• We are learning about pilgrimages and special journeys
We all take journeys everyday. Sometimes we go on a
Have you ever been on a memorable journey? Where
were you going?
How did you feel?
• To visit relatives who live far away
• To see a baby that has been
• When we move house
• To visit somewhere that is special to your family
• When we go on a special holiday
• Here are some examples of special journeys.
• A widow visiting a war grave in France.
• An Arsenal fan travelling to Leeds for a match.
• A pilgrim travelling to Croagh Patrick.
• What are the reasons for each journey?
People go for lots of different reasons…..
A pilgrimage is a journey to a special
place. It is usually a long journey.
What is pilgrimage?
People of all religions can go on
It could be
scriptures or holy
To feel part of a
larger group or
To ask God to make
them better if they are
To ask God to
forgive them for
Why go on pilgrimage?
To spend time
alone and think
To bring something back (an
actual souvenir, or something
To renew their faith
Characteristics of Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage is a particular type of journey
On pilgrimages, groups of people unite in a common
faith and travel together to a holy place or shrine
“Going on pilgrimage without change of heart brings no
reward from God”
It was the hope and the dream by leaving home and
travelling to a special place one might return somehow
changed and renewed
Pilgrims frequently travelled together in groups to
give each other support and protection
Today people continue to go on pilgrimage to be at one
with themselves and with God
Day 2011 was
held in Madrid
The theme for
Youth Day is
“Rooted and Built
Up in Jesus
Christ,Firm in the
Find out where the
next World Youth Day
will be held
Irish places of Pilgrimage
Many people who travel to
pilgrimage sites go to pray
for special intentions or to
give thanks to God for His
love or healing.
St Brigid’s well
Name a pilgrimage site in Ireland which is
Penance through fasting ____________
Penance through climbing in bare feet
Place of prayer on feast of St Brigid
St Kevin ___________________
St Laurence O’Toole ______________
Where were pilgrim sites located in Ireland?
In rural settings
In desolate places to escape distractions and
become closer to God
Such religious life
Some characteristics of
Celtic Christian Sites:
The Lough Derg Experience
Lough Derg has always been a bit of an
enigma - a place where people fast and
walk barefoot and walk in circles
repeatedly does not make much sense to
those on the outside-but to the pilgrim the
experience is profound.
Traditional Lough Derg
Core Product: 3 Day
• 1 daily meal of dry toast
and black tea
• 1 all-night vigil
• Bare-foot stations
Array of Products
Mother and Daughter day.
(also called Standing Cross)
These freestanding crosses were found
They were probably made of wood initially
Later they were made of stone & richly
The cross features a stone ring around the
intersection, forming a Celtic cross
This style of cross is only found in Ireland,
Scotland and parts of Britain
Such crosses were erected outside churches,
monasteries, at land boundaries or
Some may have been used as preaching
The second tallest high cross in Ireland is
found in the Dublin Archdiocese, in Moone,
The theme of the cross is ‘the Help of God’-
how God came to humanity’s assistance in their
hour of need.
Scenes carved on the stone cross include:
Daniel in the lion’s pit, the sacrifice of Issac.
It is in three parts:
the three children in the fiery furnace
the miracle of the loaves and fish
the flight into Egypt
Did you know?.....
For centuries, people revered the
deities of wells.
In Christianity, Christ uses water to
Water is used in Baptism.
The Saints blessed the waters of wells
and used them for Baptism.
Pilgrims traditionally put water from the
holy well on afflicted body parts.
Many Saints founded a local church
beside this source of water.
St. Columba is reputed to have blessed
over 300 wells.
St.Brigid’s Well is a large and
ornate well and the site contains
a statue of St.Brigid. There are
5 prayer stones in a line. It is a
custom to pause at each stone
and to reflect upon an aspect of
First stone: Brigid, a woman of
Second stone: Brigid, the
Third stone: Brigid, the friend of
Fourth stone: Brigid, the
Fifth stone: Brigid, woman of
Behind the fifth stone is a round
well that you encircle 3 times to
achieve harmony within yourself
and within the universe.
The Wayside well
(beside St Brigid’s
Well) is a small and
ancient source of
People visit here to
collect water in
bottles because of
its reputed healing
Holy Trees are often called
‘rag’ trees or ‘cloutie’ trees
Pilgrims often left rags or
items attached to the
branches of a nearby tree
They may have been in
remembrance of healings
Some believe that, while the
items remain on the
branches, the prayers are
Round towers began to be
built about the same time
as the high crosses.
There remains some
confusion as to the real
purpose of these towers.
They may have been:
used for ringing bells
landmarks to guide
used in liturgies or
and places of refuge.
The Fire Temple is located at the rear
of the Cathedral in Kildare.
In Pre-Christian times, the Priestesses
of the goddess Brighid kept her flame
In Christian times, the religious Sisters
of St. Brigid continued this tradition.
The light was extinguished during the
On 1 February 2006, the flame was
permanently housed in a large glass
enclosed vessel in the town centre of
the Market Square.
The Fire Temple
Who went on pilgrimages?
† The majority of people in Celtic times were not
literate. They relied on the symbolism in pictures
† They cherished stories about the lives of the
Saints and the relics of these Saints
† Pilgrim sites associated with these Saints were
visited on Saints’ feast day
† Pilgrims often fasted, sought cures for illnesses
prayed to and honoured their favourite Saints
† The Celtic people were a restless people and had
an innate tendency to explore the unknown
† Unsurprisingly, the trend of ‘white martyrdom’
developed amongst monks. This was where monks
would leave possessions, family and friends in
order to travel the wilderness forever in the
service of God.
The three most important
Saints of Ireland were
St.Patrick, St.Brigid and