Newgrange Passage Mound, Boyne Valley
Tour and Writing Retreat in Irelalnd
with Carolyn Brigit Flynn
September 8-19, 2024
LANDSCAPE OF SOUL AND STORY
PILGRIMAGE During this sacred pilgrimage, we will travel outward to the ancient landscape of Ireland and inward to the rich territory of our unfolding souls. We will experience Ireland's exquisite beauty, meet her people, and encounter her poetry, music and stories.
ANCIENT SITES We'll visit many of Ireland’s most spectacular sacred sites in the lush Boyne Valley, encounter the Irish goddess/saint Brigit in the ancient town of Kildare, and explore the blessings of the magnificent, rugged landscape of the Beara Peninsula.
SACRED EARTH We will embrace the Irish Celtic world view that the sacred is imminent within the land and within ourselves. Our tour and writing will open an ongoing dialogue with the vibrant, wild earth, inviting a realignment with the natural world at a time when so much is imperiled.
WRITING Ireland awakens something primordial and authentic within the soul. Carolyn will offer transformative writing circles, and we will explore the poetic literature and the sacred landscape of Ireland as we write together. We will emerge with our hearts and notebooks full. This retreat is appropriate for both new and experienced writers.
OUR CIRCLE Writers, poets, novelists, visual artists, photographers, and musicians are all invited. The retreat is open to women, men and all identities. Couples are welcome. Our small group will be limited to fourteen writers.
EXCELLENT ACCOMMODATIONS We will stay in wonderful hotels and classic Irish Bed & Breakfasts, including a magnificent 18th century Georgian house, and on the wooded grounds of an ancient castle. (See accommodation link below.)
BELOVED GUIDES Our guides, teachers and storytellers are now long-time friends who are eagerly awaiting our arrival. They include the ecologist and teacher Gerard Clarke in the Boyne Valley, writer, storyteller and guide Carina McNally in the Beara Peninsula, and Mary Minehen, Phil O'Shea and Rita Minehen at the Solas Bhride Centre in Kildare. (See more on our guides below.)
Three Beautiful Parts of Ireland
THE BOYNE VALLEY
We will explore the world-renowned passage mounds of Newgrange and Knowth, built 5,000 years ago along the River Boyne. These "mansions of the Boyne" are huge, incomparable cathedrals with exquisite solar alignments. We'll also climb the stunning hill of Loughcrew, known as Slieve na Calleagh, or the "Hill of the Old Woman", with its several ancient passage mounds.
Newgrange Entrance Stone
We will visit the ancient town and monastic remains at Kells, and make a pilgrimage walk on the Hill of Tara, two beautiful and unique places of ancient Irish spirituality in the Boyne Valley.
We will also explore the beautiful stone remains of the Kilcatherine Church built on a 7th century monastic site in the Beara Peninsula, as well as the haunting 12th century Bective Abbey.
Kells Monastery, Boyne Valley
We’ll spend four days in the stunning and isolated far south west of Ireland. We'll explore the Ring of Beara with spectacular ocean views, and make a pilgrimage to the Uragh Stone Circle, an ancient circle of standing stones in a breathtaking untouched landscape.
While in Beara, we’ll stay in the wonderful harbor town of Castletownbere. Our home base will be traditional Irish Bed & Breakfasts within easy walking distance to the lively shops, pubs and restaurants of Castletownbere. Places we'll visit include Kilmackillogue Harbour, Kilkatherine, the Hag of Beara, Healy Pass, Ahilies and Dursey Sound, among others.
Castletownbere, Beara Peninsula
The ancient Irish name for Kildare is Cill Dara, which means “Church of the Oak.” Our pilgrimage will bring us deep into the feminine divine of Ireland in the landscape of Brigit, the famous saint and goddess of Ireland.
We will visit Brigit’s Holy Well, Fire Temple and the Curragh, known as Brigit’s Meadow, as well as the site of her monastery, cathedral and the ancient Kildare round tower.
Recently the Irish government created an official holiday for their famous patron saint and goddess Brigit. This year Ireland is celebrating "Brigit 1500" in honor of 1500 years since the life of Saint Brigit, with events on spirituality, biodiversity, sustainability, arts and culture, peace, social justice and Irish women in history.
Brigid's Well, Kildare
Solas Bhride Centre
We will deepen into the feminine divine spirit of Ireland at the Solas Bhride Centre in Kildare, a beautiful eco-spirituality center devoted to the legacy of the goddesss/saint Brigit and designed in the shape of a Brigit's cross. The remarkable women of Solas Bhride have devoted their lives and all their works to continuing the peace and justice spiritual legacy of Brigit of Kildare. The new center is located in the lush open landscape in south Kildare.
Solas Bhride Center, Kildare
COST AND REGISTRATION
Cost is $4,950 shared occupancy. Additional cost for single occupancy is $900. Airfare arrangements and expenses are on your own. Cost includes all lodging, ground transportation within Ireland, local Irish guides and teachers, entrances to sites, writing group facilitation and all meals except a few lunches and dinners on your own. Group is limited to fourteen participants. This tour and retreat could fill quickly, so reserve your space as soon as possible.
CAROLYN'S ROOTS IN IRELAND
Ireland is the land of Carolyn’s ancestors, and the sacred ground of her creative and spiritual work. Her private journeys over the past 30 years feed her deep connections with Ireland’s history and lush landscape. She has lifelong friendships with Irish guides and teachers, as well as longstanding connections with relatives in County Roscommon and County Dublin.
As a writer and teacher who carries the spirit of Ireland’s goddess/saint Brigit, she also regularly visits and makes offerings at Ireland’s holy wells and sacred shrines. Carolyn first led groups of writers and artists to Ireland in 2002, with a focus on meeting the creative spirits and the ancient ancestors in the landscape, the carved stones, the hills and fields. Her writing circles create a unique container for writers to develop and deepen their own authentic voice.
“Travelling to Ireland had been a long-held dream. Even in my wildest of dreams, there was little that prepared me for the beauty that emerged on the sacred landscape that is Ireland. Through Carolyn Brigit Flynn’s skillful curation of our journey through small towns and ancient mounds, through writing circles and magical voices, Irish music and the wisdom of locals, she creates a powerful container for the exploration of Ireland. If you’re able to be one of the 14 on this particular journey, take it! This trip was one of the highlights of my travels.” -- Maureen Puanani McLafferty, O’ahu, Hawaii (2019)
"Traveling to Ireland with Carolyn in 2019 was a life changing experience, one that resonates deeply inside of me and initiated a love affair with the country and the people. Everything was so thoughtfully planned and taken care of. All I had to do was show up with an open mind and willing heart. The combination of touring the sacred sites and writing was alchemical and added a dimension that took the experience to a transformative level. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to experience this sacred land in such a beautifully curated way." -- Dayna Lea, Santa Cruz, CA
"The Mystery of deep green rolling hills, underground passages and deep dives of sharing writing—- this all created an experience I am still talking about 15 years later! Traveling with Carolyn Brigit Flynn is a completely magical experience.”
--Marci Graham, Lakeport, CA
“The alchemy that exuded from the land and the beautiful poetic soul of our leader provided the perfect ambiance for a deeper listening to and expression of my most authentic soul voice. If you possibly can…just do it! It’s a memory/memoir maker of the highest order!” -- Mary Orlando, Phoenix, Arizona
"In 2016, I toured Ireland on a writing retreat organized and led by Carolyn Brigit Flynn. I am not a 'writer,' but I wanted to engage in deliberate self-exploration. Carolyn’s skilled facilitation of writing sessions helped me to open and fully explore my voice. Her knowledge of Ireland and its history, as well as the amazing places we visited and great guides she lined up for us, made this a spectacular trip!"
-- Suzanne Daub, Philadelphia, PA
“We journeyed through stunningly beautiful landscapes and made pilgrimages to ancient sacred sites with expert guides. One of my favorite parts of the trip was the regular writing circles led by Carolyn which created a unique group experience and allowed us to get to know one another in a deep and moving way."
-- Judy Tsafrir, MD, Newtown Center, Massachusetts
“Lingering with me are the experiences and locations that Carolyn so carefully chose so that each pilgrim could learn, reflect, and appreciate the people and landscapes of Ireland. Carolyn was an encouraging guide to each writer and artist from the first moment. Lively conversations, good food, new adventures...go if you can!”
--Janis O’Driscoll, Santa Cruz, CA
"Our tour of sacred sites with Carolyn Brigit Flynn exploring the magic and myth of Ireland's beauties was a deeply spiritual and transformative experience. So was being in traditional Irish pubs, and the writing sessions led by Carolyn exploring the inner landscape as we experienced the soil and soul of an ancient and wondrous land." --Sarojani Rohan, Watsonville, CA
"If you haven't yet been to Ireland, this is the tour for you! A wonderful balance of travel, learning from expert guides, walking at sacred sites, and soul-stirring reflection. And if you have been to Ireland, as I had, the sacred sites will open up the landscape in a new way. The tour with Carolyn and 13 intrepid writers and artists in 2016 was life-changing. My connection with ancestors, the spirits of the land, and my writing, all deepened. Heed the call and go!" -- June BlueSpruce, Seattle, WA