Escorted Journey in the Footsteps of Irish Saints & Scholars

As Christianity spread across Ireland, many monasteries were built throughout the country. The buildings became centres of learning and skills of arts and crafts developed. This Golden Age of the “Island of Saints and Scholars” has left traces all over Ireland which can be seen in the many historic locations that we will visit on this tour. While walking in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, exploring abbeys and monasteries and visiting important medieval sites, you will get to experience an authentic Ireland and see the fascinating aspects of Irish culture and heritage that have been so carefully preserved. Embrace this combination of a pilgrimage and leisure tour and get inspired by the ancient heritage of early Irish Christianity.

Visiting:


Armagh
Belfast
Croagh Patrick
Westport
Knock Shrine
Ballintubber Abbey
Connemara
Kylemore Abbey
Galway City
Cliffs of Moher
The Burren
Glenstal Abbey
Rock of Cashel
Dublin

Can't find what you're looking for? Need a tailor-made itinerary?


Irish traditions and values are deeply rooted in our business and the type of travel experience that Joe Walsh Tours provides. We are extremely proud of our Irish heritage and passion for our native island is reflected in every mile travelled and every story told by our guides. We are delighted to share our knowledge and love of Ireland with our visitors and very happy to welcome you to the Emerald Isle.

Should you require further information regarding a specific tour itinerary or would like us to tailor-make your trip based on any special requirements your travelling party may have, please do not hesitate to give our Tours of Ireland specialists a call on 00 353 1 241 0800 or drop us a line via email info@joewalshtours.ie and we will be delighted to assist. We’re only a phone call away!

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Transport & Accommodation

  • Flight from your home airport to Dublin
  • Transfer on arrival from the airport to your hotel with guide assistance
  • Hotel accommodation in Ireland for the selected number of nights
  • Meals served each day as per agreed itinerary
  • Transfer from your hotel to Airport for return flight
  • Direct flight from Dublin to your home airport
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach for all transfers and tours
  • Assistance of Joe Walsh Tours guides and representatives throughout the pilgrimage and at airports

Tours & Religious Programme

  • Tours, excursions and religious programme organised by Joe Walsh Tours
  • Full services of Joe Walsh Tours guides and representatives throughout the pilgrimage and tour

Detailed Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Armagh The Ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland
    On arrival to Dublin Airport we will meet our guide and driver and continue to the North of Ireland on the trail of St. Patrick. We see the Hill of Tara where St. Patrick lit his famous Paschal fire to announce the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. We travel through the beautiful Boyne Valley before driving a short distance to Monasterboice to see two of Ireland’s finest High Crosses. We drive further into St. Patrick’s country arriving in Armagh, perhaps best known for its rich Christian heritage. The settlement has been the spiritual capital of Ireland since Saint Patrick founded his first church on the hilltop site of the present Church of Ireland Cathedral around 445AD. Today the heads of both the Catholic and Anglican Churches on the island are seated here. Overnight in Armagh.



  • DAY 2: Christian Heritage Trail – In The Footsteps of St. Patrick
    We begin our Christian Heritage Trail with a visit to two Cathedrals, both called St. Patrick’s. We will continue in the footsteps of St. Patrick as we visit the beautiful area of Strangford Lough in Downpatrick including the St Patrick’s Centre to see the excellent film in the “Footsteps of St. Patrick”. We will visit Downpatrick Cathedral, where the Saint is buried, and Saul Church, built in 1932 to commemorate Saint Patrick's first church in Ireland. Overnight in Belfast.



  • DAY 3: Belfast & The Titanic Centre
    This morning we enjoy a city tour of Belfast including a visit to Falls and Shankhill roads to see the Murals. In the afternoon we visit the Titanic Centre, housed in an iconic 6-floor building, this state-of-the-art visitor centre tells the story of the Titanic. The evening is free for us to explore Belfast city at our leisure. Overnight in Belfast.



  • DAY 4: Ulster American Folk Park & Westport Town
    Today we will visit the Ulster-American Folk Park, one of the best open air museums of its kind. The Folk Park brings to life the human drama behind three centuries of Irish emigration, telling the remarkable story of the vast human tide that crossed the Atlantic for the New World of North America. We will stop and visit the Belleek Pottery Factory, trading since 1884. We will travel through Drumcliffe, set against one of the most striking Irish backdrops of Benbulben Mountain and best known as the final resting place of Irish Poet and Scholar W.B.Yeats. His grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription: 'Cast a cold eye on life, on Death. Horseman, pass by'. This was Yeats' self-penned epitaph together with the instructions that the grave consists of "No marble, no conventional phrase". The graveyard also contains a high cross and nearby is the site of a monastery founded by St. Colmcille in 575. We arrive to our accommodation in Westport, a charming town nestled at the foot of towering Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay and its enchanting islands. Overnight in Westport.


  • DAY 5: Knock Shrine and Ballintubber Abbey
    This morning we visit Knock, known as the “Lourdes of Ireland”. In 1879 the parish church of Knock was the scene of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist. Fifteen official witnesses attested to the apparition during which Our Lady appeared wearing a white cloak, with a brilliant crown of roses on her head. In September of 1979, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Knock Shrine, one of the few apparition sites approved by the Catholic Church. Pilgrims can visit the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, perform the Stations of the Cross or the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary and attend Mass. In the afternoon, we travel to Ballintubber Abbey. Founded in 1216 by Cathal Crovderg O'Connor, Ballintubber Abbey is an important sacred Irish historical site which will celebrate its 4800 year anniversary in 2016. Here we will meet with Fr. Fahy who will tell us the history of the Abbey. Overnight in Westport.



  • DAY 6: Croagh Patrick, Connemara & Kylemore Abbey
    Croagh Patrick which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. St. Patrick is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance here. Weather permitting; the group will have the option to climb the first leg to the saddle/plateau at the base of the summit of Croagh Patrick. We will continue our journey and travel through the world famous scenery of Connemara to Kylemore Abbey, home to the Benedictine nuns. We will visit the Abbey on the grounds, the Gothic Church, the Victorian Walled Garden as well as the Lake and Woodland walks. A section of the Abbey (the enclosure) is retained strictly for the nuns’ use and is not open to the public. Here the nuns devote themselves to their monastic life of prayer and work. Mass will be celebrated in the Nuns Chapel. Overnight in Galway.



  • DAY 7: Galway, City of Tribes – Irish Cultural Experience
    This morning our tour guide will lead us through the historic streets of Galway. We will visit Eyre Square, the historic St Nicholas Church, Lynch’s Castle, the Cathedral, University College Galway and the Spanish Arch. After lunch we travel to the restored hill village of Cnoc Suain in Spiddal. The owners of this historic hill village, Dearbhaill Standun and Charlie Troy, offer you a complete and authentic cultural experience. In the primordial landscape and evocative setting with thatched and slated stone cottages overlooking mountains, lake and sea, they will share with you some fascinating aspects of Irish culture and heritage. We will visit one of the old thatch cottages where Dearbhaill invites you into the living room decorated in a traditional style. She is a Gaelic speaker offering the visitors a rare opportunity to hear the Irish language spoken in a natural environment. We see a demonstration of bread making the traditional way and hear about the history of Irish music. The fun is just getting started as we hear the fiddle, the accordion and tin whistle playing a selection of jigs and reels, accompanied by an Irish dancer. Overnight in Galway.



  • DAY 8: The Burren – Cliffs of Moher - Bunratty
    This morning we follow the coastal road along the Galway Bay and through the Burren’s contorted limestone landscape. We will see Corcomroe Abbey, one of the best-known monastic sites in Ireland built at the end of the 12th century by the Cistercians, or ‘white monks’, and occupied up until the 17th century. We will spend time at the Cathedral in Kilfenora village in County Clare. The Cathedral was constructed in 1189 on the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Fachtna. The cathedral, which was built in the transitional style, features many fine carvings and the remains of three high crosses, including the Doorty Cross. Later, we visit the Cliffs of Moher, the majestic headlands rising 750 feet above the Atlantic. We also spend time at St. Brigid’s Well, one of many wells throughout the country dedicated to St. Brigid. Pilgrims traditionally attend an open-air Mass here. We will see various personal tokens left here by pilgrims who believe it will cure a loved one who is ill, or keep them safe. Tonight we attend the Bunratty Medieval Dinner and show. Following dinner we might stop by Durty Nelly’s for a pint before returning to our hotel. Overnight in Limerick.



  • DAY 9: Glenstal Abbey – Rock of Cashel
    Today we visit Glenstal Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery in County Limerick. The Abbey is home to a community of about 40 monks. The community life of prayer is combined with running a boarding school for boys, a farm, a guesthouse and various other works. It is situated on a 500 acre estate. The monks assemble in Church four times a day for the Divine Office and the Mass. In the crypt of the church is a chapel with Orthodox icons. On arrival we will be met by a member of the community who will share the history of the monastery. We will celebrate the noon Mass with traditional Gregorian chant. In the afternoon we will continue to two of the most evocative and significant pilgrimage sites of medieval Ireland: the Rock of Cashel—intimately associated with St. Patrick and ancient seat of the kings of Munster— and Holy Cross Abbey, a 13th-century Cistercian monastery widely regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Ireland. Overnight in Dublin.



  • DAY 10: Dublin, The Capital City of Ireland
    Our day in Dublin starts with a city tour including a visit to Trinity College to see the magnificent Old Library and the 1200 year old Book of Kells, the beautifully illuminated version of the Gospels, designed by monks in the 9th century. We continue with a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and after our visit we will enjoy evensong in this magnificent Cathedral. Next we visit the Guinness Storehouse to see how the famous Irish beer is made. You have some leisure time tonight and dinner on your own with an opportunity to visit one of the historic famous pubs of Dublin. Overnight in Dublin.



  • DAY 11: Day of Departure
    We transfer to Dublin airport for our departure.

Optional

  • Travel insurance €25 per person (conditions apply); please note that there is an additional insurance premium of €25 for persons aged 86 to 94 years

Notes

  • Packages are based on two people sharing twin/double rooms with private facilities
  • Passengers are entitled to check in one standard piece of luggage subject to airline’s conditions
  • Single rooms are on request and supplements apply
  • A non-refundable deposit is required for booking
  • Meals and in-flight catering where not stated are not included
  • Itinerary may be subject to change; E&OE
  • All bookings protected by the Commission for Aviation Regulation in Ireland (T.O. 052 | T.A. 0689) and the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK (ATOL 5163)


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