Our Daily Itinerary
(The time in Ireland is 8 hours later than California because the sun passes over there 8 hours before here. When it’s 8:30 AM here, it’s already 4:30 PM there. That’s why it takes us two days to get there but less than a day to get back, even though the actual flying time is an hour longer on the return. That’s because of the “jet stream” in the stratosphere.)
MON, SEPT 4, DAY 1: DEPART THE USA:
Our departure day is the feast of St. Mac Nissi (died 514), abbot-bishop of Connor, said to have been baptized by St. Patrick and considered the founder of Kells Monastery.
We depart en route to Dublin via Chicago where we change planes, with complimentary meals & beverages served aloft on our overseas flight. Here’s our flight itinerary:
(We should be at LAX no later than 6:00 AM; sunrise is 6:06 AM. Today is Labor Day.)
8:30 AM – Depart Los Angeles on UA 2039; duration of flight, 4:11
2:42 PM – Arrive Chicago (O’Hare); layover, 3:09
5:50 PM – Depart Chicago on UA 152; duration of flight, 7:40
7:30 AM (Tuesday) – Arrive Dublin
Here’s the map of our day-by-day itinerary throughout Ireland. It is interactive, and you can zoom in and out. Click the little square icon in the upper left to hide or display each day’s segment.
TUE, SEPT 5, DAY 2: FAILTE (WELCOME) TO IRELAND / CLONMACNOISE / CASTLEBAR:
(Sunrise in Dublin is 5:48 AM.)
We arrive at Dublin Airport at 7:30 AM, and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative who will accompany us throughout our journey. We board our motor coach and make our way to the western side of the Emerald Isle.
We stop at the monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise, one of Ireland’s most celebrated holy places. (Next Saturday, September 9, we’ll celebrate the feast of St. Ciaran – or Kieran – the founder of this monastery in 545.) Here we see the 12th century round tower, ancient High Crosses, as well as the many churches and temples at this hallowed site. After our visit and lunch on our own, we continue on to Castlebar, where we will check into the Breaffy House Resort Hotel for two nights. Dinner this evening is served at our hotel. (D)
(Sunset in Castlebar is 8:17 PM. The moon is nearly full.)
WED, SEPT 6, DAY 3: CASTLEBAR: EXCURSION TO KNOCK & VISIT OF BALLINTUBBER ABBEY:
(Sunrise is 6:54 AM. The moon is full at 8:02 this morning.)
This morning we enjoy an excursion to Knock, (also here) visited each year by more than 1.5 million pilgrims. Upon arriving here as a pilgrim in the autumn of 1979, Pope John Paul II declared: “Now I am at the goal of my pilgrimage to Ireland!.” Upon arrival in Knock, we enjoy a guided tour of the Shrine’s grounds to learn the story of the apparitions here. We celebrate Mass here at 11:45 AM, and take some time to have lunch on our own.
Driving to Claremorris, we visit Ballintubber Abbey where Mass has been celebrated daily for over 800 years! St. Patrick baptized converts at a well here. This was the traditional starting point for the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Croagh Patrick. We will have the services of a local guide here. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Castlebar. (B, D)
(Sunset is 8:15 PM. Enjoy the full moon.)
THU, SEPT 7, DAY 4: CASTLEBAR / BURREN / CLIFFS OF MOHER / SHANNON FERRY / KILLARNEY:
(Sunrise is 6:56 AM.)
Today we leave Castlebar and head south, passing thru the mesmerizing landscapes of The Burren region. Its stone formations have lain unspoiled since the ice-age.We stop at the town of Ballyvaughan for Mass at 11:15 AM in St. John the Baptist Church. After some time for lunch on our own, We visit the Burren Centre for an introduction to the ancient mysteries of this unspoiled region of Ireland.
We continue to the Cliffs of Moher, sheer cliffs dropping 600 feet to the water below, one of the most impressive stretches of shoreline on the west coast of Ireland. We take the Shannon Car Ferry across the Shannon Estuary. We continue on to Killarney for to check into the Hotel Castlerosse, where we will stay for two nights, and then enjoy dinner and the evening. (B, D)
(Sunset is 8:02 in Killarney.)
FRI, SEPT 8, DAY 5: KILLARNEY: CRUISE ON THE LAKE KILLARNEY & EXCURSION TO THE DINGLE PENINSULA:
(Sunrise is 6:51 AM. This is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.)
This morning, after breakfast, we enjoy a relaxing cruise on Lough Leane, the most famous of Killarney Lakes. After our cruise, we visit the Dingle Peninsula (daingean = “fortress”). Reached by the spectacular coastal road girdling impressive mountains, the small harbor town of Dingle has all of Ireland’s charm tucked into its crooked streets and shops.
The town is renowned for its restaurants, most of which offer excellent local seafood. Dingle was an embarkation point for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela to visit the shrine of St. James. It is said that the medieval church in Dingle, dedicated to St. James, was built by the Spanish. Some leisure time for lunch on our own. This afternoon at 4:00 PM, we celebrate Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Dingle. In the evening we gather at The Laurels, Killarney’s famous “singing pub” where we enjoy lots of rousing ballad singing, music, craic and dancing. (B, D)
(Sunset is 8:00 PM.)
Good time for Rick Steves’ Western Ireland program.
SAT, SEPT 9, DAY 6: KILLARNEY: RING OF KERRY / CORK:
(Sunrise is 6:53. Today is the feast of St. Ciaran – Kieran – of Clonmacnoise, 516-549). Regarded as one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland,” he founded Clonmacnoise Monastery in 545 as a center of learning. He died of plague in his early thirties while working on the construction.)
This morning after breakfast and Mass at 9:30 AM in St. Joseph’s Convent in Killorglin, we are off for a thrilling full-day scenic ride around the famed Ring of Kerry, a continuously changing landscape of dramatic cliff side views and breathtaking seascapes via Killorglin and Glenbeigh.
We stop for lunch on our own and afterward continue our tour via Caherdaniel, Sneem, Moll’s Gap and Ladies View. We will then travel to Cork (also the city’s official site and Cork-Guide) for our overnight stay at the Clayton Hotel, where we will have dinner. (B, D)
(Sunset in Cork is 8:02 PM.)
Rick Steves’ “South Ireland” includes some dramatic aerial shots of the Ring of Kerry.
SUN, SEPT 10, DAY 7: CORK / BLARNEY CASTLE / DUBLIN:
(Sunrise is 7:00 AM. Today is the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.)
This morning after breakfast and checkout from our hotel, we join with the local community in the celebration of the 11:00 AM Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Cork. The off to Blarney Castle. An ancient stronghold of the MacCarthys, Lords of Muskerry, it is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone, The Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed, to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it. After some time for lunch on our own and shopping at Woolen Mills, we continue on to Dublin for dinner and the evening. We will stay at the Sandymount Hotel for the next four nights, until our departure. (B, D)
(Sunset in Dublin is 7:52 PM.)
MON, SEPT 11, DAY 8: DUBLIN: VISIT OF THE CITY & LEISURE, GUINESS STOREHOUSE:
(Sunrise is 6:51 AM.)
This morning, we enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of the city. Our itinerary includes viewing Georgian Dublin and Leinster House (Parliament). We drive by St. Patrick Cathedral (Church of Ireland), dating from 450 AD; Christchurch Cathedral (founded by King Sitric of the Dublin Norsemen in 1038 and rebuilt in 1169 by the Normans) and Kilmainham Gaol, the infamous prison built in 1792. We visit the Trinity College (also click here) where the famous Book of Kells is kept (also click here).
After the conclusion of our city tour, we celebrate Mass at 3:00 PM in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral (also click here). Then we take some time for lunch on our own. We continue on with a guided tour to the famous Guinness Storehouse, a spectacular attraction, designed to woo you with the wonders of the “dark stuff.” The star attraction is undoubtedly the top-floor Gravity Bar with 360-degree floor-to-ceiling glass walls that offer a nonpareil view out over the city while you sip your free pint. Dinner this evening is at our hotel. (B, D)
(Sunset is 7:50 PM.)
TUE, SEPT 12, DAY 9: DUBLIN: EXCURSION TO KILDARE & THE IRISH NATIONAL STUD FARM:
(Sunrise is 6:53 AM. Today is the feast of St. Ailbe [Elvis]. He was born sometime in the 400s and died in 528. He may have been a Christian before the arrival of Patrick, but was probably ordained by him. Founded the monastery and diocese of Emly.)
This morning, after breakfast, we enjoy an excursion to Kildare where we celebrate Mass at 10:15 AM in St. Brigid’s Parish Church, and visit the sites connected with St. Brigid the “Patroness of Ireland”. In ancient Ireland, Christianity and paganism melded together into Celtic tradition. Sites of pagan worship also became associated with Christianity.
Brigid’s feast day falls on February 1st, the date of Imbolg, the pagan festival of Spring. Brigid’s small oratory at Cill-Dara (Kildare) became a center of religion and learning, and developed into this cathedral city.
She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed Saint Conleth spiritual pastor of them. We will visit the present cathedral, a restored Norman cathedral dating from 1223.
After some time for lunch on our own, we visit the Irish National Stud, the heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry. It contains a Stallion breeding farm as well as elegant Japanese and Irish style gardens plus an equine museum. Dinner this evening is on our own. (B)
(Sunset is 7:47 PM.)
WED, SEPT 13, DAY 10: DUBLIN: GLENDALOUGH & LEISURE:
(Sunrise is 6:55 AM. Feast of St. John Chrysostom, c309-407, Patriarch of Constantinople.)
After enjoying our full Irish breakfast, we depart for Glendalough – the Glen between the Two Lakes one of Ireland’s most beloved early Monastic sites. According to legend, St. Kevin (498-618, 120 years!) retired to this spot to be alone, living as a hermit for years. When his followers became too numerous, he was compelled to found a monastic community to accommodate them, the ruins of which we can still see here today. In time, this community became a great center of learning known as “Rome of the West.” We will celebrate Mass at 10:30 AM in St. Kevin’s Church and tour the site, including the Interpretive Center for Celtic Spirituality. We then return to Dublin for the balance of the day at leisure. This evening enjoy dinner and entertainment at the Merry Ploughboys Pub. (B, D)
(Sunset is 7:45 PM.)
THU, SEPT 14, DAY 11: SLAN LEAT (GOOD BYE) TO IRELAND:
(Sunrise is 6:57 AM. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.)
Early this morning we transfer to the Dublin airport for our return flight to the USA. Please note that you will clear U.S. Customs at the Dublin Airport so that when you return to the USA, there will be no U.S. Customs procedure. (B)
Here’s our return flight itinerary:
Depart Dublin – 9:00 AM on UA 022; duration of flight, 7:10
Arrive Newark – 11:10 AM; layover, 3:50
Depart Newark – 3:00 PM; duration of flight, 6:01
Arrive Los Angeles – 6:01 PM
(Sunset in Los Angeles is 7:00 PM.