Prepare for a unique journey into Ireland’s heart and soul. Traverse the ancient paths of our Catholic heritage from St’s Patrick, Brendan, Kevin, Columba and Declan in the footsteps of pilgrims past and present. Come to the grace-filled shrine of Our Lady of Knock and witness along the way the unsurpassed beauty of Ireland’s monasteries, rugged coastline, historic cities and their legendary hospitality. This journey is the perfect mix of fun, faith and friendship!
Dublin (1 night) • Via Glendalough • Kilkenny (2) • Rock of Cashel • Moone • Dungarven • Ardmore • Cork (1) • Tralee (2) • Dingle Peninsula • Cliffs of Moher • Ennis • Galway (1) • Knock • Westport (2) • Croagh Patrick • Dublin (1)
ST PATRICK • ST KEVIN • ST COLUMBA • ST CANICE • ST CIARAN • ST DECLAN • ST COLMAN • ST BRENDAN
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
Cead Mile Failte – Welcome to Ireland! On arrival at Dublin airport, we will be met and transferred to our group hotel. This evening we will join with our fellow pilgrims for the first group dinner.
Dublin overnight (D)
This morning we will be transferred by coach directly south to County Wicklow and the holy town of Glendalough – ‘Valley of the two lakes’. This renowned place of pilgrimage is the site of the monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin – a man of noble stock. Coming here to be alone as an ascetic contemplative monk, his prayerful inspiration ironically attracted many others and thus the community of Glendalough springs from a hermitage.
Our visit in Glendalough is focused on both the upper and the lower lakes in the valley. The upper site is simpler and more in fitting with St Kevin’s life as a hermit, whereas the lower one has the more famous monastic monuments – one of Ireland’s best preserved Round Towers, a roofless Cathedral, St Kevin’s kitchen and the diminutive Priest House over the Saint’s tomb – shrine where we will celebrate our Mass together.
Visit Powerscourt Gardens, in County Wicklow. Dating back to the 13th century, Powerscourt was named no. 3 in the World’s Top 10 Gardens by the National Geographic, second only to the Palace of Versailles and Kew Gardens in London. It is a vast country estate noted for its magnificent Palladian style mansion and 47 acres of formal landscaped gardens in the picturesque village of Enniskerry.
We then journey south to Moone, another 6th century monastery and founded by St Columba. It is famous for its unique tall High Cross, beautifully evocative and with carved scenes of the Old and New Testament.
Onwards to Kilkenny for dinner and overnight.
Kilkenny overnight (BD)
Capital of County Kilkenny, the town of Kilkenny is often referred to as “the Marble City”, It is the most interesting and best preserved of the medieval Irish cities. We will visit the 13th century Kilkenny Castle overlooking the River Nore and the Cathedral of St Canice, also dating from the 13th century which is built on the site of a Celtic Christian monastery said to have been founded in the sixth century by St Canice. The cathedral has been carefully restored over the years and is still used for the dedication for the Bishops and the Deans of Ossory.
This afternoon we travel out to the foreboding Rock of Cashel, possibly the most photographed site in Ireland. Towering over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot-high outcrop of limestone, the Rock of Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the 1st high King of Ireland here in the tenth century. Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O’Brien clan, the Rock became the seat of the archbishop of Cashel. It was during this period that Cormac’s Chapel was built.
In 1647 Cromwellian forces under the leadership of Lord Inchiquin ransacked the Rock. Today, impressive stone walls enclose a round tower, a cathedral, a twelfth century Romanesque chapel and high crosses. The gothic cathedral dates back to the thirteenth century and attached to it is the palace of the Archbishop of Cashel.
Cormac’s chapel, smaller in structure, displays some typical Romanesque features while the Hall of the Vicar’s Choral, at the entrance to the Rock, is a fifteenth century house. The Vicars Choral has been restored and its basement houses a small museum of artefacts found on the site.
Kilkenny overnight (BD)
Today we journey south and follow the coastal road via the fishing town of Dungarven. We soon come to the remote coastal village of Ardmore in honour of St Declan who was miraculously guided here on a return voyage from Wales in the 5th century. It is believed to be the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. According to tradition, Saint Declan lived in the region in the early 5th century and christianised the area before the coming of Saint Patrick. Today, a number of intriguing sites remain from this monastic city, pointing to a devotion that stood the test of time. Among other sites we come to St Declan’s Well, a shallow basin where pilgrims came to bathe their hands and feet.
Continue onto Cork for dinner and overnight
Cork overnight (BD)
This morning, we enter the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne where we will celebrate Mass.
We then arrive into the unique port town of Cobh (time permitting). It is here that over 2.5 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland to places such as New Zealand, Australia and the United States from 1848 onwards. It was also the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic. Here we will also admire Cobh’s Cathedral, dedicated to St Colman who founded the diocese in the 6th century.
Continue on to the 15th century Blarney Castle, an ancient stronghold, and it is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. Built in 1446, Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone – The Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed, to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it – will you dangle from the Castle ramparts to acquire the ‘gift of the gab’?
Journey on through the rugged Derrynasaggart Mountains to the popular resort town of Killarney, with its horse-drawn jaunting cars and singing pubs.
We enjoy a tour of the region featuring superb seascapes, towering cliffs, charming villages and spectacular mountains. Travel around MacGillycuddy Reeks and past the beautiful Killarney Lakes to Ladies View for a spectacular photographic opportunity.
After check-in at our hotel in charming Tralee enjoy some free time to rest or explore before dinner.
Tralee overnight (BD)
Journey today to the Dingle Peninsula, the northernmost of the five fingers projecting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Here we find a vast number of Christian sites mainly belonging to the cult of St Brendan the famous navigator who was born nearby at Andfert (484). We travel along the coast road past Inch to Slea Head, the most westerly point in Europe. We join the ancient pilgrim traffic of old and visit the 12th century Church at Kilmalkedar, the traditional assembly site for pilgrims who followed the Saint’s Road northeast to Mount Brandon. and the famous Gallarus Oratory which is the most impressive early Christian monument on the Dingle peninsula and 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.
Visit the beehive huts and spend some time in the lively fishing port of Dingle. Passing the 3,000-foot Mt Brandon we journey back to Tralee.
Tralee overnight (BD)
A wonderful day of surprises awaits us as we continue north today through picturesque Adare, renowned for its pretty thatched cottages. On to the city of Limerick, setting of ‘Angela’s Ashes’, where we see the 12th century St Mary’s Cathedral among other sites.
We continue on to Ennis, another town springing from monastic origins. We visit and celebrate Mass at the Franciscan Friary (1240) whom together with the Cistercians and Dominicans were the dominant religious order in medieval Ireland. The Franciscans were very much an order of and for the people, giving them solace after the grim years of the ‘Black Death’ which swept across Europe in 1348 – 1350.
Now sit back and enjoy our afternoon’s drive, which will take us through the Clare Coast along the majestic 668-foot Cliffs of Moher, a five-mile stretch of the darkest sandstone draping sheer to the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean. Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland.
On through the floral wonders of Burren to Galway the ‘City of Tribes’.
Galway overnight (BD)
We begin our day visiting the lovely Galway Cathedral and hear about the infamous Lynch Stone.
Departing Galway, we travel north to Knock. On arrival we celebrate Mass at the Marian Shrine in the Church of Apparitions where Our Lady appeared in the evening of 21 August 1879, the eve of the Octave of the Assumption.
In 1979 St Pope John Paul ll, who was the first Pope to set foot on Irish soil, announced to an estimated quarter-of-a-million pilgrims gathered for the Centenary ceremony that the church at Knock would be henceforth known as the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland. He presented a Golden Rose to the shrine as a witness of his own gratitude to Mary, mother of the heavenly and earthly Church.We will enjoy a guided tour of the shrine’s highlights and enter into the afternoon’s schedule of events centred around the parish.
This afternoon we visit nearby Ballintubber Abbey, one of the few medieval churches where Mass has been celebrated continuously for almost 800 years! Legend has it that St Patrick banished nine goblins there; today it is a haven of peace, prayer and retreat with ancient buildings now restored. Reflective time will be offered here in the grounds before continuing to Westport for dinner and overnight.
Westport overnight (BD)
Rising 2500-feet above sea level lies the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick, a place of pilgrimage for more than 1500 years. St Patrick spent forty days and nights in prayer and fasting at the summit in 441 and is said to have banished all demons and snakes from the mountain.
Following in the footsteps of St Patrick, every year since the fifth Century on Reek Sunday – the last Sunday in July – thousands of pilgrims climb the Holy Mountain in a spirit of prayer, penance, and reparation. At the top is St Patrick’s Chapel built in 1905.
Continuing on, we drive through the unspoilt mountainous region of Connemara before coming to the seaport of Clifden and nearby Kylemore Abbey, home to the Benedictine nuns in Ireland. We will celebrate Mass here in the Gothic Church set in the Abbey’s peaceful grounds.
Westport overnight (BD)
Our journey returns us east to the country’s capital. Along the way we will enjoy an important stop at Clonmacnois, founded in 548, becoming Ireland’s most important monastic city and boasting today the very epitome of the early Irish monastery. Pope John Paul II visited here in 1979 testifying to the importance of this shrine.
Arriving into Dublin this afternoon we visit the Mercy Convent in Baggot Street, the first house of Mother Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. This is where the determined St Mary MacKillop met with the inflexible Bishop Quinn of Bathurst on Oct 10, 1874 who wanted the Sisters kept under his diocesan control. Also nearby was St Brigid’s Orphanage in Eccles Street (now part of the Mater Hospital) where St Mary MacKillop first stayed and met with Cardinal Cullen to explore the possibility of obtaining postulants from Ireland. Visit the Trinity College Library, home of the famous 8th Century Book of Kells and onwards to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s largest Cathedral made famous by its former dean Jonathan Swift, author of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. Our tour culminates at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral. The original, partially completed facade was replaced by the present imposing neo-Romanesque structure by Sir Thomas Dean in 1868.
Dublin overnight (BD)
26 August – 5 September 2024
Fr Thomas Stevens
AUD $1719 Supplement
AUD $198 per person
* Costs are indicative and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, tax & hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions.
† Per Person, Per Day.
Fr Tom is Parish Priest at St Patrick’s Mortlake, Archdiocese of Sydney. Formerly he was assistant priest at All Saints Parish, Liverpool. Fr Tom grew up in an ever-practical Catholic family in Chatswood, the youngest of seven children, and had a successful career as a maritime lawyer before he answered the call to the priesthood. He has established his own registered charity, called The Anawim Society, which provides dignified dining experiences to those on the margins in our society. Fr Tom is a chaplain to the NSW Police Force and chaplain to the Australian Turf Club and has been known to love a punt.
Departing Dublin this morning we travel north towards Belfast.
We stop enroute at Armagh where we will visit St Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass. This is reputedly the site of an ancient ringfort where St Patrick founded a church in 445AD. Patrick called it ‘My Sweet Hill’ and said that it should have pre-eminence over all other churches in Ireland making Armagh its ecclesiastical capital. Armagh now has 2 Cathedrals, one Catholic and one Protestant that face each other across the town. A unique feature of the Cathedral is the Cardinal’s Hats which hang in the sanctuary. On the death of a Cardinal, his hat would be left to decay here – symbolizing the end of all earthly glory.
Continuing on to Belfast, we will enjoy a city tour which takes in the leaning Albert Memorial Clock Tower (Ireland’s answer to the Tower of Pisa) and the Opera House, which is one of Belfast’s great landmarks. Your tour will pass by the City Hall, the Crown Bar (dates from 1885), Queens University and the Botanic Gardens. Visit the Harland and Wolfe Shipyard, where the Titanic was built and launched in 1912. A visit to the Shankill and Falls Road will give the visitor an indication of how life was in Belfast during the troubles.
Arrive at your hotel for check in and dinner.
Belfast overnight (BD)
We commence our day with mass at Clonard Monastery before travelling to Corrymeela Ballycastle for a peace and reconciliation chat.
The Corrymeela Community is a Christian community of reconciliation drawn from many traditions that, individually and together, are committed to reconciliation through the healing of social, religious and political divisions that exist in Northern Ireland and throughout the world.
Corrymeela Ballycastle seeks to be an open village where encounter, truth telling and hospitality are expressed while contemplating and living out what it means to embrace difference, heal divisions and enable reconciliation.
Enjoy lunch at a local pub before returning to Belfast.
This afternoon we visit the Titanic Belfast exhibit. The exhibit recreates the story of the world’s most famous ship in an iconic, six floor building right beside the historic site of the original ship’s construction. Opened in April 2012 to coincide with the centenary of its launch, the self-guided journey begins on entering the building’s giant atrium, where the visitor is surrounded by the four ‘ship’s hull’ shaped wings which house the Titanic Experience. As you journey through the nine large galleries of the interactive exhibition, you will uncover the true story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900’s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
Belfast overnight (BD)
This morning we travel out to Downpatrick where we visit the St Patrick’s Centre.
We are welcomed to The Saint Patrick Centre by guides Martina and Elaine for a brief intro about their backgrounds followed by an IMAX film about why St Patrick was so successful in bringing Christianity, message of forgiveness, reconciliation.
We then visit Down Cathedral which overlooks Downpatrick and stands close to what is believed to be the mortal remains of St Patrick, the Patron saint of Ireland. We will celebrate Mass at Saul Church.
Return to Belfast for Dinner at a local restaurant.
Belfast overnight (BD)
After breakfast we will depart Belfast for Dublin Airport and our homebound flight connections. (B)
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
|TOUR EXTENSION DETAILS
|Dublin / Dublin
|5 – 8 September 2024
|AUD $2490 per person, twin share
|AUD $780 supplement
|AUD $72 per person
|Costs are based on prices as at December 2023 and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions for more details.
Having Bishop Karol as our spiritual guide, with all his local knowledge made such a difference. The journey helped me to put things in perspective and appreciate God’s mercy and kindness and the importance of being kind to others.