Christian Heritage Route

 

Christian Heritage Route: Seven to ten day tour

Start: Dublin  Finish: Dublin

Recommended Length: 7-10 days

Total distance:  822 km / 514mls

Day One: Dublin.

Distance: 0km, 0mls

1  Arrive in Dublin.

2  Enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of the capital with a visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral, which was founded in 1190 and restored in the 19th century, and is the burial place of Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift.

3  Make your way to Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest and most famous college. Here you can also find the Book of Kells, which is considered to be the most impressive manuscript ever produced in the Anglo-Saxon world.

Day Two: Meath-Louth-Belfast

Distance: 178 km, 111mls

1  Take the N3 from Dublin and travel to the Hill of Tara, County Meath, site of the religious and cultural capital of pre-Christian Ireland. Dating from 2000BC, the hill was the seat of the high kings of Ireland until 1022AD.

2  Stop off in Kells heritage town and have a look around before driving on to Slane Hill, where St Patrick lit the aschal fire on the eve of Easter, 433AD.

3  Continue to Drogheda (N51) for lunch and a possible visit to see the head of St Oliver Plunkett in St Peter’s Catholic Church.

4  After lunch, visit Monasterboice and Old Mellifont Abbey (M1) with their Celtic crosses and ruined abbey before traveling on to Belfast, (M1) capital of Northern Ireland. It was here in the famous shipyards of Belfast that the ill-fated liner, Titanic was built.

Day Three: Down-Armagh

Distance: 77 km, 48 mls

1  Drive the short distance to Downpatrick, County Down (A20) and visit the Cathedral, which is closely associated with St Patrick. A stone in the grounds marks the spot where St Patrick is thought to be buried. The newly opened St Patrick’s Centre is also well worth a visit. 

2  Continue on to the small but important city of Armagh, which is the ancient ecclesiastical centre of Ireland. There are two cathedrals in Armagh dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint, both of them are worth a visit, as is St Patrick’s Trian.

Day Four: Armagh-Beleek-Sligo

Distance: 219 km, 137mls

1  Drive from Armagh or Enniskillen to Belleek, border town between Donegal and Fermanagh, home of Ireland’s oldest pottery. The fragile, lustrous china is sold worldwide and you can have a look at the craftsmen and women at work.  

2  Continue on to Sligo (N16) where the poet William Butler Yeats spent many years. Visit Drumcliff where Yeats is buried, before traveling to Croagh Patrick, (N17) the 2,540ft mountain, which dominates the town of Westport. St Patrick is reputed to have spent 40 days fasting on the summit of the mountain in AD 441.

Day Five: Sligo-Galway

Distance: 138 km, 86mls

1  Drive on to Galway and the Galway Crystal Centre (N84).

2  Travel over to Kylemore in Connemara and visit Kylemore Abbey, restored Gothic church and gardens. Home of the Benedictine nuns in Ireland, Kylemore was originally built as a castle in 1868 and is one of the best examples of neo-Gothic architecture.

Day Six: Galway-Offaly

Distance: 85 km, 53mls

1  From Galway drive to Clonmacnoise in County Offaly. Its central location contributed to its development as a major centre of religion, learning, trade, craftsmanship and political influence. Clonmacnoise has a large collection of grave-slabs dating from the 8th to the 12th century, as well as one of Ireland's finest surviving High Crosses. In addition, the monastery contains many religious buildings.

Day Seven: Offaly-Dublin

Distance: 126 km, 79 mls

1  Continue on to Dublin and the loop is completed.

 

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