Journeys 2022

St Declan's Way Pilgrimage, Ireland

Date

22nd May - 28th May 2022

Nights

6

Cost

£995 in a double/twin shared room with en-suite facilities
£1120 in a single en-suite room

Price includes:

  • 6 nights bed and breakfast, 6 evening dinners and daily packed lunches for your Camino.
  • Handpicked personal guides over the 7 days
  • Private guided tours of Waterford's award winning Viking Triangle, Medieval Museum & Lismore Heritage Town.
  • Transfer from Rosslare Europort to Waterford and return from Glendalough to Rosslare on final day.
  • Luggage transfer, room allocation for the 6 nights and car parking for the duration of your Camino in the Tower Hotel.
  • St. Declan's Way Camino Passport and completion stamp.
  • Gala Dinner on the final evening in the 13th Century Choristers' Hall, Waterford Treasures.

Description

St Declan was a 5th Century saint who brought Christianity to the south and east of Ireland. He is thought to have pre-dated St Patrick by some years and this pilgrimage re-traces his steps as he returned to his coastal monastery in Ardmore, County Waterford, after a meeting with St Patrick at the Rock of Cashel, some 115km north in what is now in County Tipperary.

Officially re-opened in 2021, this is Ireland's longest pilgrimage route and gives the pilgrim an experience to rival that of the Camino in Spain. The pilgrimage includes medieval fortress abbeys, distinctive Irish Round Towers, wild mountain passes, rich farmland, fairytale castles, gentle riverside walks and holy wells.

Each day for five days we walk 20-25km (12-15 miles), on a mix of footpaths and quiet country lanes, so this journey is for people who are experienced walkers used to walking long distances. If you're interested in doing this holiday but you are not seo used to alking these distances we would be happy to send you a training programme so you can check if this type of journey is right for you.

This is our second year of teaming up with Dr Phil Brennan and Elaine Brennan at Waterford Camino Tours and this is what our previous guests say about St Declan's Way:

"It was indeed a memorable week, the experience of a lifetime. Thanks to everyone who helped to make it so special. I will treasure it always." Anne, Celbridge

"What a week, what a week, what a week, it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. All your efforts paid off, it was exceptional. You got eighteen people across the line in Ardmore after walking from Cashel, all in one piece, that was such an achievement. I don't need to mention anyone in particular, but all the people we met along the way were just fabulous personalities and so friendly, helpful and accommodating. The food and accommodation were excellent. Now I know that all of that was arranged by you Phil and Elaine. What a team you are. All your hard work paid off. May all your dreams come true." Mary, Drogheda.

"Thank you Phil and Elaine for doing such a wonderful job in leading us along St. Declan's Way. I really enjoyed every minute of my time spent with you all. Very well organised and we had no stress or anything to worry about. Accommodation, food and everything else was fantastic. Thanks also to Br Phil and lain for taking care of us. Thanks for a memorable week everyone and hope we can go on another walk in the near future. "Pauline, Celbridge.

"It was a lovely week so well organised and I can imagine the organisation involved but like you said we all survived to tell a great story. So glad I did it thank you all again." Martina, Dublin.

"Sincere thanks for a wonderful memorable week which I am only beginning to process at so many different levels. Your hard work and preparation paid off. Thanks to our fellow walkers who helped me along the way. A very special time." Lucy, Celbridge.

Walks and Excursions

The Celtic Camino Stage 1 (Monday): Cashel to Cahir
We will visit to the Rock of Cashel before the start of our first day's Camino. The 'city of kings' was home to the high kings of Munster who ruled for centuries from the magnificent site of the Rock of Cashel. It was also from here that St. Declan left on his return to Ardmore after his meeting with St. Patrick in the 5th Century. You sense the history as you leave behind this iconic pilgrim space to make your first steps en route to Ardmore. We will have our bags transferred from the Tower Hotel to Mount Melleray Abbey which is our base from Monday to Thursday.

Stage 2 (Tuesday): Cahir to Goatenbridge
Kevin O' Donnell and Mark Rylands from 'Knockmealdown Active' will be joining us as expert guides. They are the people who created the modern-day pilgrimage route and they know the route inside out. Whilst sharing the path with them, their stories will help us to connect fully with all who have passed this way before.

Stage 3 (Wednesday): Goatenbridge to Lismore
This is our longest trail on the Camino so we will set off just before 8am. The first section of this walk is the most challenging as we cross over the Knockmealdown Mountains at 'Bottleneck Pass' at an elevation of 537 metres. Apart from this stretch, this day's trail passes through undulating but beautifully picturesque terrain as we make our way onto Mount Melleray Abbey, near Cappoquin. Mount Melleray is one of the major milestones along St. Declan's way, although of course it was not there in Declan's time. The monastery has been home to a community of Cistercian (or Trappist) monks for nearly 200 years. We will be joined by local historian Alice O' Donoghue who will lead us on the last stretch of this day's Camino into Lismore. We'll have time for a short visit to the Lismore Heritage Centre before returning to Mount Melleray Abbey.

Stage 4 (Thursday): Lismore to Aglish
We'll follow the flow of the River Blackwater as it leads us gently on towards Cappoquin, on into Villierstown before our descent into Aglish. Lismore, with its fairytale castle, is a place that you cannot help but fall in love with as you pass through its quaint streets. Tracing its origins to the arrival of St Carthage in 636AD, Lismore was once a university city attended by scholars from all over Europe. The town is beautifully situated on the well wooded banks of the Blackwater.

Stage 5 (Friday): Aglish to Ardmore
Our final day's walking leads us over beautiful undulating vales and hills to where the sea gradually opens up before us as we arrive on the golden beach at Ardmore. We gather at St. Declan's Well to mark the moment. You will feel a sense of achievement of having walked the 116km all the way from Cashel to Ardmore as St. Declan himself did over 1,600 years ago. Time for a light lunch before we take our private coach transfer back to Waterford where we will stay overnight in the Tower Hotel. Gala Dinner in the 13th Century Choristers' Hall in Waterford Treasures and presentation of your stamped passport to mark your completion of St Declan's Way.

Stillness by the sea in Tramore (Saturday morning)
Morning visit to Tramore for a walk along the beach and some mindful moments overlooking the Bay, followed by a guided tour of the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens. Return home in the afternoon and minibus transfer to Rosslare Europort for those guests returning on the 6.30pm ferry to Fishguard.

Accommodation

On Sunday night we stay at the 4 star Tower Hotel in Waterford.
Monday night to Thursday night is at Mount Melleray Cistercian Abbey near Cappoquin with comfortable en-suite rooms. Guests are welcome to join the monks in their services if they wish.
We spend the final night back at the Tower Hotel on the Friday.

Getting there

Please arrive at the Tower Hotel, Waterford (X91 VXEO) between 4pm and 6pm on Sunday 22nd May. There is free car parking at the back of the hotel for guests.

For guests coming from the UK, we will also have minibus travelling by ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare that will then drive over to Waterford. You are welcome to join us on the minibus. You will need to pay separately for a foot passenger ticket and then join us on board. The ferry from Fishguard leaves at 1pm and arrives at Rosslare at around 4.30pm. There is a train station at Fishguard if you are planning to come by train. If you are planning to return with us from Rosslare to Fishguard on the 28th, please buy a return foot passenger ticket for the 6.15pm from Rosslare, arriving in Fishguard at 9:45pm. There are several local hotels/guesthouses in Fishguard/Goodwick (not included in the price of the holiday).

Contact

With Dr Phil Brennan and Elaine Brennan from Waterford Camino Tours and Iain Tweedale from Journeying. For more information please contact Iain at tweedale.iain@gmail.com +44 (0)7904 042976 or Phil at info@waterfordcamino.com +353 (87) 994 7921