This evening we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage at the Galway Cathedral along with the local community. (D)

DAY 3: GALWAY: EXCURSION TO KNOCK & BALLINTUBBER

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. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 4: 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 St. Joseph’s Church. Then we are 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 Killarney. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: KILLARNEY: THE RING OF KERRY

We begin with Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Then we are off for a thrilling scenic ride around the famed Ring of Kerry, a continuously changing landscape of dramatic cliffside views and breathtaking seascapes. The balance of our day is at leisure in Killarney. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: KILLARNEY / BLARNEY / CASHEL / WATERFORD

After Mass in Killarney, today we are off to Blarney Castle, where you may acquire the ‘gift of gab’ by kissing the Blarney Stone. Nearby, Woollen Mills offers some great shopping. Our next stop is the Rock of Cashel. Rising 200 feet above the plains of Tipperary, this remains one of Ireland’s most visited monuments. Here reigned the High Kings of Munster, and St. Patrick preached of the Trinity using the shamrock to help explain this central mystery of Christianity. 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 dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: WATERFORD / GLENDALOUGH / DUBLIN

Our first visit today is Waterford itself, lying on the banks of the River Suir. The factory here is world renowned for its crystal. Then we continue 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 St. Kevin’s Church. We arrive in Dublin for the evening. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: 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. Here we join the local community for the High Mass today. After Mass, our day is at leisure for shopping and browsing. Tonight we have dinner at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: 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.