Ireland truly has a magic all its own. Irish prehistoric and historic sites are among the most spectacular in the world, and the country is rich in folklore, fairytales, myth and legend. On this Ireland tour, we journey to standing stones, holy wells, cromlechs, fairy forts, chambered cairns, Celtic churches, ancient crosses, round towers, beehive huts, Ogham stones, windswept islands and a multitude of ancient sacred shrines.
May 10-17, 2017
Tour operated in cooperation with Gothic Image Tours
Join us for a once in a lifetime experience as we journey to some of the most spectacular prehistoric and historic sites in the world. Ireland is a country rich in folklore, fairytales, myths and legends – a land with a magic all of its own as you visit places like Carrowmore, the most extensive megalithic complex in Ireland. The neolithic hilltop passage tombs of Carrowkeel in the Bricklieve Mountain range and Newgrange plus the hill of Tara. Experience the ancient ceremonial stone fort of Dun Aengus on the island of Inishmore and Skellig Michael with its World Heritage listed 11th century monastery and beehive huts (weather permitting).
HOSTED & GUIDED BY JAMIE GEORGE and JACK ROBERTS
Born and raised in Scotland, Jamie George is a co-director, with his partner Frances Howard-Gordon, of Gothic Image bookstore and publishing house in Glastonbury. He is the tour leader on all Gothic Image group tours. The tours sprang from a call in the early 1980s to offer small groups of pilgrims a way to explore and discover the spirit of the land by visiting the ancient sacred places of Britain and Ireland. As a pioneer in providing these kinds of journeys, Gothic Image provides a relaxed, informal, informative but well organized way of travelling with kindred spirits to these ancient places.
Jack Roberts, an independent researcher, publisher and author of Sheela-Na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain: The Divine Hag of the Christian Celts and The Sun Circles of Ireland, joins the tour as expert guide. His wealth of knowledge and lively mind bring the ancient sites of this megalithic wonderland to life. “More than three decades of research in many areas of Ireland have resulted in a wide knowledge of the archaeological and historical heritage of the whole of Ireland and have led to a number of publications dealing with some of the more important and often less well understood aspects of Irish history and archaeology,” says Jack.
DAY ONE: Wednesday, May 10: Shannon to Galway
Rendezvous at ‘The Meeting Point’, Arrivals Building, Shannon Airport in County Clare, at NOON. We travel to the 16th century Craggaunowen Castle near Quinn, with its reconstructions of prehistoric village life. Onward, stopping at Ennis for lunch, to the Killinaboy Church, with its Sheela-Na-Gig carving, and to the impressive Poulnabrone Dolmen on the Burren. Overnight: Galway.
DAY TWO: Thursday, May 11: Island of Inishmore
Today we sail across the waters of the famous Galway Bay to visit the windswept island of Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands. This is a place of peace and rugged beauty where we visit the ancient ceremonial stone fort of Dun Aengus, perched precipitously on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We view the other treasures of the island, such as the early Christian beehive huts and the curious seven churches, joined together as one. Free time until dinner at our hotel. Overnight: Galway.
DAY THREE: Friday, May 12: Galway to Sligo
Onwards by the shores of Lough Corrib, through the Connemara mountains to the pretty harbour village of Leenaun for lunch. We visit Carrowmore, the most extensive megalithic complex in Ireland, containing dolmens, ring forts and fairy rings. On the way, we admire magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean from the wild and craggy coastline of County Clare. Overnight: Sligo.
DAY FOUR: Saturday, May 13: In Sligo – Excursion to Neolithic site of Carrowkeel
Today we visit the mysterious Bricklieve Mountains and the Neolithic site of Carrowkeel, with its chambered cairns aligned to the stations of the rising moon. Entering these passage tombs and standing in the central chambers constructed 5,000 years ago is a lasting experience. From the hilltop we have a striking view of Lough Arrow, the site of the ancient battle between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Formorians. Nearby is Queen Maebh’s Cairn, a wonderful monument to this warrior queen Goddess, who is very much alive in the fertility of the land and the red of sunset.
DAY FIVE: Sunday, May 14: Sligo to Drogheda
We journey east by way of Carrick-on-Shannon to Oldcastle, where lie the enigmatic cairns of the Lough Crew mountains. Here we visit Cairn T, where the rising sun at spring and autumn equinox sends its beam of light down the passageway to illuminate the wondrous megalithic art of its deepest chambers. Onwards to Slane Friary where St Patrick challenged the power of the old gods and lit the first paschal fire in Ireland in 433AD. Overnight in Drogheda.
DAY SIX: Monday, May 15: Newgrange and Knowth
Today we travel to the magnificent valley of the Boyne River where we enter the quartz-encrusted neolithic monument of Newgrange and visit the great temple mound of Knowth with its fine decorated kerb stones and megalithic art. On to the Hill of Tara where in ancient times the sacred marriage of the goddess and the new king took place. Here is the site of the famous Lia Fail which, tradition recalls, cried out as a proclamation of acceptance of the rightful king. Tara has an ancient sanctity all of its own, with panoramic views across much of Ireland. Overnight: Drogheda.
DAY SEVEN: Tuesday, May 16: Drogheda to Dublin
Onwards to the capital of Ireland, the lively city of Dublin, where we have free time to explore the city and visit Trinity College, with its magnificent Book of Kells, and the National Museum, repository of many stunning treasures of Ireland’s past – such as the beautiful golden torques of the Celtic period and the Ardagh Chalice. Overnight near Dublin.
DAY EIGHT: Wednesday, May 17: Dublin to Tipperary
Leaving Dublin we visit the tranquil gardens of Saint Brigid’s Well near Kildare and Europe’s largest dolmen, weighing over 100 tons, at Brownshill in County Carlow. Then lunch and free time at Kilkenny, with its medieval castle and olde worlde charm. We visit St Patrick’s holy well and finally reach Tipperary. Overnight: Dundrum.
DAY NINE: Thursday, May 18: Lough Gur and Grange
Today we visit the enchanted area of Lough Gur, a magical place where lie the remains of ancient dwellings, forts, cairns and stone circles that lie half hidden in the bracken and wild flowers, surrounded by grazing cattle and birdsong. It is said that the sacred waters of the lake were formed by the goddess Aine, who appears in different forms as mermaid, young woman and hag. We visit the otherworldly stone circle of Grange, the largest in Ireland, where the sun rises and sets through aligned stones at the ancient festivals of Beltane, Imbolc, Lughnasa and Samhain. As we journey on, we sweep around the famous Ring of Kerry, via Kenmare, to the little fishing village of Waterville. Overnight: Waterville.
DAY TEN: Friday, May 19: Skellig Michael
A major highlight of the tour is to visit the remote and awe-inspiring rocky outcrop of Skellig Michael. Weather permitting, we sail across the waters to climb the slopes of this island sanctuary, dedicated to a dragon-slaying saint. The island once held a community of monks who built six beehive huts and two small oratories, which have enigmatic quartz stones enshrined within their walls. Here we can imagine the monks living in a world close to heaven, living only from fish, shellfish, birds’ eggs in season and what few herbs and vegetables they could grow. The friendly puffins await us! Overnight: Waterville.
DAY ELEVEN: Saturday, May 20: Waterville to Dingle
We complete the beautiful Ring of Kerry by travelling north via Killorglin to the Dingle Peninsula, with views of the heart-stopping Dingle Bay. There we shall have free time to rest and relax, visit the unique shops, craft and art galleries in the picturesque little town of Dingle. Overnight: Dingle.
DAY TWELVE: Sunday, May 21: In Dingle
Today we visit the many prehistoric and early Christian sites of the Dingle area, including the 8th C Galluras Oratory, Kimaldeker Church with its Ogham, Alphabet and Sundial stone, St Brendan’s House and the nearby Keeler’s Stone with its cup and ring marks. We return to Dingle town for free time or an optional swim with Fungi, the beloved dolphin of Dingle Bay. We celebrate our journey together with a farewell dinner. Overnight: Dingle.
DAY THIRTEEN: Monday, May 22: Return to Shannon airport where tour ends
An early rise for our journey to Shannon Airport for international flights and transfers, arriving by 10.30 am. Flight reservations should be made from 1:00 pm onwards.
Please note: We reserve the right to vary the itinerary as necessary to provide the best possible experience under the circumstances prevailing at the time.
* Excellent quality accommodation with private facilities
* Full English breakfasts every day
* Dinners each day
* Sightseeing as per itinerary
* Transportation by motorcoach throughout itinerary
* Sea transportation
* Presentations and lectures
** Bonus! SAVE! You will receive a 5% discount if ALL payments are made by check or money order. This discounted price is noted below in red.
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PRICE PER PERSON (Land Only)
Double Occupancy: $3,349 by check or money order or $3,529 by credit card
Single Occupancy: $3,829 by check or money order or $4,029 by credit card (limited availability)
$500 ($525 by credit card) Non-Refundable deposit is required to hold space.
Due on or before March 10, 2017
ROOMMATES: We will be happy to try to find a suitable roommate for those who are traveling alone and would like to share a room. Per our Terms and Conditions, registration for the tour will be held open until 30 days before the departure date in order to try to match everyone with a roommate. If by that date we have not been able to match you with a suitable roommate, you will be responsible to pay for the single supplement. An early registration will facilitate this process.
Please read our Body Mind Spirit Journeys Terms and Conditions.
Body Mind Spirit Journeys highly recommends the purchase of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance, and we therefore provide you with an easy way to contact BMSJ’s preferred insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance. If you need additional information or have questions, please call Allianz directly at 800-284-8300, and refer to code “F025323.”
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