Pilgrimage to Ireland
Spiritual Director: Fr. Vincent Schifano
May 14 - 23, 2018VS051418
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- May15-16 | 1 night in Dublin, Gresham Hotel
- May16-17 | 1 night in Offaly, Kinnitty Castle Hotel
- May17-19 | 2 nights in Kerry, Killarney Court Hotel
- May19-21 | 2 nights in Galway, Saltill Hotel
- May 21-22 | 1 night in Knock, Knock House Hotel
- May 22-23 | 1 night in Dublin, Jury's Inn Christchurch
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- One glass of wine and mineral water included with dinners
- Tour Escort throughout
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of professional local guides
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Beverages, Tips to your guide and driver
Monday, May 14 | Depart USA
Depart for your overnight flights to Ireland.
DTuesday, May 15 | Welcome to Ireland
Upon arrival at Dublin Airport you will be greeted by your modern motor coach with driver and English speaking guide and you will depart for the city center. Enjoy a Panoramic City Tour of Dublin. The tour will introduce you to the principal sites, which you may then revisit at your leisure. You will visit the elegant Georgian squares, famous for its architecture and of course its famous doors. Highlights of the tour will be a visit to Trinity College and a stop at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Built in 1192, it is one of Ireland’s largest cathedrals made famous by its former dean Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels.” Pass by Christchurch, built by the Anglo-Norman’s in 1172 to replace an earlier church built by the Vikings in 1038, on your way to the Phoenix Park with its many monuments including the Papal cross. Return to the city center via the Quays, passing by the Guinness Brewery, and Collins Barrack, now part of the national museum, before arriving back into O’Connell Street and the city center. Continue to Trinity College. Thomas Burgh built the Old Library building in the 18th century. Today it houses one of Ireland’s most illustrious books, the 9th century “Book of Kells”. Before viewing the famous book visitors pass through an excellent exhibition based on the Book of Kells and other important books written in monasteries around Ireland from the 9th century. After viewing the Book of Kells visitors are invited to visit the Long Room built in 1745. Once the principal library of the university, it now contains over two hundred thousand books and manuscripts of the Trinity’s oldest volumes. Brian Boru’s harp said to be the “oldest harp in Ireland” and a copy of the 1916 proclamation, one of the most important documents relating to Irish history are also on display in the Long Room. In the afternoon visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The parish church of Saint Patrick on this site was granted collegiate status in 1191, and raised to cathedral status in 1224. The present building dates from 1220. The cathedral is today the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (a church of the Anglican Communion). St Patrick’s is Gothic in style and its splendid interior is adorned with funeral monuments, such as The Boyle Family Memorial and the grave of Dean Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels). Swift was dean here until his death in 1745. The Chancel has ornate stained-glass windows, and spectacular choir stalls, once used by the knights of St Patrick, adjoin the Altar. The massive west towers, houses a large peal of bells whose ringing tones are so much part of the character of Dublin. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Dublin.
Wednesday, May 16 | Dublin to Tipperary
After breakfast depart in a southern direction for Tipperary. Travel through Wicklow. South of Dublin is County Wicklow. Known as “the Garden of Ireland” it is home to Powerscourt, Mount Usher and Russborough, to name a few of its many houses and gardens. This region features all the various types of scenery that makes Ireland so beautiful. The coastline is bordered by charming sea resorts such as Bray or Greystones. In the heart of its gentle and rounded hills are nestled Enniskerry and Avoca, both very picturesque villages. Discover its romantic and quiet beauty, the deserted mounts where nothing but heather grows, the small forests and the lush prairies illuminated by yellow gorse in spring. Enjoy a visit to Glendalough. This early Christian monastic site was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses. The Visitor Centre has an interesting exhibition on Glendalough detailing the history, archaeology and wildlife of this area of Wicklow and includes an audio-visual show. Continue via Baltinglass Abbey and Castledermot Abbey to your hotel in Tipperary. Dinner and overnight in Tipperary.
Thursday, May 17 | Tipperary to Killarney
This morning travel to Kerry. Visit the Rock of Cashel. Possibly the most photographed site in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century. Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O'Brien clan, today the impressive stone walls enclose a round tower, a cathedral, a twelfth century Romanesque chapel and high crosses. The Vicars Choral has been recently restored and its basement houses a small museum of artefacts found on the site. One of the leading visitor attractions in Ireland, in 2011 it was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on her historic first visit to the Republic of Ireland. Continue to Kerry for dinner and overnight.
Friday, May 18 | Dingle Peninsula
After your full Irish breakfast you will depart to West Kerry for a full day touring the Dingle Peninsula. This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. It is also a ‘Gaeltacht' (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. From Inch, a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter,” admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with its villages painted in bright colors and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of its landscapes. Enjoy a visit to Gallarus Oratory Gallarus Oratory is the most impressive early Christian monument on the Dingle peninsula. It has withstood the passage of time for over 1200 years. Built in the shape of an upturned boat, the oratory formed part of a larger monastic site and was used as a place of prayer and reflection. With its small entrance doorway and round-headed east-facing window, it is an excellent example of dry stone construction. Gallarus Oratory visitor center offers visitors the opportunity to explore Gallarus Oratory and also see an audio visual presentation on the surrounding area. There is a shop offering souvenirs and some refreshments located in the main center of the city. In the afternoon visit Kilmakeadar Church. This whole area is quite rich with antiques. This particular 12th century church was once part of a complex of religious buildings. It has a chancel and doorway, which are traditional enlargements of the Romanesque original. Inside there is an ‘Alphabet Stone’ on which letters of the alphabet are inscribed. There is an Ogham stone, a Celtic cross and a sundial in the grounds outside. Return to your hotel in Kerry for dinner and overnight.
Saturday, May 19 | Kerry to Galway
After breakfast depart for the Shannon Car Ferry. The main tourist routes of the West of Ireland's Shannon Region are linked via the Killimer-Tarbert car ferry. This pleasant, 20 minute journey travels across the Shannon Estuary which is almost 100km in length and 13km wide at its widest point. Ecologically, the Shannon estuary has a unique value with a group of bottle nosed dolphins resident in the estuary. As well as this, the estuary is an important habitat for migrating birds and wild fowl. The ferry can take car and coach vehicles. The ferry trip will save 85 miles (137 km) from ferry terminal to ferry terminal providing a staging point for the many attractions of Clare, Kerry and adjoining counties. Visit the Cliffs of Moher. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing 230 meters above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. To the south of the cliffs is Hag's Head and was once the site of a castle. The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O' Brien's Tower. Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru (he who defeated the Vikings in battle), built a Tower at the cliffs in order to enjoy some tea with his lady friends. The Tower is adjacent to the sea stack, Breanan Mór, which stands over 70 meters above the foaming waves and is home to some of the Burren’s wildlife. Atlantic Edge is the exciting new interpretive center at the Cliffs of Moher and is built into the natural landscape. The center is a huge domed cave that contains images, exhibits, displays & experiences exploring different elements of the mighty Cliffs of Moher: Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man. Continue on through the Burren Region. The Burren, part of which forms the 100 square km Burren National Park, is a unique place. It is a Karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq. km, which lies in the North West corner of Co Clare. It is composed of limestone pavements, which have been eroded to a distinctive pattern. This pavement is crisscrossed by cracks known as grykes in which grow a myriad of wild flora and under which are huge caves and rivers which suddenly flood when it rains. The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses as well as a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century. You will discover small villages abandoned during the famine period and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car. The flora on the Burren is a mixture Arctic and Mediterranean and rare flowers such as gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill are the rule rather than the exception. The Burren is truly an exceptional part of Ireland. On arrival in Galway enjoy dinner at your hotel. Overnight Galway.
Sunday, May 20 | Lough Corrib & Clonmacnoise
This morning enjoy a Cruise on Lough Corrib. The Corrib Princess sails from Woodquay in the heart of Galway city, along the famous Steamers Line, which is the lakes traditional trade route. The journey takes passengers along the majestic River Corrib and onto the lake providing visitors with a guided commentary in a number of languages on the historic monuments and natural amenities on this waterway that leads to the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland. There is an abundance of wild life and the Corrib has a peace and tranquility all of its own. Next enjoy a visit to Clonmacnoise. A wonderful early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. In a stunning setting, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the visitor center. In 1979 Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at this site. Guided tours are provided and the long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audio-visual presentation shown in the visitor center. There are also exhibitions that deal with the flora, fauna and landscape of the region. The center includes a café and ample coach and car parking is available. Return to your hotel in Galway for dinner and overnight.
Monday, May 21 | Galway to Knock
After you have enjoyed breakfast depart Galway. Today you will visit Knock Shrine situated in the plains of East Mayo. It is one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. On August 21, 1879 fifteen women, men and children, witnessed an Apparition of Mary at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Knock is a very popular pilgrimage destination, and in 1979 Pope John Paul II visited this holy place. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the Shrine in June of 1993. One and a half million pilgrims visit the Shrine annually. Spend the rest of your day in Knock at leisure and enjoy celebrating mass. Dinner and overnight in Knock.
Tuesday, May 22 | Knock to Dublin
This morning depart for Dublin. On arrival visit the National Museum of Ireland The National Museum houses artefacts which date from 7,000 BC to the 20th century. The Kildare Street site is home to artefacts from Viking times displayed alongside Celtic masterpieces and it houses one of the largest collections of Bronze Age gold in the world. The centerpiece of the collection is the Ardagh Chalice, which dates back to 800 AD. The museum also includes an exhibition dealing with Ireland's struggle for independence from 1916-1922. The Museum has many excellent displays. Of particular note are the Broighter Hoard, Tara Brooch, Ardagh Chalice and the Derrynaflan Hoard. Spend the balance of your day at leisure. We recommend a stroll down Grafton Street where you can enjoy the best in street entertainment. The shopping is also great in this area of the city! Dinner and overnight.
Wednesday, May 23 | Return home
Prepare for your departure to the airport and your flights home!