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An Irish Pilgrimage June 2008

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  • emrys@globe.net.nz
    http://tinyurl.com/ywxnfe In the footsteps of the Irish Fathers Pilgrimage led by Fr Ilya Gotlinsky (Orthodox Church of America) June 20 - July 5, 2008
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2007

      "In the footsteps of the Irish Fathers"

      Pilgrimage led by Fr Ilya Gotlinsky (Orthodox Church of America)

      June 20 - July 5, 2008

      Comprehensive tour-pilgrimage of the important monastic settlements
      and pilgrim centres of Ancient Ireland. Visits to Ireland's most
      famous historical places and natural wonders are included as an
      additional bonus.

      If you are interested in joining this tour or have any questions,
      please contact us!

      The project "In the Footsteps of Irish Fathers" is intended as a
      pilgrimage and educational tour of Early Christian Ireland. Monastic
      at its core, the Celtic Church of Ireland survived during the
      turbulent era of the Western European Dark Ages, keeping the Faith,
      the Doctrine and literacy. It is out of the Irish monasteries that
      the great re-Christianization of Gaul and Germany began. For many
      centuries, the Orthodox treasure and learning of the Early Celtic
      church remained a hidden secret. In many ways it is unknown even to
      the present day to both Orthodox Christians of the East, (who are
      unaware of the precious treasures of faithful courage exemplified by
      their Western brothers), and to the modern Christians of the West,
      who in many cases lost the Church historical perspective beyond the
      late Middle Ages. To the best of our knowledge, the current tour-
      pilgrimage is among the first comprehensive journeys to all the major
      and important sites of historical Irish monasticism. Even though most
      of these sites are in ruins, pilgrims and curious travellers will be
      given a chance to explore and to learn about those monastic cities
      and settlements, to venerate holy shrines and to participate in
      prayers services at numerous places that are of prime importance to
      the historical Church. As an additional bonus, we will offer several
      side tours to the most famous natural wonders and pre-historical
      monuments of the Emerald Isle. Although this trip is proposed with an
      Orthodox Christian traveller in mind, it will doubtless be edifying
      and beneficial to anyone who is interested in Christian monasticism,
      the history of the Christian Church or the history of Ancient Ireland
      in general.


      Day 1, June 20, 2008: Group meets at the JFK Airport for an evening
      departure for Ireland

      Day 2, June 21, 2008: Arrival in Dublin Airport. Transfer to the
      hotel. Free morning. Tour of the city. Visit to the Chester Beatty
      Library, beautifully housed within the Dublin Castle complex - the
      greatest collection in Europe of Western, Middle Eastern and Oriental
      culture including over 20,000 manuscripts, rare books and miniature
      paintings. In the Western European collection, there are fine early
      printed books, some including engravings by Durer, Piranesi and
      Bartolozzi & others and a large collection of prints and maps.
      Continue on to the 16th century Trinity College, founded by Elizabeth
      I, now home to the famous illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells.
      There we will also see the current exhibition `Turning Darkness into
      Light,' featuring large-scale details from the famous manuscripts.
      Vespers, dinner and overnight in Dublin.

      Day 3, June 22, 2008: We will start the morning with a Divine Liturgy
      at the local Orthodox Church (Moscow patriarchate). After the service
      and Lunch we will continue our tour of Dublin and will visit the
      National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology and History in Kildare
      Street. This museum houses over 2,000,000 artefacts which range in
      date between 7000BC and the late medieval period. Exhibitions include
      the finest collection of prehistoric gold artefacts in Western
      Europe, outstanding examples of metalwork from the Celtic Iron Age,
      as well as the Museum's world-renowned collection of medieval
      ecclesiastical objects and jewellery. The Broighter Hoard, the Ardagh
      Chalice, the Tara Brooch and Derrynaflan Hoard are among the
      masterpieces on display. The Museum also houses a rich collection of
      Egyptian material and an historical exhibition which deals with the
      political background and events which culminated in the signing of
      the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. Dinner and overnight in Dublin.

      Day 4, June 23, 2008: Leaving Dublin we head towards The Abbey of
      Kells, a former monastery located some 40 miles away from Dublin.
      The abbey was originally founded by St Columba in the mid sixth
      century, and was later renewed in the ninth century by monks from the
      Island of Iona who were fleeing into the Irish interior away from the
      Viking menace. The famous Book of Kells was written and illustrated
      in the Abbey. From the that Holy place we will continue to Slane and
      to The Hill of Tara, the seat of the early Irish kings and great open-
      air assemblies in the early centuries just before and after the birth
      of Christ. Before arriving at the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre, we
      travel through the Boyne Valley whose banks are lined with landmarks
      from almost every phase of Ireland's past - from the prehistoric
      passage tombs at Newgrange, to the legendary Hill of Tara, seat of
      the Irish High Kings as well as monuments from the early days of
      Christianity. Our tour of the Boyne Valley is completed with a visit
      to either Newgrange or Knowth burial passages, which were built
      between 3,500BC and 2,700BC and were used as tombs in which Stone Age
      men buried their dead. Leaving the Boyne Valley, we visit
      Monasterboice, a great learning centre of old, a monastery that was
      founded by St. Buite in the fifth century. Today, the site houses
      some impressive church ruins. The round tower, best known for
      Muiredach's Cross, is one of the best specimens of a high cross in
      Ireland, this 17 foot tall cross can be traced back to 922. O/n

      Day 5, June 24, 2008: We will start with Armagh, the "spiritual"
      capital of Ireland for over 1500 years and the seat of both Catholic
      and Protestant archbishops. Armagh is significant both for its pre-
      historic monuments and for its association with St Patrick. The
      hilltop enclosure of Navan was one of the most important of pre-
      historic ritual centres in Ireland: though it gives the impression of
      being a fort, the ditch is on the inside of the rampart - less
      defensive than symbolic. A lake nearby was used for votive offerings
      and was no doubt also of religious significance in prehistory. In
      Irish legend of the Ulster Cycle, Navan was the capital of Ulster:
      Emain Macha, the base of King Conchubhair and the hero C� Chulainn.
      No doubt, like at Tara, the proximity of the church at Armagh to this
      significant prehistoric is not accidental. Following a short tour of
      Armagh City, we visit Armagh Cathedral. There is little left of the
      original 13th century cathedral as it was redesigned by the English
      architect, L.N. Cottingham in 19 century. Some beautiful features of
      the cathedral include the "Market Cross" that shows scenes from the
      Old and New Testament. There is also a plaque which records that the
      body of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, who was killed at the
      Battle of Clontarf in 1014, lies in the vicinity. Then we will also
      visit Saint Patrick's Cathedral Armagh and will continue to the
      nearby Navan Centre which tells the story one of Ireland's most
      important ancient monuments, Navan Fort. Leaving Armagh, we travel
      east through the Mourne Region and on to Downpatrick, where we visit
      the Saint Patrick Centre. The Saint Patrick Centre, one of Northern
      Ireland's major Millennium Projects, is the first permanent
      exhibition to tell the story of Ireland's Patron Saint. Following the
      visit to the Centre, you will get the opportunity to visit Down
      Cathedral, in whose churchyard St. Patrick is reputed to be buried.
      Continuing northward along the east shore road past many fishing
      villages and along the shores of Strangford Lough we arrive in
      Belfast, a city that is beautifully ringed by high hills, the sea
      Lough and river valley. During a panoramic tour of Belfast, we will
      pass the lovely City Hall - built around 1903 and dominating the main
      shopping area. Half a mile from this area is Queens University, with
      its mellow brickwork and Tudor cloister. Free time to explore some
      of the excellent shops and pubs of the city. We will arrange to meet
      with the priest from the local Antiochian Orthodox parish and will
      hear his fascinating account of the Orthodox mission in an area that
      for so long was a battleground for Protestant and Catholic
      communities. Dinner and overnight in Belfast.

      Day 6, June 25, 2008: This morning we leave Belfast and travel
      through the "Nine Glens of Antrim" before stopping at the picturesque
      ruins of Dunluce Castle, situated on the high cliffs above the Sea.
      Then we will continue on to the magnificent Giant's Causeway. This
      area of hexagonal columns was formed over 60 million years ago by
      cooling lava and has given rise to many legends, as the basalt
      resembles giant steps. Before arriving in Derry, we travel to Ness
      Woods Country Park and to the Ballygroll Prehistoric Complex. This is
      a remarkable complex of prehistoric stone monuments, still partly
      covered by peat. Excavations in the 1970's revealed a considerable
      variety of prehistoric monuments ranging from a Neolithic court-tomb
      as well as a wedge tomb, to stone circles, a round cairn and a
      barrow, probably all belonging to the Bronze Age.Upon arriving in
      Derry we will take a sightseeing tour of the city which we will
      complete with a walk along the Walls of Derry. Dinner and overnight
      in Derry.

      Day 7, June 26, 2008: This morning we leave Derry. From Derry fort we
      will travel further south to the site of another important centre of
      Christian learning in Ireland, the monastery on the Devenish Island.
      The island and surrounding vicinity appear remote today, but back in
      the time of St. Molaise, the banks of rivers and lakes were populated
      since the waterways served as a great connection between the inland
      and the ocean. Pilgrims and travelers were provided with much needed
      hospitality at the many monasteries and churches in the area. Most
      important of them all was the Monastery founded by St. Molaise, an
      Irishman who was brought up in Scotland. Dinner and overnight in

      Day 8, June 27, 2008: This morning we will travel from Sligo to
      Mullaghmore, where we will board a boat for a trip to Inishmurray
      Island which is an almost barren area of 1 mile by a � mile wide. The
      main attraction today is the island's remarkable collection of
      antiquities. The great Cashel - a wall of un-cemented stones -
      encloses a group of ruins that are the most characteristic example of
      primeval Irish monastic establishment. The foundation of the
      monastery on the remote island is also attributed to that lover of
      hermitical life - St. Molaise. The repentant St. Colmcille, another
      famous Irish Saint came here after victory in the infamous "Battle of
      the Books" to confess his sins to St. Molaise. The destruction of the
      monastery by the Vikings in the ninth century was fatal, but the
      island remained a pilgrimage destination until very recent times. The
      last inhabitants of the island -fishermen, left for the mainland in
      the 1940s.Back on the mainland, we continue further south through
      Sligo where we visit the nearby Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. This
      is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also
      among the oldest in the country. Over 60 tombs have been located by
      archaeologists, the oldest pre-date Newgrange by some 700 years. A
      restored cottage houses a small exhibition relating to the site.
      Continue on to Westport which lies in the arm of Clew Bay, a superb
      expanse of island dotted sea framed by mountain ranges. Dinner and
      overnight in Galway.

      Day 9, June 28, 2008: This morning we plan to attend a Divine
      Liturgy at the local Orthodox Church in Galway. The Orthodox
      community of the city does not have a church per se, but a priest
      visits here regularly, providing an opportunity for the local
      faithful to participate in worship and to receive the Holy mysteries.
      After the service we will travel eastwards to visit Clonfert
      Cathedral, located on the grounds of a monastery founded in 563 by
      St. Brendan the Navigator. This area was known as the ecclesiastical
      centre of Ireland, where numerous monasteries were located from as
      early as the 5th century. The monastery at Clonfert was a
      flourishing monastic settlement and a great center of learning. In
      the 16th century the College of St. Brendan was founded here and at
      one time there were as many as 3000 thousand students. According to
      some historical sources, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth it was
      proposed to found a University at Clonfert, but that idea never was
      realized. Onwards to nearby Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran in
      548AD. The monastery was founded at an ideal location as it is
      situated at the junction of the major travel routes of Ancient
      Ireland and it is right on the border of three Irish provinces. Being
      an important pilgrim destination and under the patronage of various
      kings, Clonmacnoise became the most important of Ireland's monastic
      cities. Despite many attacks, it flourished until the mid 16th
      century when it was finally destroyed by English forces, never to be
      rebuilt ever again. Dinner and Overnight in Galway.

      Day 10, June 29, 2008: Today we take an Aran Islands tour, travelling
      to the Gaelteacht area of Rossaveal to take the ferry boat to
      Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Enjoy a tour of the
      Island by mini-bus. We will visit the mystic fort of Dun Aengus with
      its imposing position overlooking the Atlantic. The Islands are still
      largely Gaelic speaking, and maintain many of the traditional Irish
      island customs which reflect the harshness of island life. Visit to
      the Aran Island Interpretative Centre where an excellent audio-visual
      display shows the history of the islands and the islanders. Time
      permitting and also subject to ferry crossings, we visit Inishmann,
      (meaning the "the middle island") where we visit the ancient
      Kilcanonagh Church, which is a typical 8th-9th century stone building
      and is complete except for the roof, which must have been wood-
      framed. It is surrounded by grave slabs and it was here that the
      island buried its people until fifty years ago. We will also visit
      Teampall na Seacht Mac R� (Church of the seven sons). Very little
      remains of this early church. By the south door is the grave of Saint
      Cinndearg. Nearby is a holy well, 'Tobar Chinndeirge'. This used to
      be a famous place of pilgrimage for all of Connaught. "The Stations"
      are still held here on the 15th of August. We will return from the
      Aran Islands via Doolin. Time permitting we will stop at the
      observation deck over the Cliffs of Moher - one of the most imposing
      natural wonders of Ireland. Transfer to the hotel in County Clare for
      dinner and overnight.

      Day 11, June 30, 2008: We will start our day with the exploration of
      another important monastic foundation at Kilmacduagh that was founded
      in the 7th century by Saint Colman, son of Duagh (hence the name), on
      a property given to him by his cousin and local king. The monastery
      was of such importance that it became the centre of a new diocese,
      the Diocese of Kilmacduagh. After venerating another Holy place, we
      will continue to the center at Craggaunowen, an archaeological open
      air museum, very unique and the only one of its kind in Ireland. It
      shows what an early medieval crannog - natural or artificial and
      often fortified island - might have looked like. At the local
      Craggaunowen Castle that is adjacent to the site there is a museum
      with various exhibits. On one of them is a replica of the currachs -
      the leather boat that was most probably used by St. Brandon the
      Navigator in his voyages across North Atlantic. The boat in the
      museum collection is the one that belonged to the team of the famous
      Tim Severin in his expedition of 1973, which attempted to repeat the
      journey of St. Brandon as described in the Latin text dating from the
      ninth century titled "Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot". Passing the
      medieval city of Limerick and the pretty village of Adare, we
      continue on to Killarney located among Kerry's spectacular mountains
      and lakes is famous for. Dinner and overnight in Killarney.

      Day 12, June 31, 2008: This morning, we embark on a tour of one of
      Ireland's most popular scenic drives, the Ring of Kerry. Starting in
      Killarney which is set beside the picturesque lakes at the foot of
      the Kerry mountains, we continue on to Killorglin, a pretty riverside
      village famous for the annual horse fair. There will be plenty of
      stops along the route to admire the views and take photos. Continue
      through Glenbeigh, with its spectacular views and long sandy beaches
      and on to Valencia Island where we visit the Skellig Experience
      Visitor Centre. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the
      Interpretative Centre blends into the landscape and offers superb
      views of the fishing port of Portmagee. The centre illustrates four
      main themes associated with the Skelligs UNESCO World Heritage site
      using graphics, models, exhibition items and reconstruction. The
      Centre has an 80 seat auditorium with a 16 minute audio-visual
      presentation which explains the background of the monastic occupation
      of the island, as well as the life of the monks that live there. For
      the more adventurous among the group and subject to suitable weather
      conditions, we travel 12km by boat to the Skellig Islands. From a
      distance the islands look like floating pyramids of sandstone. Up
      close they look rugged and uninviting and after a cold and often
      rough boat trip, there are almost seven hundred steep steps to greet
      you on your arrival. The tiring climb up the steps is not for the
      faint hearted. The largest of the Skelligs is Skellig Michael (Sceilg
      Mhichil) and was home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in
      Ireland that is preserved practically intact since the seventh
      century. The monks of St. Fionan's monastery led simple lives and
      lived in stone, beehive shaped huts. They would spend most of the day
      praying in the church, tending to their gardens and studying. These
      huts, which were round on the outside and rectangular on the inside,
      were carefully built so that no drop of rain ever entered between the
      stones. The monks were forced to leave the island in the thirteenth
      century but it remained a place of pilgrimage for a long time.
      Returning to the mainland, we travel through Sneem, voted Ireland's
      tidiest town and certainly one of the prettiest villages, with
      colourful houses and shops set around a village green and continue on
      to Killarney. Dinner and overnight in Killarney.

      Day 13, July 1, 2008: Today a breathtaking landscape will unfold in
      front of our eyes today as we drive around the Dingle Peninsula
      before arriving in Dunquin, on the westernmost tip of the peninsula,
      to visit the Blasket Centre. Here you will discover what life was
      like on the remote Blasket Islands. This living history museum
      explores all the dimensions of island-living, from the land, the sea,
      and the language, to the weather and the seasons, as well as the
      distinctive character of the Blasket Islanders. Leaving Dunquin, we
      arrive at Gallarus Oratory, one of the best-preserved Early Christian
      church buildings in Ireland that dates approximately to the seventh
      century. The building suggests, in outline, an inverted boat.Time
      permitting we will stop at Dunbeag Promontory Fort, one of the most
      impressive archaeological sites of the Peninsula, that is also
      believed to be a part of the Christian and possibly monastic
      settlement. Return to Killarney for dinner and overnight.

      Day 14, July 2, 2008: Leaving Killarney we travel northwards through
      the rich agricultural lands known as the "Golden Vale" before
      arriving at Cashel where we visit one of the most important
      ecclesiastical sites in Ireland - The Rock of Cashel which rises
      dramatically from the flat countryside. This site has the best set of
      varied monuments in any Irish site. The rock is crowned by a group
      of buildings, both ecclesiastical and royal, including a round tower,
      a 13th century Romanesque chapel and the beautifully restored Hall of
      the Vicar Choral.We also visit nearby Holycross Abbey. Holycross
      Abbey was founded in 1168 for the Benedictines by Donal O'Brien, King
      of Munster and transferred about 1182 to the Cistercians. The
      precious Relic of the True Cross, given by Pope Paschal II to Murtagh
      O'Brien II, King of Munster in 1110 was magnificently enshrined in
      the Abbey and Holycross became one of the most frequented places of
      pilgrimage in Ireland. Much rebuilding work was carried out in the
      first three centuries of the Abbey's existence so that little of the
      original Romanesque work remains. The Abbey was restored and is now
      used as a Parish Church. Continuing our journey towards Dublin we
      arrive in Kildare, where we visit St Brigid's Cathedral. The present
      restored Norman cathedral most likely occupies the site of the
      original pagan shrine to the goddess Brigid and the later early
      Christian foundation and church of St. Brigid. As the eighth century
      document states, St. Brigid was born into a Christian family in
      453AD. At age sixteen she was tonsured a nun and started her
      monastery at Celldare. St. Brigid is second only to St Patrick in the
      esteem of the Irish people. She is specially associated with Kildare
      and the whole area of Magh Life (The Liffey Plain). The present
      Cathedral was built by the Norman Bishop Ralph of Bristol in 1223 and
      continued to serve the people of Kildare through the centuries,
      though after the Reformation it gradually fell into disrepair and by
      1641 it was totally ruined following the Confederate Wars. It was
      restored to its present glory in the 19th century and has in recent
      years undergone further restoration. From Kildare we will travel the
      short distance to Dublin. Dinner and overnight in Dublin.

      Day 15, July 4, 2008: This morning, we travel into Wicklow, "the
      garden of Ireland" and visit Glendalough, where in the 6th century
      the Monastery founded by St Kevin became a centre of learning
      renowned in Europe. Its many early remains are of particular
      interest, especially the stone-roofed St Kevin's Kitchen, actually St
      Kevin's Church, so called because of its unusual construction. It
      appears to combine church, cell and belfry and is a notable example
      of the early development of Irish church architecture. Also of
      interest are The Fine Round Tower, The Great High Cross (St Kevin's
      Cross) and the remains of the "Seven Churches". An excellent
      interpretative centre combines an interesting audio visual film with
      artefacts and information on the site. We return to Dublin through
      the scenic Wicklow Gap. The remainder of the day is free for some
      personal sightseeing. Dinner and overnight in Dublin.

      Day 16, July 5, 2008: This morning we travel to Dublin Airport for
      the return flight to the US.

      Important: the itinerary may be adjusted to satisfy the interests of
      the group to the best extent possible; i.e. services, rest,
      additional time spent in the most significant places Accessibility of
      some of the monuments is also subject to weather conditions and
      restoration works.


      Financial arrangements: The current cost of the trip is
      about 3900 USD/2600 EUR (based on the exchange rate as of June 30,
      2006) per person, based on double occupancy in a group of 25 people.
      The additional fee for single accommodations is about 525 USD/350
      EUR. The price might change a little based on the actual exchange
      rate or number of participants, but our hope is that it will remain
      essentially the same. In any case you'll be informed right away of
      any possible financial changes or adjustments. The tour will operate
      with at least 20 participants (Price with 20 participants: +

      Price includes:
      � Round trip flight from New York City
      � 14 nights at three star Hotel, all rooms with private bath or
      � Full Irish breakfast at Hotel each day, day 2 - 15 inclusive
      � Dinner at hotels each day, day 1 - 14 inclusive
      � Entry tickets for the visits as per itinerary
      � Boat trips and ferry crossing as per itinerary.
      Please note: visits to the islands of Innishmurray and the rocks of
      Skellig Michael are subject to weather conditions
      � Motorcoach with driver
      � Service charges and taxes at existing rates
      � English speaking guide

      Price does NOT include:
      � Insurance*
      � Meals, other than specified (no lunches)
      � Beverages during meals
      � Entrance fees other than specified
      � Porterage, gratuities and personal services (phone calls, room
      services, laundry, etc.)
      � Payment for extra (optional) tours
      � Anything not specifically mentioned in "Price includes"
      *Health/Emergency insurance is mandatory for all participants

      Sign up and Payment:
      We would request $500.00 deposit at the time of signing up for the
      trip. Deposit is non-refundable. The deadline for signing up and for
      final payment is March 15, 2008. All payments should be made by
      check, US dollar draft or US dollar wire transfer (Bank information
      will be provided on the request. Bank wire fees are responsibility of
      the traveler) to the "Palomnik, LLC". Any returned checks are subject
      to $20 fee.

      Special requests:
      All special requests, concerns and suggestions must be submitted in
      writing to Fr. Ilya Gotlinsky no later than the date of the final
      payment (March 15, 2008).

      In the unlikely event of cancellation, the charges, in addition to
      the full amount of the deposit are*:
      . No penalties, except air ticket (if issued) over 91 days
      to departure
      . 50% of the tour cost, 90 to 31 days prior to the departure
      . 100% of the tour cost 30 days prior to the
      All the cancellations must be in writing and sent directly to
      agent/coordinator - Fr. llya Gotlinsky, and must be received for
      reimbursement by the dates shown in the cancellation schedule.

      Passport and Visa:
      A valid passport is necessary for travel to Ireland. The passport
      must be issued at least three months prior to the departure and must
      be valid until your return.

      Rules on the road:
      . be aware that all medical needs and coverage regarding
      personal property will be sole responsibility of the
      . act in a manner consistent with the surrounding
      . make arrangement to have sufficient funds to cover personal
      needs and unexpected happenings. The places that we will be visiting
      may not have the same amenities that one is accustomed to. It is
      expected that the traveler will follow the directions of the Tour
      Director at all times.
      Our tour will operate based on a high pace itinerary. Please be
      aware that we will have long days, fair amount of walking and
      standing, will have several hotel changes and several boat
      rides/transfers (beware if you easily affected by motion/sea
      sickness). At time when we will try to make you trip as pleasant and
      relaxing as possible, it still will be quite physically demanding
      (The rocks of Skelligs offer several hundred stairs to climb before
      you reach the site of the monastery). The Director reserves the
      right to restrict a person's participation in the group's activities,
      including exclusion from the group, when, in the opinion of the
      Director, such action is appropriate.

      Please note: The Director of the trip (Fr. Ilya Gotlinsky) does not
      hold any legal responsibilities concerning any of the arrangements.
      He plays only the role of an agent/coordinator.

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