In September of 2012 the Thin Places Tour of Ireland was focused primarily on the Western Counties. The Tour began in Galway where a motor coach driven by the best coach driver in all of Ireland picked up guests at the Jury’s Inn Hotel, located in the heart of the Latin District in Galway City. Guests loved the ability to walk this beautiful city before and after leaving for excursions to thin places. For eight days the group traveled to sites in Counties Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, West Meath, Donegal and Fermanagh.
The four minute video below shows most of the sites, our guides and captures how much fun visiting thin places can be.
Day 1 – Connemara and Mayo – Stops included Lough Corrib, Clifden, the Sky Road, Doolough, Croagh Patrick, Murrisk Abbey, Clew Bay. Overnight was in the town of Westport.
Day 2 – The Knock Shrine and Ballintubber Abbey. Afternoon free to explore Westport.
Day 3 – Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery and Knocknarea the Sligo mountain overlooking Carrowmore. It has a large cairn on the top believed to be the grave of Queen Maeve of Connaught. Enjoyed lunch at Drumcliffe with spectacular views of Benbulben (the flat topped mountain), the church, Yeats’ grave and the Drumcliff High Cross. Dinner in Sligo town.
Day 4 – Scenic drive up the western coast. Explored Creevykeel Court Tomb, Mullaghmore, Bundoran, then set out for Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, home of the two Janus figures. After Caldragh, guests visited Drumskinny stone circle also in Fermanagh. Ate lunch at the Beleek Factory Coffee Shop on the Fermanagh / Donegal Border, then headed back to Sligo for another dinner in town.
Day 5 – Visit to Connaught’s Ancient Royal Site – Rathcroghan where expert local guide Mike Croghan led guest on a tour of the complex including the Cave of the Cats. Mike also demonstrated how to use dowsing rods and singing bowls. After a dinner in Sligo guests attended a concert at the Hawks Well Theater in Sligo that featured Cherish the Ladies with Joannie Madden and Maura O’Connell.
Day 6 – Guest ventured out to County West Meath to visit the Hill of Uisneach, which is said to be the geographic center of Ireland where all the lines of energy intersect. Then guests traveled to Fore Abbey to see the Seven Wonders of Fore. Then back to Galway to overnight again at the Jury’s Inn.
Day 7 – Guests traveled to Thoor Ballylee, the restored castle / tower home of William Butler Yeats. Then the tour went to Coole Park, former home of Lady Augusta Gregory who was a friend to W.B.Yeats, and also led the Irish Literary Revival. The day ended with a visit to the Burren which has the Poulnabrone Dolmen, Corcomroe Abbey, and Kilfenora Church.
Day 8 – Guests took a guided tour to Holy Island in County Clare and saw the monastic settlement, church ruins, round tower and holy well dating back to the thirteenth century. Then ended the tour with a visit to Quin Abbey.
Testimonial by guest – Kathleen Sweeney of St. Paul, MN
I went on the Thin Places tour of Western Ireland. We were never far from the Atlantic and each view of the rugged coast was more beautiful than the one before. My favorite stop was the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath because there in the geographical center of Ireland , you can see most of the country of Ireland. The views were spectacular and the landscape stunning. I could breathe Irish history in the air there. The best aspect of the tour for me was exploring the quiet back roads and rural ancient places far from the crowds. The places we visited each embodied a unique dimension of Irish spirituality. The soulfulness of Ireland and its people was revealed as one of the country’s great treasures .
Mindie , thank you for doing a fantastic job researching the history of each place we visited and finding local experts to guide us including our great Irish bus driver Mick. The logistics and details were handled perfectly too so that your guests could sit back and enjoy. I have traveled a lot and have never had this much fun .