Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome to Ireland, Shannon Ireland and off we go

Thanks for taking a peek at the photoblog for the 2012 Spirit of Ireland journey (June 14-23) Our trip to Ireland was a magical cultural, historical, and spiritual journey. Though no collection of photos can convey all we did, or experienced, here is a collection of some of the magical moments of this year’s trip. Enjoy.

A Brief Orientation Session at Coole Park

At the start of each trip, we begin with an orientation session, with introductions and an overview of the trip, the purpose of the trip and some things to make the whole experience as smooth as possible. This orientation session was held at Coole Park, former home of Lady Gregory, a patron of the arts.

An Inspirational stop at Coole Park with the Autograph Tree

Coole Park has some deer and the famous autograph tree where James Joyce and William Butler Yates carved their names. This tree appears red from far away, but standing underneath it to see the autographs the leaves are green. Pretty Cool.

Honoring the Virgin Mary in the Villiage of Knock

After leaving Coole Park… on our way to County Donegal, we stopped in the village of Knock, where over 150 years ago, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to several children near a church. To honor this occasion and people who make pilgrimages here, we offered some prayers and Ann played a version of Amazing Grace.

First Three Nights at Lough Eske Castle Resort

Our first three nights in Ireland were spent at the Lough Eske Castle hotel, County Donegal. I keep this a surprise from everyone (always nice to have some good surprises on a trip like this).  And boy, were they surprised, and delighted… Nobody wanted to leave.

Lough Eske, A Most Accommodating Castle Hotel

Here is a view of one of the Lough Eske castle living rooms. A very special place for sure.

Our first group dinner celebration at Lough Eske Castle.

Our first (group) dinner at the Lough Eske Castle.  We were all impressed. I passed our complimentary copies of the book, A Pocket History of Ireland (great book).