SAINTS OF THE ISLES

  • Duration:12 NIGHTS/ 13 DAYS
  • Countries Visited: Ireland, UK
  • Highlights:IRELAND and ENGLAND, featuring Dublin, Knock, Ballintubber Abbey, Connemara, Crough Patrick, Galway, Muckross House, Blarney, Waterford, London, Canterbury, Leeds, Dover, Cambridge, Sudbury, Aylesford
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Round trip airfare New York/ London/ Dublin/London/ New York
    • Three star hotel accommodations
    • Continental breakfast daily and dinner as noted in the itinerary
    • Irish breakfast in Ireland
    • English speaking tour escort (driver guide in Ireland) throughout
    • Transportation by a deluxe private air-conditioned motor coach
    • Comprehensive sightseeing and admission fees as per itinerary
    • Spiritual program (Mass daily)
    • Select International Travel Portfolio
    • Baggage handling for one suitcase per person

DAY 1: USA TO IRELAND

Depart on an overnight flight to Ireland.

DAY 2: DUBLIN

Welcome to Ireland! You are greeted by your tour escort. We immediately depart through the rolling pastures of central Ireland, to stop at Clonmacnoise the site of the monastic settlement founded in 548 by Saint Ciaran, and among Ireland’s most noted holy places. Continue to Knock for overnight. (B.D.)

DAY 3: KNOCK

We spend the day in Knock, also known as the “Lourdes of Ireland”. The visit starts with the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland. In 1879 the parish church of Knock was the scene of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. In September of 1979, Pope John Paul II, made a pilgrimage to Knock Shrine, which is one of the few apparition sites approved by the Catholic church. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica and pray the Stations of the Cross. Overnight Knock. (B.D.)

DAY 4: BALLINTUBBER ABBEY- CROUGH PATRICK – CONNEMARA- GALWAY

We start the day very early with Mass at Ballintubber Abbey, where Holy Mass has been celebrated continuously for the past 800 years. Then depart for Crough Patrick, the 2,500-foot conical tipped mountain. St. Patrick is said to have spent the forty days of Lent in prayer and fasting here in the year 441 A.D. Our day continues as we drive along the coast, through the rugged scenery of Connemara to Kylemore Abbey where we visit the magnificent estate and have lunch. We visit Galway late this afternoon, including Eyre Square, St. Nicholas Church and the Spanish Arch. Tonight we have a medieval feast with music and entertainment at Dunguaire Castle Banquet. Overnight Galway. (B.D.)

DAY 5: MUCKROSS ABBEY – RING OF KERRY

Start your day with a visit to the Muckross House and Gardens followed by a drive around the panoramic 100-mile Ring of Kerry where you will see the most spectacular scenery in Ireland. Arrive back in Killarney late this afternoon. (B.D.)

DAY 6: INCHIGEELAGH- BLARNEY- WATERFORD

We start the day early with a visit to Inchigeelagh, for Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. Then on to the Blarney Castle where you may wish to kiss the famous “Blarney Stone”, and receive the “ gift of gab”. Stop at the world famous Blarney Woolen Mills for great gift shopping.  There will also be time for shopping when  we visit the town of Waterford and tour the world famous crystal factory. Overnight Waterford. (B.D.)

DAY 7: WATERFORD- DUBLIN

Departing Waterford we travel via the evocative Vale of Avoca, where we stop to see the traditional work of Avoca Weavers and on to the Meeting of the Waters, a spot beloved by poet Thomas Moore. Continue to Glendalough to visit the site of the Monastic Settlement founded by St. Kevin.  Overnight Dublin. (B.)

DAY 8: DUBLIN

Today is filled with sights of Dublin. Drive through statue-lined O’Connell Street, Dublin’s most famous thoroughfare. The Treasury Collection at the National Museum contains priceless Irish antiquities as well as the Chalice of Ardagh and St. Patrick’s staff. Visit Trinity College and enter the College Library to view the “Book of Kells”, a splendidly illuminated version of the Gospels designed by unknown monks during the ninth century. In the afternoon we take a short flight to London. We visit St. Patrick’s Church, a Protestant church now, where St. Patrick was baptized, and celebrate Mass at St. Micken’s Church. In the late afternoon we take a short flight to London. Overnight London. (B.D.)

DAY 9: THE CITY OF ST. THOMAS MORE- LONDON

{mosimage} We explore the Catholic heritage of London, visit the places associated with St. Thomas More, touring the Houses of Parliament, where More debated and worked as both a member and the Speaker of the House. More resigned his position as Lord Chancellor of England, a position of power and influence only second to the King’s, but continued to champion the cause of Catholicism. This was a dangerous path, as King Henry wanted to divorce his wife and remarry Anne Boleyn, but could not get approval from Rome. More was eventually imprisoned in the Tower of London because he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, which declared the King (instead of the Pope) to be the head of the Church of England. We visit the Tower of London from where St. Thomas took his last walk to the scaffold on Tower Hill, to be beheaded. Following the execution the head of St. Thomas was displayed on a pike on London Bridge. We also tour Westminster Cathedral and Hall where he practiced law and where he was sentenced to death, and the Inns of Court where he studied, as did Tennyson, Dickens, Donne and Chaucer. We also see St. Paul’s,  as well as, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Piccadilly Square. We celebrate Mass at the Southwalk Cathedral. Overnight London. (B.)

DAY 10: CANTERBURY- LEEDS- DOVER

Drive through Kent, the Garden of England, with its lush fields and pretty villages to medieval Canterbury. Its splendid Norman cathedral was the scene of the murder of Thomas Becket, in 1170, when he was the Archbishop of Canterbury. We visit the Cathedral and have time to walk the cobbled stone streets made famous by Chaucer’s Pilgrims in Canterbury Tales. Here is the burial place of St. Augustine and many other saints. St. Thomas More’s favorite daughter, Margaret, lived in Canterbury and he frequently visited. We see the St. Dunstan’s Church where King Henry the VIII changed into his garb “of sackcloth and ashes” to pay his penance at the Tomb of St. Thomas. It was Margaret who brought her father’s head to Canterbury to be placed in the St. Dunstan’s Church. Following the beatification of Sir Thomas the church of St. Dunstan’s become the site of annual pilgrimages by Roman Catholics. Here we celebrate Mass. Our excursion today also includes a visit to Leeds (left), a fairy-tale castle over 1,000 years old, set on an island in the middle of a lake and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.  This site was also known as Lady’s Castle because it was home for so many Queens of England. We’ll see the magnificent White Cliffs of Dover, renowned for its great stretch of white chalk cliffs and, weather permitting, a view of the shores of Normandy . Overnight London. (B.)

DAY 11: OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM- CAMBRIDGE

Today we travel to one of the oldest, yet least known Marian shrine, Our Lady of Walsingham. This was considered one of the four major Christian Shrines along with Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela. Today it is the National Shrine of Our Lady and a center for Marian devotion and hospitality in Great Britain.  You’ll  see three separate worship places, one for Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians. We visit the church and celebrate Holy Mass. The day ends with a walking tour of the University City of Cambridge. Overnight London. (B.)

DAY 12: SUDBURY-AYLESFORD-LONDON

Our first stop is Sudbury, to see the home of Thomas Gainsborough and St. Gregory’s Church. Our drive through the breathtaking English countryside continues to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. One of the greatest gifts given to the Church by the Holy Mother is the Brown Scapular.  In 1251 Our Lady appeared to Simon Stock, the prior of the Carmelite Order, at Aylesford. During the apparition, the Blessed Mother gave Simon the brown woolen scapular as a sign that we are all children under her protection. Throughout the ages the church encouraged wearing of the scapular, and those who wear it are considered to be under special protection of Our Lady. Along with the Miraculous Medal and the rosary, the scapular is one of the main Marian sacraments. Here we celebrate Mass and meet the Carmelite friars. We also have dinner in Aylesford. Overnight London. (B.D.)

DAY 13: DEPART FOR USA

This morning depart for the airport and flight home. (B.)

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