13 DAYS TOUR with Lourdes & Knock Marian Shrines Dublin – Knock – Galway – Cashel – Kilkenny – Glendalough – Paris – Lisieux – Chartres – Paris – Lourdes
Day 1 – Departure – USA – IRELAND
Flight to Ireland, overnight flight from Detroit, meals served on board of the plane.
Day 2 – Arrival to Ireland, Dublin (B;D)
At Dublin airport, we meet our Irish tour guide. He will help us discover this beautiful, picturesque andcharming Emerald Island. We will have a panoramic city tour on both sides of the River Liffey, where we pass by General Post Office on the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, Custom House, and the Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe. On the other side of the river are Georgian squares characterized by colorful doors, Grafton Street and Trinity College which is the oldest university in Ireland founded in 1592 by Elizabeth 1st.
Time permitting we visit the ancient library containing over twenty thousand manuscripts, among which is Book of Kells, a manuscript from the 9th century written by the monks at St. Colombo’s monastery on the island of Iona. Today we will also visit St. Patrick’s Anglican Cathedral, built in 1213. This Gothic Cathedral has a splendid interior, with some beautiful tombs monuments, the ornate stained glass windows can be found in the Chancel. Later in the afternoon is our transfer to a hotel in the area for dinner and night rest.
Day 3 – Dublin – Knock Shrine (B;D)
Today we will leave Dublin and head towards the Mayo County. On our Christian path is a visit to Knock and the shrine situated in the plains of East Mayo. It is one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. On 21st August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people; women, men, and children, witnessed an Apparition. We will visit the Basilica, the largest church in Ireland. Knock is a very popular pilgrimage destination, and in 1979 Pope John Paul II visited this holy place. We will spend the afternoon on our own, after mass some private prayer time at the shrine, free time for lunch and shopping before returning to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – Knock – Clonmacnoise – Galway (B;D)
This morning we will leave Knock and are on the way to Galway! But first after leaving Knock drive to visit Clonmacnoise, which is Ireland’s most important monastic site, which is overlooking the River Shannon. The site was founded by St. Ciaran in the 6th century and consists of a walled field containing numerous early churches, high crosses, round towers, and graves. In the afternoon we will drive to Galway, a city that has kept its medieval charm with its colorful streets and many authentic pubs, some free time before dinner at the hotel.
Day 5 – Galway – Cliffs of Moher – Rock of Cashel (B;D)
After a good Irish breakfast we will leave Galway and will be going south through CLARE county beautiful landscapes, we visit the Cliffs of Moher and through Lahinch continue towards Limerick and then later in the afternoon visit to Rock of Cashel standing high in the middle of the “Golden Vale”, these religious buildings, dating from the 12th century, form the most spectacular medieval set in Ireland. The Cathedral, the Round Tower and Cormac Chapel, which is the first Irish Romanesque church, testify the importance of the site. This place used to be the seat of the High Kings of Munster, so once more we find here the two traditions and cultures meeting with one another where the story of St. Patrick’s Cross will tell us more…! Dinner and overnight will be in one of the hotels in the area of Cashel.
Day 6 – Rock of Cashel – Kilkenny – Glendalough – Dublin (B;D)
Today we are traveling to Dublin pass through Medieval Kilkenny, this route continues to Baltinglass where the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey are found. The later journey will continue through Ireland’s true scenic treasures – Wicklow, called the ‘Garden of Ireland’. Visit Glendalough, an ancient and fascinating monastic city, established in the 6th century by St. Kevin, in the heart of “the valley of the two lakes” (Gleann da Loch). It was a very important center of learning as well as a pilgrimage destination.
There are many legends concerning St. Kevin and he is often compared to St. Francis of Assisi. The Interpretative Centre traces the history of its community through an exhibition and an audio-visual, which relates to the Golden Age of early Christian Ireland. Then we’ll be taken on a guided tour of the site, which includes a Round Tower, the ruins of the Cathedral, and “St. Kevin’s Kitchen” surrounded by an old cemetery. In the evening we will enjoy an Irish farewell dinner at one of the local pubs. Our last night will be in our hotel in Dublin.
Day 7 – Dublin – Paris – Lisieux (B;D)
In the morning we leave Dublin, transfer to the airport for flight to France! Upon arrival to Paris follows transfer to Lisieux, a city known by St. Therese of Little Flower. Check in to hotel, dinner, and overnight.
Day 8 – Lisieux – Chartres (B;D)
After breakfast, we are on the way to visit St. Therese the Little Flower. After mass, visit the Carmel, where she lived as a Carmelite nun. We will see the relics, the modern Basilica, dedicated to the great saint, “the greatest saint of modern times” (Pope Pious X) and we will also visit the family home “Les Buissonets” St. Theresa, statue in the garden of the convent, place where her body is kept. Later in the afternoon, we will continue our journey towards Chartres. Town Chartres – hosts the largest and finest Gothic cathedral in Europe. We will check in to the hotel in Chartres. Dinner and overnight.
Day 9 – Chartres – Nevers – Paris (B;D)
Today we will visit Chartres, our main interest here will be this majestic cathedral dedicated to Our Lady. The amazing stained glass windows dating back to the 13th century, rose windows and the work of art stain glass windows tell us stories from the biblical times. After the visit, we are back on the road to Nevers, simple community and convent with beautiful & inspiring chapel hosting the body of St. Bernadette who met with divine, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The same evening we are in Paris for well-deserved dinner!
DAY 10 – Paris, City of Light – whole day city tour (B;D)
Today we are on a whole day sightseeing tour of Paris. From our hotel, we will start with the panoramic city tour of “The City of Lights”, group private Holy mass at the Miraculous Chapel & tomb of St. Catherine of Laboure! On rest of the tour you will learn more of the history of Paris, admire the squares, bridges, boulevards and buildings: the Opera square, Concorde square, Champs-Elysees, Arch of Triumph, Trocadero square, Eiffel Tower with the stop for few photos and continue with the Invalides, Pont-Neuf, Bastille square and Opera, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg gardens and Saint-Germain-des-Près,… Later in the afternoon, we are back to the hotel.
DAY 11 – Paris – Lourdes (B;D)
Today we are on our way to Lourdes! Depending on the TGV train schedule group will enjoy morning breakfast at the hotel before transfer to Montparnasse Train Station, board the fast TGV train to Lourdes. The same evening we are in Lourdes, dinner and time permitting Rosary procession to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Our first night in Lourdes!
DAY 12 – Lourdes (B;D)
After a good night rest and breakfast, follow the tour of the shrine of about 3 hours visiting the Grotto of Massabielle where Blessed Virgin appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Group will also see The Baths, where one can emerge in the Lourdes miraculous water. The guided tour will also include town Lourdes! Visit all of the places associated with St. Bernadette. The Bolly Mill in Rue Bernadette Soubirous where the saint was born on the January 7th, 1844 and it is a place where she spent the first years of her life. Group will also visit “Cachot” or jail where Bernadette lived with her family in great poverty at the time of the apparitions, baptismal font where she was baptized and last is visit to the chapel in Hospice where Saint received first Communion and where she was educated for about 8 years by Sisters of Nevers before becoming sister of the same order. For the rest of the afternoon, we will be free. Tonight again after dinner group can participate candlelight Marian procession starting every day at 9:00 pm. Second & our last night in Lourdes.
DAY 13 – Lourdes – USA Flight Home
Today we will leave Paris & France, flight back home and arrival to the US same day!