8 Day Ireland Pilgrimage

Day 1: USA / DUBLIN. Meet at the airport three hours before departure.  Dinner and breakfast, along with entertainment, are served in-flight.

Day 2: WELCOME TO IRELAND. Upon arrival at Dublin Airport, meet with your coach driver and English-speaking escort and transfer to the city centre. Today, enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin City, discovering the north side of the River Liffey. This area offers striking monuments! Following the panoramic tour, we will visit St. Patrick's Cathedral.  St Patrick’s is the National Cathedral of Ireland and is built on the site where St Patrick preached. Ireland's first university was founded at St. Patrick's in 1320 and intermittently operated for 200 years. Visit the Guinness Storehouse.  The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is Europe's largest stout producing brewery and home to the Guinness Storehouse. Visitors will discover what goes into the making a pint of GUINNESS - the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft, and the passion. The exhibition shows how the brew has been marketed and how it is today sold in over 150 countries. The visit ends with a visit to the 7th floor Gravity bar to sample first-hand the elixir of life ~ a pint of Guinness. We will then head back to enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel in Dublin

Day 3:  TO THE WEST. This morning, after breakfast, we depart Dublin and transfer west of Ireland. En-route, we visit Clonmacnoise. St. Ciaran founded this great monastery in 548-9. Dermot, a local prince, helped Ciaran build his first church on the site and later when Dermot was elected High King he richly endowed the monastery. The centre has an excellent audio-visual, which presents development and history of Clonmacnoise as well as the life of the early Christian church in Ireland. The centre presents several displays showing how masons built their churches and how artists and masons designed and built the high crosses. We will then head to Galway to check into our hotel.  Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel in Galway or area.

Day 4: KNOCK AND BALLINTUBBER ABBEY. After a wonderful Irish breakfast, we venture to visit Knock. This little town is an important pilgrimage centre and has been famous for over a century as the site of visions, apparitions, and miraculous cures. Continue to Ballintubber Abbey.  Built in 1216, for the Canon Regulars of St Augustine, Ballintubber Abbey is the only church in Ireland that was founded by an Irish King and which is still in use today. Ballintubber is one of the most impressive church buildings in Ireland today and is well worth a visit. We then return to our hotel in Galway or region for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: THE BURREN AND CLIFFS OF MOHER. This morning, we depart for Galway, after breakfast, and travel southwards into County Clare and via the Burren region to the Cliffs of Moher.  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 northwest corner of Co Clare. The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses as well as a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century. Continue to 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 metres 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. The Tower is adjacent to the seastack, Breanan Mór, which stands over 70 metres above the foaming waves and is home to some of the Burren’s wildlife. Continue along Clare’s Coast and take a ferry across the River Shannon into County Kerry.  We enjoy dinner and overnight in our hotel in the Kerry area.

Day 6: RING OF KERRY. This morning, we enjoy a genuine Irish breakfast and depart for a superb tour of the Iveragh Peninsula, which will give you the opportunity to discover the Ring of Kerry. Leaving Killarney, we pass through Killorglin, famous for its Puck Fair, then to Glenbeigh where the cliff road affords panoramic views of the Dingle Peninsula and Dingle Bay. Continuing to Cahirciveen, we pass the birthplace of National hero, Daniel O’Connell. Passing through the peat bogs, we arrive at the sea town of Waterville. We then continue to Sneem Village, famous because of its brightly coloured houses. The road continues through the mountains to Molls Gap and Ladies View with superb views of the famous lakes of Killarney. Visit Muckross House, a nineteenth century country residence with folk museum, the gardens at the rear are famous for their superb rhododendrons.   Visit to Muckross House and Gardens.  Built in 1843 by the Herbert Family, in Elizabethan style, this house is one of the most sumptuous residences of Ireland. Muckross, surrounded by beautiful gardens, is in the heart of the Killarney National Park, the first opened in Ireland.  After such a wonderful day, we return to our Hotel in Kerry area for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: RETURN TO DUBLIN. We will enjoy breakfast this morning prior to traveling back to Dublin via the Rock of Cashel.  Possibly the most photographed site in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland's leading tourist attractions. Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O'Brien clan, the Rock became the seat of the archbishop of Cashel. Today, impressive stonewalls 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. Tonight, we will enjoy our last dinner and overnight in Ireland.

Day 8: FAREWELL TO IRELAND. After a final Irish breakfast, we transfer to Dublin Airport for our return flight home – the end of a most memorable pilgrimage.