The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland are a collection of ancient religious routes around the country which have documented claims to having been used by pilgrims since ancient times.Walking these ancient ways not only offers the opportunity for spiritual renewal but also provides us with a link to our past, while contributing to sustainable tourism and community development in each area.
The Medieval pilgrimage was originally a journey that combined prayer, sacrifice and devotion – with an element of physical discomfort – by which the pilgrim could become closer to God. It could also fulfil many of the functions of a modern holiday – a change of scene and a time to make room for something beyond the daily grind.
In view of the growing demand for pilgrim trail walking at the end of the last century, the Pilgrim Paths project was set up by the Heritage Council in 1997 and involved seven routes across Ireland. In association with local communities, its objective was the development of a network of walking routes along medieval pilgrimage paths.
Pilgrim Paths Ireland is the national representative body for Ireland’s pilgrim paths. It was founded at a meeting in Nenagh during the summer of 2013 and represents 11 community groups associated with Ireland’s principal penitential paths. The objective of this association is to promote greater awareness and use of Ireland’s historic pilgrim routes.
Check out our News page for information on what is happening in the various Pilgrim Paths to celebrate Pilgrim Paths Day in April 2014.
Read about Pilgrim Paths in Ireland
If you intend walking some of Ireland’s Pilgrim Paths or simply want to know more about them then comprehensive information is contained in John G. O’Dwyer’s new guide book titled Pilgrim Paths in Ireland. Containing maps, photographs and concise directions, it is published by The Collins Press (RRP €14.99)
The book is available from all good bookshops and online from The Collins Press Online Store.