A Tour of Historic Christian Ireland

Led by the Rev. Peter and Carol Paine

Sunday 8th - Sunday 15th September 2024


On the 21st December the rising sun of the winter solstice will shed a ray of light along a narrow rock passage and alight within the inner chamber of the 5000 year old Iron Age burial chamber of Newgrange. It will last for seventeen minutes. Ireland is not only home to this remarkable construction but also hosts the most elaborately carved high crosses anywhere in the world as far as I’m aware.

We will also visit Corrymeela, a place of witness to modern Christianity where differing Christian traditions meet in dialogue and reconciliation.

The tour also includes visits to the two capital cities of Dublin and Belfast as well as the world famous geological formation of the Giant’s Causeway. There are other sites, too, connected with St. Columba and the poet Yeats. I hope you will be able to join us on what will be a fascinating insight into the ancient and modern Christian life of the emerald isle.

Rev. Peter Paine.

DAY 1: Sunday 8th September

Departure from Liverpool airport to Dublin Airport. Meet with your English-speaking driver-guide and driver and transfer to Dublin city centre. Continue to your hotel and check in.
Dinner and overnight in Dublin.

DAY 2: Monday 9th September

Morning with your local guide to go on a walking city tour of Dublin.
With a population of about 1.2 million people, Dublin is the largest city in Ireland, and was established in 988AD by Viking settlers, who settled near what was then known as the Black Pool. These Norse settlers referred to the Black Pool in their mother tongue as Dyfflin, and –by the time the English arrived on our shores in 1169AD –Dyfflin was gradually anglicised as Dublin. Whilst the English Crown exerted power over Ireland from this time onwards, it was not until the Act of Union of 1800 that Ireland formally became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland. In the years leading up to, and during this period, Dublin was transformed from a medieval city to a modern European Capital! It would later become known as the Georgian Period; when Dublin was regarded as the Second City of the Empire – second only to London!
Visit Trinity College & Book of Kells at the end of the tour.
Trinity College was established by Royal Charter in 1592; during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It is Ireland’s oldest and indeed prestigious university and the present buildings date from c1750. Trinity College Library houses Ireland’s largest collection of books and manuscripts, and its principal treasure is the 8th century hand-illuminated Book of Kells. It is considered to be the most striking manuscript ever produced in the Western world, and one of the greatest masterpieces of early Christian art. Trinity College was the first university in Britain & Ireland to admit women –the first enrolment being in 1904. However, it was largely seen by the Catholic Church in Ireland as a ‘Protestant’ university, it forbade its members from attending. The ‘Ban’ was finally lifted in 1970. Notable students at Trinity College were Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker –writer of Dracula.
Lunch under own arrangement.
In the afternoon visit the National Museum of Archaeology
The National Museum of Archaeology, on Kildare Street in Dublin, first opened its doors in 1890 and since then it has been filling in the blanks for us through its extensive archaeological collections. The Treasury features outstanding examples of Celtic and Medieval art, such as the famous Ardagh chalice, the Tara brooch and the Derrynaflan hoard. The museum also features the finest collection of prehistoric gold artefacts in Europe. It is possible to ramble through prehistoric and medieval Ireland, experiencing life at the same time of the Vikings in Viking Age Ireland and through documents on life in Ireland in the age of cathedrals, monasteries and castles. The new and fascinating “Kingship and Sacrifice” exhibition centres on a number of recently found bog bodies dating back to the Iron Age. Displayed along with other bog finds from the museum’s collections, it offers you an opportunity to come face to face with Irish ancient ancestors.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Dublin or area.

DAY 3: Tuesday 10th September

Depart for a visit to Glendalough in the morning.
The English name Glendalough originated from the Irish “Gleann Dá Locha”, which translates as “The valley of the two lakes”. It was here that St. Kevin, son of the king of Leinster, founded a monastery in the 6th century. From a simple beginning the site grew to become famous as a centre of learning throughout Europe. Standing for 600 years it was destroyed in 1398. Much of what is to be seen today dates from the 10 to 12th century. One of the most attractive features is the fine 34m high round tower. A cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses also survived albeit as ruins. Beautifully scenic walking trails take visitors on a circular route by the lakes from the Car park. Glendalough has an excellent visitor’s centre and display area, which is located at the entrance to the Valley. It houses a very comprehensive exhibition on Glendalough detailing the history, archaeology and wildlife of this area of Wicklow.
Lunch under own arrangement.
Continue to Moone High Cross and Castledermot. The Moone High Cross, is believed to date back to the eighth century and is situated in Moone, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. It stands at a height of 17.5 feet, making it the second tallest high cross in Ireland, and is recognized as one of the most well-preserved crosses of its type.
Return to your hotel.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Dublin or area.

DAY 4: Wednesday 11th September

Depart early for a visit to Newgrange.(24 pax max)
The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one-acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 Metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 years. The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December.
Lunch under own arrangement.
Continue to Monasterboice. In the 5th century, St. Buite founded a monastic community near Drogheda in County Louth and today, it is home to an impressive collection of ruins. On the site, visitors can discover an old graveyard, two churches and a sundial. Monasterboice is most famous for its spectacular high crosses, especially the cross of Muineadach an outstanding example of high crosses of the early Christian period, noted as being the tallest in Ireland. The crosses stand in the shadow of a magnificent round tower, about 300 metres high. Monasterboice was a thriving centre of religion and learning until 1142, when the Cistercians arrived at the nearby Mellifont Abbey.
Return to your hotel via Kells (if time allows on the day).
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Dublin or area.

DAY 5: Thursday 12th September

Depart for Belfast in the morning. You can travel through Kells, if not doable the day before.
Lunch under own arrangement.
Meet your local guide for a walking city tour of Belfast.
There are just under half a million people living in Belfast today, and one of the city’s principal landmarks can be seen upon arrival –the two Harland & Wolfe Cranes –nicknamed Samson and Goliath. It was here that many great ships were built –most notably for White Star Line, whose ships included the Olympic, Britannic and –perhaps the most famous ship of all –RMS Titanic. At its peak in the early 20th century, Harland & Wolfe boasted a workforce of 35,000 and reflected the industrial nature of Ulster –Ireland’s Northern Province. However, the rest of Ireland remained predominantly agricultural and economically less well off than their northern counterparts. Coupled with religious differences; when Ireland sought independence from Britain in 1922, the six counties of Ulster “opted out” and to this day remain within the UK. The partition of Ireland was challenged by violent means from the late 1960’s onwards, and a peace process followed the ‘ceasefire’ in 1994. Today political differences are discussed at Stormont –the Northern Ireland Assembly –in the local capital, Belfast.
Continue to your hotel and check in.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Belfast or area.

DAY 6: Friday 13th September

Depart for Ballycastle to visit Corrymeela
The Corrymeela Community is a Christian community of reconciliation drawn from many traditions that, individually and together, are committed to reconciliation through the healing of social, religious and political divisions that exist in Northern Ireland and throughout the world. Corrymeela Ballycastle seeks to be an open village where encounter, truth telling and hospitality are expressed while contemplating and living out what it means to embrace difference, heal divisions and enable reconciliation. The site has a range of facilities. The main house has a bed capacity of 58 spread across 25 rooms. The main house also has three lounge spaces which are designed for informal group work. The Davey village has a bed capacity of 43 spread across 20 rooms. The Davey village also has three meeting spaces, two of which are lounge spaces and the other is a multi-purpose classroom space.
Lunch under own arrangement.
Continue to Giant’s Causeway
Encounter Northern Ireland’s favourite giant Finn McCool at the new Giants Causeway Visitor centre on the North Antrim coast which opened in the summer of 2012. According to legend Finn McCool created the Giants Causeway by building stepping stones to Scotland to challenge the Scottish giant Benandonner! The new Visitor centre explores the major themes of mythology, geology, landscape, ecology, culture and social history based on the UNESCO World Heritage site that consists of 40,000 basalt polygonal columns formed 60 million years ago after a volcanic eruption. There are various interactive exhibits and short video presentations within five designated interpretive exhibition areas and the self guided visit will culminate with a spectacular two minutes audio-visual projection of a volcanic eruption flowing over the walls and onto the floor. Other services and facilities include a large craft and souvenir shop, Tourist Information and restaurant. To enhance the wider visitor experience around the site, a hand held audio guide is available in a range of languages which will bring the wider World Heritage Site to life and inform visitors of unique features to look out for across this amazing landscape. Guided tours of the site are also available. The walks and trails around the World Heritage Site have been upgraded, with the addition of a new accessible cliff top walk for families and people with disabilities. In 2015, Conde Nast Traveler magazine included hopping the stones of the Giant’s Causewayas one of the ‘50 things to do in Europe before you die’.
Continue to your hotel and check in.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Donegal or area.

DAY 7: Saturday 14th September

This morning visit Colmcille Heritage Centre. Colmcille Heritage Centre tells the story of Saint Colmcille, Patriarch of the Irish Monasticism and Scottish Church. The exhibition features artistically designed banners, stained glass, illustrated panels, artefacts, a wax model with authentic clothing and a step-by-step illustration of ancient manuscript fabrication.
The tour of the centre also includes an audiovisual on the life of Saint Colmcille. A special tapestry display protraying the Derryveagh Evictions is also on show within the centre. The art collection of the heritage trust is on display in the dining room. Visitors can also enjoy the restaurant/tea rooms situated on a lakeside site in 100 acres estate with nature walks.
Continue to Kilclooney Dolmen.
Located north-north-west of Ardara, the Kilclooney Dolmen is a well-known portal-tomb or dolmen, which displays the classic features that give this type of monument its name. The matched portal stones and the gracefully up-tilted capstone, which is one of the largest in Ireland, convey a sense of architectural awareness on the part of the builders. Its streamlined profile has inspired numerous analogies, depending on the observer’s imagination, such as a bird, a fish, or even Concord.
Packed lunch on the way.
Depart for county Sligo and visit Drumcliffe Church & Visitor Centre.
Drumcliffe was an early Christian site at the foot of impressive Benbulben – the table top mountain. Today the principal visible remains of the monastic site are the High Cross, another plain cross, the stump of a round tower, the Church of Ireland and a graveyard. Drumcliffe is best known worldwide as the final resting place of W. B Yeats, whose grandfather was Rector here. You can see an ordinary grave for this great Nobel Prize winning author, poet and dramatist. There is a small Church Of Ireland that is also worth visiting. Services are held on Sundays at 12h00. There is no charge to visit the church, however donations are expected.
Continue to the shores of Lough Gill (if time allows on the day).
Continue to your hotel and check in.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your hotel in Sligo or area.

DAY 8: Sunday 15th September

Depart for Dublin Airport this morning.
Visit Clonmacnoise on the way.
(Difficult visit to book, and will only be doable with a late flight from Dublin Airport).
Clonmacnoise is a wonderful early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. In a stunning setting, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of graveslabs are on display in the visitor centre. In 1979 Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at this site. Guided tours are provided and the long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation shown in the visitor centre. There are also exhibitions that deal with the flora, fauna and landscape of the region.
Flight to Liverpool airport.

Itinerary subject to change

Price £2540 per person

Included in the Price

  • Return flights from Liverpool to Dublin
  • Accomodation of 7 nights at good 3-Star Hotels, all rooms with private bath or shower
  • Food and beverages as follows:- Breakfast at the hotel each day - 1 packed lunch on Day 7- Dinner at hotel each day
  • Modern motor-coach
  • Local English-Speaking guide
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Service charges, taxes at existing rates, and porterage
  • Gratuities
  • Airport taxes
  • ATOL Protection Contribution*

Not included in the price

  • Items of a personal nature
  • Single Supplement - £364 per person
  • Travel Insurance

Please note that the cost of the tour may be subject to surcharges - please see the booking conditions. Currency exchange rates used £1 = €1.1609 as published in the Financial Times on 19th Dec 2023

* APC (ATOL Protection Contribution) provides passenger protection via the ATTF (Air Travel Trust Fund). For further information visit www.caa.co.uk


Either click 'Book' at the top of this page or download, complete and return the booking form to:

Worldwide Christian Travel 36 Coldharbour Road, Bristol, BS6 7NA UK

Tel: 0117 973 1840

Worldwide Christian Travel has been organising Christian holidays and tours, mainly to the Holy Land, for over 50 years. We cover all aspects of travel and are one of the most comprehensive Christian travel organisers in the country. Worldwide Christian Travel is a trading name of Hadler Tours Limited.

General Information

People of all ages are welcome, but, whatever your age, we must insist on a reasonable level of fitness. A number of sites involve rough walking.

Your Protection
Hadler Tours Limited is a member of ABTA with membership numbers 93522 & V2096. ABTA and ABTA Members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist them when things do not go according to plan. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA’s Code of Conduct. For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme available to you of if you have a complaint, contact ABTA, 68-71 Newman Street London W1T 3AH Tel: 020 7637 2444 or visit www.abta.com.

All monies paid by you for the air holiday package shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 3078. For more information see our booking terms and conditions.

Passports, Visas and Vaccinations
Travellers are responsible for ensuring that they have a valid passport for travel to the relevant countries. Visas are not currently required for British Passport holders visiting Ireland. At the time this brochure went to press no vaccinations or inoculations are required for travel but you may wish to consult your own doctor for advice concerning this. If you have any queries regarding the above, we will be happy to help.

Travel Advice
For the latest travel advice please visit www.fco.gov.uk or call 0870 606 0290.

Further Information and Paying The Balance
Further information will be sent to you regarding any action that may be required approximately 12 weeks before departure. A final invoice will also be sent at this time and the balance for the tour must be paid at least 10 weeks before departure.

Travel Information
Full travel information, including details of meeting points, flight times, accommodation and travel information, will be sent to you approximately 2 weeks before departure. Normally, tickets are not issued but are handed to you at the airport or departure point by our representative who will be there to ensure that you depart without a hitch and to deal with any last minute difficulties.

Travel Insurance
It is compulsory to have travel insurance for your booking. Staysure have a range of policies available at very competitive prices. You can obtain a quote online by clicking here.

Our normal procedure is to deal with tips on a group basis and these are included in the price. The tour leader will distribute them to the guide, driver and hotels on your behalf. Individual tipping is not recommended unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Room Check In and Check Out Times
The standard international practice is to let rooms from midday to midday. However times do vary. Check-in times are usually between 2pm and 3pm, check-out times between 11am and 12 noon on the day of departure. Therefore, if you check-in immediately after a night flight this would normally count as one night’s accommodation. Similarly if your return flight is at night you will normally be required to vacate your room at 12 noon prior to leaving for the airport. Day rooms are subject to availability/cost and should be arranged locally with the accommodation management.

Page published December 2023


“Just to say that the visit to Egypt was absolutely fantastic.”

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