Pilgrimage has been defined as “a meaningful journey to a place of spiritual significance” and the practice is almost as old as recorded history.
National Pilgrim Paths Week is a recognised Easter Festival based on Ireland’s dense network of medieval pilgrim walking routes of which the Cosan na Naomh in County Kerry is one.
This new heritage themed event is organised by the local communities adjacent to each of our principal penitential routes and is aimed at raising awareness of Ireland’s rich inheritance of pilgrim paths.
It is targeted, not only at those who enjoy exploring ancient tracks imprinted with the footsteps of our penitents past, but also at the growing numbers seeking walkways with deeper spiritual significance.
This annual celebration of Ireland’s National Pilgrim Paths will expand from a single day to a week long event, with a nationwide series of walks, lectures and a variety of community based activities planned along and around all of this country’s major medieval penitential walkways.
Heritage and ecclesiastical sites on this walk In County Kerry the pilgrim journey has strong historic resonance with early Christian scholars coming to Clonmacnoise; medieval penitents journeying to Lough Derg, and Glendalough, while others sought heightened spirituality by visiting Skellig Michael, the Kerry Camino or climbing Croagh Patrick.
National Pilgrim Paths Week provides a warm welcome for participants of all religious backgrounds and equally those without religious affiliations.
Many of the pilgrim walks will be single day events taking place over the course of the week; some will be over 2 days and others will be up to 5 days long, but all will be targeted at returning a degree of deeper reflection on, and appreciation of the Irish outdoors, to the Easter period.
As well as the Kerry Camino, there is the Cosan na Naomh or The Saints' Road is an old pilgrimage road which starts at Traigh Fhionntra in Ventry and finishes in Baile Breac, at the foot of Mount Brandon. It is 18km in length and presents no major challenge even for the casual stroller.
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