hosted by Rev. Frank Dew | from $3,808 per person
Explore the Celtic and Reformed roots of Christianity in Ireland and Scotland with this twelve-day pilgrimage. Explore pre-Christian, early Christian, and modern Celtic spirituality, allowing time to pray and reflect. Highlights include the Stone Age passage tomb at Newgrange and the hill of Tara, the Glendalough monastic site, the Celtic high crosses at Monasterboice, the Book of Kells in Dublin, and the cathedrals of Edinburgh. In Derry, visit the Columba Heritage Center before the trip continues to 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 12-day tour, but may be adjusted for efficiency and guide availability.
September 9-20 Daily Itinerary
The group will depart together from Raleigh Durham International Airport on United Airlines September 9 at 2:00 PM.
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.
After your morning arrival in Dublin, a coach will transport the group into the city’s historic center for a visit 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.
If time allows, you will be able to explore Dublin on your own before the group continues on to Newgrange for dinner and overnight accommodations.
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 will visit the Hill of Tara, an ancient site known as the seat of the High King of Ireland. The site is rich with mythical and sacred meaning. Return to Newgrange for dinner and overnight accommodations.
Begin the day with a 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.
As we make our way toward Northern 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.
In the after noon, we will continue to Armagh for an introduction to 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. Dinner and overnight at Armagh City Hotel.
St. Columba (Colum Cille in Gaelic), founder of the famous Iona Abbey, is also known as the founder of Derry. The Columcille Centre provides an excellent introduction to his life and ministry. Our group will also visit the St. Augustine’s Monastery and the Long Tower Church, sites associated with early Christianity in Derry.
After lunch (included), we remain in Derry but switch from ancient Christian sites to the 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. Enjoy dinner on your own and overnight accommodations at Derry City Hotel.
We begin the day at the Holywell Trust in Derry, 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.
From Derry we head east along the Antrim Coast, of one of Europe’s most magnificent coastlines, arriving at the Corrymeela Community in the late afternoon. We’ll have a brief introduction to their peacemaking work before dinner, evening prayers, and overnight accommodations.
Please note that Corrymeela is an intentional Christian community, not a tourist hotel. Accommodations are comfortable but simple. Travelers will have private rooms with a sink, but bathrooms are shared and toiletries are not provided. Each bathroom is self-contained with a toilet, sink, and shower for plenty of privacy.
Today 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.
Today is largely a travel day as the group makes its way from Belfast in Northern Ireland to Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. We will travel from Belfast to Glasgow by air. We will take a short driving tour of Glasgow (or, time permitting, walk a little to stretch our legs) before heading north through Loch Lomond. At 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 dinner and overnight accommodations.
One piece of checked baggage is included on the flight from Belfast to Glasgow. Additional checked baggage will be assessed a fee by the airline. We recommend you travel light and only bring one piece of checked luggage.
Our hefty travel schedule yesterday makes it possible for the group to spend the entire day on the Isle of Iona. Catching the first ferry of the day allows us to arrive in time for morning worship at the Abbey Church. After worship we will tour the abbey as a group. At lunch time you will be set free to explore on your own, or take time to meditate and pray in the beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces. Take the 10-minute ferry ride back to Fionnphort at your leisure for dinner on your own at the local pub or seafood shack.
We depart Fionnphort this morning for a leisurely trip back to Edinburgh. Along the way we will visit a Scotch distillery, a woolen mill, and other cultural sites. We arrive in Edinburgh in time to rest or explore on your own a bit before dinner (not included). Overnight accommodations in Edinburgh’s historic center.
Spend the day today touring Edinburgh with our guide. We will visit the Greyfriar’s Kirk, the first church to be built in post-Reformation Scotland, and St. Giles Cathedral where John Knox preached and ministerd in the 1560s. You will have the option to attend a noon-time service or concert in one of these historic churches. Continue touring Edinburgh in the afternoon before closing the day with a celebratory group dinner. Overnight accommodations in Edinburgh’s historic center.
Today the group will depart from Edinburgh to Raleigh-Durham. Those wishing to extend their stay in Scotland may add additional nights in Edinburgh or work with Progressive Pilgrimage to make arrangements to visit other parts of this country.
The return flight arrives at Raleigh Durham International Airport at 6:58 PM.
The cost for the ten-day pilgrimage is $3,808 per person, double occupancy. Group size is limited to 22 participants. Registration deadline is May 24.
|Round-Trip Airfare from RDU||Ground Transportation||Expert Local Guides|
|Breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 7 dinners||Entrance Fees||Pre-trip Educational Resources|
|First Class Hotels||Gratuity for Drivers and Guides||Ordained Spiritual Guide|
Single occupancy is available upon request for a surcharge of $450.
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.
A $500/person deposit is due at time of registration, payable online via PayPal or credit card. Full payment is due by July 6, 2019. 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.
Terms and Conditions
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.