I’m really excited to let you all know about a trip to Ireland that my friend Brian McLaren and I are leading next summer. After the amazing success of the trips I led this past summer, we’re continuing to deepen the experience, and I hope you’ll consider joining us. Here are some thoughts from folk who participated this past summer:
“Before this retreat I hadn’t realized how much wonder and freedom had been missing from my life. We walked each day without quite knowing exactly where we were gong, except that we would be meeting someone to talk about something! I now approach each day like a walk in northern Ireland, filled with expectation about the wonderful people I’ll meet and the things I’ll learn.”
“Under gentle and inspiring guidance, a diverse group of strangers seeking direction in their spiritual lives became a tribe, with a sense of community and belonging for which all of us had longed.”
“An exceptional experience. You leave this trip with each of your senses saturated and nourished. “Refreshing”, “Life-changing” – these words are over-used but, even in their sincerest definition they still serve as understatements. This trip is many beautiful things but, what I’d say overall is that a trip like this is a necessity for those who seek to go deeper and live more authentically.”
Staying first in a lovely old country house by the sea outside Belfast (that’s Belfast below), and then in 400 year old thatched cottages in Mourne country (that’s Mourne country above – really), with a group of friends old and new, enjoying the landscape on amazing walks, hearing music and story, meeting locals, experiencing the peace process in meeting people directly involved in activism and change, and getting to know the culture of northern Ireland, immersed in Celtic culture ancient and new. Great food, inspiring art, and beautiful journeys on foot will form the heart of this soulfully unique and transforming experience. This will be a nine day experience – for twenty guests only – that might just last for the rest of your life.
Many of you know that I was privileged to become friends with John O’Donohue in the few years before his death in 2008. John used to host what he called ‘tours’, based in County Clare, for pilgrims who wanted to experience Ireland in authenticity rather than the more antiseptic/corporate tourist trip where feet don’t touch the ground and souls might as well have stayed on the plane. I was lucky enough to be involved in facilitating what turned out to be the last tour John led in Ireland. This upcoming trip is very much inspired by the kinds of things John led people into on his trips: mornings will be gathered conversations, afternoons we will walk the landscape, and in the evenings there will be music, storytelling, and certainly firewater magic. You’ll meet friends and colleagues with whom I have been honored to walk some of the journey, peacemakers and poets and politicians, you’ll walk by the sea and on mountains, and there’ll be plenty of time to take by yourself for whatever you need.
The trip takes place June 15th-23rd 2014 – eight months from now. If you’re interested, and want more details, please send an email at this link, and we’ll send you the information and application form when they are available in early October. Places really are strictly limited – we can accommodate 20 guests, and expect the trip to be over-subscribed. So if you know this is for you, or if you’re asking maybe, let us know. There are payment plans and may be part-scholarships available, so don’t hesitate to be in touch if you’re interested. Brian and I can’t wait to welcome you to Belfast in June – we’ll even visit the fish below together!