Discover the Sacred Gifts of Ireland

with Monique

A Unique Customized Private Journey

Into The Heart of Ireland

       

Spirits by Day and Spirits by Night 

 Sept  6 – 22, 2017  –  16 Days and 15 Nights

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Below you will find:

A message from Monique

The Itinerary

Terms, Payment Options, and Registration links

Message from Monique:

When the Irish Tourism Minister asked North Americans to finish the sentence “I love Ireland because…”  here are just a few of the replies

“I LOVE IRELAND BECAUSE…”

“…of the sweeping landscapes of rich green, speckled with whites from happy sheep…music that makes my insides swell with joy! No other place can quite pacify my soul the way Ireland can.”

“…of it’s breathtaking history with the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland dating back to 10,500 BC.”

“…it’s a place where beauty and serenity, laughter and music come together, wrapped up in myths and legends, and sprinkled with fairy dust and little people.”

“…of it’s soulful spirituality. I gained an appreciation of the connection between the land and Celtic Spirituality. It was an inward journey as much as it was outward journey.”

“..the friendliness of the people is absolutely unparalleled and the genuine warmth of a cead mile failte (a thousand welcomes) drinking a Guinness by a turf fire and listening to traditional music is the best experience in the world.”

“…Ireland feels like a dear old friend who greets me with warmth and cheer no matter what the weather is, who serves up the best food and tea ever to cross my lips. An old friend who makes me feel at home so far away from home.”

“…the moment I set foot on Irish soil an overwhelming sense of calm and peace overcomes me.”

“…there is clean air and little towns; simplicity at it’s finest; warm pubs to talk with new lifelong friends; true quietness when you want it; the bustle of a city when you need it; history, music, art, architecture, and something new to do every day.”

“…after looking over the green hills and amazing views there is always within reach a warm pub, a smiling face, a pint, and a story waiting for you.”

How will you finish that sentence once you’ve experienced and explored Ireland with us?

With our previous journeys to Peru and to India, we were looked after by outstanding coordinators, guides and teachers. I feel very fortunate that once again we are blessed to be under the care of our own Irish Celtic Wisdom Keeper Maria O’Farrell Carr and our Irish Travel Guide Rosie O’Toole who will take us into the heart of Ireland to explore her Sacred Gifts. We look to our guides to enrich our experience with knowledge and teachings that bring what we see alive with meaning.

The tour is created for you to enjoy at a comfortable pace and in a relaxed style, designed to allow you to have your own individual experience while also enjoying the energy and companionship of like- hearted individuals. Together we’ll dive into the history, the mystery and the Irish spirit that will make this a once in a life time experience.

Regardless of your travel experience, or lack of it, you’ll fit in perfectly into this group if you are willing to have fun and be open. My goal is to create an exceptional experience for everyone who joins us.

Sacred Gifts Trip to Peru May 2011
Sacred Gifts Trip to Peru May 2011
Sacred Gifts Trip to India Nov 2014

Ireland’s long history is riddled with ancient mythology, stories of miracles performed by mystics and saints, shamanism and folklore. Ireland’s ancient societies, the Druids and the Celts, believed in the power of magic and many of these beliefs spread to modern day legends told again and again across the country. Stories of warriors with all the knowledge of the world, fairies playing pranks on farm owners and leprechauns hiding their gold at the end of a rainbow add to the mysterious appeal of Ireland. You are in for a “whale of a time” while you enjoy natural and man-made wonders of the world that will have you glimpse the Spirit by Day theme of Ireland. Spirits by Night will be self explanatory as we dive into the nightlife of the Irish pubs, culture and entertainment.

Below you will find an overview of some of the experiences you can expect.  We want you to go on the trip present to what unfolds each day and to go to bed each night filled with anticipation of what will be coming next.  Due to the customized nature of the trip we may add new experiences as they show up closer to the trip.

 Monique

Below the itinerary you will find the terms, payment schedules and other important logistical information and a link to the registration form.   

Sept 6th – Travel Day – This will likely be your first travel day from your city of departure making your way to Dublin. If you are leaving from Western Canada or the US then your flight will leave late at night on the 6th. Banks Travel will assist you with all your flights and connections.

Sept 7th – After an overnight flight (if you are coming from a long distance) you’ll arrive in Dublin on the morning of the 7th and then connect with a local flight to Kerry Airport. Banks Travel will assist you in these arrangements for flights. From Kerry airport you’re just a cab ride away from your first destination: Killarney in County  Kerry!

You’ll check in to your hotel in Killarney and have time for a rest before we meet at 5:30 pm for a casual Happy Hour gathering followed by a welcome dinner at 6:30pm in Sean’s Lounge. The dinner is included in the tour cost.

You’ll want to have had a nap in the afternoon because tonight it’s an evening of live traditional Irish music right at our hotel starting at 9pm.

Sept 7th – 13th The Eviston House in Killarney is our home base. A traditional family run hotel

Killarney in County Kerry, is located in southwestern Ireland on the shores of Lough (Lake) Leane, believed by some to be the home of a lake monster. You may have heard of Kerry because its’ mountains, lakes and coasts have been the picture perfect image of Ireland portrayed overseas. While visitors may argue about their favourite town in Co. Kerry, everyone agrees that the landscape is beyond gorgeous.

The town of Killarney is on the northeastern shore of Lough Leane, part of the Killarney National Park.  It is a vibrant “little” town surrounded by incredibly beautiful countryside which makes it a very special place. It is brimming with history, heritage, activities, and is known globally for making people feel welcomed. For sure you’ll enjoy the Sacred Gift of Hospitality here.

Killarney is filled with enthusiastic and welcoming people, and this enthusiasm is reflected in many national and international awards, including the Best Kept Town award, being named Ireland’s cleanest town in the country.

Sept 8th – Off to Cork and The Blarney Castle 

After breakfast we board the bus and head to the Blarney Castle built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned. The question will be: Do you believe and invite its’ power into your life?

From the Blarney Castle we head out to see one of the oldest Stone Circles in southern Ireland. Spirits by Day: The Kenmare stone circle dates back to the Bronze age and was used for ceremonial and ritual purposes. It is thought that changing weather patterns led people away from upland areas and that new religious thinking led to different ways of marking life and death. This is a special place to set intentions. Many experience powerful energy here.  

Spirits by Night A special sing along and fun night at the Grande with Pianist Jack Healy 

 

Sept 9 – The Ring of Kerry and the Torc Waterfalls

Spirits by Day: Today will warm your heart and spirit as you take in The Ring of Kerry, a world famous “must do” scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula following the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. The Iveragh Peninsula has everything. Anywhere you stop from the mountains to the shoreline you can’t go wrong. It is said that stopping off in any of the towns along the way is like a little piece of heaven.

On our way back to Killarney we’ll stop to see the Torc Waterfalls which rise up 70 to 80 feet high. The area provides more beautiful views of Ireland.

Spirits by Night: It’s a late night tonight for those who want to participate. First we’ll head to Foley’s pub to be entertained by Cathal Flathery and then for those who didn’t get enough singing you’ll have the option to head back for more with Jack Healy’s late show at the Grand. Then if you’re up to it you’ll get to experience a traditional lock-in back at our hotel.

 

Sept 10th –  Exploring Killarney

Today you can explore Killarney – the town and the National Park. It’s up to you depending on whether you want to be shopping, resting, doing a walking tour of the town or exploring the National Park which is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Maria and Rosie will help you plan the day that is right for you. Our hotel is right in the heart of Killarney. These is lots to see just minutes away:

  • Mary’s Cathedral (2-minute walk) Sunday morning masses for those who wish to experience an Irish Catholic religious tradition
  • Killarney House Gardens (5-minute walk)
  • Jarvey pony and trap ride to the lake with a stroll back to the hotel via the park – 3pm with Monique. Maria recommends this and will prebook it for those who want to do it
  • The Kerry Way (5-minute walk) The Kerry Way is one of Ireland’s many signposted walking trail. Why not enjoy a taste of it if you like to spend time outdoors getting some exercise and seeing some sights.
  • Aran Sweater Market
  • Tour the Killarney Brewing Company which offers beer enthusiasts the insider view to one of Ireland’s premier craft breweries – a 15 minute walk

Spirits by Night: We’ll be meeting in the lobby at 7:30 and heading out to what is reviewed as a “spectacular” show called Gaelic Roots.

Here is one Trip Advisor review: “A blend of the ancient & the modern that’s very well put together. All highly talented performers from the sheer power of the dancers to the lively musicians and singers and the serenity of the harp. Don’t miss if anywhere near.

 

“Now This Is Ireland. Get set for an unforgettable evening. The talent is breathtaking and the spirit is infectious. Don’t miss this show if you’re even close to Killarney!” Trip Advisor

Sept 11thWe go back in time

Ross Castle: Built by the O’Donoghue’s in the late 1400’s. At the time they were the ruling clan of Killarney and the surrounding area. We’ll have a guided tour of the castle. Some of the rooms still have within them medieval furnishings.  Spirits by Day: Legend has it that O’Donoghue himself lies at the bottom of the lake watching everything that goes on. An early nineteenth-century account states that in general ‘a favoured few only’ are permitted to see him, and this distinction is always an omen of good fortune to the beholders.

From Ross Castle we will board a boat and make our way to Innisfallen Island (Holy Island) home to the ruins of the Innisfallen Abbey, one of the most impressive archaeological remains dating back to 640. The monastery was founded by St. Finian the Leper and was occupied for over 900 years. Spirits by Day:  It is a peaceful spiritual place, with a lingering sense of contemplation and stillness from hundreds of years of prayers. Here you will learn about the monks who had the Sacred Gift of Writing and the contribution they made to Irish history.

Spirits by Night: You can stay in and enjoy the entertainment at our hotel or head on back to the Grande Hotel. (Apparently many people go back there night after night)

Sept 12th – Day Tour of Dingle

Perched on the hem of the Atlantic in Ireland’s southwest, the charming town of Dingle looks out over Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands. National Geographic Traveller describes south west Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula as “the most beautiful place on earth” home to some of the most impressive and richest archaeological heritage of all the Emerald Isle.

Dingle is also full of friendly pubs and shops. A regular visitor to Dingle’s warm waters is Fungi the dolphin, the town’s unofficial mascot.

Dingle boasts wild moorlands and golden beaches. Perhaps with a little detective work we’ll locate St. John’s Holy Well in this town.  You’ll see ruins of castles and forts and the famous clachan beehive huts which date back to 6000 BC.

Spirits by Night: Optional evening of Irish Whiskey and Farmhouse cheese pairing at 7:15 followed by a visit to the Lord of the Ring themed pub called The Shire.

Sept 13th – Free Day – Last Day in Killarney

Depending on your own personal interests, today you can spend the day in quiet reflection at one of many sacred spaces in the area or you can shop till you drop in the woolen mills, craft markets or glass shops. Create the perfect magical day for you within yourself, within nature or within the many galleries and shops. Perhaps you’d enjoy a horse drawn buggy ride. In the evening we’ll come together at a local pub to enjoy some

Spirits by Night: We’ll be socializing and sharing our collective experiences of our time in County Kerry. Jacqueline and I just may bring out our spoons and accompany the local musicians at the Ceili (Irish dancing) in the Grande from 9pm – 11pm.

Sept 14th – Heading North 

We say goodbye to Killarney. We’ll visit one of Ireland’s oldest stone circles (Spirits by Day) and learn all about what a stone circle is, what it was used for and how we can draw from its’ energy while there. An example of a stone circle that some of you may have heard of is Stonehenge in England.  As we make our way north east toward Bunratty Castle we’ll see some famous Irish sights along the way like the Adare cottages. We’ll also go through the town of Limerick.

Spirits by Night: Tonight we dine in style at a medieval banquet in the Bunratty Castle. From there we’ll finish off this day at Irelands most famous pub Durty Nelly’s. I’ve read that if you want to define a quintessential Irish pub, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better example than this one. A 400 year old watering hole that is often copied but never replaced. We’ll spend the night at the beautiful Bunratty Castle Hotel.

Sept 15th –  Cliffs of Moher and the Connemara day tour

A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the natural wonders of the world. Ireland’s mighty Cliffs of Moher tower 214 meters over the Atlantic Ocean. The iconic cliffs run from near the village of Doolin for around 8km to Hags Head in County Clare and provides the country’s most spectacular magical views that will capture your heart.

In our travels we’ll also see the famous Burren said to give the traveller a feeling of being on the moon. This area is home to some very ancient and sacred ruins known as Dolmen. We will visit one of the most famous ones.

Spirits by Day: We’ll also visit St. Bridgit’s Holy well. It’s estimated that there may be thousands of holy wells throughout Ireland. Brigid, enslaved as a child by the Druids, became Irelands favored Goddess and in the Catholic faith, a Saint. Historically at holy wells,  spiritual ceremonies may have taken place, however today a bride might look into the water for good luck or an ill person might visit in hopes of a healing. In Irish myth it was believed that special powers and gifts flowed from the waters of the holy wells – wisdom, knowledge, healing, or writing as examples. It was believed that the water in the wells originated in the Otherworld.

Sept 16th – Rathcroghan – The Royal Capital of Connacht

We head to the medieval village of Tulsk within the Royal complex of Cruachan, the oldest and largest unexcavated Royal complex in Europe. Here you’ll find a wealth of mythology, archeology and history. After spending time in the visitor center we’ll be guided on to the sacred site for a group tour. Spirits by Day:  On this site is the legendary Cave of the Cruachan (cave of the cats) described by ancient Christian scribes as Irelands “mouth to hell.”

There was a time when this area was ruled by the mythological Goddess and mortal Iron Age warrior Queen Maeve (Madb).  It’s written that:

“She was a passionate Queen whose warriors fought passionately for her. They were willing to die for her cause because of her intoxicating beauty, passion, and strength.  Queen Maeve was the most revered and written about queen in Irish history. Her Old Irish name of Medb meant “mead” – a popular beverage in Old Irish days – so Maeve became known as “she who intoxicates.” And it is Queen Maeve that sat imperially on the throne of Connacht, Ireland, with her direct eye piercing gaze. Was she the true Warrior Irish Queen or was she just a myth, a goddess of Irish lore?”

The stories of Queen Maeve are some of the most powerful ones in Irish literature and she has been described by poets and scholars as the image of woman’s power and sexuality. She had many husbands and lovers and ruled for many years.

An online review I  read got me very excited about going here:  “Ireland’s best kept secret! This visit forever changed us and it’s a memory that will forever be in our souls. Could not have been more perfect. This is the epitome of what Ireland is all about. Pure magic and it is tangible!” Kierran

Sept 17th – Heading to the East Coast -travel day

We make our way across Ireland today heading toward Dublin and to our final destination of the seaside town of Bray on the Irish Sea. Our hotel for the next 5 nights is the Royal Bray Hotel in County Wicklow. As we pass through Dublin on our way to Bray we’ll make a stop at the Guinness Storehouse and have a pint fresh from the tap.

Our Bray hotel is close to the sea and in the heart of Bray town. Maria says this hotel has a great bar with live music most nights and excellent food. It also has a luxury spa, pool, fitness center and large bedrooms. A great place to recharge as we get back to exploring tomorrow. Spirits by Night: Tonight we relax and get settled in our new rooms and then head to the hotel pub and enjoy dinner and the music or we can head to the Harbour Bar.

Sept 18th – Glendalough, County Wicklow

Glendalough, is one of the most photographed location in County Wicklow.  The stunning scenery of the lakes, waterfalls, mountains and the Crystal Forest makes this one of the most iconic location in Ireland.  Glendalough is a remarkable place that will “still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul.” It is, despite its immense popularity, a deeply tranquil and spiritual place, and you will have little difficulty in understanding why those solitude-seeking monks came here in the first place.

Sept 19th – Visits to 2  Stone Age Passage Tombs in the Boyne River region – Kings!

Knowth: The excavation at Knowth is considered one of the greatest pieces of archaeology of our time. This 5000 year old tomb contains 2 passages each independently leading to burial chambers.

Hill of Tara: Though it appears to be another mound tomb, it is in fact believed to have been the site associated with kingship rituals. This site is a Royal Place -In prehistory and historic times 142 Kings are said to have reigned in the name of Tara. The coronation stone called The Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny has rested here down the ages. And it was here that the most powerful of Irish Kings held their great inaugural feasts and were approved by Earth Mother Maeve.

 

The hill is a Sacred Place – In ancient Irish religion and mythlogy, Tara was revered as a dwelling of the gods and an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old. In the legends of St Patrick’s mission to Ireland he is said to have first come to Tara to confront the ancient religion in its most powerful sight. The Hill of Tara is also a Celtic Place – Tara is one of the largest complexes of Celtic monuments in all of Europe. By being on this site some people report feeling as though they are being transported back in time to when the first settlers came here 6000 years ago. Spirits by Day: The energy in the area is said by many to be very powerful.

Sept 20th – Free Day in Bray – A seaside resort

Today we will be offering an optional Dublin Walking Tour lead by Rosie.  (20 Euros + cost of the train).  We’ll visit the National Museum, the National Art Gallery and a college that was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth the 1st. Spirits by Day: You’ll also have the opportunity to see an Irish national treasure, The Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in Ireland or may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD.

We’ll come back together in the evening for some Spirits by Night in Bray.

Sept 21st –

The plan for this final day is relaxation. You can relax at the spa, shop, walk around the town of Bray or hike on the hills by the sea. Some may want to visit the Kilruddery House and Gardens or Powerscourt Estate and Garden and some may want to go back into Dublin and take the hop on hop off bus.

In the evening, we join together for our celebration farewell to Ireland dinner which is included in your tour costs. You will also be packing for our departure tomorrow morning.

 

Sept 22nd – Pack up, hang out and fly home today.

Airport bus is one block from hotel and runs 24/7. 13 euros or we will share a taxi.  Farewell Ireland.

Having read the itinerary, what is your heart telling you? What is your head telling you?  If it’s a yes then please continue on to register ASAP with at least your deposit. We have very limited space on this tour.

Terms, Payment Options and Registration

Tour Cost: $4787 Canadian per person based on double occupancy.

Single supplement is an additional $1500 should you want your own room.

Trip cost above does not include flights.  You can use your own air miles or points or you can book through K. BANKS TRAVEL, BC REGISTRATION# 2776-4.

If you are booking your flights on your own please note that we will be starting the activities in Killarney (County Kerry Airport) at 5pm on Sept 7th and ending the tour in Dublin on Sept 22nd. (Dublin International Airport) Give yourself 3-4 hours before flights.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • accommodations with WIFI
  • hearty breakfast daily
  • some hotels have a gym and a pool (bathing cap is required)
  • welcome dinner Sept 7th
  • farewell dinner Sept 21st
  • entrance fees and attractions that are part of the tour (optional activities are listed as optional and not included in tour cost)
  • any travel by bus that is part of the tour
  • taxes and VAT
  • bus driver tips
  • boat ride to Innisfallen Island
  • tour director and guides

Excluded expenses are: airfare to and from Ireland; transfers to hotel from the airport in Kerry and transport to the airport in Dublin from the hotel,  transportation costs on free days: alcoholic beverages; any beverages and food other than daily breakfasts or the two dinner meals specified in the itinerary; laundry; incidental room charges; accommodations outside the tour; personal items and medication; souvenirs, passport fees, medical or cancellation insurance. Any activities that you choose to do on your own that are not part of the tour cost including optional outings mentioned in the itinerary.

Gratuities to boatman, housekeeping, waitress, breakfast staff, portage and barmen are not included.

There is no discounted rates or refunds for portions of the tour that are unused for example if you opt out of an activity that is included in the tour you would not be refunded the cost of that activity.

Specific details of the hotels we stay at or certain activities could change by necessity. The spirit and essence of the trip will not change even if Maria has  to make some logistical adjustments.  ~ Monique

How To Register

 STEP 1 – Read through all the terms of agreements and information on this page

STEP 2Complete the registration form by clicking HERE

STEP 3 –  At this point now all trip payments are non refundable as rooms and activities are booked. Upon registration you will pay the trip cost in full of $4787 Can.                  

STEP 4 – If you have tour related questions in general contact       monique@telus.net

If you have questions related to flights contact Allayne:                    allayne@bankstravel.com

STEP 5 – Join the trip Facebook group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/230170180749228/

You will be asked on the booking form if you have someone specific that you want to share a room with and also whether you want your own bed or a queen bed. The trip cost is based on double occupancy.

Payment Schedules:

All tour payments are made through the registered and bonded travel agency Banks Travel. BC Registration #2776-4.

At this point hotels and activities are booked and the cost of the trip is non refundable. The trip must be paid in full when booking and space is dependent on accommodations still being available. Please email Monique@telus.net to check on availability.

NOTE: You can bring one medium suitcase per person with one day backpack. Large suitcases will not be allowed on the bus due to the road weight restrictions and space availability. We will send you the dimensions.

It’s highly recommended to consider medical and cancellation insurance. Both can be obtained through Banks Travel and is 100% your decision.

Cancellation insurance can be of benefit to you should you decide you need to cancel for example at the last minute for reasons beyond your control. Ask questions and know what you are getting. Maria has  to pay for many aspects of the trip well in advance of us arriving which is why she has to have a “no refund” policy at a certain point. If you purchase cancellation insurance be sure it covers what you personally may want coverage for. It’s not mandatory but do know your options.

Here is the waiver: (You will be asked to agree to this on the booking form)

I agree to release Maria Carr, Allayne Clark, K. Banks Travel, OK In Health, Rosie O’Toole, Monique MacDonald and Jane Donald from all responsibility and liability for unforeseen circumstances and/or changes in the schedule due to weather or circumstances in Ireland or Home city, PERSONAL physical or mental illness, or any unforeseen events occurring during tour dates. I understand and agree to the REGISTRATION and PAYMENT POLICIES and understand and agree to all the above information.I agree that it is my responsibility to pay for any extra hotel nights, meals not specified, any roaming cell phone charges, gratuities/tips, extra hotel charges to room etc. I agree that it is my responsibility to purchase out of country medical insurance coverage and if I need to visit the E.R. that there may be an admin charge from Hospital of 100 – 250euros.

It is my responsibility to make sure my luggage is handed to the bus driver and that it is no larger than a medium sized suitcase.

I understand my credit card will be charged now for the deposit, followed by the full balance being automatically charged on the next payment date. (please contact Maria if you need to make any kind of adjustments to this due to special circumstances)

I agree that it is my responsibility to purchase travel medical and cancellation insurance as there are no refunds from K. Banks Travel, Monique MacDonald or Maria Carr once monies are paid. (Any possible refunds are only available by purchasing the “trip cancellation” insurance under the conditions on your policy). Please discuss details with K.Banks Travel. I understand and agree to the registration and Payment policies and ALL information as given above.Cancellation INSURANCE is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as there are no refunds. For travel, medical or cancellation insurance information contact Allayne Clark at K. Banks Travel (reg 2776-4) *

By sending in your deposit you understand and agree that if you should commit any illegal act on the tour or if your behaviour puts others at risk, you could be asked to leave the tour without refund. (we don’t anticipate any problems.. this is a standard clause in our tours) ~ Monique

STEP 6 – CELEBRATE !! You are going on a trip of a lifetime.