The 2011 Thin Places Mystical Tour of Ireland occurred in May and explored the southern region of Ireland. A video recap of this Thin Places tour is on our YouTube Channel.
We had to make a few changes due to the simultaneous visits of Queen Elizabeth II and President Barak Obama – they just happened to plan trips to Ireland the same time we planned ours! Cashel was closed for security reasons (the Queen’s visit), and we re-routed the southern route a bit, but all in all it was a wonderful trip.
Sunday: (5/15) Arrive In Dublin, Airport Transfer, upon arrival
Newgrange, Knowth, Dublin (possibly the Hill of Tara)
Tour ancient passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, built in 3200 BC making these sites older than Stonehenge. Other optional Dublin excursion / attractions available for purchase. Then get to know your travel mates for the tour at a celebratory dinner (included) with at an Irish House party to be held that first night in or near the hotel. Stay that night at Trinity Capital Hotel in Dublin.
Monday: (5/16) Dublin to Cashel
Kildare Cathedral, St. Brigid’s Holy Well, Holy Cross Abbey, Hoare Abbey, Rock of Cashel, Cashel town.
After a full Irish breakfast (included), the first full travel day will take guests through the ancient cities of Kildare and Cashel. Visit the Kildare Cathedral, a fifteenth century working cathedral built on the foundations of St. Brigid’s monastery. See the eternal flame, the high cross and the round tower located on the Cathedral grounds. Visit St. Brigid’s holy well in Tully. Then the bus will travel to County Tipperary passing through some of the most beautiful Irish countryside. Enter the “golden veil” so named because of the rich soil that allowed farmers to proper in this region for centuries. The first stop in Co. Tipperary is Holy Cross Abbey in Thurles where a relic of the true cross is said to be housed. Then guest walk through the ruins of the scenic Hoare Abbey which sits in the shadow of the great Rock of Cashel (included) an Irish heritage site, rivaled by few others. Spend some time in Cashel town. (dinner on your own) Stay the night in Cashel Palace Hotel. Optional evening excursion to Athassel Priory in the town of Golden will be available at dusk.
Tuesday: ( 5/17) Cashel to Cork (visiting Ardmore in Co. Waterford)
Ardmore town, St. Declan’s Holy Well, Cliff Walk, Monastic Ruins
Following a full Irish breakfast (included), set out for County Waterford to tour what is believed to be the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. Set in the scenic town of Ardmore, St. Declan founded a monastery here in the 4th century. See the ancient monastic ruins that include buildings from the 8th century, carvings from the 9th century and a well preserved round tower from the 12th century. Later visit St. Declan’s holy well and see a bit of the town and walk the scenic cliffs nearby. Travel to Cork that evening and have dinner (included) in the Cork Clarion Hotel (overlooking the famous River Lee), where guests will stay the first of two nights.
Wednesday: (5/18) Cork City – Free Day
Optional tours … Kinsale, Cobh, St. Gobnait’s Holy Well,
After a full Irish breakfast at the Cork Clarion Hotel which is a 2 minute walk from the Cork City center and bus station, guests will have the day free to rest and relax or take advantage of some optional tours (not included – separately priced) that include Cork area attractions such as Kinsale, Cobh, St. Gobnait’s Holy Well, or Blarney Village (shopping). Dinner is on your own. Second night at Cork Clarion Hotel.
Thursday: (5/19) Cork to Kenmare
Skibbereen, Drombeg Stone Circle, Kinsale
After a full Irish breakfast, guest will leave Cork City and travel through scenic west County Cork. Stops will include two sites in the town of Skibbereen – Abbeystrewery where some 10,000 victims of the Irish Famine are said to be buried, and the Skibbereen Heritage Centre which houses the Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition. Guests will leave Skibbereen and continue to the ancient Drombeg Stone Circle (also known as the Druid’s Altar) located on a rocky plateau with views the sea (on a clear day) about a mile away. Then guests will visit the scenic seaside town of Kinsale known for its culinary venues. Guests will have dinner on their own in Kinsale, then travel to the town of Kenmare for the first of two nights at the Brooklane Hotel
Friday: (5/20) Free Day in Kenmare
Optional tour (included) of Beara Peninsula
After a full Irish breakfast at the Brooklane Hotel in Kenmare, guests have the day free to roam about the town, shop or accompany guide, Mindie Burgoyne for a tour of the Beara Peninsula. (walking, hiking, some rough terrain). On that tour guests will see some of the most rustic, unchanged beauty in the Irish country side. Prehistoric stone circles, ancient roads, remnants of copper mines and stunning views of the Kenmare River and seaside. Visit the off shore islands, scenic Castletownbere, and see the region made famous in Daphne du Marier’s novel “Hungry Hill.” Dinner is on your own. Hotel: Brooklane Hotel
Saturday: (5/21) Kenmare to Dingle
Gougane Barra Forest Park, Monastic Site, Holy Well, Gap of Dunloe, Dingle
After a full Irish breakfast, guests will leave Kenmare for Gougane Barra Forest Park and see the smallest church in Ireland. St. Finbar founded a monastery in this scenic place – set inside a ring of mountains with subtle waterfalls spilling down the mountain sides. Remnants of the old monastery, prayer stations, and a holy stream / well are all a part of the visit. Leaving Gougane Barra, guest will travel through the scenic Gap of Dunloe, a narrow pass between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks (the tallest mountains in Ireland) and the Purple Mountains of Killarney. Then guests enter the Dingle peninsula where they will have time to visit Dingle town and have dinner on their own. That evening guests will stay the first of two nights at Dingle Benners Hotel.
Sunday: (5/22) Free Day in Dingle
Mount Brandon, Castlegregory, Slea Head, Blasket Island Center
After a full Irish breakfast, guest can relax in Dingle town or participate in optional touring of Dingle (for purchase) which could include include an archaeological tour of Dingle, Tour to Mount Brandon, visit to the Blasket Island Center, Castlegregory and Slea Head, or perhaps an excursion to the village of Kilshannig where St. Seanan founded a monastic community in the shadow of Mount Brandon. That evening guest will have a farewell dinner celebration (included) at the Dingle Benners Hotel.
Monday: ( 5/23) Dingle to Ennis or Dublin – free day
After a full Irish breakfast in Dingle, guests will travel to their departing destination which will be Ennis (if departing from Shannon Airport) or Dublin (if departing from Dublin Airport). Guests have the day to themselves and will stay in either the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis or the Trinity Capital Hotel in Dublin.
Tuesday: ( 5/24) Depart Shannon or Dublin Airport for the U.S.
Full Irish breakfast in hotel. Guests will be transported to the airport for departure to the US.