Day 1: Dublin City, Trinity College & St.Patricks Cathedral
Arrive into Dublin Airport to meet and greet your driver/guide. Drive through the main streets to see historic buildings such as the General Post Office which was the headquarters of the rebel leaders in the famous 1916 Rising; the haunting portrait of the Famine Memorial; and rows of beautiful Georgian houses with brightly coloured doorways.
Visit Trinity College which houses the famous Book of Kells transcribed by 9th century monks, and then Christchurch Cathedral, the elder of the city’s two medieval cathedrals. Drop by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is adorned with Funeral monuments including the reputed tomb of Strongbow, its founder and Ireland’s first Norman Conqueror.
Unlike St Patrick’s, however, Christchurch possesses a crypt, which stretches under nearly its entire length. Much of the Cathedrals memorabilia is displayed here. Attached to the Cathedral is the Synod house, which houses Dublinia, an excellent exhibition of medieval Dublin. Check into your hotel after which the remainder of the day is free for additional sightseeing or shopping. Overnight in Dublin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 2: Glendalough & Wexford
Leave Dublin and head for Wexford. Along the way visit Glendalough, located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Glendalough is renowned for its Monastic Site with Round Tower and its scenic lakes and valleys. The English name Glendalough originated from the Irish “Gleann Dá Locha”, which translates as “The valley of the two lakes”.
It was here that St. Kevin (son of the king of Leinster) founded a monastery in the 6th century. From a simple beginning the site grew to become famous as a centre of learning throughout Europe. It stood for 600 years before being destroyed in 1398. Much of what is to be seen today dates from the 10th to the 12th century. One of the most attractive features is the fine 34m high round tower. A cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses also survived, albeit as ruins.
Enjoy a guided tour of Glendalough monastic site before continuing on your journey to Wicklow’s historic Gaol. Once an actual jail, this historic building has been transformed into a museum depicting the harsh life of prisoners held there from the 1700’s. The earliest recorded prisoner was Fr. Owen McFee, a seventy-two year old priest, who was convicted of saying mass in the county contrary to the law. After mass in a local church, you can explore the town for the remainder of the day. The town has many pubs and restaurants where you can have dinner as this is not included tonight. Overnight in Wexford, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 3: Our Lady’s Island Pilgrimage & Cork
Visit Waterford Crystal Factory and maybe buy some crystal to take home with you. The centre contains an actual living and breathing crystal factory tour, fascinating visitor centre and opulent retail store housing the largest collection of Waterford Crystal in the world. Overnight in Waterford, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included. Start the morning with a trip to Wexford town to Our Lady’s Island.
Our Lady’s Island is an ancient place of pilgrimage located in the south-east corner of Ireland, in the diocese of Ferns. A guide will show you the traditional pilgrim route and mass will be said for you. Depart Our Lady’s Island and take the short drive from there to Waterford.
Day 4: Killarney, Blarney Castle & Tubrid Holy Well
Head off to the wonderful Kingdom, visiting Blarney Castle on the way. The Blarney Stone is a block of blue stone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). Travel the short journey to Millstreet where you will visit Tubrid Holy Well, a holy well of great importance to the people of North Cork. In the month of May each year vast numbers of people young and old travel to the well to “do the rounds”.
According to local tradition a fish appears in the well on occasions. The pilgrim who is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the fish is sure of having his or her request granted! Travel to Killarney and use the remainder of the day to have a wander down the streets and into Christy’s gift shop. Overnight in Killarney Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 5: The Ring Of Kerry – What A Treat!
Explore the wonderful scenery of Killarney as you drive around the famous Ring of Kerry. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains, and the varied Atlantic coast. Take some snaps at Torc waterfall and stop for a stroll through Muckross Friary.
Founded in the 15th century, this Franciscan friary is preserved to a high standard. It was built using local limestone. Overnight in Killarney, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 6: Glenstal Abbey Retreat Day
22-6-15 Monks at Glenstal Abbey Picture: Keith Wiseman
Today you will enjoy a Forest Walk and Meditation Retreat Day kindly provided by the monks of Glenstal Abbey. Glenstal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in County Limerick on the south-west coast of Ireland. A 500-acre estate with streams, lakes and woodland paths surrounds a castle built in the romantic Norman style. The Abbey, which is dedicated to Saints Joseph and Columba, is home to a community of monks.
You are especially welcome to join the community at times of prayer and for mass, though you may visit the Church at any time. Continue onward to Ennis in Clare. Ennis is a great town to enjoy the good Irish food and drink a pint of Guinness. Overnight in Ennis, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 7: Discovering Clare & The Burren
The first stop on your tour of Clare is St. Brigid’s Holy Well . This unusual, colourful and vibrant site is centred around an ancient graveyard. People have come to St. Brigid’s Well as a place of Catholic pilgrimage for centuries, many leaving offerings and trinkets, an incredibly intimate and touching collection which gives the well its unique character.
Then you will head onto the Cliffs of Moher which are located at the south-western edge of the Burren area near Doolin. Your final stop before returning to your hotel is the Burren. Then you will return to Ennis. Overnight in Ennis, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 8: Knock Shrine
Travel to Knock in Co. Mayo, Ireland’s National Marian Shrine, and join the Rosary Procession (depending on time of year). Plenty of time is allowed for you to enjoy mass and explore the Shrine grounds at leisure. After checking into your hotel, your driver will take you on an optional journey to Croagh Patrick (time permitting). Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Catholic pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.
It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD and the custom has been handed down from one generation to the next. Overnight in Mayo, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 9: Return To Dublin
Check out of your hotel and travel to Dublin stopping at Clonmacnoise. This early Christian monastic site was founded by St. Ciaran in 545 AD, when Christianity flourished throughout Ireland. See round towers, church ruins and Celtic crosses with elaborate carvings, all in a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Shannon.
Travel onto Dublin, check into your city centre hotel and the rest of the afternoon is free for personal sightseeing. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner followed by a show of traditional Irish Music and Dance in one of Dublin’s famous music establishments. Overnight in Dublin, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 10: Return Home
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