A Catholic Guide to Ireland, The “Emerald Isle”
Many know the story of Saint Patrick, a man taken from England by Irish pirates, made a slave, then escaping to his home country where he became a priest and then chose to return back to Ireland. He is credited with helping convert the country to Christianity.
Ireland has since been known for its steadfast faith and troubled history. Although many left Ireland due to political oppression and lack of opportnity before the Irish Potato Famine, the famine triggered an even greater loss of population: many millions more emigrated to the U.S., Canada and other countries….. so many that the country lost about half of its population.
As a result of this mass outflow of people, many people in the U.S. and Canada have a connection to Ireland, since almost one quarter of the population emigrated to the U.S. and Canada.
Yet the influence Ireland has had around the world on the Catholic faith has been very significant. In fact much of our Catholic identity was preserved in the monasteries of Ireland through the middle ages.
It is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people and many Catholic shrines. Although there was an economic boom in the past few years (with its accompanying loss of spirituality), it has always been a country steeped in Catholic tradition.
There are two Irelands:
Northern Ireland, part of Great Britain and home, until recently, of a certain amount of unrest. It is now relatively peaceful.
And then there is the independent Republic of Ireland in the south.
Some of the most important sites in the Republic of Ireland for Catholic travelers are:
Attymass, Ballina (County Mayo): Father Patrick Peyton Memorial Centre
Ballintubber (County Mayo): Ballintubber Abbey
Cashel (County Tipperary): The Rock of Cashel
Clonmacnois: Ancient Monastic Settlement
Croagh Patrick (County Mayo): Ireland’s Holy Mountain
Drogheda: Shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett
Dublin (County Dublin): Many Shrines & Places of Interest
Glendalough: Monastic Settlement of Saint Kevin
Goughanne Barra: Saint Finn Barr’s Oratory
Knock (County Mayo): Our Lady of Knock Shrine
Lough Derg (County Donegal): Saint Patrick’s Purgatory
Mount Melleray Abbey: Cistercian Abbey & Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (repoted apparitions of Our Lady)
Skellig Michael: ancient Monastery
Click here to order this great Rosary made from Connemara Marble (made in Ireland)
And if you are traveling to Western Ireland, here is one
of our favorite towns in which to base your trip: Westport