The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland are a collection of ancient religious routes with well-documented claims of having been used by pilgrims since ancient times. Walking these ageless trails not only offers the opportunity for spiritual renewal, but also provides 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.
Pilgrim Paths Ireland is the national representative body for Ireland’s pilgrim paths. It was founded at a meeting in Nenagh to represent ireland’s principal penitential paths. Its objective is to promote greater awareness and use of Ireland’s historic pilgrim routes.
The Irish pilgrim logo, which you see on the top left of this screen, has been adopted as the symbol for pilgrimage in Ireland. It comes from a cross-slab near Ballyvourney, Co Cork showing a Maltese Cross in a circle with a tonsured figure, probably a pilgrim, above it. The Maltese Cross has been identified by archaeologist, Peter Harbison, as an important early symbol of pilgrimage
Read about Pilgrim Paths in Ireland
If you intend to walk some of Ireland’s Pilgrim Paths or simply want to know more about them, 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) and contains comprehensive details of the walks required by those completing the Irish Pilgrim Passport
The book is available from good bookshops and online from https://www.gillbooks.ie
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