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Ascend to the Heights

A Young Adult Pilgrimage to Ireland

June 12 - 19, 2021

About

If there’s one place in the world where the natural landscape invites a spiritual moment, it’s Ireland. But add to that it’s rich Catholic background, Irish culture, and of course the local pubs, and it’s a place uniquely positioned to make you feel more connected than ever to the land, food, Catholic community, and God’s work through it all.

Trip Details

Group Type & Size

Young Adults (Ages 18-39), 15-45 pilgrims

Length

8 days, 7 nights

Accommodations

Simple

Cost

As low as

$2,518

Deposit:

$500

What's Included

Dedicated pilgrimage director, supplemented by local guides
Custom booklet for each pilgrim
Catholic Chaplain
Daily Mass
Private transportation on minibus or motor coach
All tickets and donations for included activities listed on itinerary
Simple accommodations
Breakfast daily at lodging, 1 packed lunch*
Gratuities for pilgrimage director, guide(s), driver(s), and meals
Audio headsets (groups 20 or more)

Itinerary

June 12
Depart U.S.
  • Depart U.S. (flights not included in the package)
June 13
Dublin, Knock
  • Arrive in Dublin
  • Transfer to Mass (pending), followed by lunch on own
  • Transfer to Knock and dinner on own
  • Overnight in Knock
  • Accommodations: Knock House Hotel or similar
  • Meals included: None
June 14
Knock, Croagh Patrick, Westport
  • Discover Knock Shrine, Ireland’s National Marian Shrine, including a guided tour, Knock Museum, time for individual prayer and Mass (pending)
  • Transfer to Murrisk and enroute stop in Westport for lunch on own
  • Hike Croagh Patrick, which has been a place of religious pilgrimage since the time of St. Patrick. On this mountain, one of the highest peaks in West Ireland, St. Patrick did a 40-day Lenten fast and (legend has it) banished snakes from Ireland forever!
  • Transfer to Westport
  • Overnight in Westport
  • Accommodations: Wyatt Hotel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast
June 15
Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Galway
  • Depart County Mayo and journey through the Connemara Region
  • Scenic tour of Connemara, including various lakes,mountains, small villages, as well as views of the ocean and fjord of Killary Harbor
  • Afternoon visit to Kylemore Abbey, including Mass (pending), visitor center and exhibition with video, Liturgy of the Hours, and the Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden, and free time (time permitting)
  • Transfer to Galway
  • Overnight in Galway
  • Accommodations: Sleepzone Hostel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast
June 16
The Burren Region, Caherconnel Stone Fort, Cliffs of Moher
  • Discover the Burren Region, including photo spot at Poulnabrone Dolmen and a sheepdog demonstration at Caherconnel Stone Fort
  • Mass at St John the Baptist Church in Ballyvaughan or similar (pending)
  • Experience the spectular sights of the Cliffs of Moher, including views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Aran Islands in the Galway Bay (on a clear day), the valleys and hills of Connemara, and O’Brien’s Tower, and hike along coastal path
  • Transfer back to Galway
  • Overnight in Galway
  • Accommodations: Sleepzone Hostel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast
June 17
Clonmacnoise, Solas Brhide Center, Kildare
  • Tranfer to Kildare, enroute stop at Clonmacnoise for guided tour, videovisual presentation, exhibition aboout flora, fauna, and landscape
  • Continue on toward Kildare with visit to Solas Brhide Centre to walk in the footsteps of St. Brigid, including Mass (pending), Solas Bhride Centre, St. Brigid’s Cathedral, original monastic site of St. Brigid, Brigid’s Fire Temple and St. Brigid’s well
  • Overnight in Kildare
  • Accommodations: Westgrove Hotel/Celbridge Manor Hotel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast
June 18
Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Dublin
  • Scenic drive through through Wicklow Mountains to Glendalough Hike Glendalough with packed lunch
  • Mass at St Kevins Church, Laragh or similar (pending)
  • Afternoon transfer to Dublin for free time or choose your own adventure
    • Optional add-on activities:
      • Guinness Storehouse Tour +$23/person
      • Book of Kells Tour +$15/person
  • Overnight in Dublin
  • Accommodations: Abrahams Hostel or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
June 19
Departure
  • Depart Dublin (flights not included in the package)
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Led by

Chaplain
Fr. Vincent Strand, SJ
South Bend, Indiana
Fr. Vincent Strand, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and doctoral student in systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame. Born and raised in Dousman, Wisconsin, Fr. Strand entered the Jesuits in 2005 after completing undergraduate studies at Marquette University. As a Jesuit, he has earned degrees from Fordham University, Boston College, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Fr. Strand also taught high school theology for three years at Creighton Prep in Omaha, and spent a year working in a Jesuit parish in Göttingen, Germany. Whether visiting cathedrals in Europe or walking to Marian shrines in his native Wisconsin, Fr. Strand is a lifelong pilgrim always on the lookout for a new trail to wander.

Pricing

As low as

$2,518

Package Cost (without savings)

$2768

Trip Savings

Early bird (first 20 pilgrims to register)
Save $200/person
Pay balance by check
Save $50/person

Optional Add-ons

Single room supplement (limited availability)
$410/person
Individually arranged flights with LUXE Travel
Published fare +$40/person
Travel insurance
Price calculated during registration**
Day 7 - Guinness Storehouse Tour (10 pax min.)
$23/person
Day 7 - Book of Kells Tour (10 pax min.)
$15/person

“As low as” price includes savings for early bird and pay balance by check.
Pricing listed per person in 4-6 bedded en-suite dorm rooms or double-occupancy and does not include airfare.
The number of available single-occupancy rooms is limited.

*Please note: For pilgrims in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend group, two group dinners at the lodgings on Day 2 and Day 6 are included in package.

**Travel insurance price is calculated based on the age of the traveler and the total package cost.

Rates assume a minimum of 15 full-paying pilgrims.

  • Roundtrip airfare (optional add-on)
  • Passport, visa, or luggage fees
  • Any personal purchases
  • Meals while traveling, as well as most lunches and dinners*
  • Drinks at meals
  • Recommended travel insurance (optional add-on)
  • Anything else not explicitly mentioned as included

*Please note: For pilgrims in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend group, two group dinners at the lodgings on Day 2 and Day 6 are included in package. 

Please note: There is no official Extension offered for this pilgrimage.

If you would like to extend your stay or arrange a private Extension program, please contact us at hello@versoministries.com or call us at (574) 383-9396.

Simple Accommodations

  • Knock: Knock House Hotel or similar
  • Westport: Wyatt Hotel or similar
  • Galway: Sleepzone Hostel or similar
  • Kildare: Westgrove Hotel/Celbridge Manor Hotel or similar
  • Dublin: Abrahams Hostel or similar

 

Arranging your own flights? Designated arrival and departures times

  • Please arrive to Dublin Airport (DUB) by 11:00 a.m. on June 13, 2021. Pilgrims at this time will be transferred in one group transfer to Dublin City Center.
  • Please depart from Dublin Airport (DUB) on June 19, 2021 at or after 12:15 p.m. Pilgrims departing at or after 12:15 p.m. will be transferred to the airport as a group.
  • If you elect to arrive/depart at times different than those listed here, private transfers (fee will apply) can be arranged on your behalf.
Suggested airline itineraries:
(from/to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, ORD)
  1. Aer Lingus
    EI 124: Depart Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on June 12 at 8:20 p.m., arrive Dublin, Ireland (DUB) June 13 at 9:45 a.m.
    EI 125: Depart Dublin, Ireland (DUB) on June 19 at 4:00 p.m., arrive Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on June 19 at 6:30 p.m.
  2. United Airlines
    UA 980: Depart Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on June 12 at 9:05 p.m., arrive Dublin, Ireland (DUB) on June 13 at 10:45 a.m.
    UA 981: Depart Dublin, Ireland (DUB) on June 19 at 12:15 p.m., arrive Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on June 19 at 2:50 p.m.

 

Need to get around? Private transfers

  • Please note: If you arrive/depart outside of the designating times at the Dublin Airport, private transfers (fee applies) can be arranged on your behalf. Airport transfers outside of the designated arrival/departure times are not included in the package pricing.
  • Need to book? Contact us at hello@versoministries.com or call us at (574) 383-9396.

 

Arriving early or staying late? Pre-stay and post-stay options

Deposit due upon registration – $500/person
Final balance due 120 days prior to departure – Final balance

Please note: Payment plans can be arranged if needed. Please contact us if you would like to pay in several installments.

Final package price is estimated. Prices are based on the current (as of May 2020) exchange rate of 0.92 Euro to $1 USD. Any drastic fluctuations in currency exchange rates could affect the final pilgrimage pricing. If you have any questions about pricing and when final pricing decisions will be communicated, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

 

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted to Verso Ministries in written form and received via email or mail. Any refunds, as applicable, will be processed based on the date stamp of email or mail received. Cancellation fees are for individual pilgrims and fees will be charged per person per booking.

Cancellations are possible at any time, but refunds are subject to cancellation fees at the rates listed here.

  • Within 2 weeks of deposit: Free Cancellation*
  • 91 days or more from departure: Deposit is retained
  • 90-61 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost is non-refundable
  • 60-31 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost is non-refundable
  • 30 days or less prior to departure: 100% of trip cost is non-refundable

*Free cancellation (if deposit is made more than 180 days prior to departure)

Any cancellation charges incurred from other suppliers or vendors (flight, lodging, ground transportation, tickets, etc.) may come in addition to the administrative fees listed here. All group flight airline tickets, optional excursions, trip options, pre/post extensions, private transfers, and additional hotel nights are non-refundable 100 days or less prior to departure unless otherwise noted.

FAQ

The sooner you register for the pilgrimage, the better! Not only does registering guarantee you a spot on the pilgrimage before the departure fills up, but if you are one of the first 20 pilgrims to register you will receive the early bird discount. Also, there is no risk for 14-days after you register should you then have to cancel (must register 180 days or more prior to departure). So let’s say you register for a pilgrimage, but then realize you can no longer attend, as long as you cancel your pilgrimage within 14-days of registering and registered more than 180 days prior to the departure, then we will fully refund your deposit no questions asked. Just send us a written confirmation of your cancellation and we will take care of the rest. Plus, the sooner you register the sooner your journey begins. Register today!

There is no risk! Your deposit will be fully refunded as long as you cancel within 14-days of registering and you have registered more than 180 days or more prior to departure. With no risk, why wait? Get registered today!

Registration closes when the pilgrimage reaches the maximum number of pilgrims. If the pilgrimage is filled when you register, you will be added to our waiting list, and contacted in the event that space on the pilgrimage becomes available. Don’t miss your chance, register now and begin your journey.

We highly recommend that all pilgrims buy travel insurance. Travel insurance is not only for peace of mind, but helps protect you and those you are traveling with from unforeseen emergencies, which always seem to happen at the worst possible time. In the event of emergencies, both before and during your travels, as well other circumstances, like travel delay, lost baggage, missed connection(s), and much more, travel insurance can help. Upon registration you will receive a travel insurance quotation. If you have any questions regarding your quotation, please call the issuing company. If you need an updated or new quotation, please contact us at hello@versoministries.com or call us at 574-383-9396. We are happy to help!

Including optional add-ons with your pilgrimage can really add to your experience whether it is one of the optional extension or arranging an extra night stay beforehand so you are rested when the pilgrimage begins. If you would to add on any optional arrangements, as listed above, please email us at hello@versoministries.com or call us at 574-383-9396.

A pilgrimage, at its simplest, is a trip of faith. Which means a pilgrimage can be anything from a walk around your city to an encounter of Jesus in the Holy Land. For Catholics, it’s a trip of faith that people have been taking for hundreds or even thousands of years, many times in the same exact places you can visit today. It’s an opportunity to experience the spots God has made his presence known most in time and space, whether that’s where Jesus walked, where Mary appeared, or where the saints have lived and worked.

At Verso, we believe in crafting pilgrimages that offer you a view of God’s world and his work in it that you can’t get anywhere else. We believe everything from the holy sites, to the meals, to daily Mass, to your fellow pilgrims are ways God can speak to you, which means we’re intentional about it all. We also believe a pilgrimage isn’t just the days you travel, it’s how you prepare from the moment you sign up, to the days and weeks after you arrive home. Which means it’s our intention to shepherd you through the entire process — before, during, and after — so you can have the best, most transformative experience possible. We’re not just travel experts, we’re experts in Catholic pilgrimage.

We know from experience that preparing for a journey is just as important as the journey itself. Our goal is to make sure you’re physically, logistically, and spiritually ready for your pilgrimage. You’ll receive essential emails that will walk you through the process and give you ways to prepare your mind and heart for what you’ll encounter. A pre-trip webinar will make sure you are in touch with the Verso leader of the trip, can get trip-specific info, and can ask questions. We’ll send you a pilgrim kit that contains a comprehensive booklet for your trip along with some Verso swag (such as a bag, pen, and sticker) that you can bring along with you on your pilgrimage. And of course, we’re always available by phone or email if you have any questions or special needs.

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Activity Level

Easy
This trip’s activity level is easy. It’s recommended that travelers be in good health to enjoy this itinerary and be able to walk and climb stairs on their own. Trips at this activity level may include half or full-day itineraries with 1-3 hours of leisurely walking per day on smooth or slightly inclined terrain. The pace is more relaxed, with opportunities to rest throughout the day.

Moderate
This trip’s activity level is moderate. Travelers must be in good health and be in good physical condition to enjoy this itinerary. Travelers must be able to walk and climb stairs on their own. Trips at this activity level may include full-day itineraries of 3-5 hours of walking at a normal to brisk pace per day on varied terrain including uneven surfaces, stairs, and hills. The pace is faster and more demanding, with some breaks throughout the day.

Difficult
This trip’s activity level is difficult. Travelers must be in good health and physically fit to enjoy this itinerary. Trips at this activity level may include full-day itineraries with up to 5-7 hours of walking at normal to brisk pace per day on varied terrain including uneven surfaces, stairs, and steep hills. The pace is vigorous and demanding, with little down time each day.

Accommodation Level

Simple
For the duration of your trip, enjoy a range of lodging accommodations — from quaint guesthouses to simple-styled hotels. Discover a newfound appreciation for each of these locations which often have a unique character of their own. With your private bathroom and sleeping quarters, these locations will provide you with a clean, comfortable, and cozy place to settle into during your journey.

Standard
Venues at this level will provide you with the best accommodations at a reasonable cost. Not only will you have access to modern amenities and services, but special care is taken to ensure hotels are located in close proximity to the area’s local attractions. Expect your stay at this level to provide you with an added feeling of comfortability and convenience as you experience your pilgrimage.

Premium
Your stay at the premium level will ensure that your travel involves the opportunity to experience some of the most unique and luxurious stays that a destination has to offer. You’ll find that traveling at this level will afford you the opportunity to optimize your experience at each spot. From fine dining to scenic views, anticipate that your pilgrimage will provide you with breathtaking experiences no other location could provide.

How will I know what my stay will be like?
Each of our pilgrimage locations come with their own unique accommodations. From simple to luxurious, you can know that the care and satisfaction of each pilgrim is our greatest priority. While specific amenities will vary, we are sure that each of these handpicked locations will leave you rested, rejuvenated, and ready for each day.