Ireland - Its name calls fortth magic and myth, saints and scholars...and countryside almost too beautiful to be true. And its greatest resource, even more astonishing than the gorgeous greens and dramatic seascapes, is the people. The Celtic nature of warmth and welcome still prevails here and simply has to be experienced to be understood. I can hardly wait to take you traveling back in time to explore the landscapes, rich history and culture of Ireland. Come join me.....
"To all you bonny lads and lasses who have a calling to experience a personal connection with the land spirits and culture of Ireland, I cordially invite you to join me on this mystical tour. Imagine traveling back in time through the “thin places” and perhaps meeting spirits who have lived there and still roam those beautiful green landscapes today. You’ll walk in the footsteps of the ancient ones on green hillsides, through enchanted forests, ancient castles, and magical wells. Perhaps you will hear the ancient voices of the Celts or Druids, Gods and Goddesses, nature spirits, or faeries, whispering valuable information for your life’s journey. I will be teaching shamanic techniques working with local nature spirits to cleanse & charge your energy field with the spirits of the land. Our local Irish guide will tell stories of rich Irish history and folklore. We will participate in ancient ceremonies with authentic Druid Shaman, Eimear Burke. This experience will refresh, renew, and expand your awareness on all levels. If you’re wanting to awaken your heart with magic, this is the trip for you. I’m looking forward to traveling with you on this adventure to the green magical island of Ireland."
Eimear Burke is a practicing Druid who works both as a Psychologist and a Celebrant. She is the Chosen Chief elect of The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, a role she assumes in 2020. With her late husband, Howard Campbell, she founded the Kilkenny Druid Grove, where she hosts celebrations for all eight festivals in the Wheel of the Year. The ceremonies, attended by Druids and Pagans of all paths, as well as by people from all sections of her local community, celebrate Druidry as a creative way of living in balance with the natural world. As a storyteller (and harpist), she takes a particular pride in continuing the oral tradition of Irish folklore, and focus on Irish mythology. Eimear will join the tour for a few days towards the latter part of the itinerary to lead some meditations, do ceremonies (including one at a labyrinth) tell stories, play the harp and more.
Day 1, Wednesday, August 19: In Dublin – Welcome to Ireland (D)
Arrival and proceed on your own to your reserved accommodations. Time to relax and get to get used to the time change before we meet in the lobby and walk to the lovely Cliff Town House restaurant for our Welcome Dinner. After dinner we return to our hotel.
Day 2, Thursday, August 20: In Dublin – City Touring (B/D)
After breakfast we start our day with a “Panoramic Tour of Dublin. Meet in the lobby to start your panoramic short tour to “Dublin’s Fair City”. The tour will introduce you to the principal sites seeing the elegant Georgian squares, famous for its architecture and of course its famous doors. Pass by Trinity College, with the 8th century Book of Kells and the long room with its 200,000 books. Pass by St Patrick’s Cathedral. Built in 1192, it is one of Ireland’s largest Cathedrals made famous by its former dean Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels.” Pass by Christchurch, built by the Anglo-Norman’s in 1172 to replace an earlier Church built by the Vikings in 1038, on your way to the Phoenix Park with its many monuments including the Papal Cross. Return to the city center via the Quays, passing by the Guinness brewery and Collins Barrack, now part of the national museum, before arriving back into O’Connell Street and back to our hotel. Lunch on our own before we have our afternoon our Guided tour of St Michan’s Chuch and Crypt. Largely rebuilt in 1686 on the site of an 11th century Hiberno-Viking church, the dull façade of St. Michan’s hides a more exciting interior. Deep in its vaults, there is a number of bodies that have barely decomposed because of the dry atmosphere created by the church’s magnesian limestone walls. Their wooden caskets, however, have cracked open, revealing the preserved bodies, complete with skin and strands of hair. Among those thought to have been mummified in this way are the brothers Henry and John Sheares, leaders of the 1798 rebellion, who were executed that year. Other less gory attractions include the magnificent wood carving of fruits and violins and other instruments above the choir. There is also an organ (1724) on which Handel is said to have played. It is thought that the churchyard contains the unmarked grave of United Irishman Robert Emmet, leader of the abortive 1803 Rising. Return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 3, Friday, August 21: To Newgrange, Knowth, the Hill of Tara and Sligo (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we meet in the lobby and depart for travel through the scenic Boyne Valley. The Boyne valley is without a doubt the most historical region of the whole island and where lie the most revered and imminent of all the sacred sites in Ireland — Newgrange and Knowth. These are megalithic tombs, dating from 2500 B.C, located along the valley of the river Boyne represent the start of the megalithic age. Newgrange represents the abode of Aengus og and Doghdha gods of the race of the Tuatha de Danann.Here the sun penetrates the mound at the winter solstice. While Knowth, the largest of the monuments, is where the sun sends its light through a passage way at spring and autumn equinoxes We start at Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre that is designed to present the archaeological heritage of the Boyne Valley, which includes the fascinating megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The extensive exhibition includes a full-scale replica of the chamber at Newgrange as well as a full model of one of the smaller tombs at Knowth. The Centre is the starting point for all visits to both monuments, and contains extensive interpretative displays and viewing areas. The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one-acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 609-foot long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 years. On to visit Knowth. The Great Mound was built over 5000 years ago, probably after the construction of Newgrange and before the construction of Dowth. The Great Mound at Knowth is similar in size to Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds. The Great Mound has two passages with entrances on opposite sides, the western passage is 100 feet long and the eastern passage is 120 feet long, ending with a cruciform chamber. Knowth and the other megalithic sites of the Boyne Valley were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. There is no direct access to the Knowth site, access is by guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre located close to the village of Donore on the south bank of the river Boyne. We end this day’s touring at Dowth, the least well known of the three great tombs of Brú na Bóinne. Although as large as Newgrange and Knowth it has not been excavated in recent times. Like the other monuments it was built over 5,000 years ago. Included in our tour will be the Hill of Tara, the womb of Mother Ireland and the traditional burial place of Tea, ancestor queen and goddess of the Celts. Tara is the site where sacred marriage took place between the new king and the goddess who held power over the fertility of the land. In the afternoon, we depart for Sligo. Check into our hotel for dinner and our overnight.
Day 4, Saturday, August 22: In Sligo – To Glencar Waterfall & Tobernalt Holy Well (B/L/D)
Today we start the morning with a visit to Glencar Waterfall that is 50 ft high and is situated in Glencar Lough, west of Manorhamilton and served as an inspiration to William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’ ‘Where the wandering water gushes. From the hills above Glen-Car, In pools among the rushes That scarce could bathe a star,’ Then continie to Hazelwood Demesne on the shores of Lough Gill and time at leisure to walk and explore the nature trails, sculptures and views of the lake. After lunch at a local pub, continue on and visit Tobernalt Holy Well on the shores of Lough Gill, near Sligo, one of the most picturesque holy wells in Ireland and is known as Tubbernaltha. The Well gushes out from the face of the cliff to which it owes its name. The pellucid stream at first lingers under the shade of embowering shrubs, the center of a scene of enchanting loveliness, and then steals away with gentle murmur to mingle with the waters of the lake. The Well has a double sanctity, for it was not only blessed by St. Patrick, who it seems baptised his converts on his way southward through Tirerrill, but in the Penal days its waters were used in the celebration of mass, which was solemnised there beneath an aged tree when no priest dare ventured into the town of Sligo. Return to Sligo for dinner and our overnight.
Day 5, Sunday, August 23: To Queen Maeve’s Tomb, Connemara and Galway (B/L/D)
Depart Sligo for Galway and en-route visit Knocknarea Cairn – Queen Maeve’s Tomb. Situated just north of Carrowmore we come upon the hilltop cairn grave of Knocknarea. Around 1000 years younger than Carrowmore, the huge cairn is said to be the grave of the legendary Queen Maeve, an important figure in early Irish folklore. The 40,000 tons of stone, which cover the tomb, have never been excavated, despite speculation that a tomb on the scale of the one at Newgrange in Co. Meath lies buried below. Local legend has it, its bad luck to remove a stone from the cairn but good luck to take one up the hill to deposit at the cairn. Continue through the Connemara Region, a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains. A land of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. It is without a doubt the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland. Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south – a land characteristic for its stone walls and thatched cottages. On its northern shore the land is harsher and more secret, with spectacular views of the Ocean and the beautiful fjord of Killary Harbour, as well as the steep mountains overlooking numerous lakes and large bog areas. Connemara is a real paradise for Nature lovers and those in search of strong emotions. During today’s touring, we will also visit the Westport House. Then onto Galway for our overnight and dinner.
Day 6, Monday, August 24: In Galway – Excursion to Aran Islands (B/D)
We start the day by taking the ferry to Inishmore. The three Aran Islands, Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore, standing out in the Galway bay, form a mass of limestone, similar to the Burren’s geology. Today the inhabitants live essentially off fishing and tourism while remaining strongly attached to Gaelic traditions. These islands are the last real “Gaeltacht” of the modern Ireland. Inishmore is the largest of them and is covered in old stone walls and little fields. On the West Coast of the island, majestic cliffs drop into the wild Atlantic ocean. This area is dominated by Dun Aengus, one of the most impressive Neolithic forts in Europe. A trip to the islands offers a journey through time, as well as an encounter with the old Ireland, the mythical Ireland. For this reason, the islands are quite fascinating. Here we also will visit the Labyrinth. Return to the village for some independent time and lunch on your own and in the late afternoon return to Doolin by ferry to Clare. On our way to our hotel, we will visit St Brigid’s Well, In Irish mythology Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, unity, childbirth and healing. She was the daughter of Dagda a High King of the Tua Dé Danann, and it was a place of pilgrimage to the Celts. Continue to our hotel for our overnight and dinner at our hotel.
Day 7, Tuesday, August 25: To the Dingle Peninsula and Kerry (B/L/D)
We depart by ferry to to Kerry and continue with a tour to the Dingle Peninsula, Some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas. This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. It is also a ‘Gaeltacht’ (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbor. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. From Inch, a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter,” admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. . In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. We will visit the site of 7th century Kilmalkedar Monsatery with its ogham and sundial stones, as well as the ruins of St Brendan’s Iratory with its nearby enigmatic Keller stones. Lunch at local pub/restaurant followed by a visit to the Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dún Chaoin on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. Its a fascinating heritage center/museum honoring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953. The Blasket Centre tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing and entertainment. The Center details the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind – classics such as ‘The Islandman’, ‘Twenty Years A-Growing’ and ‘Peig’. Overnight and dinner in Kerry.
Day 8, Wednesday, August 26: In Kerry: Ring of Kerry (B/L/D)
After breakfast we start our exploration is around the world-famous Ring of Kerry, a winding scenic route on the Iveragh Peninsula that connects the communities of Killorglin, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Sneem, and Kenmare in south-western Ireland. Some say it’s the best that Ireland has to offer…with its romantic glens, towering peaks and constantly changing color. As you visit the various places and interact with the landscape and to take an awesome opportunity to live the gamut of yourself today! At Kenmare, we will stop to view the Kenmare Stone Circle. probably the largest in SW Ireland and it is composed of 15 heavy boulders: 13 standing and 2 prostrate. Now onto ancient Cahergall Fort (Caher Gael) at Cahersiveen, built by the first Celts around AD 600. Like many ancient forts the local community used it as a supply of building material after it was abandoned around AD 900. The current reconstruction of the dry stone wall of the ring fort gives a good idea of what it might have looked like in its day. A small settlement of beehive huts were in the settlement; one is partially rebuilt. Stop for a group lunch at the Smuggler’s Inn outside of Waterville, An CoireÁn – The Little Whirlpool, the premier coastal tourist centre on the Ring of Kerry. Afterwards, visit a nearby 5,000 year old stone circle, where legend says Amhairghin, the Milesian bard landed when he led his people to Ireland during the Milesian invasion. His magic was powerful. We take time to commune with his ancient energies. Continue back to Kerry for our overnight & dinner.
Day 9, Thursday, August 27- To Shannon (B) – Tour ends after breakfast
Transfer to Shannon Airport for your flight home, or independent arrangements.
Hotels (or similar)
Per Person Double Occupancy: $3,299 by check or money order, $3,469 by credit card
Per Person Single Occupancy: $4,149 by check or money order, $4,359 by credit card
Plus below to be added
Prepaid Gratuities to Escort and Driver: $90 by check, $95 by credit card
Deposit – Non-Refundable Payment (due as soon as possible to ensure a place on the tour)
Per Person: $500 by check or money order, $525 by credit card
Final Payment (final installment due on or before June 18, 2020)
Pre-Tour Extra Night Accommodations in Dublin:
Price Per Person in a double room: $129 ($137 credit card)
Price Per Person in a single room: $239 ($249 credit card)
Attendance is strictly limited due to hotel capacity and the event is expected to sell out. Early booking is highly recommended