Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 5 County Mayo & Knock

We left Sligo this morning and drove through the countryside, which is breathtaking; as we drove we continued to inform PJ about our homeland.  We headed for Knock the site of Marian Apparitions dating back to 1879.  We spent about 2 hours there, it was a very holy place everyone had a chance to wander around and spent time in prayer and reflection and buy some religious items.  After an early lunch we headed south for Ballintubber Abbey, after taking a back road that our driver described as doubtful for a bus to travel, we made it.  This truly was as the Irish describe a Thin Place, a Holy Place.  We celebrated mass right away and then had time to explore the fields, and ruins of the old monastic settlement.  A local parishioner named Mary was our guide and helped us understand its history, and brought the Irish church history alive.    Everyone really enjoyed this place and there really was a feeling of peace.  We then headed west for a surprise visit to Croagh Patrick the “Mountain of St. Patrick “.  While there we also saw a haunting monument to the Famine Days and the Coffin ships.  We then headed for Westport and spent the afternoon there exploring.  It was a very relaxing afternoon, a nice change of pace.  Our hotel is just beyond the town Castlebar, it is quite the place, after a very nice supper we are just having a relaxing evening “Irish Style”.  Tomorrow we travel to Kylemore Abbey for mass.  We will travel through Connemara, and then we are off to “watch the moon rise over Claddagh and see the sun go down on Galway Bay”.

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