The Atlantic Way Pilgrimage is a one-week Celtic Spirituality retreat in Connemara, with daily pilgrimages to Holy wells and Sacred sites, to re-member our connection with the Land – she who has many names: Ireland, Éiru, Banbha, Fódhla.

Sacred sites and Holy Wells in Ireland were part of the daily lives of our ancestors as social and spiritual gathering places. They were not only precious for their connection with the profound or Divine, but also central for times of gathering and celebration. In these tumultuous times, these places and spaces are essential to our well-being, our sense of community and ultimately our re-connection with something greater than ourselves.

If you feel drawn to these spaces, to Celtic Spirituality or if you desire a deeper more intimate relationship with the Land, then this week offers you an opportunity to do so, by connecting with some of the recognised and forgotten sacred spaces of Connemara, through pilgrimage, ritual and community.

May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere where the presences that have left you dwell.’ – John O’ Donohue

Each day we will trace ancestral steps to sacred sites, holy wells and famine trails – venturing paths which echo the past, matching our footprints to those that came before us, connecting with their wisdom and reclaiming our own. The daily pilgrimages will be supported by times of guided meditation, creative spaces, reflection and group discussion.

Retreat Content

Throughout our week together we will weave the wisdom and insights of Celtic Spirituality and Mythology, Celtic Shamanic rituals and Christian Stories and patterns (‘pátrúin’; Irish devotional prayers and rituals on Feast Days). While some of these traditions may seem contradictory, it is these stories and spiritual beliefs that have shaped our land, our history and ultimately, our Selves. As we move through these times of change, our land and all her stories are essential to the future we are creating. In evoking the Land’s wisdom, we invoke our own.

“God doesn’t need to come down upon a mountain, for the mountain itself is the revelation. We only have to look at it and we will know how we should live.” ― John Moriarty

Retreat Facilitators

Elaine King has worked as a Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Psychotherapy trainer for the last 25 years.  She initially studied Theology at the Mater Dei Institute of Education and worked as a religious educator before becoming a Psychotherapist. She lives and works in Galway City. Elaine finds ritual, story and time with the land an essential and nourishing part of her life and loves to share these with others. Her journey has taken her on an exploration of ritual and sacrament, Christian stories, Mythology from around the world, somatic psychotherapy, pilgrimages and Jungian thinking. She believes all of these are essential teachers and containers in our personal and communal development, expansion and transformation.

Denis Ryan is a Cork-based therapist who has worked as a Psychotherapist and Psychotherapy trainer for the past 5 years. Prior to this, he travelled to many parts of the world exploring various forms of spirituality and spiritual practices and subsequently trained to be a Shamanic practitioner in the Irish Centre for Shamanic Studies. His work is fuelled by his passion for healing, for ritual and for the sacred and simple messages of the Land. In a world that is becoming more challenging, faster and shallower, he wishes to hollow out a space that is gentler, slower and more profound, both internally and in community.

Retreat Structure

Our mornings will begin before Dawn, with meditation and gentle movement before breakfast.

Following breakfast, we will come together in a group to explore the daily themes and stories before taking these ideas (and ourselves!) to holy wells and pilgrim sites. We will spend around 4 hours each day on a pilgrimage of different sites in both North and South Connemara. Transport will be provided to these sites and walking routes will vary in length and difficulty from mild to moderate. These daily pilgrimages will be supported with meditation, ritual, times of silence, sharing and song.

Following the pilgrimage, we will return for dinner, after which we will end our day together with personal reflective time and group sharing. Evenings will be free for song, story and dance, or quiet time as people wish. Instruments are welcome!

Retreat Details

The retreat will take place in the stunning Doonreagan, at the foot of Cashel hill, overlooking a sheltered Atlantic Bay.  Accommodation will be shared, and all meals will be provided. More information on accommodation is available at www.doonreagan.com.

Retreat Dates: Sunday 23rd October to Saturday 29th October (The retreat will begin on Sunday evening and end on Saturday morning.)

Price: €975 (This includes accommodation, meals and transport to/from the daily pilgrimage sites.) A deposit of €250 must be made by September 23rd to secure your place.

For further information, contact atlanticwaypilgrims@gmail.com