Spiritual Tours of Scotland and Ireland
Small-Group Tours – with Mindie Burgoyne
Thin Places tours go deep into the Celtic landscape. We bring guests to ancient and sacred sites in Ireland and Scotland exploring areas not often seen in big tour groups or self-drive tours. Though these are spiritual tours, they are not religious or affiliated with any type of organized religion.
Guests are guided by a storyteller/guide and allowed to travel slowly through some of the most mystical scenery in western Europe. Mindie Burgoyne, author, and photographer has crafted each tour to follow a particular theme focused on a geographic region. The tours move slowly and have flexibility. They are ideal for travelers who want to move within the context of a story – the story of the landscape around them. Travelers on Thin Places Tours become images in that ancient landscape.
What is Included?
Cost includes accommodations in 3 and 4-star hotels, all breakfasts, four dinners (including a welcome and farewell dinner), private motorcoach (restroom on board), full-time tour guide, additional local guides, all admissions to any attractions on the itinerary. Over 20 group excursions. Free day in a major city.
There are three group tours offered in 2020.
For more information on the Thin Places Tour experience read The Thin Places Tour Experience.
2020 Thin Places Tours
Join us for a Spiritual Tour of Scotland
Iona to Lindisfarne
May 15-24 – 9 days – $3495 + Air
the Borderlands and the Highlands
This spiritual tour of Scotland begins with Iona (2 nights) and ends at the North Sea at Lindisfarne (which is actually England) the two sacred places where Sts. Columba and Aidan founded two large monastic communities on opposite sides of Britain – forming a “monks trail.”
5 ISLANDS – What sets this Scotland tour apart from others is the five islands that are included on the tour. Islands have always been considered sacred places – surrounded by water, all four elements come together in a mix that generates an “otherworldliness.” On this tour, guests spend two nights on Iona – a mystical, spiritual thin place that is unmatched for beauty and spiritual energy. On one of the two days spent on Iona, guests will be able to venture out to Staffa – a pillar island with rare seabirds and amazing rock formations that mirror the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Staffa also has a sea cave with acoustics that produce a melodious musical sound.
Guests will also enjoy a scenic drive across the Isle of Mull with its mountains, shadows, brilliant colors, and picturesque villages. On the first day, guests will take a short boat ride across the Lake of Menteith and visit Inchmahome (Island of my Home), a small island with the ruins of a monastery – one that sheltered little Mary Queen of Scots when her mother placed her in hiding for her protection. This island has an ancient forest with 500-year-old Spanish Chestnuts. The woodland is enchanting. On the final day, guests will visit Holy Island – also known as Lindisfarne and with the ruins of the old abbey founded by St. Aidan. Guests can also visit Cuthbert’s Isle, Lindisfarne Castle, walk a labyrinth and visit with the island locals.
MONASTIC RUINS AND MEGALITHS – The tour moves within the context of the old stories of the monks of Iona who followed a sacred trail forged by kings, queens and the ancient pre-Christian people of Scotland and England. The tour also diverts to some of the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands with a visit to Glencoe a visit to the Fairy Knowe in Aberfoyle and the Kilmartin Valley, the home of Dunadd Fort and the largest collection of ancient monuments in Scotland. Guests will also visit Blackness Castle (filming site for Game of Thrones and the Outlander Series) and Rosslyn Chapel (made famous by the DaVinci Code), and the ruins of Melrose Abbey.
FREE DAY IN EDINBURGH – The 7th day of the tour will be a free day on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Guests can explore at their leisure and will be provided with a Historic Scotland pass that allows them to enter Edinburgh Castle
Some of the stunning scenery and architecture on this tour has been featured in Harry Potter movies, Game of Thrones and the Outlander series.
Ireland Tours (2) 2020
Northern Edges & Western Edges
In 2020 there will be two back-to-back Ireland tours in September and October (with a day in between). Both will focus on the edges between land and sea – as well as edges between the worlds or realms. Guests will travel within the context of the ancient stories that are embedded in the landscape. In Irish mythology, the Hag or Cailleach is part of the triple goddess – the older, wiser and sometimes more fearsome element of the three. The hag is known for wisdom, magic and great strength. She shapes the land. There are many stories, myths, and traditions associated with the “hag” and sites in Ireland that connect with those stories and traditions. Other stories include Cuchullain, Fin MacCool, Queen Maeve of Connaught, Ossian the poet, St. Columba, St. Dymphna and St. Brigid, and a large dose of St. Patrick stories. There is even a fairyland that was the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.
These group tours will visit many of those sites on these two tours including sites that feature Sheela na gigs.
Sites on both Ireland tours will include holy wells and mountains, sacred caves, enchanted lakes, mystical forests and images in the landscape. And many of the sites are featured for the first time on a Thin Places tour. There will also be dowsing demonstrations with dowsing rods and pendulums. Guests will be able to try for themselves to locate energy ley lines.
See more information about both tours below.
Note the Special “Northern and Western Edges” Double Tour Rebate – $100 off the total of both tours (per person).
Sept. 21-30, 2020 – 9 days – $2695 + Air
Armagh, Derry, Tyrone, Donegal, Down, Donegal
This spiritual tour of the northern edge of Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Northern Edges starts from Dublin Airport and moves into the north country, tracing the edge of the land, touching some of the most ancient, sacred sites in Western Europe. This is the land of St. Patrick, of St. Brigid, of St. Columba (Colmcille), and the land of Fin MacCool, Cuchullain, Macha and Ossian the poet. This part of Ireland that is least visited and is still relatively undeveloped. The north has amazing energy, and the elements of the Irish countryside are magnified in this unspoiled landscape.
The first stops are in County Louth – St. Brigid’s birthplace and holy well and the Hill of Ward – an ancient druidic site. That is followed by the Cooley Peninsula and Downpatrick – where St. Patrick likely began his life in Ireland and found his final resting place. Then it will be a time to trace the Antrim Coast visiting the Glens of Antrim, Tiveragh Hill (fairy hill), the ancient stone circle at Ossain’s Grave (the poet), and wander through the Dark Hedges made famous by being featured on The Game of Thrones tombs.
Be stunned by the views at the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Visit the walled city of Derry. Explore the Inishowen Peninsula and see the Wee Cave at Malin Head where there is always room for one more person. Spend the last magnificent days exploring Tory Island – the rugged island of primitive artists and drive through the scenic hills of Donegal with views of Mount Errigal, the Poisoned Glenn and the Stone of Worries. Stone circles, holy wells, natural caves, and sacred mountains are all part of this tour.
On the last day, you’ll sit in St. Patrick’s Chair at an ancient druid site, then stand on the mystical hill at Navan Fort, where there’s an ancient temple buried beneath. Finally take in the views at the old Armagh Cathedral, a sacred site for thousands of years, now capped with a cathedral that stands on the site of St. Patrick’s first church and on the ground where Brian Boru – the great High King of Ireland and his two sons are buried.
Oct 1-11, 2020 – 11 days – $2795 + Air
Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry
This spiritual tour of the western edge of Ireland, Western Edges starts from Dublin Airport and moves into the northwest country in the northernmost county of Donegal, then tracing the edge of the land, touching some of the most ancient, sacred sites in Western Europe all the way to the Dingle Peninsula. This is the land of stark beauty and stunning seascapes, of culture, music, dancing, literary arts. The landscape ranges from the tallest cliffs in Ireland, to the rolling beauty of Connemara and the vibrant cities of Sligo, Westport, Galway, and Dingle. Many think that this is the best of Ireland.
The first stops are in County Roscommon where guests will explore the ancient royal sites in Rathcroghan, the seat of the kings and queens of Connaught. Then the tour moves through Sligo and Yeats Country visiting dolmens, court tombs, stone circles, and sacred mountains. Then up to County Donegal to view the tallest cliffs in Ireland and trace the pilgrimage path of St. Columba through the hills of Donegal.
Northern / Western Edges
Ireland Double Tour Option
$5390 per person + Air
21 days, 21 Counties, 30+ excursions
Special “Northern & Western Edges” Double Tour Rebate
$100 discount and bonus hotel night for booking a double tour. 21 days in Ireland tracing the northern and western edges.
Combine these two tours minus $100 with an added night in Dublin.
For guests who would like to attend both Ireland tours listed above for a 21-day tour with over 40 group excursions, visiting the most mystical sites in Ireland, consider booking a double tour.
The Double Tour – Northern and Western Edges of Ireland offers both full tours, all transportation, and a hotel room and group dinner for the night in between the two tours (Sept 30). Plus a $100 discount off what the tours would cost separately.
Alumni discounts ($50 per Thin Places tour you’ve attended before 2020) can also apply.
The Double Tour – Northern and Western Edges is an unforgettable option and a total immersion into the wild and mystical Irish landscape and culture. It will feed your mind, body, and spirit with joy, healing, and peace, creating memories that will last your lifetime.
FINE PRINT – Things to Know about the Thin Places Tours
- Double Occupancy: Costs quoted above are based on double occupancy, meaning the cost is your share of one room. There is a $550 single supplement for a single room and a limited number of single rooms per tour. $550 single supplement is due with the deposit at the time of registration. If you don’t have a roommate and would like to share a room, Thin Places Tours can try and pair you with another guest if there are other singles needing the same.
- Deposit and Registration secure your spot: A $500 deposit is required (plus $550 single supplement if you intend to book a single room) at the time of registration. The deposit is refundable for 30 days after it is received. After 30 days, the deposit is no longer refundable. The balance of the tour is due 60 days before the tour’s start date.
- Your Registration Deposit Locks in the Cost of the Tour: Due to an often fluctuating exchange rate between the US Dollar and European currencies, Thin Places Tours may increase the price of this tour before the actual date. However, once you register with your deposit, your price is locked in at the original price.
- This itinerary is subject to change: Because we book so far in advance and work with so many small, local businesses, situations can come up that cause us to have to make adjustments to the itinerary. We ask for our guests’ patience and flexibility.