Ireland: Catholic Heritage of Emerald Isles – August 2018
05 August 2018 to 14 August 2018
About the Pilgrimage
Join us for our next pilgrimage to the Emerald Isle of Ireland where we will discover the Catholic heritage of this courageous Catholic land. The beauty of this country has to be seen to be believed. It would also be harder to find a friendlier country. To see videos of one of our earlier pilgrimages to Ireland, click here and here.
We will have Fr. James Conlon with us. He is a citizen of Ireland and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, MI. He was an Irish barrister (lawyer) before becoming a priest. He will share his intimate knowledge and love his country with us.
Along with special guest Terry Barber from the Catholic Resource Center, St. Joseph Communications, founder of Lighthouse Media and host of the Terry & Jesse Show.
We will study and discover the rich and long history of the Catholic Faith in this land of saints and scholars. We will also learn their suffering and struggles with the Protestant Reformation and the English oppression. We will see the most sacred sites and beautiful churches including those related to St. Patrick, Our Lady of Knock and many more. None of the spectacular castles and landscapes will be missed.
Our guide is Batt Burns, a seanchaí which is an old time Irish storyteller and an award-winning author of children’s books who is keeping the tradition alive. You will howl with laughter and wipe a tear from your eye as he waxes eloquent with his Irish tales. Nothing like learning Ireland from a storyteller who loves his country and his culture. Oh, and did I forget to tell you he is a devout Catholic who will teach us the Catholic history of his beloved Island.
Day 1 S Sunday August 5: Depart USA
Depart from the USA on overnight flights to Ireland’s capital city, Dublin.
Day 2 S Monday August 6: Dublin | Galway
Arrive at Dublin Airport where you will be met with a cead mile failte (a hundred thousand welcomes) by Steve and Janet Ray and Irish Catholic tour escort/storyteller, Batt Burns. Head west through the Midlands of Ireland stopping at Clonmacnoise for a guided tour of the monastic site and celebrate Mass at the Pope’s Shelter. Then proceed to Galway where will enjoy its rich history, quaint narrow streets, shops, galleries and lively pubs with great traditional . Welcome Dinner and overnight in Galway. (D)
Day 3 S Tuesday August 7: Knock Shrine | Galway
After breakfast, Batt will give a short presentation entitled “An Introduction to Ireland”. He will give a little of his own background as well as some basic facts about Ireland’s history, physical geography, climate, economy, language and culture. Then, depart for a visit to Ireland’s most famous pilgrimage site at Knock in County Mayo. Here learn about the 1879 apparition of Our Lady, then celebrate Mass in the Apparition Chapel of Knock Shrine. Travel on to Claremorris for lunch. Time permitting, travel through Connemara, Ireland’s most extensive Gaelic-speaking area, before returning to Galway. Tonight, Batt will advise of good pubs where there will be great Irish music and time to mix with local people. Dinner on your own and overnight in Galway. (CB)
Day 4 S Wednesday August 8: Galway | Sneem
Depart Galway and travel south to Bunratty Castle, one of the best restored castles in Ireland. Have a guided tour followed by time to visit the folk park. Continuing on to Limerick City, drive by King John’s Castle and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Also, see places associated with Frank Mc Court’s famous book “Angela’s Ashes”. Stop in the pretty village of Adare with its distinctive thatched houses. Celebrate Mass at Trinitarian Church. Next, travel to the colorful, prize-winning village of Sneem, Batt’s home village. Here you will get an opportunity to sample Irish rural life in a quaint village of 350 people. Dinner on your own and overnight in Sneem. (CB, D)
Day 5 S Thursday August 9: Ring of Kerry | Sneem
After a full Irish breakfast, depart for a tour of the famous Ring of Kerry, which includes the beautiful Killarney National Park. Also, the grounds and gardens of beautiful Muckross House. You will have the options of touring the house, taking a jaunting car and buggy) ride into the Killarney National Park or simply enjoying the lovely gardens. Visit the 15th century Franciscan Abbey nearby. Celebrate Mass in Sneem Church. Dinner in a village restaurant. Tonight, Batt will host a traditional evening of Irish music, song and dance in one of the village pubs. Top class entertainers will be invited in to perform and a group of village set dancers will dance an ancient Sneem Set dance. Many villagers will join in the fun and you will have an opportunity to chat with the locals. Overnight in Sneem. (CB, D)
Day 6 S Friday August 10: Sneem | Clonmel
Travel over the Cork/Kerry border to Blarney Castle with its famous Blarney Stone. There will be ample time here to kiss the Blarney Stone, if you so wish, and to shop in the extensive Blarney Woolen Mills, which houses gifts and crafts from Ireland. After lunch, visit the Rock of Cashel, Ireland’s most important ancient religious site. See a perfectly preserved Round Tower, the magnificent Cormac’s Chapel, the 14th century ruined cathedral, the bishop’s residence and the well-restored Vicar’s Choral. Celebrate Mass in the beautifully restored Holy Cross Abbey which houses a relic of the True Cross. Continue on to Clonmel. Dinner on your own followed by Batt’s one man show entitled “Whisperings of Ireland.” Overnight in Clonmel. (CB)
Day 7 S Saturday August 11: Kilkenny | Dublin
Depart for Kilkenny. Upon arrival, take a walkabout in Kilkenny, and have time to visit the Kilkenny Design Workshops where skilled crafts people display their wares. Travel on to Glendalough, the site of St. Kevin’s famous monastery, an oasis of spirituality, in County Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. Celebrate Mass in nearby Laragh Church. Move on to Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. Dinner on your own and overnight in Dublin. CB)
Day 8 S Sunday August 12: City Tour | Dublin
This morning take a city tour. Visit Phoenix Park and see the residences of the President of Ireland and that of The US Ambassador. Learn about Dublin writers George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and others. Later, visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Jonathan Swift was once Dean. Enjoy the Georgian architecture of Merrion Square where Batt will do a short presentation at the statue of Oscar Wilde. Evening Mass in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral. Dinner on your own and overnight in Dublin. (CB)
Day 9 S Monday August 13: Book of Kells | Dublin
After a full Irish breakfast, visit Trinity College. See the magnificent Book of Kells, an illuminated copy of the Four Gospels. This afternoon is free to do some last-minute shopping in the Grafton and Nassau Street areas or sightsee on your own and tour the wonderful National Museum, Guinness Brewery, Jameson Distillery. Celebrate Mass at St. Audeon’s Church.
Farewell dinner and dance show at the Merry Ploughboy (see video below)! Overnight in Dublin. (CB, D)
Day 10 S Tuesday August 14: Return to USA
Bid goodbye to the Emerald Isle and new found friends with return flights from Dublin Airport. (CB)