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Virtual Celtic Pilgrimage: The Wisdom of Irish Saints Colman, Sourney, and Patrick

with Christine Valters Paintner, Simon de Voil, Betsey Beckman and guest teachers Pius Murray, Tony Kirby, David Luskin, Órla McGovern, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, and Nóirín Ní Riain

with forum facilitator Melissa Layer

April 23 – May 1, 2023

Daily online live sessions:

3-4:15pm Ireland

10-11:15am Eastern

7-8:15am Pacific

Program Description

You are invited on a journey of the heart. In the Celtic imagination, the portal to cross thresholds into other realms is as close as our breath, as near as the pulse of our aliveness. You are invited onto a pilgrimage where you might physically walk only a few steps, but your soul can travel vast distances.

During the time of pandemic our travel opportunities became more limited. Maybe we aren’t able to travel long distances at all for other reasons. Abbey of the Arts created this way of becoming a pilgrim of the imagination. With the help of our wonderful filmmaker friends, the Morgan Brothers, and some of our favorite guides in Ireland we invite you into the beauty of some of Ireland’s sacred places without having to pack a suitcase.

This year’s pilgrimage celebrates the feast of Bealtaine (or sometimes spelled Beltane) which is the Celtic feast of blossoming and the start of the light half of the year in the northern hemisphere.

What might your intention be in this season of your life?

What are the seeds you feel rumbling inside of you?

How might making a 9-day commitment to your inner journey reveal new pathways into the future?

What's Included

Each day’s live session includes teaching and meditation from Christine Valters Paintner, music and prayer from Simon de Voil, invitations into embodied prayer with Betsey Beckman, and beautifully filmed videos with local guides and musicians Pius Murray, Tony Kirby, David Luskin, Órla McGovern, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, and Nóirín Ní Riain offering their wisdom and insight into aspects of Celtic pilgrimage and spirituality. These 10-15 minute videos were filmed at various sacred sites in the west of Ireland to give you an experience of entering into the spirituality of the landscape.

We will be exploring the gifts and invitations that Saints  Sourney, Colman, and Patrick have for us along with the wider wisdom of the Celtic tradition. Each day we will explore a different theme connected to their life and vision. Each day you will be invited into meditations to connect to the Celtic imagination and unearth your heart’s deep longings.

If a nine-day pilgrimage is too intense for your life commitments, you can spread them out over nine weeks or nine months as you have lifetime access to them. Pilgrimage is time outside of time, so however you are being called to journey is perfect.

We will turn on closed captioning during the live Zoom session (which you are able to turn off in your settings if you find distracting) as well as provide a video recording with closed captioning available and a text transcript of the session.

The program will be recorded for those who pre-register but are unable to attend at the scheduled time or who want to view again. You will be sent a notification when this is ready to view.

You have lifetime access to all online programs.

Weekly Themes

Day 1

St. Sourney: Setting out on the Journey

Day 2

St. Sourney: Seeking Healing

Day 3

St. Sourney: Standing at the Threshold

Day 4

St. Colman: Embracing Renewal

Day 5

St. Colman: Attuning to the Senses

Day 6

St. Colman: Praying with the Wild

Day 7

St. Patrick: Following the Red Thread

Day 8

St. Patrick: The Coming Together of Two Traditions

Day 9

St. Patrick: A Weaving Together

Your Guides for the Journey


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Christine is the director of, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of numerous books on spirituality and the arts. Her deepest belief is that the earth is the original monastery–a wisdom guide and mentor in living a soulful and vibrant life. Visit the “About Christine” page for more information.

Simon de Voil playing guitar

Simon de Voil

Rev. Simon Ruth de Voil, is an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister, trained to be a sacred presence outside the conventions of traditional religion. As a sacred musician, spiritual mentor and worship leader he incorporates chant, ritual, poetry, storytelling, and mindful practice to create a space for profound connection and sacred witness. Simon provides music for worship, ceremony, and prayer in a wide variety of churches and non-religious spiritual communities. He particularly loves to create music for meditation, healing services, and rites of passage.

Simon is also an experienced workshop and retreat leader, drawing on 15 years of study, training, and practice that grew from his time living and working in Iona Abbey. Although influenced by many traditions, Simon’s spiritual path and teaching is deeply rooted in Celtic Christianity, the wisdom of the earth, and in the Scottish land where he’s spent most of his life.

Learn more about Simon on his website:

Betsey Beckman, MM

Betsey Beckman, MM is nationally acclaimed as a spirited dancer, storyteller, teacher of SpiritPlay and dancing Spiritual Director. With her extensive repertory of sacred storydances, she is regularly featured as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as local churches. She earned her Masters in Ministry degree from Seattle University, her certificate in Movement Therapy from the Institute for Transformational Movement, and is a certified InterPlay leader. As dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, she is passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom she shares life and ministry. Betsey’s publications include books (she is co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction), recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible.

Guest Teachers

Pius Murray

Pius Murray N.T., B.A., H.D.E.(Hons.), LL.B.(Hons.), Diploma in Celtic Spirituality has his own guided walks business, Walk With Pius. He is a founder member of Pilgrim Paths Ireland and a member of the Burren Ecotourism Network. He is a member of the Burrenbeo Trust and a Burren Conservation Volunteer. He organises and leads walks, especially Inspirational Walks which enable walkers to connect with nature and with the spirituality of the landscape in the Burren and on Inisheer, for visitors of all nationalities, students of all levels and a variety of associations and organisations. Pius lives in Corofin, County Clare with his wife and family. Visit Pius’ website here. 


Tony Kirby

Tony Kirby was born in Limerick city. He has also lived in Dublin (civil servant) and Bologna (English language teacher). He started to conduct walking tours in Dublin city in the late 1990s. 
Tony moved to the Burren in County Clare in 2002. He founded Heart of Burren Walks that year.

In 2012 Tony Kirby produced the short film West Cork set at St Gobnait’s monastic site in Ballyvourney, County Cork. The film was screened at the 2012 Cork International Film Festival. A new edition of Kirby’s critically acclaimed book The Burren and the Aran Islands A Walking Guide (Collins Press, 2009) was published in August 2014. Tony lives in Killinaboy with his wife Eimer and two sons. Visit Tony’s website here. 

Tony Kirby

David Luskin

David Luskin co-owns and runs Corrib Cruises with his brother Patrick. Passed down from their father John who started the company in 1975, they serve Cong Co. Mayo, Oughterard, Co Galway and the historic island of Inchagoill, which is exactly half way beween the two. Collectively Patrick and David have decades of experience, and they offer their passengers that personal touch, only afforded in a family business with such a heritage. Visit David and Corrib Cruises online.

David Luskin

Órla McGovern

Órla Mc Govern is an award-winning Storyteller, Performer and Writer based in The West of Ireland. She  performs, tells stories and teaches at venues small and large around the world. She has worked for many years in theatre, film and television on more than one continent.  She’s very interested in both scripted and improvised work; her award winning plays and short films have been produced globally, and she has written two books of stories Dublin Folk Tales For Children & Wild Waves & Wishing Wells (The History Press). She is a member of Interface Inagh, Aoife’s Clown Doctors, Theatre 57 and Storytellers of Ireland. Órla is also founder and Artistic Director of Moth & Butterfly, a storytelling collective and annual festival. Visit Órla online.

Órla Mc Govern

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

Mícheál ‘Moley’ Ó Súilleabháin is a renowned singer, poet, teacher and speaker from Limerick, Ireland. His artistic identity lives on the threshold between things. He is a master of several worlds of musical and poetic performance and composition. His way in the world exists between laughter and poignancy.

Mícheál published his first book of poetry, EARLY MUSIC, on David Whyte’s Many Rivers Press (Seattle) in late 2020. Also in 2020 he founded the Dámh Imeall – (H)Edge School with his brother and mother. (H)Edge School is an online community of inquiry and ritual with online workshops and events on a range of interfaith and multi-disciplinary topics. Join Mícheál’s online community at  Purchase Mícheál’s poetry collection ‘Early Music’ here.

Headhshot Micheal Moley 2022 #2

Nóirín Ní Riain

Rev. Nóirín Ní Riain PhD is an Interfaith Minister (One Spirit Interfaith Seminary), an internationally acclaimed spiritual singer, theologian, writer, musicologist, and Celtic Spirituality expert. Rev. Ní Riain performs weddings, naming ceremonies, concerts, lectures, and gives workshops all over the world.  She lives near Glenstal Abbey, county Limerick, Ireland. Visit Nóirín online. 

Nóirín Ní Riain

Forum Facilitator

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC honors the unfolding journeys of our wild and precious lives as compelling invitations for creative, integrative meaning-making in BodyMindSpirit.  Her sacred calling and formal training as a psychospiritual therapist, hospice grief counselor, and spiritual director have taught her about the potency of thin places in thresholds and dark nights of the soul.  Cultivating curiosity, Melissa offers expressive exploration of the Great Mystery through journaling, collaging, poem-making, dreamwork, visio and lectio divina, creation of rituals and altars, and engaged encounters with nature.  Like the honeybee for which she is named, she claims her role as “a bee of the invisible…passionately plundering the honey of the visible in order to gather it in the great golden hive of the invisible” (Rilke).  Melissa offers a compassionate, attuned presence and deep listening with the ear of her heart from the Pacific Northwest in Washington, where the Salish sea meets the evergreen forest. Visit Melissa’s website here>>

Melissa Layer Head Shot


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We offer a sliding scale of 3 fees for payment. The reduced fee is for those who need financial assistance and the sponsorship fee helps support our ability to offer scholarships. In an effort to keep this program accessible, please carefully consider both your own resources as well as honoring the expense, time, and energy required to run these programs and keep our work sustainable. Thank you!
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Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.

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These videos are made available to registered participants and may also be included in future versions of the program including self-study. If you choose to speak during a recorded gathering, you are giving us your consent to record that contribution. If you prefer not to be seen or heard, you can of course switch off or mute your camera or microphone at any time. Chat sessions are recorded and posted as well. Participation in the chat function is also giving consent to their recording. Breakout groups are never recorded.

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