Land of Faeries, Saints and Scholars
Day 1 & 2 – September 14/15
After passing through immigration in Dublin at 10:00 AM, we begin our adventure! We will meet you in the Arrivals Hall under the big yellow sculpture, before departing on our 1-hour trip to Glendalough where we will be based for two nights.
After checking into our hotel (which by the way, we will have completely to ourselves!) we will meet for more formal introductions, after which we will join together for an opening ceremony and group meditation to set our heartfelt intention for our upcoming journey. We are honoured to have with us for 6 of the 10 days of our spiritual journey, Finbarr Ross, renowned expert on the sacred sites of Ireland. Finbarr will guide us and share his spiritual wisdom, greatly enhancing our experience of the sacred sites.
Glendalough, ‘The valley of the Two Lakes‘, is one of the most sacred places in Ireland and some would say, the world. It combines the extensive monastic ruins of St. Kevin’s Monastery with the stunning natural setting in the Wicklow Mountains. For thousands of years people have been drawn to this ancient monastic site, to experience it’s great natural beauty and serenity.
Spiritually, Glendalough represents the perfect balance between the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine. It is a place where one can truly connect with the beauty of the heart. Legend has it that St. Kevin was one of Merlin the Magician’s teachers, and that the monastery at one time housed the Holy Grail. Markings in the shape of the Grail can be seen at the entrance, and on the immense, famous St. Kevin’s cross. This massive slab of granite carved around 1150 A.D. is the Celtic form of a cross – a cross superimposed on a wheel representing the four directions and the cosmos.
The monastic city of Glendalough comprises several churches, a spectacular round tower and early Celtic cross, most of which were built in the 12th century The ancient gateway to the monastery complex, has the distinction of being the only surviving entrance to an early ecclesiastical settlement.
Glendalough is also home to the Faerie folk who will be sure to touch our hearts with lightness and joy as we immerse ourselves in this place of sacred balance and awareness. We will explore the legends as well as the ruins, and take time to walk in the natural woodland surrounding this spiritual retreat. Our time here will encompass group ceremony and meditation, and space for individual reflection and integration, as well as discussions about this time of Awakening Consciousness, of which we are a part.
There is so much to discover in this picturesque valley during our two days. Apart from the main complex, there is Trinity Church, Saint Mary’s Church, Reffert Church, the Green Road, Saint Kevin’s Cell, St. Kevins Well, lakes, streams and much, much more. Glendalough is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul.
O/N Glendalough (B,D) (2 nights)
Day 3 – September 16th
Loughcrew and Sligo Abbey
At 9.00am we depart from Glendalough for Sligo in the North West. On our way we will visit the magnificent, ancient megalithic site of Loughcrew Cairns in Co Meath. Also known as Slive Na Callaigh, or the Hill of the Witch, Loughcrew could be said to be the best-kept archaeological secret of Ireland. In a landscape of inspiring beauty and intriguing history, the cairns at Loughcrew, originally built in about 4000 BC, form the largest complex of passage graves in Ireland, much older than the better-known Newgrange.
The illumination of the passage and chamber of Newgrange at the Winter Solstice sunrise is world famous. Less well known is the Equinox Illumination at sunrise in Cairn T at Loughcrew, the central and biggest Cairn in the complex, which has elaborately carved and decorated stones in its inner recesses, and the Hag’s Chair set into the northern side of the kerb. At sunrise on the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes, the back stone of the chamber is illuminated by a beam of light. The sunlight is shaped by the stones of the entrance and passage, and descends the back stone while moving from left to the right illuminating the solar symbols.
The largest kerbstones are near the entrance to the tomb. A large stone in the northern part of the kerb is known by three names, ‘Chair of the Witch’, ‘the Chair of Queen Tailtiu’ and ‘Queen Maeve’. Here you will sit on the chair to receive your personal message from Queen Maeve.
In the afternoon we will experience Sligo Abbey, a Dominican Friary founded in the mid-13th century.
The site contains a great wealth of carvings including Gothic and Renaissance sculpture, a well-preserved cloister, and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church. Our visit to this enigmatic friary will inspire and enlighten you.
O/N Sligo (B&D)
Day 4 – September 17th –
Today we take the short boat ride from Mullaghmore Harbour across to Innismurray, a remote, uninhabited island off the coast of Sligo, founded around 520 AD by the mysterious Saint Molaise, a figure also associated with Devenish Island in Lough Erne. Inishmurray contains the most complete remains of an early Irish monastic settlement, with five entrances leading into a central area divided into four enclosures.
Within the Cashel are the famous Inishmurray Cursing Stones, na Cloch Breac, or Speckled Stones. These unusual objects are collected on the largest of the three altars within the enclosure. There are 14 egg-shaped sea-rolled stones carved with crosses and spirals, and many other sea-rolled stones with no art. Local lore says they were used either to bless (by spinning clockwise) or curse (spin anti-clockwise).
Inishmurray is a magical island. It is also the host to a great leyline that crosses Ireland, connecting Lake Titicaca in Peru to Tara and the great pyramid in Egypt. There are many indicators that the wisdom and knowledge contained within the great spiritual traditions across the planet, had a common source. What better place for us to join in sacred ceremony then, than this place where the energy lines of some of these ancient lands converge? The remoteness, serenity and privacy of Innismurray’s island setting, offer us the perfect opportunity to make a deep connection, and the space to travel deep within.
On returning to the mainland, we will visit the Churchyard where the poet WB Yeats is buried at the foot of the truly majestic Benbulben Mountain, which I have always thought of as Ireland’s Uluru (Ayer’s Rock).
Both Uluru and Benbulben hold great significance for the original inhabitants of each respective land. To this day, Uluru remains a sacred place for Australia’s Aborigines. Benbulben too, is steeped in history and Irish folklore. It is thought to have been one of the spiritual homes of the Tuath De Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. The De Danann were a pre-historic, legendary people, famous for their knowledge of medicine, healing, and the mystical arts.
We will also visit Creevykeel Court Tomb which dates back to the Neolithic Period, 4000-2500 BC. The Creevykeel Court is made up of a long, trapezoid shaped cairn, which encloses an oval court, and a burial chamber.
O/N Sligo (B,D)
Day 5 – September 18th
This morning we depart for Carrowmore, the largest megalithic complex in Ireland. Covering more than 1 ½ square miles, and dating back to 4000 BC, Carrowmore is the focal point of a prehistoric ritual landscape dominated by the mountain of Knocknarea to the west, which is crowned with the great Cairn of Queen Meave on top.
The 300 metre high Knockarea Mountain overlooks the stone circles and remains of thirty passage cairns (many of which have a dolmen at their centre), which together form an oval shape.
After taking time to fully immerse ourselves and ‘tune into’ these landscapes that have been revered as sacred for over 5,000 years, we journey to Navan where we will be based for the next 5 nights.
O/N Navan (B,D)
Day 6 – September 19th
We begin the day with a visit to Monasterboice which is rich in history. Founded by Saint Buite who died in 521, this was an important centre of religion and learning until the founding of nearby Mellifont Abbey in 1142.
Monasterboice houses two churches built in the 14th century, and the second tallest Round Tower in Ireland, but is most famous for its 10th century high crosses. These High Crosses, with their biblical scenes and Celtic patterns, are two of the finest Celtic Crosses in Ireland. The South Cross (Cross of Muiredach) and the West Cross (Tall Cross) date from the 10th century, represent the most readily recognizable artifacts of Celtic Christianity.
Our next stop is Mellifont Abbey.
Saint Malachy, the man who wrote the Prophesy of the Pope’s in 1134, founded the first Irish Cistercian monastery here in 1142, with a group of Irish and French monks. This marked the first time that a monastery was built in Ireland with the formal style of architecture imported from abbeys of the same order in France. The Abbey became the model for other Cistercian abbeys built in Ireland.
We will also visit the Hill of Slane where Saint Patrick lit his first Pascal Fire. Slane is an impressive, important and influential site steeped in myth and history. The hill towers 158 metres above the surrounding landscape and has breathtaking views of the countryside. From it, a vast prospect of Ireland is afforded on a clear day. Eastwards can easily be seen the mounds of Newgrange and Knowth, with the town of Drogheda and the Irish Sea beyond, while the view northwards extends as far as Slieve Gullion (well into Northern Ireland), southwards as far as the Sugarloaf Mountain in Wicklow, and westwards to the midlands of Ireland.
The importance of the Hill of Slane can be traced back into prehistory, probably as far as the Neolithic. In Christian history the hill became established as the place where St. Patrick lit the first paschal fire in direct defiance of the pagan kings at nearby Tara. Slane was also supposed to have been the location of a mythical healing well, which was used by the Tuatha Dé Danann to heal their wounds during battle.
By lunchtime we will arrive in the historic walled city town of Drogheda, one of the oldest towns in Ireland, where you will have the afternoon free to explore, relax and shop!
O/N Navan (B,D)
Day 7 – September 20th
The Boyne Valley – Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth
Today we begin our experience of the incredible Bru na Boinne, one of the largest and most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1993. We will visit three ancient temples – Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
The monuments at Newgrange are more than 5000 years old, 1000 years older than Stonehenge, and 500 years older than the Pyramids in Egypt. Their uniqueness will astound you. Each temple was carefully built to align with the sun. At dawn on the morning of the Winter Solstice and for a few days before and after, the main chamber at Newgrange is illuminated by a beam of sunlight for 17 minutes. It is thought that Newgrange is the oldest surviving deliberately aligned structure in the world. Some believe that these temples are remnants of the Atlantian civilization.
In 1999, two local Drogheda men, journalist Anthony Murphy and researcher Richard Moore, set out to further explore the Stone Age sites of the Boyne Valley, in the context of astronomy, mythology, art, and archaeology. They came to the following conclusion:-
“We believe the ancient people were master astronomers, confidently able to mark the solstices and to understand the cosmic cycles like the Metonic Cycle of the moon and Precession of the Equinoxes. They were an advanced culture, with a keen understanding of the Cosmic principle that nothing exists in isolation – everything is connected. We also believe they placed their gods and heroes among the stars, and many of their stories may contain the hidden language of astronomy.” www.mythicalireland.com
Stephanie and I are absolutely thrilled to have secured the presence of author and researcher Anthony Murphy (above), to be our guide for this important day at Bru na Boinne. It goes without saying that his vast knowledge of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, can only enhance our understanding and appreciation of these incredible Neolithic Solar/Lunar temples. This day promises to be a highlight of our tour.
Anthony will give us insights into the enormous stones etched with ancient art that surround the ancient temples of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. It is estimated that there are 700 decorated stones at Bru na Boinne making it Europe’s largest and most important concentration of megalithic art. The most famous of these stones is the one marking the entrance to Newgrange where the triple spiral, unique to this site, can be seen.
As we enter this sacred place, we experience its powerful energy as the ancients did before us. On the winter solstice the sun rises in perfect alignment, to cast a beam of light down through the centre of the temple.
Next, we travel on to Knowth which is comprised of one large temple surrounded by more than eighteen satellite structures.
The carved stones at Knowth contain a quarter of Western European Neolithic art. Ancient kings once ruled from this site.
Here we hope to have the privacy, not available at Newgrange, to join together in ceremony. Our intention will be to harness the energy and power of the Ancient Ones who created this extraordinary solar complex, in our own quest for personal transformation.
In the afternoon, you will have some free time to explore the lovely town of Navan.
O/N Navan (B,D)
Day 8 – September 21st
St Brigid’s Holy Well and St Brigid’s Fire – Kildare
In the morning we depart Navan for St Brigid’s of Kildare. On the way we will stop to visit Fourknocks Megalithic Tomb.
St Brigid’s Well – Kildare
In Irish mythology Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, unity, childbirth and healing. She was the daughter of Dagda a High King of the Tuath Dé Danann.
Sacred wells were always places of pilgrimage to the Celts. They would dip a clootie (piece of rag) in the well, wash their wound and then tie the clootie to a tree – generally a Whitethorn or Ash tree – as an offering to the spirit of the well. It seems only natural that these traditions would be carried forward into modern times in the form of Saint Brigid.
A sacred fire burned in Kildare reaching back into pre-Christian times. Scholars suggest that priestesses used to gather on the hill of Kildare to tend their ritual fires while invoking a goddess named Brigid, to protect their herds and to provide a fruitful harvest.
Later, in Christian times, when St. Brigid built her monastery and church in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the fire alight. For her and her nuns the fire represented the new light of Christianity, which reached Ireland’s shores early in the fifth century. It remained alight possibly up to the suppression of the monasteries in the sixteenth century. The flame was snuffed out by a Norman Bishop and then again by Henry VIII.
In 1993 the Brigidine Sisters symbolically re-lit the flame of Saint Brigid and since then, an eternal flame has been kept lit in perpetuity in the heart of Kildare.
Ireland is a country where the energy of the Divine Feminine can be felt wherever you go. The figures of Goddess Brigid, and later St Brigid, personify the ever present, creative and nurturing force of the Universal Feminine. It is a fire that has burned bright throughout the ages, and can never been extinguished. What better place for us access the balancing qualities of the Divine Feminine within ourselves.
O/N Navan (B,D)
Day 9 – September 22nd
Today is a very special day. After an 11.00am departure for Tara to visit the Tara gift shop featuring all things Celtic, and partake of a delicious home cooked lunch, we will proceed to the sacred site to experience its magical essence.
Tara is one of the largest Celtic monuments in Europe, a place steeped in spirituality and mythology. Revered as a dwelling place of the gods, and the seat of the High Kings from the times of the mythological Fir Bolg and Tuatha De Danann, Tara was one of the most venerated places in early Ireland. It was thought to be an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old.
This site has been famous for its intrinsically strong ‘earth’ energies for over 4000 years. In the legends of St Patrick, it is said that one of the first things he did was to come to Tara to confront the ancient religion in its most powerful site. The remains of huge circular earthworks that were used mainly for rituals in prehistoric times can still be seen, and there are energy lines that connect this site to other sacred sites nearby.
In the middle of the Royal enclosure is a standing stone believed to be the Lia Fáil – the Stone of Destiny – at which the High Kings were crowned
Legend has it that after a series of challenges met by the would-be king, the stone would roar three times with a screech that could be heard all over Ireland if the true king touched it. The King was also required to symbolically marry the goddess Maeve in order to qualify for high kingship.
In this ancient centre of power and spirituality, we will meet up once more with Finbarr Ross and his own newly arrived group, to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony. In 2011 Finbarr received a special message at Iona.
“At Winter Solstice 2012 we are entering a time of shift in the Ascension process. Its energy will spark Phase Two of the process at Spring Equinox 2013, taking us through the first doorway and Step One of 13 steps that will culminate with Winter Solstice 2023.”
Five of those doorways have now been opened –
1st -Spring Equinox 2013 on Iona
2nd –Chartres Cathedral Autumn Equinox 2013
3rd -Iona Autumn Equinox 2014
4th -Tara Summer Equinox 2015
5th – Iona Autumn Equinox 2016
Today on the Hill of Tara, we will open the sixth doorway.
With sacred ceremony, we will celebrate the further opening of the inter-dimensional doorway that will take us to a place of greater conscious awareness. Stephanie, Finbarr and I feel certain that the coming together of our two groups at Tara is a Divinely orchestrated synchronicity. It feels somehow predestined that we find ourselves in this sacred power centre, at the time of the Equinox. With hearts and minds joined together in focused intention at such a time, we have the opportunity to affect great change both for ourselves individually, as well as for our planet and the rest of humankind.
We are climbing Jacobs Ladder on our journey of ascension. In moments such as these, we are igniting the sacred fire within, and opening a pathway to transformation.
O/N Navan (B,D)
Map of the Boyne Valley
Day 10 – September 23rd
Today is our last full day together and it’s time to have some more ‘earthly’ fun! Departing Navan, we head for Dublin to experience some of the highlights of that historic city – Christchurch Cathedral, Trinity College with its magnificent library and renowned ‘The Book of Kells’, and the National Museum of Ireland.
O/N Dublin Airport (B,D)
Day 11 – September 24th
We say our farewells with full hearts, grateful for all that we experienced, as we depart for our next destination or home city.
Mystical Ireland Tour
September 14 – 24th 2017
Full Tour Price – USD $3950
Earlybird Special – USD $3750 ($200 Off if paid by May 14th)
Deposit – USD $500 (Non Refundable)
Balance Due – July 14th
Single Supplement – USD $650
Quality Hotel Accommodation (11 nights)
Full Irish Breakfast and Dinner Each Day
Tips to Drivers, Guides, Hotel and Restaurant staff
All Entrance Fees to Sites
All Ground Transportation
On-site Teachings and Ceremonies
Fabulous Farewell dinner with Entertainment, Irish Music and Dancing
*Does Not include
Meals not mentioned above
Extras at Hotels (Mineral water, tea, coffee, personal expenses, laundry, telephone calls etc.)
*2017 Tour price is guaranteed unless the US $/Euro exchange rate drops 5% or more from the December 2016 rates or gasoline goes up over 5%. If required, a fuel or exchange rate surcharge will be declared by June 2017. This is very unlikely to exceed $100 per person.
Cancellation before July 14th:- Payment refunded, minus the USD $500 Non-Refundable deposit. Cancellation between July 14th and trip commencement:- No refund given. (Hotels, Transport Companies etc require payment in full, two months in advance of arrival.) We reserve the right to cancel the trip if minimum numbers are not reached, in which case your deposit and/or Tour payment, will be refunded in full. Trip cancellation insurance is always recommended when making travel plans (See Travel Insurance section below). NB purchasing Flight insurance does not cover the trip itself!
Call Lia: +61 (0) 419486073
$500 USD deposit secures your place (Non Refundable)
Balance due by July 14th 2017
NB Please make sure you select the appropriate room accommodations.
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