Irish Itinerary Days 8-13

Carrowmore  Londonderry (Derry)  Dunluce Castle  The Giant's Causeway –  Carrick-a-Rede  Beaghmore Stone Circles – Navan Fort (Emain Macha)  Newgrange – Knowth – Teltown House St Kieran’s Holy Well – Loughcrew Four Knocks

 

Day 8 

After checking out of our hotel in Galway, we will make the beautiful scenic drive up the west coast to Sligo.  We will then spend the afternoon with our guest guide, Martin Byrne, who will take us to Carrowmore, home to the largest and oldest collection of stone circles and dolmens known from Neolithic Ireland.  Carrowmore is at the heart of a huge ritual landscape and contains the ruins of stone circles and no less than 30 surviving passage tombs, the earliest dating to 3700BC.  Martin is a qualified Failte Ireland tour guide and has been taking people on tour for the last 20 years.  At the completion of our tour with Martin, we will cross the border into Northern Ireland and drive to Londonderry (Derry) where we will spend the next two nights.  

Day 9

We will drive to Portrush in County Antrim where we will begin our day's journey along the stunningly lovely North Antrim Coast.  Certainly one of the world's great drives, we will make as many stops as we can to take in the magnificent views of the coastline.  We will visit the ruins of Dunluce Castle located high on the cliff tops and then spend several hours at the Giant's Causeway with its unique set of spectacular hexagonal natural rock formations and have lunch here.  In the afternoon, for those would like the challenge, we will walk across to Carrick-a-Rede Island using the famous swinging rope bridge.  The island boasts uninterrupted views to Rathlin Island and to Scotland.

Day 10

Set in beautiful rural countryside, Beaghmore has seven stone circles, 13 cairns and several rows of standing stones.  Altogether there are 1,269 stones and it is believed there are probably more structures still buried in the surrounding peat.  Built around 3,600 years ago, the Circles are Bronze Age but field walls, fireplaces and flint tools have also been found at the site suggesting that the area has been in use for nearly 5,000 years.  Beaghmore is a magical place and we will have enough time here to wander the stones, meditate privately as well as taking part in a group ritual.

We will then visit Navan Fort, or Emain Macha, the ancient seat of the Ulster Kings.  It is an area of great archaeological importance comprising massive earthworks, settlement sites and sacred places and is Northern Ireland's most important ancient monument.  The site is particularly associated with the stories of the great warrior Cu Chulainn and his great battle with Queen Maeve.  At the Visitor's Centre we will see a film about the most important myths associated with this sacred site as well as visiting a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.

From Navan Fort, we will cross the border back into the Republic and drive to our beautiful B&B, Teltown House our home for the next three nights.   A 17th century house and working farm, Teltown has its own ancient burial mound beyond the barn complete with the 1,000 year old ruins of a Celtic church believed to have been destroyed in a Viking raid and a 5,000 year old carved spiral stone.  It was also here that the ancient Taillteann Games were celebrated by the Celts at the Fire Festival of Lughnasadh and for hundreds of years, chariot and horse races were held on a course around the nearby Taillteann mounds.  Our wonderful hosts, Renee and Bartle, always treat as if we were lifelong friends.

Day 11

We will visit Newgrange and Knowth passage tombs in the Boyne Valley.  Regarded as the most important prehistoric site in Ireland, Newgrange passage tomb was built so that at dawn on the Winter Solstice a narrow beam of sunlight illuminates the floor of the chamber at the end of the long passageway.  Over 5,000 years old, Newgrange has great Celtic mythological significance as a faery mound where the people of the Goddess Danu live.

The great mound at Knowth is larger in size than Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller mounds.  It has two passages and wonderful stone carvings including those depicting lunar cycles.  Outside there is a reconstructed timber circle.  Both Newgrange and Knowth are World Heritage sites.

In the evening, we will be joined by well known Wiccans, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, who will facilitate a ritual for us at the sacred place at Teltown followed by a BBQ feast.  We are so privileged to have Janet and Gavin with us as part of our sacred journey.

Day 12  

Today Gavin will take us to St Kieran’s Holy Well and the passage tombs of Loughcrew and Four Knocks.  Built more than 5,000 years ago, the Loughcrew passage tombs are located on the top of "Slieve na Calliagh" or the Hill of the Witch.  There are over 30 mounds and cairns and the largest of these, which you will be able to enter, is aligned with the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes at sunrise.  There are many beautifully carved stones.  It is believed that the name Four Knocks comes from the Irish "Fuair Cnocs" meaning Cold Hills.  This great passage tomb is aligned with the line of the Winter Solstice sunrise from Newgrange.  Its chamber is much larger than Newgrange.  Gavin will facilitate a meditation for us within the chamber.

In the evening, we will have our farwell group dinner at the Silver Tankard pub where we will be joined by our guests, Janet and Gavin. 

Day 13

In the morning, we will then drive to Dublin airport where the tour ends.  On the way, we will stop to see the Tailleann Mounds and have lunch in the ancient town of Trim with its fantastic Norman castle.  The tour ends at Dublin airport.