SACRED SITES JOURNEYS
Since 1994 ...Spiritual Pilgrimages
to the world's most important Sacred Sites
to enliven your Body, Mind and Spirit






IRELAND



Spiritual Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites
of the Emerald Isle
May 17 - 26, 2020


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We invite YOU to join us for our Sacred Sites Journeys
2020 Spiritual Pilgrimage to IRELAND!
Participation is
limited; we're only taking 13 people!


After reading the information below, if you'd like to join us,
HERE'S a link to the Tour Registration Form
SacredSitesJourneys-Ireland-May2020-RegFormTsCs.pdf

With your registration submission you will be required
to submit a deposit of $500.00 to reserve your place.

IMPORTANT! Due to the contracts we have with the hotels,
registration will close on March 18, 2020.
We must give them the names of all registered passengers at that time
in order to keep the block of rooms we've reserved.
Final payment will be due on March 25, 2020.

Unfortunately there can be no exceptions!
So please make your plans earlier than later!
We encourage you to read about why this is important here:
When To Register For Your Sacred Sites Journey


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TOUR DESCRIPTION

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Come with us on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Emerald Isle,
where the ancient Sacred Sites await you!


Experience the powerful energies at stone circles, holy wells, & passage tombs
as we travel to these magical places in Ireland's wildly beautiful countryside!

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UNESCO World Heritage site of NEWGRANGE,
one of the oldest sacred sites on the planet!

THE HILL OF TARA, the Mother Womb of Ireland
with the STONE OF DESTINY, which roared when the rightful High King was crowned!

5,000 year old Bronze Age DRUID STONE CIRCLE at Kenmare,
the largest in southwest Ireland

3,500 year old KNOCKNAKILLA STONE CIRCLE
in County Cork

GRANGE STONE CIRCLE, dedicated to Aine, Celtic Goddess
of love, growth, cattle, and also associated with light and the Sun

HOLY WELL at Ballyvourney dedicated to the Divine Feminine and Her powers of healing

KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK:  Innisfallen Island, with it's ancient Celtic Cross
where you can leave offerings for good luck;
Ross Castle, built in the 15th century by O'Donaghue chieftains;
and Torc Waterfall, with its magical energies of the elementals, devas, or Faery Folk

RING OF KERRY, a winding scenic route in southwestern Ireland,
which many people claim has the best in scenery and magic that Ireland has to offer!

SISTERS OF BRIDGET CENTER in Kildare, with Holy Flame and Holy Well

Plus, you'll have time to explore on your own in Dublin!

SPECIAL OFFERINGS!

Participate in meditations & rituals to connect with the powerful energies
of the sacred sites and Celtic Gods and Goddesses

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TOUR PERSONNEL


Andrea Mikana-Pinkham and Mark Amaru Pinkham
At the Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara - 2016
 


FEATURED SPEAKER: Mark Amaru Pinkham
is an Author, Sh
amanic Practitioner,
Researcher/Teacher of the Goddess Tradition
& Ancient Megalithic History and Director of The Order & Mystery School of the Seven Rays
.

M
ark Amaru was the Featured Speaker on our Sacred Sites Journey to IRELAND in 2016.
With Andrea, he has been leading spiritual pilgrimages around the world since 1994.

He is the author of the newly-revised classic The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom,
and seven other books about the ancient history of our planet,
attesting to his passion and unending research about this subject.
During this spiritual journey he will share his research with the group
in a formal presentations during group meetings,
as well as informally as we visit the sacred sites.

Mark is a longtime avid researcher, supporter and practitioner of the Goddess Path.
He is also a trained Shamanic Practitioner and Founder/Director of
The Order and Mystery School of the Seven Rays.

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SPEAKER/MEDITATION FACILITATOR/TOUR DIRECTOR: Andrea Mikana-Pinkham
is a Sh
amanic Practitioner, Researcher/Teacher of the Goddess Tradition
& Ancient Megalithic History and
Co-Director of The Order & Mystery School of the Seven Rays
.

Andrea Mikana-Pinkham is the Director of Sacred Sites Journeys. She has Irish ancestry and a deep and abiding connection with the Celtic energies of the Emerald Isle. Andrea has been leading spiritual pilgrimages around the world since 1994.

She is the co-Director of and Teacher in  
The Order and Mystery School of the Seven Rays, a modern-day Mystery School, a trained Shamanic Practitioner, the creator and Reiki Master Teacher of Ichi Sekai (One World) Reiki, a Spiritual Counselor.


AndreaMikanaPinkham-Ireland.jpg (26697 bytes)A Message from Andrea:
I invite you to join our smaller group of spiritual pilgrims as we explore the potent Celtic sites on the astoundingly beautiful Emerald Isle. I've traveled to and led groups to these power places several times during the last several years, and have always found them to be alive with the ancient wisdom and powerful energies! During our sacred  journey I will facilitate meditations to assist you to connect with these transformative energies of the sacred sites and the Celtic Gods and Goddesses.

I'd be honored to support you to manifest your dream of traveling to Ireland, and will assist  you to create the experience of a lifetime during this spiritual journey. We won't be offering this Sacred Sites Journey to Ireland again in the near future, so if you've been considering joining us, NOW is the time!


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TOUR ITINERARY
May 17 - 26, 2020
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Day 1. Sunday, May 17. Arrive Ireland; Group Meeting; Welcome Dinner (D)

Arrive Shannon International Airport on your own today. Please book your flight to arrive early enough in the day so that you’ll have time to rest and relax before our group meeting this afternoon. (We highly recommend that you arrive a day early if at all possible; we’ll be able to book the extra night for you at the hotel, which is located at the airport, just a short walk from the terminal/arrival hall.)

5:30PM - Group Welcome Meeting with Tour Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkham and Featured Speaker Mark Amaru Pinkham.
7:00PM - Group Welcome Dinner at the hotel. Drinks not included; this will be the case at all dinners.
Overnight Park Inn. Shannon International Airport. www.parkinn.ie/airporthotel-shannon/


Day 2. Monday, May 18. Lough Gur; Grange Stone Circle; Bunratty Folks Park & Castle (B/Box L/D)

        
Left to Right: Lough Gur, Lough Gur Trail Map, Grange Stone Circle, Goddess Aine (Artist - J Duncan)

  

Left to Right: Bunratty Castle, Sheela-Na-Gig on Wall in Bunratty Castle

Breakfast at your leisure. Service begans at 6:00AM.


9:00AM - Group Meeting: Presentation by Mark Amaru Pinkham - The Magic of Ireland.

10:30AM – Depart to Lough Gur, a small horseshoe-shaped lake nestled among limestone hills in south-eastern Limerick, with over 30 ancient sites and monuments around its shores that range from neolithic to medieval times. These include stone circles, dwelling-places, field systems, standing stones, ring forts, crannogs, castles, and a megalithic tomb. This area was the first known place of habitation on the Emerald Isle, with its human-made crannog, an artificial island or marsh dwelling of brushwood, clay, timbers, and stone. Earth was added to the enclosed area and then a settlement of huts was built inside a strong wooden palisade fence of tall, sharp stakes. Built for defensive purposes by the early Irish settlers, they were frequently covered by water, and thus were well-preserved. Upon arrival take some time to visit the Visitor Center, which tells the story of Pre-Celtic Ireland dating back to 3000 BCE, with a slide show, imaginative exhibition models and interpretative panels.

Then take a look at the trail map in the center to decide where you'd like to explore on your own. You can walk
to some of the most ancient monuments and historic sites in Ireland. All without an additoinal price! There are acousticguides from the Heritage Center that you can pick up; this is included in your entrance to the Heritage Center.

1:00PM – Visit the Grange Stone Circle, the largest stone circle in Ireland. A grange is the name given in Ireland to a ring-fort or stone circle. The word "grange" is an English rendering of the Irish word Grian, which means "Sun". This relates to the theory that stone circles in Ireland were connected with sun worship. At the summer solstice, the sunrise comes over the nearby hill of Cnoc Aine and in through the two dolmen stones into the center of the circle. The entrance stones were aligned with the sunset on the festival of Samhain on November 1st. This stone circle is dedicated to the ancient Triple Goddess Aine (pronounced onya or enya) the Goddess of love, growth, cattle, and also associated with light and the Sun. In her Maiden aspect, she is the muse of poetry who bestows that gift to those she loves, or madness to those she rejects. In her Mother aspect, she is associated with lakes and wells with great powers of healing. In her Crone aspect, she is the dark Goddess with the ability to appear to mortal men as a woman of great beauty, known as the leannan sidhe, or "Fairy Lover". (In Ireland fairies are called Sidhe, (pronounced shee). She would bind her subjects in a fatal attraction, with death as the likely outcome. In all her aspects she is not to be offended. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" could have been coined to describe her rage. She can seek revenge, and with ultimate patience. One legend says that when the Irish High King offended her, she caused a great battle to ensue in which he was killed. At his death her mocking laughter could be heard over the din of battle. In her expression of her sexuality she became a great enemy of the early Church. They viewed her freedom of spirit as promiscuity; it was thus a threat to the self denial of the womanless monks.

Andrea will facilitate a meditation to connect with the various aspects of Aine's life-giving energies.


2:00PM – Depart to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Enjoy your box Lunch on the bus. The park is a charming traditional one, with houses, shops and clothes of the bygone era. Bunratty Castle, built in the 15th century, is located on the banks of the Rathy River.


5:00PM – Return to the hotel.
7:00PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Park Inn.  Shannon International Airport.

Day 3. Tuesday, May 19. Newcastle West: Bridget's Well; To Killarney: Innisfallen Island, Ross Castle (B/D)

     
Left to Right: Brigit's Well, Statue of St Bridget, Ross Castle

        
Left to Right: Innisfallen Island - Rainbow Blessing, Monk's Quarters, Ancient Yew Tree, Celtic Cross Á Meditation Altar

Breakfast at your leisure. Service begans at 6:00AM.

9:00AM – Check out of the hotel and depart Shannon in our private motorcoach on our way to Killarney,
home base for our time in County Kerry and southwestern Ireland.

10:00AM - Visit Bridget's Well outside of Newcastle West. The shrine is venerated for the healing properties of the water, which are in a small stone cave-like structure that is filled with holy statues and a multitude of varied offerings left by visitors. There is a saying that Brigid rewards any offering to her, so offerings of coins were often tossed into her wells - the forerunner of the modern custom of throwing a penny into a fountain while you make a wish.

Andrea will facilitate a sacred ceremony to honor Bridget, Mother Goddess of all Ireland, and to ask for Her blessing. Also known as Brigit, Brigid, Brighhid and Bride, She is often considered the Triple Goddess, representing the Maiden, Mother and Crone aspects of femininity. She is the goddess of poetry, healing, fertility, childbirth, and unity. There are many springs and wells in Ireland named after Brigid, as water is seen as a portal to the Otherworld and as a source of wisdom and healing. There is a saying that Brigid rewards any offering to Her, so offerings of coins were often tossed into her wells - the forerunner of the modern custom of throwing a penny into a fountain while you make a wish.

11:00AM - Continue to Killarney.

Noonish – Arrive Killarney and check into the hotel.
You have a bit of time for lunch on your own in the hotel pub.

2:00PM – We're off to visit
Innisfallen Island, one of the most beautiful areas in all of Ireland - Lower Lake Killarney in Killarney National Park. We take a small motorboat to Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane or "Lake of Learning" named for the monastery that was built there more than 1,000 years ago, and where the first writings of Ireland came from, in the late 5th century. It was here where Brian Boru, the last High King of Ireland was educated. An ancient Celtic Cross remains in the Romanesque chapel on the tip of the island. People journey here from all over the world to leave their offerings for wishes to be fulfilled. We'll leave ours! In this place of beauty and serenity, we have time for a meditation facilitated by Andrea to connect with these ancient and enduring energies.
 
We return to shore and visit the ruins of Ross Castle, built in the 15th century by O'Donaghue chieftains. Though most of the castle is no longer standing, a recently restored tower is furnished as it would have been in the 16th or early 17th century. Typical of strongholds of Irish chieftains built during the Middle Ages, the tower house had square bartizans on diagonally opposite corners and a thick end wall. The top of the tower offers breathtaking sweeping scenic views of the lakes and local countryside. Make sure to climb the winding staircase up to that floor to look out the windows! Local legend says that that O'Donoghue leaped or was sucked out of the window of the grand chamber at the top of the castle and disappeared into the waters of the lake along with his horse, his table and his library. Some of the locals believe that he lives in a great palace at the bottom of the lake where he keeps a close eye on everything that he sees!

5:00PM – Return to hotel.
7:00PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Killarney. Killarney Court Hotel. www.killarneycourthotel.com/

Day 4. Wednesday, May 20. Killarney Area: Ring of Kerry (B/L/D)



     
Left to Right: Cloghanecarhan Ogham Stones, Cahergal Stone Fort, Ladies View at Sneem


Eightercua Stone Row (Wikipedia)


Service begans at 6:00AM. Breakfast at your leisure.

9:00AM - Group Meeting: Presentation by Mark Amaru Pinkham - The Mystical History of Ireland.

10:30AM – We depart Killarney to explore the Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula. Dominated by the MacGillycuddy Reeks, a mountain range that includes Ireland's highest peak, the route is the best in scenery and magic that Ireland has to offer, including coastal vistas, verdant mountain passes, bogland, woodland, and glimpses of ancient Ireland with its Ogham Stones, stone circles and more! During the day we'll go through the towns and villages of Beaufort, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Sneem before we finally make our way back to Killarney. Time and motorcoach access allowing, we'll also stop at various stone alignments, dolmens and megalithic circles along the way. As well, we enjoy a group lunch at a restaurant along the way. Here's some of the possible highlights:

As we leave Kenmare we'll stop at a grouping of ancient stones with Ogham writing on them. Ogham, Also written as ogam or ogum, is pronounced "AHG-m" or "OH-ehm." The marks on the edges of the stones are characters from an alphabet that was used in Ireland in the 5th century CE. The 25-letter alphabet for one of the ancient Celtic languages, supposedly inspired by Ogma, God of Eloquence, was carved and read from bottom to top. Though its origin is uncertain, some researches believe it may have been adapted from a sign language. Others believe that the names of the main twenty letters are also the names of 20 trees that were sacred to the druids. The Book of Ballymote, a 15th century treatise on Ogham, confirms that the language was secret and ritualistic. The ancient stones in this grouping have been moved to the site from an area that was not so accessible; for this we can be thankful, as we are able to get up close and personal with them. We only have to step out of our motorcoach and walk a few steps across the road to explore the ancient inscriptions and energies. Some are very powerful indeed, still pulsing with energies

Continuing on around the Ring, we go through Beaufort, where the scenic beauty inspired the first movies filmed in Ireland to be shot here! Then we'll drive through Killorglin is situated on a hill over-looking the wide and graceful River Laune, famous for its salmon and trout fishing. The town is famous for its yearly Puck Fair, linked to pre-Christian celebrations of a fruitful harvest and the male goat or "Puck", which was a pagan symbol of fertility, like the pagan god Pan. Glenbeigh is a small peaceful village at the foot of a well wooded mountain and close to the head of Dingle Bay. Local legends tell of the connections between Glenbeigh and ancient Irish folklore. In ancient Irish folklore many Fianna legends center around this village where it's said Diarmuid and Grainne are believed to have spent some days hiding in a cave in a nearby valley.

The small town of Cahersiveen is one of the westernmost towns in Ireland. Cahergal Stone Fort is located nearby. Built by the first Celts around 600 CE, like many ancient forts the local community used it as a supply of building material after it was abandoned around 900 CE. The current reconstruction of the drystone walls are still one of the best examples of an early medieval stone fort to be found on the ring of Kerry.

The beautiful village of Waterville is stunningly situated between the wild Atlantic Ocean and the fresh water lake of Lough Currane. It's unique in that it's the only village on the Ring of Kerry that is actually right on the coast, sandwiched on a strip of ground between lake and ocean. We'll take a bit of time here to walk along the promenade. Check out the statue of Charlie Chaplin, one of Waterville's claims to fame. The town was a favourite holiday spot of him and his family; they stayed in the Butler Arms Hotel when they first visited the town in 1959 and when they came back every year for over ten years.

Eightercua Stone Row is a four-stone alignment Megalithic tomb, located near Waterville. Eightercua in Irish means "the place or holy place or harbor". The tallest stone is 9 ft high and the alignment streaches for 25 ft in an east-west direction. Surrounding artifacts, including remains of a possible tomb and an ancient enclosure, suggest that the site had a ritual purpose at one time. Eightercua is thought to originate around 1700 BCE. Local legend says it's the burial place of Scéine, wife of the Milesian bard-magician Amergin who is said to have died at sea just prior to them invading Ireland, when the Tuatha de Danaan were defeated and went to the Otherworld. We take time here to commune with these ancient energies.

Just before the picturesque village of Sneem, situated midway between Kenmare and Waterville on the northern side of Kenmare Bay, we stop at Ladies View, named by Queen Victoria's Ladies in Waiting during her 1861 visit to the area as the "most beautiful view in the world." The We panoramic views of the nearby three lakes and mountains is awe-inspiring! We then head back in to Killarney and arrive late afternoon back at the hotel.

7:00PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Killarney. Killarney Court Hotel.

Day 5. Thursday, May 21. Killarney Area: Druid's Stone Circle at Kenmare; Torc Waterfall (B/D)

     
Left to Right: Druid's Stone Circle; Kenmare Street; Torc Waterfall

Breakfast at your leisure. Service begans at 6:00AM.

9:00AM - Group Meeting Presentation by Mark Amaru Pinkham - Those Amazing Druids. 

10:30AM – We depart Killarney to Kenmare. Upon arriival, our first stop is the the large magnificently intact 5,000 year old Bronze Age (2,200–500 BCE) Druid's Stone Circle, probably the largest in southwest Ireland and the only monument of its kind found so close to a town. There are a total of 15 stones of greenstone or brownstone forming a large egg-shaped circle. The stone in the center is an impressive boulder-burial with a giant capstone of almost seven tons. Stones of this type cannot be found for many miles, so were undoubtedly moved to this location from elsewhere. The circle may have been a sacred site for the Druids. Its exact function is unknown, though it may have served as a calendar or as a burial site. Andrea will facilitate a meditation to connect with these powerful ancient energies that are still very much palpable in the circle.

1:00PM – Lunch on your own, followed by some free time to explore this gem of a little village on your own. Kenmare or An Neidín in Irish means "the little nest"; it sits at the head of Kenmare Bay. Perhaps you'd like to visit the museum and information center to learn of the town's history, which is divided into these theme areas: Kenmare lace, famous visitors, the Nun of Kenmare, the Famine, and landlords. Or wander along the main street, poking your nose into the many little shops to find some treasures.

3:00PM – We depart back to Killarney, stopping on the outskirts of town at the Torc Waterfall, in Killarney National Park. As we relax beside the running water, take time to meditate and connect with the magical energies of the nature elementals or devas, and the Faerie Folk! Watch out as they reveal themselves in your photos, as well as capture your heart!

5:00PM – Return to hotel.
7:00PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Killarney. Killarney Court Hotel.

Day 6. Friday, May 22. To County Cork: Paps of Anu; Ballyvourney - Saint Gobnait’s Holy Well
& Shrine
, Sheela-Na-Gig; Knocknakilla Stone Circle; To Cork (B/L/D)

     
Left to Right: Paps of Anu, Goddess Anu, Painting - Riders of the Sidhe by John Duncan

        
Left to Right: Entrance to St. Gobnait's Sacred Well & Shrine, Sacred Well, Shrine

    
Left to Right: Sheela-Na-Gigs, Knocknakilla Stone Circle

Breakfast at your leisure. Service begans at 6:00AM.

9:00AM – We check out of the hotel and bid our fond "Farewell" to Killarney and County Kerry as we drive through the lovely Irish countryside to County Cork. Along the way we stop along the highway to see the Paps of Anu, two mountains shaped like breasts, and named after Anu, the Mother Goddess of the Tuatha de Dannan (see below). Anu or Danu as She was also called, was originally a European Goddess, Her name being commemorated most famously in the River Danube. She was the ancient Celtic goddess of fertility, prosperity and comfort, a very ancient figure whose name means delight, pleasure, and melody. She was the patroness of springs and fountains. In Celtic Christianity she became known as St. Anne, to smooth the path of conversion, and many St. Anne's Wells are named for Her. Commune with the Goddess Anu and open your heart to receive Her blessings!

The Tuatha Dé Danann (People of the Goddess Danu/Anu), the Ancient Ones, or the Shining Ones, were one of the mythical races of deities and heroes of Irish pre-history. They were skilled in art and science, poetry and magic. Legends say they were a were a branch of the ancient seafaring Dananns of the Mediterranean, who, beginning in the 2nd millennium BCE, abandoned some of their coastal territories in the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor coast to conduct a series of migrations to the windswept regions of northern Europe. Danu's son Dagda was their most powerful leader. He came to Ireland with Arch Druids and Druidesses. Upon reaching the shores of Ireland the magical Danaan cloaked themselves in mist, appeared unexpectedly to the current residents, conquered them, and spread throughout the land. Eventually they were conquered by the Milesians from Asia Minor. They retreated to Tir na n-Og (Land of Youth) or continued to lived on the land with the Milesians. Their subterranean homes were entered solely thorough the sidh-mounds, the "hollow hills", which were hidden by magic from the eyes of mortals. Their homes were called Sidhe (síd or sídh) or the Otherworld. Another name for the Tuatha Dé Danann was the áes sídhe or the "People of the Sídhe". Today they are known as the "Faery People". These fairies are not the ones with tiny pixie with wings that are found in folklore and children's fairy tales. Rather they are human-like, with supernatural powers!

10:00AM – We continue to nearby Ballyvourney, Baile Bhúirne, meaning "Town of the Beloved" a primarily Irish-speaking village. Our first stop is the local sacred well dedicated to St. Gobnait, a woman saint from the area, a longtime place of pilgrimage. Many of the sacred wells in Ireland were originally the sites of pagan shrines. The Celts believed the earth's waters were especially sacred and healing, that they issued from the realm of the Underworld Goddess who ruled both birth and death, linking her domain with the Upper World. For them, the waters represented Her eternal wisdom and Her life giving properties. They believed that the easiest way to gain access to the Otherworld was through the divine springs and wells. Every well had its own guardian spirit or local goddess who presided over it. Andrea will facilitate a sacred ritual, or "doing the rounds", during which we will encircle the well a certain number of times, holding those near and dear to us, alive or departed, in our hearts and minds. We then offer water to the Mother Earth in thanksgiving, then to our ancestors, finally drinking of Her lifeblood! (Bring a small plastic bottle and you can take some of the blessed water home with you!)

Afterwards we walk to the nearby abandoned church to see one of the few remaining in-situ Irish Sheela-na-gigs, an ancient symbol of woman's freedom and creativity, and perhaps the last vestiges of what some researchers believe to be the pagan connection with Celtic Christianity. These stone carvings of a female figure consist of an old woman squatting and pulling apart her vulva. They are usually associated with "hags" or the Crone. The Sheela is situated above a window on the south wall the old church. The locals still refer to Her as the ancient Mother Goddess and regularly make their personal pilgrimages to Her, especially each year on February 11th, the feast day of St. Gobnait. Our ritual to connect with our own creativity will consist of rubbing of the image - to touch and feel Her, communing through meditation.

1:00PM – After our morning visits we enjoy a group lunch at a local pub/restaurant in Ballyvourney

2:30PM – Then we're off to Knocknakilla Stone Circle! The name is derived from the Irish Cnoc na Cille, "The Hill of the Church". The megalithic complex, which is thought to be 3500 years old, is situated between nearby Macroom and Millstreet, on the northwest upper slopes of Musherabeg mountain. Knocknakilla is best known for its large phallic, now leaning, portal stone. Given the stones' relation to both the rising and setting sun, it's thought that they were aligned with purpose and functionality in mind, most likely as calendars to early farmers, relating to harvest or fertility ceremonies. We'll take some time for individual exploration and a group meditation to connect with the ancient energies of this sacred place.

5:00PM – Depart to Cork.
6:00PM – Arrive and check in at the hotel.
7:00PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Cork. Clayton Hotel.
www.claytonhotelcorkcity.com/


Day 7. Saturday, May 23. To Kildare - Sisters of Bridget Center; Bridget’s Church & Bridget’s Well;
To Dublin (B/BoxLunch/Dinner)

    
Left to Right: Sisters of Bridget Center - Statue of Bridget, Sister Mary with Bridget Cross, Altar with Perpetual Flame

    
Left to Right: St Bridget's Cathedral, Sheela-Na-Gig in Cathedral, Shrine for Sacred Flame

  
Left to Right: Kildare Round Tower, Bridget Statue at Bridget's Well

Breakfast at your leisure. Begins at 6:00AM
8:00AM – Check out of the hotel and
board our motor coach for our drive through the lovely and picturesque Irish countryside to Kildare. Today we'll be learning about and honoring Bridget/Brigit/Brigid/Brighid, the main Mother Goddess of Ireland. She is often considered the Triple Goddess. She is the goddess of poetry, healing, fertility, childbirth, and unity. Regardless of their differences, with their love and respect for Brigid, all Celtic people agreed upon Her goodness and compassion. She was also the warrior goddess, and as the goddess of fire was the patroness the forge and the hearth. Once Christianity came to the Isle, She was incorporated into it as St. Brighid. In many Irish homes today St. Brighid's Cross is used for protection, and is made from rushes as in the old days. Her main center of worship was at Kildare, where we're headed today.

11:00AM – Arrive Kildare and visit the Solas Bride Center and the Sisters of Bridget. In 1992 the Brigidine Sisters came to live in Kildare to re-connect with their roots, to reclaim Brigid in a new way for a new millennium. They founded a small Christian Center for Celtic Spirituality in the spirit of Brigid of Kildare. An outreach community of women and men, who call themselves Cairde Bhride, (Friends of Brigid) has developed around the Solas Bhride Center in association with the Brigidine Sisters. Inspired by the values of Brigid, they work together to promote peace, justice, reconciliation and care of the earth. We'll meet with Sister Phil & Sister Mary, who will share their love of and teachings about Bridget, in Her many forms. (Box Lunch
included.)

2:30PM - Afterwards we'll visit the Cathedral Church of St. Brigid. The present building is a restored Norman cathedral dating from 1223. The site occupied by the cathedral is likely the site of a pagan shrine to the goddess Brigid. There was a Christian church here from the end of the 5th century, a simple thatched-roof structure, built under an oak tree, and named by St. Brigid Cill Dara, the Church of the Oak, from which the name of the city and the modern name of the country Kildare derives.

Inside the church we find a Sheela-na-gig, a carving that is an ancient symbol of woman's freedom and creativity. Sheela-na-Gigs are virtually the only surviving element of one of the most important aspects of the native Celtic tradition, with its feminine orientation or belief in the ultimate deity as symbolized in the Cailleach (Coy lech) or Hag. These stone carvings of a female figure consist of an old woman squatting and pulling apart her vulva. Take some time to sit near Her to commune and connect with your own creativity through
meditation.

Outside the church is the restored foundation of St. Brigid's Fire Temple, dedicated to the most significant woman of early Christian Ireland, or perhaps her pagan namesake. While there are no contemporary texts to describe the pagan goddess, this Brigid ("Exalted one") is thought by her devotees to have been a "triple goddess" of poetry, healing and smithcrafting. One legend says that she was born at daybreak and rose into the sky with the sun, with its rays of fire beaming from her head.

Fire is a central image in the Brigidine tradition. A perpetual flame burned in Kildare in pre-Christian times and was kept alight by Brigid and her nuns, possibly up to the sixteenth century. Legend tells us that 19 priestesses representing the 19-year cycle of the Celtic year each tended the sacred fire through a 20 day rotation. On the 20th day it is said that the fire was tended by Brighid herself. To this day, the sacred flame has continued to burn, although during its lifetime it has been put out during political upheavals. It was relit in 1993 by Sister Mary Teresa Cullen, the then leader of the Brigidine Sisters, in the Market Square, Kildare at the opening of a justice and peace conference. The Ssters of the Solas Bride Center have kept it burning perpetually since that time. Take some time to viit the Shrine of the Sacred Flame for a time of blessing and meditation.

Also on the grounds of the cathedral is a round tower. The original tower, possibly from the 6th centure succumbed to assault or simply fell into ruin. The present tower dates to the 12th century. At over 100 ft. tall, it's the second highest in Ireland, and the highest one that can be climbed. The impressive tower was constructed from Wicklow granite and local limestone. The doorway and entrance is built from red sandstone, with typical romanesque motifs of chevrons, marigolds and lozenges.

3:30PM - On our way out of town we'll stop at Bridget's Well, a mystical place of veneration for this pagan goddess. Here you can still sense that the area has been "special" to many people for ages! The well is fed by a spring that then flows underground before appearing again under a stone archway. The stones below the archway are known as St Brigid's slippers.The stream then flows past a modern bronze statue of Saint Brigid.  We'll take some quiet time for reflection and meditation before we leave Kildare, giving Thanks for what we've received today from Bridget.

5:00PM – Depart to Dublin.
6:00PMish – Arrive Dublin and check into the hotel.
7:30PM – Group dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Dublin. Wynn's Hotel. www.wynnshotel.ie/

Day 8. Sunday, May 24. Dublin, Free Time (B)

       
Left to Right: Book of Kells, National Museum of Archaeololgy, Tara Brooch, St Stephen's Green

Breakfast at your leisure. Begins at 6:00AM

You have a free day to explore Dublin on your own. Perhaps you'd like to visit Trinity College to view the Book of Kells, housed in the Old Library. Or the National Museum of Archaeology and History, with its phenomenal collection of artifacts from every period of Irish history. View the famous Sheela-na-Gigs, as well as the famed Tara Brooch, an exquisite example of Celtic gold and silver metalwork dating to the beginning of the 8th century; the early 9th-century Ardagh Chalice made of silver, gold, and bronze, found with other smaller treasures in a Limerick potato field in 1868, as well as a replica of the Gundestrup Cauldron, found in a peat bog at Gundestrup, Denmark and believed to be of Celtic art. You can also view several bodies that were recovered from bogs!

Take a leisurely stroll through St Stephen's Green, adjacent to Grafton Street, one of Dublin's main shopping streets. 

Lunch and dinner on your own.
Overnight Dublin. Wynn's Hotel. www.wynnshotel.ie/


Day 9. Monday, May 25. Newgrange & Knowth, Hill of Tara, Farewell Dinner (B/D)

        
Left to Right: Newgrange, Entrance to Newgrange Passage Tomb, Hill of Tara

Breakfast at your leisure. Begins at 6:00AM

8:00AM - Group Meeting: Presentation by Mark Amaru Pinkham - e Kings of Ireland and the Magical Stone of Scone

9:00AM – Depart to Newgrange
10:00AM – Arrive at one of the world's most famous archeological valleys, the Boyne Valley, 30 miles north of Dublin. Here the development of man can be traced back over 9,000 years to Neolithic times, with many well-preserved sites, buildings and monuments. The highlight of our visit is to Newgrange, one of the world's most important sacred sites, with its spectacular world-famous passage grave containing kerb stones engraved with megalithic art. The most stunning example of this ancient art at Newgrange is the beautifully carved entrance stone with its Triple Goddess spiral. The Tuatha Dé Danaan, who ruled Ireland in ancient mythology, were said to have erected Newgrange as a burial place for their chief, Dagda Mór, and his three sons. According to the most reliable carbon 14 dates available, it was constructed around 3,200 BCE. Some archaeologists believe it to be the oldest engineered building in the world! In 1993, Newgrange and its sister sites Knowth and Dowth were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we walk this hallowed ground and enter into the passage tomb, take time to focus and connect with the Ancient Ones who built this phenomenal sacred site. If Knowth is open, we will also be able to visit this site.

Lunch on your own at the Visitors Center and time to visit the gift shop for souvenirs.

1:00PM - Depart to the Hill of Tara.
1:30PM – Arrive and visit Hill of Tara, with a guided tour

We then visit another of Ireland's most important sacred sites, the Hill of Tara, which is said to represent the mother womb of Ireland. The Hill was the ancient seat of power in Ireland - 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times. In ancient Irish religion and mythology it was the sacred dwelling place of the Tuatha Dé Dannan, and was the entrance to the Otherworld. Sitting on top of the King's Seat is a replica of the most famous of Tara's monuments, Ireland's ancient coronation stone, known as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny, which was brought here according to mythology by the Dannan as one of their sacred objects. It was said to roar when touched by the rightful king of Tara.

We have time to meditate in this powerful place to connect with the ancient and other-worldly energies. High on this hill overlooking the lovely nearby counties of the Emerald Isle, Andrea will facilitate our Closing Ceremony and Meditation.

4:00PM – Depart to Dublin
5:00PM - Arrive at our hotel.
7:00PM - On our last evening on the Emerald Isle, during our Farewell Dinner, we share more of our sacred travel experiences, as well as hugs and our fond farewells.

Overnight Dublin. Wynn's Hotel.

Day 10. Tuesday, May 26. Depart Ireland (B)

Tour ends after breakfast. Transfer to the airport on your own to check in for your international flight.

Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.

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TESTIMONIALS

Let my heart fly to new beginnings and new endings, ever present knowing my soul has walked this sacred land many eons ago…Oh just tarry a bit longer to feel the magic the elementals have to offer. Music dances between the dawn and the night with the rhythm of the land and sea…..and Andrea helped to facilitate and integrate these wonderful energies of Ireland. - Pam H., OH

The meditations we did helped to centre my experience and to bring us together as a group on the journey together. I experienced an amazing reconnection with myself and I am grateful to move forward in the next phase of my life with renewed love and trust in the Goddess.  Colleen W. - Canada

Ireland is vibrant with beauty, good energy and great people. The sacred sites on this journey are awe-inspiring, interesting & peacefilled. I highly recommend this pilgrimage. Lynn M. - KS

For me the tour was nice, rather laid-back. I appreciated the fact that ceremonies were optional and could be attended if wished. I enjoyed connecting with the other travelers and understanding more about the sites. I feel that joining the tour has enriched my life. Mehera S. - Australia

The English language is ill-equipped to describe my experience on the Sacred Sites Journeys tour to Ireland. I simply cannot find the words to do the experience justice. Suffice it to say it has been life-changing, self-assuring & affirmative and has given me the opportunity to connect with the magick of my ancestors, my sacred feminine, my kindred sisters and this fabulous land of the  Mother. I can only wish for all sentient beings to have the desire and opportunity to experience a divine connection with Gaia that will perpetually sustain and nourish Her as much as it can nourish us! Lisa E. - Australia

The spiritual pilgrimage to Ireland was very rewarding. I especially enjoyed the sacred sites of Newgrange and Skellig Michael, and the sacred wells. Ireland its people are beautiful. We even had great weather! - L. Merrill - KS

My sacred journey to Ireland was a good one for me on many levels and in different aspects. First, generally it is good to get out and meet and see how other people are actually living their lives. The Irish seem to be doing quite well without the innumerable distractions we are exposed to here. I appreciated their graciousness and friendliness towards us. On a more personal level, this is the first trip I had taken where I knew absolutely no one other than corresponding with Andrea. It was fine. I even chose not to email my roommate beforehand, as I  knew it would be alright; and it was. Ireland is such a beautiful country, one where you cannot ignore the connection to nature. That was certainly reaffirming for me, especially since my work is with wildlife. But the connection is on a very deep level too. I know the country is really mother earth and just seeing those green hills felt very sheltering. - J. Cohn - AZ

We had a wonderful time in Ireland! There really wasn't a single thing about the vacation that we didn't appreciate and enjoy. We would go back in the proverbial heartbeat. We loved the beauty of the place, the fun, and the history, and heaven knows, the food (especially Bridget's brown bread and porridge, and the salmon!). But especially we loved the sacred ceremonies, which sustain us in ways we would probably never be able to articulate. - A. Joyce and J. Dennison - MD

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TOUR INCLUSIONS

Your Sacred Sites Journey to IRELAND Includes:
- Accommodations in charming 3-star and 4-star Irish hotels, all rooms with private bath or shower (includes taxes & service charges) and with daily breakfast
- 2 Box lunches (Days 2 & 7); 2 Lunches (Days 4 & 6)
- 8 Dinners (Days 1 – 7 & 9)
- Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
- Sightseeing as per the itinerary, including entrance fees
- Pre-Paid Gratuities for driver/guide and for servers at group meals
- Local Guide at Newgrange
- Local Guide at Hill of Tara
- Porterage included. One piece of luggage per person per hotel

Special Features
- Travel in a smaller group with other spirit-centered people - Fully escorted from Shannon by SSJ's Director, Andrea Mikana-Pinkham
- Featured Speaker author Mark Amaru Pinkham
- Sacred ceremonies and meditations facilitated by Andrea Mikana-Pinkham
- Limerick Area: Lough Gur, Grange Stone Circle, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and Bridget's Well
- Killarney Area: Innisfallen Island, Ross Castle, Druid's Stone Circle, Kenmare, Torc Waterfall and the Ring of Kerry
- County Cork Area: Paps of Anu, Sacred Well, Sheela-Na-Gig, Knocknakilla Stone Circle
- Kildare: Sisters of Bridget Center, Bridget's Cathedral, Kildare Round Tower and Bridget's Well
- Free Day in Dublin
- County Meath Area: Newgrange & Knowth and the Hill of Tara
- Welcome and Farewell Dinners

NOT INCLUDED:
- Roundtrip international air to Ireland (Arrive Shannon/Depart Dublin)
- Transfer hotel/airport in Dublin
- Meals not included, as indicated in the itinerary
- Cost to obtain valid passport
- Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, internet and telephone calls. Any item that is not specifically detailed on the SSJ website or final trip itinerary

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TOUR PRICING

This tour is LAND ONLY. You are responsible to book your international flights.
ARRIVAL: Please book your international in arrival in Shannon on Sunday, May 17, 2020 by Noonish in order to give yourself time to check in at the hotel and rest before our later afternoon group meeting and welcome dinner.
DEPARTURE: Please book your international departure on
Tuesday May 26, 2020 to depart from Dublin.

Per Person, double occupancy, land only
$2,919.00 - via check or bank wire
$3,073.00  - via credit card on PayPal

Single Room Supplement:
This is the additional amount you will pay if you choose to have your own private room throughout the tour. The number of single rooms for our group is limited, so book early if you want to reserve this rooming option.
$559.00 - via check or bank wire
$589.00 -  via credit card on PayPal

NOTE: There are only 4 single rooms available at the above price. Once these fill, if we can obtain others from the various hotels, there may be an additional supplement price. So, if you want your own private room at the price listed above, please register EARLY! Thanks!

ROOMMATES: Would you like to meet and make a new friend on your journey? If you're not traveling with anyone you know, and would like for SSJ to try to match you up with a suitable roommate, we'll be happy to try to do so.

Per our Terms and Conditions, we will hold the registration for the trip open until March 11, 2020 in order to try to match you with someone. If by that date we have not been able to do so, you will be responsible to pay for the single supplement. If you would like to be matched with a roommate, please register early.

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TOUR REGISTRATION

We invite YOU to join us for our Sacred Sites Journeys
2020 Spiritual Pilgrimage to IRELAN
D!
Participation is limited! We're only taking 13 people!


After reading the information above, if you'd like to join us,
HERE'S a link to the Tour Registration Form
SacredSitesJourneys-Ireland-May2020-RegFormTsCs.pdf


At that time you will be required to submit a deposit of $500.00 to reserve your place.

IMPORTANT! Due to the contracts we have with the hotels,
registration will close on March 18, 2020.
We must give them the names of all registered passengers at that time
in order to keep the block of rooms we've reserved.
Final payment
will be due on March 25, 2020.

Unfortunately there can be no exceptions!
So please make your plans earlier than later!
We encourage you to read about why this is important here:
When To Register For Your Sacred Sites Journey



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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!
Sacred Sites Journeys are smoke-free sacred travel experiences.
All forms of tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes are not allowed at any time.
Thanks for your cooperation.

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NOTE: All photos and text on this webpage are the Copyright of Sacred Sites Journeys.
Sacred Sites Journeys is NOT affiliated with any other sacred travel company.

Other sacred travel companies offering spiritual pilgrimages similar to ours
are using our text, photos and some of our testimonials. We did not give them permission to do so.
We believe that karma is very efficient, and that those who are not in integrity
will swiftly reap the negative benefits of such actions.

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Updated 8/20/2019
Copyright Sacred Sites Journeys 2003 - 2019