September 27 – October 10, 2022
hosted by Rev. Frank and Michie Dew and Joe + Ann Bauer | from $4,899 per person
Explore the Celtic roots of Christianity in Ireland and the Reformation tradition in Scotland with this fourteen-day pilgrimage. Explore pre-Christian, early Christian, and modern Celtic spirituality, allowing time to pray and reflect. Highlights include the Glendalough monastic site, Newgrange/Knowth Passage Tombs, the Celtic high crosses at Monasterboice, the Book of Kells in Dublin, and the cathedrals of Edinburgh. Spend two nights on the Scottish isle of Iona where St. Columba founded his iconic monastery. While in Northern Ireland, the group will visit Belfast on a dual narratives tour to learn about the history of The Troubles, then spend time with the Corrymeela Community on the Antrim Coast to learn about their peacemaking work. The whole trip is dotted with spectacular scenery and warm Irish and Scottish culture. This itinerary provides an accurate look at what you may expect in your 14-day tour, but may be adjusted for efficiency and guide availability.
September 27 | Depart USA
The group will depart together from Raleigh Durham International Airport for an overnight flight. Any travelers coming from outside of the Raleigh area may work with Progressive Pilgrimage to find airfare that compliments the group schedule. Fare increase may apply.
September 28 | Arrival in Edinburgh
After your morning arrival in Edinburgh, enjoy a guided tour of Edinburgh featuring the city’s Reformed heritage including St. Giles Cathedral and the John Knox home and burial site. Enjoy free time or rest in the late afternoon before gathering for a celebratory welcome dinner (included). Overnight accommodations in central Edinburgh.
September 29 | Edinburgh to Iona
Today is largely a travel day as the group makes its way from Edinburgh to the Isle of Iona in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. We will travel from Edinburgh to Oban by private coach through the region of Loch Lomond. From Oban, we will take the ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. From there we will continue by coach to the westernmost point on Mull for a short ferry ride to Iona. Dinner (included) and accommodations at St. Columba Hotel on Iona.
Travelers will need to move their luggage several times on this trip between the coaches and ferries. We strongly recommend that you travel light and do not bring more luggage than you can handle on your own.
September 30 | Iona
The group will begin the day with morning worship at the Iona Abbey Church. After worship we will tour the abbey and other ruins on the island as a group. After lunch, you will be set free to explore on your own, or take time to meditate and pray in the beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces. Those who enjoy hiking might plan to explore the many footpaths that wind through and around the island. Dinner is included at St. Columba Hotel.
October 1 | Iona to Edinburgh
We depart Iona this morning for another round of ferry and coach travel, returning to Edinburgh. We’ll arrive in Edinburgh with a bit of free time to explore the city before dinner (on your own). Overnight accommodations in Edinburgh’s historic center.
October 2 | Edinburgh to Belfast
Today is Sunday, so the group will worship together in the historic St. Giles Cathedral or Greyfriars Kirk. In the late afternoon, take a short, direct flight from Edinburgh to Belfast, arriving in time for dinner (included) and overnight accommodations in the center city.
October 3 | Belfast
We will spend time today learning more about “The Troubles” that plagued Northern Ireland from the 1960s through 1998. With guides representing both Unionist and Republican ideals, you will receive a through introduction to the conflict and its historic origins. We will visit both Unionist and Republican neighborhoods including Falls and Shankill Roads and the peace murals. After lunch (included) we will travel up the Antrim Coast to the Corrymeela Community, an ecumenical peacemaking community where we will reflect on Celtic Spirituality at their scenic center. Dinner (included) and overnight accommodations at Corrymeela.
Please note, Corrymeela is an intentional community and retreat center, not a typical hotel. Rooms are simple but comfortable and include en suite bath. However, toiletries and other “extras” are not available.
October 4 | Antrim Coast
Begin the morning with a deeper dive into Celtic worship and spiritual practices at Corrymeela.
The afternoon provides time for a leisurely visit to the natural wonders at Giant’s Causeway. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, he unique rock formations have, for millions of years, stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms. The rugged symmetry of the columns and the associated folklore never fails to intrigue and inspire visitors. Those who desire may participate in a hike along the coastline.
In the nearby village of Bushmills, you’ll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland. At Bushmills, family and friends have worked over 400 years, keeping to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth Irish whiskey. Enjoy a tour of the distillery and the option for a tasting. Return to Corrymeela for dinner and overnight accommodations.
October 5 | Derry
St. Columba (Colum Cille in Gaelic), founder of the famous Iona Abbey, is also known as the founder of Derry. Our morning walking tour of Derry will cover it’s ancient history to the more modern political history of the city. Our guide will take us on a walk around the city walls to introduce how the city came to be divided. We will visit the Bogside neighborhood, site of the Bloody Sunday massacre and now home to 12 giant murals known as the People’s Gallery.
In the afternoon we visit Holywell Trust, a center for peace and community building. Here we will here the stories of two local people, one Republican and one Loyalist, who were once engaged in The Troubles but are now doing the work of healing themselves and their community after 40+ years of conflict.
Enjoy dinner (included) and overnight accommodations at Holiday Inn Express, Derry.
October 6 | Armagh
From Derry, we head to Armagh for an conversation on Celtic Spirituality with Rev. Grace Clunie of the Celtic Spirituality Center. At the same location, the Navan Fort one of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites, the legendary Emain Macha. Legends say that Macha, the ancient goddess of war and fertility, scored the earth with her brooch pin and traced the famous outline of this sacred stronghold of the hero Cu Chulainn, home of the famous Red Branch Knights and Ulster Cycle of tales.
After lunch (included) we will visit the two St. Patrick’s Cathedrals of Armagh – one Roman Catholic and one Church of Ireland to better understand ecumenical relations in this city that was once the Christian heart of Ireland and remains and important site of worship and church leadership.
Dinner (included) and overnight accommodations at Armagh City Hotel.
October 7 | Newgrange, Monasterboice
Making our way into the Republic of Ireland, we will stop at the early Christian settlement of Monasterboice. It was founded in the late 5th century by Saint Buithe and was an important center of religion and learning. The site houses two churches built in the 14th century or later and an earlier round tower, but it is most famous for its 10th century high crosses.
Next we tour at the passage tombs at Knowth and/or Newgrange, Stone Age monuments dating from 3,200 B.C., making them older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Knowth and Newgrange provide an excellent introduction to ancient pre-Christian spirituality of the area. Finally we will stop at the Hill of Tara an explore pre- and early-Christian faith in Ireland. We conclude the day in Dublin where you can enjoy a free evening and dinner on your own. Overnight accommodations at Temple Bar Hotel.
October 8 | Dublin
Tour the historic center of Dublin beginning with a visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed which displays the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The 9th century book is a richly decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. It is one of only a few such manuscripts that survived Viking raids.
The group will also visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. Construction on the current cathedral began around 1250 on a site associated with St. Patrick since the fifth century. Enjoy another free evening in Dublin with dinner in any of the city’s many restaurants. Overnight at Temple Bar Hotel.
October 9 | Glendalough Monastic Site
Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the “Monastic City”. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. Despite attacks by Vikings over the years, Glendalough thrived as one of Ireland’s great ecclesiastical foundations and schools of learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 A.D. and the dioceses of Glendalough and Dublin were united. The visit includes a guided pilgrimage walk with ample time for prayer and reflection. Lunch is included.
After lunch, we return to Dublin for a free afternoon and evening to explore the city before a private closing group dinner featuring Irish music and dance. Overnight at Temple Bar Hotel.
October 10 | Return to USA
Return to Raleigh Durham on a morning flight from Dublin. (Flight details pending.)
The cost for the fourteen-day pilgrimage is $4,899 per person, double occupancy. Single occupancy is available upon request for a surcharge of $875. Group size is limited to 23 participants. Please note, this price includes airfare based on what is usual and customary; however actual airfare prices are not available until 330 days prior to departure. Price may increase if actual airfare rates are higher than estimated. A final price will be available by October 31, 2021. Your initial deposit is fully refundable until November 30, 2021.
|Round-Trip Airfare from RDU||Ground Transportation||Expert Local Guides|
|Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 9 dinners||Entrance Fees||Pre-trip Educational Resources|
|First Class Hotels||Gratuity for Drivers and Guides||Ordained Spiritual Guide|
Departure from airports other than Raleigh-Durham is available. Any fare increases will be billed to the traveler. Please specify in the “special instructions” section of the registration form if you wish to originate from an airport other than RDU.
Progressive Pilgrimage is committed to the safety of our travelers, and we continually monitor health and safety updates from the CDC. We also stay abreast of travel restrictions in the countries we visit. The CDC has advised that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to travel internationally. Based on current guidelines in Europe and the UK, you might expect the following:
- Travelers must be fully vaccinated and may be required to show printed proof of vaccination upon entry to Scotland and Ireland.
- Travelers may be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure from USA.
- Travelers may be required to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding the return flight to the USA. (Progressive Pilgrimage will arrange for testing at the traveler’s expense.)
- Masks may still be required on airplanes and in airports. In addition, many public places in the UK and Europe still require masks. Travelers should be prepared to wear masks in all public places. Masks will not be required when traveling in a private motorcoach.
Terms and Conditions
A $500/person deposit is due at time of registration, payable online via PayPal or credit card. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have modified our cancelation policy as follows.
- The deposit is fully refundable until November 30, 2021.
- From December 1, 2021 until Jun 1, 2022, there is a $100 cancelation penalty.
- From June 1, the regular Terms & Conditions apply for individual cancelations.
Please see our full COVID-19 cancelation information for more details on how we handle cancelations if the entire pilgrimage must be canceled due to government-issued travel restrictions.
The deadline to register is June 1, 2022 though we cannot guarantee space, as the group is limited to 23 travelers. Full payment is due by July 29, 2022. Participants will be invoiced for the balance due which may be paid by check, ACH, or credit card. Credit card payments of the remaining balance will incur a 3% fee.
We strongly encourage the purchase of travel insurance. On the registration page, you will have the option to purchase insurance through Progressive Pilgrimage or you can purchase from your own preferred provider.
Please read the complete Terms and Conditions online. ENROLLMENT IN AND PAYMENT FOR THE TOUR CONSTITUTES YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONDITIONS AND STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY.