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Trinity College, Dublin
The Narnia Trail
Cliffs of Moher
This tour will be a journey of self-discovery as we tour the beauty of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We will explore ancient traditions and the roots of Celtic Christianity. As we encounter “thin places” found on this beautiful island that inspired Patrick, Columba, and Brigid, we will examine how these traditions are so important today in this critical time of being good stewards of our world.
Key: IF = In Flight Meals, B= Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1: Departure
Our journey will begin as we board our international flight bound for Dublin, Ireland. (IF)
Day 2: Glendalough, Dublin
On arrival in Ireland, we will meet our tour director who will welcome us to Ireland and escort us to our waiting motor coach. We will have a relaxing drive to visit St. Brigid’s Cathedral to explore this site and examine the role women played in the early Irish church. We will then visit the ancient 6th century monastery in Glendalough founded by St. Kevin and its visitor center. The remains of the monastery, including the landmark round tower, are set in a glaciated valley with two lakes. We will dine in our hotel in Dublin. (D)
Day 3: Dublin
We will attend the morning service at Immanuel Church in Dublin this morning. In the afternoon we will explore the historic, Christ Church Cathedral and Trinity College where we will be able to see the Book of Kells, a 9th century, illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. We will uncover the pagan context into which Patrick shared Christ and explore what the church can learn from this today. In the evening we will enjoy a very special performance in Dublin. (B/D)
Day 4: Ireland’s Ancient East
The morning will be free to explore Dublin, before we travel up to Northern Ireland. En route we will visit various historical sites including: Monasterboice High Crosses and Fourknocks Tomb. We will then travel to the medieval village of Carlingford nestled at the foot of the Cooley Peninsula with enchanted views of ‘Narnia’. There will also be some time to explore the village before our evening meal. (B/D)
Day 5: A Day in Narnia with C.S. Lewis
Today we will be visiting the area that inspired Lewis’s Narnia. We will visit the Narnia Trail in the morning, and the Fairy Glen before making our way over to visit Legananny Dolmen, the ancient, pre Celtic, megalithic structure used as Aslan’s Table. We will be staying overnight in Murlough House, a Christian conference center. There will be time to explore and meditate in the peaceful surroundings, including woods and a beach. Discover Mr Beaver’s House, Prince Caspian’s throne and the still unspoiled surroundings that Lewis would have enjoyed as a boy. It was here that the beginnings of the world of the Chronicles of Narnia was born! (B/D)
Day 6: A Day with St. Patrick
We will begin our day by visiting the underground chamber of Drumena Cashel. This walled settlement dates back to the early Christian era, just after the time of St. Patrick. Castlewellan Forest park includes one of Northern Ireland’s most famous lakes, a stunning Victorian Castle and incredible panoramic views. We will also find the Peace Maze, one of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes representing the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland. In the afternoon we will visit the Saint Patrick Centre, Down Cathedral, Struell Wells and Saul Church, built on the site of St. Patrick’s first church. We will have opportunity to do a deep dive into the real man behind the legend that is St Patrick. We will stop in Dundrum on our way back to Murlough House. The castle in Dundrum dates back to around 1177 and was built by John De Courcy as part of his coastal defence. This evening is the perfect time to try authentic fish and chips. (B)
Day 7: How the Irish saved civilization
We will learn more today about the untold story of Ireland’s role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe. St. Patrick not only brought Christianity to Ireland, but he also instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become “the isle of saints and scholars” – and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. Nendrum is the best example of a pre-Norman monastic site in Northern Ireland. It was set up by St Machaoi in the 5th century. In Belfast we will visit the Peace Wall, then check in to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city. (B)
Day 8: “The Troubles” and Thin Places
Today we will tour the world-renowned Titanic exhibition. We will then head North to explore the Antrim coast along with its Giants and almost true myths! On our way north we will drive past Mount Slemish, the location believed to be where Patrick spent his 6 years while tending sheep in Slavery. The Giant’s Causeway is a stunning outcropping of basalt columns. We will also visit nearby Bushmills Distillery, including an optional tour and tasting. We will stay in Letterkenny this evening. (B/D)
Day 9: Amazing Grace and Londonderry
On the border with the Republic of Ireland, the city is a great base to explore the stunning beaches and hills of Donegal. We will start our day in Ireland’s most northernly point, Malin Head, next stop New York! On our way back to Derry we will visit Glendowen craft shop for some authentic Donegal crafts. This is Amazing Grace country and we will hear the story behind Isaac Newton’s conversion at Buncranna. This evening we’ll stay in Omagh, a town with a rich Christian history. A monastery was founded in 792, and a Franciscan friary was founded in 1464. (B)
Day 10: The Great Hunger and the New World
The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum. With more than 30 exhibit buildings to explore, the museum tells the story of three centuries of Irish emigration to America. We will then continue to Galway. Arty, bohemian Galway (Gaillimh) is one of Ireland’s most engaging cities. Remnants of the medieval town walls lie between shops selling handcrafted Claddagh rings, books and musical instruments, bridges arch over the salmon-stuffed River Corrib, and a long promenade leads to the seaside suburb of Salthill, on Galway Bay, the source of the area’s famous oysters. We have a free evening to enjoy Galway. (B)
Day 11: The Wild Atlantic Way – Home of Poets
This morning we will have a fellowship time including poetry in the lunar type landscape of the Burren which takes its name from the Irish word ‘bhoireann’ meaning, ‘a stony place’ or ‘a rocky place’. We will then take the coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher standing 702 feet at their highest point. They stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic coastline. We will have fabulous views from the vantage point of O’Brien’s Tower. In the afternoon we will visit Clonmacnoise monastery and share communion. This ancient monastic site on the banks of the Shannon was a large and thriving community by the 9th century, which attracted scholars from all over Europe. We will end our tour in Dublin with traditional music and dining at the Johnnie Foxs pub in Dublin. (B/D).
Day 12: Return
We will fly back to the USA from Dublin Airport (B/IF)
Please note this itinerary is copyrighted.
Our hotels are chosen for their quality, amenities and proximity to areas of interest. Whenever possible, we choose hotels in town centers, so that you are able to go off and explore in your free time. It may be necessary for us to substitute hotels for others of equal quality. You will be fully informed of any changes that affect you. Enjoy your stay!
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