Small Group Tours Offered in 2017 – Ireland and Scotland
Thin Places tours go deep into the Celtic landscape and bring guests who travel to Ireland and Scotland to areas not often seen in big tour groups or self-drive tours. These are spiritual tours but not religious. Guests are guided by a storyteller / guide, and allowed to travel slowly through some of the most amazing scenery in western Europe. Mindie Burgoyne, author and photographer, has crafted each tour to follow a particular theme focused on a geographic region. There are three group tours offered. For individual travel, please visit our Individual Travel page.
There are two group tours of mystical sites in Ireland in 2017 and one group tour of Scotland.
Links to download registrations follow each tour description.
Geographic Region – Lower West coast of Ireland, Counties Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary
Focus – following the trail in the spirit of St. Gobnait who longed to find her spiritual home – connection to the landscape and the “inner” landscape
Day one involves a short visit to Glenstal Abbey and a walk through their mystical forest led by one of the Friars there – and perhaps a visit to the icon chapel. On day two we’ll cruise to Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands and the site where St. Gobnait’s had her vision where she was directed to go and find her place of resurrection, following signs in the Irish landscape. There will also be a drive through the ancient moonscape known as the Burren – home of poet and writer of Anam Cara, John O’Donohue. On days three and four, you’ll head to Dingle and go one one of the most scenic drives in all of Ireland. Dingle is a very thin place. There will be a guided walk across the Dingle landscape and opportunities to take in the art culture in the town, visiting several ancient thin places. Our hotel will be located right in the center of town. Dingle is full of traditional music. On day five, we’ll visit Gouganne Barra, an amazing little valley ringed by mountains with waterfalls that has the tiniest church in Ireland built on the original site of St. Finbar’s monastery (6th century). There is also a healing stream nearby and an ancient altar stone. From there the tour will travel to Ballyvourney in West Cork where St. Gobnait found her place of resurrection and built a community there. The site is now marked with a newer monastic ruin, but also has St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, where you can touch the healing waters and even fill a bottle to bring home.
Day six will be spent on Beara Peninsula – another incredibly scenic drive, where you encounter the Hag of Beara – a stone on a hillside overlooking the ocean – the stone is said to be enchanted and the site is a special place of energy. Also on this day, you’ll visit Uragh Stone circle – another beautiful megalithic structure set in a valley surrounded by bog and mountains. This area is the setting of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, Hungry Hill. The Beara Peninsula is a magical landscape. On day seven, the group will continue to head east and visit the historic village of Skibbereen and the famine memorial there. They’ll also see Drombeg Stone Circle and Timoleague monastic ruin, then arrive in the gorgeous seaside town of Kinsale where they will spend two nights. The next day – day eight- is a free day to explore this scenic seaside town. There will be an option to have a guided walking tour in the morning and a ghost tour in the evening. One day nine the group will leave early from Kinsale and head for County Tipperary where they will visit the Rock of Cashel – one of the most awesome sites in all of Ireland. The castle and cathedral ruins sit atop and ancient – GIANT – rock in a valley ringed by mountains. After Cashel the group will drive to the Grange stone Circle – the largest stone circle in all of Ireland – they’ll soak up the special energy there. then return to the hotel for a farewell dinner.
TOUR BEGINS AND ENDS IN COUNTY CLARE – Shannon Airport is closest – 9 days – $2495 + air. $550 single supplement
Geographic Region – Southern Scotland, with a trek into the Highlands.
Focus – following the sacred trail from Iona to Lindisfarne
The tour goes from the North Sea at Lindisfarne (actually England) to Iona, an island on the West Coast. The tour moves within the context of the old stories of the monks of Iona and Lindisfarne who carved out a sacred trail between the monasteries on each end of the border. Those two places are indeed sacred and there are many places of healing and mystery on the trail in between.
On day one you’ll take a walking tour of historic Edinburgh and overnight there. Day two you’ll visit the mystical Rosslyn Chapel and Holy Island – also known as Lindisfarne – an island only accessible during low tide. You’ll spend a few hours on the island, which has amazing seaside views of the old castle and monastic ruins. You’ll soak up the energy of Lindisfarne, which is both healing and inspiring. On day three we’ll travel to Melrose Abbey ruins, then head for Glencoe in the Highlands. This is the site of a famous battle and region is said to be haunted by the many people who have died there and nearly unparalleled in its beauty. On day four you’ll visit the Isle of Mull and an obscure stone circle in a mystical valley, and later explore some other ancient sites in this Mull landscape that is ever changing. On day five we’ll visit the Isle of Iona – where Christianity was begun in Scotland under the guidance of St. Columba or Colmcille after he left Ireland in exile. On day six the group will leave the Isle of Mull and travel past Lough Lomond to Sterling Castle, site of the famous victory of William Wallace (Brave Heart) and then settle into a lakeside hotel set in rural Scotland. Day seven is a free day at this hotel – a day of relaxing that can include fishing, walking or travel out to a little island in the middle of the lake. This is a day to revive your energy, refocus your journey and reflect on all you’ve absorbed so far. On day nine you will journey back to Edinburgh for the farewell dinner.
TOUR BEGINS AND ENDS IN EDINBURGH – 9 days – $2895 + air. Single Supplement $550 (single spaces limited)
This is the most comprehensive group tour of sacred sites in the north of Ireland. It includes sites in the six counties of Northern Ireland, plus sites in Counties Monaghan, Donegal, Kildare and Dublin.
On day one you will meet your group at the classic Gresham Hotel on historic O’Connell Street in Dublin then head out to Solas Bhride in Kildare for an Irish welcoming service. Then you’ll be free for dinner in Dublin city centre. On day two you will head for County Armagh for a guided tour of the Navan Fort and its mystical landscape and fairy tree. Later you’ll travel to an ancient forest and traverse the forest path to St. Patrick’s Chair – a large throne-like structure cut from boulders on a cliff. Below it is a well. This is believed to be an ancient druidic site of ritual – later Christianized. Day three will be a day of visiting sites in County Tyrone with a local guide who will reveal some of Tyrone’s most mystical (and hidden) sacred places including the Beaghmore stone circles set in the Sperrin Mountains and Ardboe on the shores of Lough Neagh – Ireland’s largest lake. On day four you’ll head for County Fermanagh and visit the ancient Caldragh Cemetery with its famous Janus figures followed by lunch in Donegal town and a visit to Beltany Stone Circle. On day five you’ll be off to Tory Island – an offshore inhabited island of raw beauty. Tory is a magnet for artists and even has its own king, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to meet him. On day six you’ll visit the Sun Palace, an ancient ring fort used as a royal ritual site for thousands of years. Then you’ll head for the walled city of Derry where you will take a guided tour. The rest of the day you will be free to explore Derry and all it has to offer. Day eight will be a delight as it is the day you will explore the Antrim Coast – one of Europe’s most scenic coastlines. You’ll visit Dunluce Castle ruins, the Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges – a haunted grove of trees featured on Game of Thrones. You’ll overnight at B&Bs in Antrim and spend the following day exploring the Glens of Antrim – including a hike up to the ancient grave of Oisin. The next day – day nine- you’ll head for the Giant’s Ring outside of Belfast and take a driving tour through the city, then head back to your hotel in Dublin for the farewell dinner.
TOUR BEGINS AND ENDS IN DUBLIN – Dublin Airport is closest – 9 days – $2495 + air. $550 single supplement