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Virtual Celtic Pilgrimage: The Wisdom of Irish Saints Kevin, Ita, and Enda

Registration Fee: $180 USD

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.

Abbey of the Arts has created this virtual pilgrimage with the help of our wonderful filmmaker friends at Morgan Creative and some of our favorite guides in Ireland as a way to invite you into the beauty of some of Ireland’s sacred places without having to pack a suitcase.

This pilgrimage was originally offered during Samhain (Oct 31 – Nov 8) which is the start of the new year in the Celtic calendar and the beginning of the dark half of the year. Samhain wisdom teaches us that all beginnings happen in the womb-space of holy darkness. This is also the time when the ancestors are considered to be especially close to us, dancing just beyond the veil.

The live sessions were recorded over the feast of Samhain (Oct 31-Nov 8) but can be watched at any time you want to connect with Ireland, Celtic spirituality and your ancestors.


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

What are the new beginnings you desire?

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

What's Included

Each video recording of the live session originally offered around the Feast of Samhain lasts approximately 75 minutes and 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 Dara Molloy, Deirdre Ní Chinnéide, Pius Murray, Fr. Michael Rodgers, and Pádraigín Clancy, as well as storytelling from Órla Mc Govern, offering their wisdom and insight into aspects of Celtic pilgrimage and spirituality. These 10-15 minute videos were filmed at the islands of Inismor and Inisheer (two of the Aran islands off the coast from Galway) and the beautiful monastic city of Glendalough.

We explore the gifts and invitations that Saints Kevin, Ita, and Enda have for us. Each day we consider 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. There will be suggestions for practices of contemplative walking and other meditation between sessions.

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.

This pilgrimage also includes a bonus poetry reading with Irish poet Mícheál ‘Moley’ Ó Súilleabháin and an Irish Keen exploration (the ancient Irish death lament) with singer Mary Mc Laughlin.

Daily Themes

Day 1 -St. Kevin

Journey and Pilgrimage

Day 2 -St. Kevin

The Veil is Thin

Day 3 -St. Kevin

Retreat to the Desert

Day 4 -St. Ita

Women in Monastic Life

Day 5 -St. Ita

Dreams and Visions

Day 6 -St. Ita

Samhain and Seasonal Rhythms

Day 7 -St. Enda

Angel's Walk

Day 8 -St. Enda

Way of the Hermit

Day 9 -St. Enda

Remembering Who You Are

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 nine 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

Rev Simon Ruth de Voil

Reverend Simon Ruth de Voil is an interfaith-interspiritual minister, sacred musician, spiritual counsellor, and chaplain. His sacred work—both musical and interpersonal—explores themes of the inner landscape of the soul, the enchantment of the natural world, and the healing power of spiritual practice. As a chaplain and counsellor, Simon helps individuals and groups connect sacred presence with everyday life. Simon is also a transgender activist and a luthier in training. Visit Simon’s website here.

Guest Teachers

Betsey Beckman

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), producer of the Abbey of the Arts CDs, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible. Vist Betsey’s website. 


Deirdre Ní Chinnéide

Deirdre Ní Chinnéide is trained as a psychotherapist / spiritual director and workshop facilitator. She has worked all over Ireland, the U.S.A. and Europe including Bosnia and Kosovo. The Aran Islands with its unique history, culture and natural beauty provides a special setting for the retreat work, and was the place of inspiration for Celtic Passage, a journey of the heart which she leads through music, reflection and prayer.

Deirdre divides her time between the Aran Islands and the mainland offering retreats, workshops and performances of spiritual music. Music is a core element of her ministry and she has recorded two albums Celtic Passage and I will sing for you – Songs to soothe the soul. Deirdre has also co-authored the book Journey to the Well: Connecting to Celtic Ways and WisdomVisit Deirdre’s website here.


Dara Molloy

Dara Malloy is a Celtic Celebrant, pilgrim guide and author living on Inis Mór. His publications include Legends In The Landscape, a guide book to Inis Mór, which is now available in six languages, and The Globalisation of God, Celtic Christianity’s Nemesis. This latter work is the result of Dara’s lifelong interest in Celtic spirituality and Celtic monasticism. Visit Dara’s website here. 

Dara Molloy headshot

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. 


Mary Mc Laughlin

Born and raised in N. Ireland, Dr. Mary Mc Laughlin is a respected Irish Research Scholar in the field of Irish Traditional Song, holding an MA in Ritual Chant focusing on the Keen and a PhD in Otherworld Irish Traditional Song. She recorded 5 albums, including ‘Celtic Requiem’ on Sony Music, in which she delves into traditional songs surrounding death, using both traditional and original sources. Her songs and singing have also been featured on many compilations which have gained global success, including ‘”Celtic Voices’, an album which reached no. 3 in the Billboard World Music charts.

She has toured internationally with various groups, and for seven years directed her own choir ‘Cór Ainglí’, the first Sacred Gaelic choir in California. She currently spends her time both teaching traditional Irish singing  privately on-line and working on her forthcoming book about the Irish Keen. For more information, including videos and interviews see:  and

Mary McLoughlin

Órla Mc Govern

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

Fr. Michael Rodgers

Fr. Michael Rodgers is a member of St. Patricks Missionary Society. He returned to Ireland after twenty years missionary service, in Kenya, to serve on his congregation’s leadership team. During this time he began to explore his own roots, a journey that led him eventually to mystical Glendalough. He spent much time exploring the valley and its story. It became apparent that there was a hunger in people for a more natural and soulful expression of spirituality, and for opportunities for the companionship of like-minded souls.

Fr Michael offers a quiet, respectful space for people to reflect on their life and faith story. He encourages an experiential approach that incorporates history, legend, spirituality, Christian tradition and awareness of nature and the environment.


Pádraigín Clancy

Pádraigín Clancy is a graduate of Irish Folklore and History from the National University of Ireland, Dublin. She has a keen interest in Celtic Christian Spirituality and has lectured and facilitated retreats throughout Ireland, Britain, USA, and Australia. She is qualified in Spiritual Direction and holds a HDip in Theological Studies. Drawn to the Aran Islands because of its unique landscape and Gaelic heritage, she hasmade it her home since 1990.  There, she has documented an extensive collection of Island folkloretowards her PHD.

Pádraigín contributes frequently to Irish national radio and television.  She is editor and co-author of Celtic Threads: Exploring the Wisdom of our Heritage.


Mícheál ‘Moley’ 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 www.Turasdanam.comPurchase a signed copy of Mícheál’s poetry collection ‘Early Music’ here.

Headhshot Micheal Moley 2022 #2

Praise for the Virtual Celtic Pilgrimage

Thank you for a beautiful retreat! I continue to reflect on everything. It’s gifted me with a deeper spiritual grounding and closeness to God and my Celtic roots. Blessings to you and to all the Abbey retreat staff and participants!
Nancy (Massachusetts)
Thank you and your whole “Village” that created/produced/presented this wonder-filled 9 day Pilgrimage! It was so rich in song, dance, poetry, and visits to sacred places in Ireland that I know I will never see, but got to experience because of the gift of Zoom. Thank you for all you do to enrich my personal pray life with my Beloved God!
Elaine Olive
A huge thank you for the Novena pilgrimage. Such a rich retreat. So good to be able to return to the whole retreat.
Bobbie (Oxford England)
I feel so blessed and nourished. This is my first time doing anything with Abbey of the Arts but it will not be my last. I so appreciate the care and preparation that went into these nine days. The beautiful mix and balance of film and poetry and music and dance and teaching and silence.
Laura C.


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