Cashel to Ardmore – Cahir House Hotel – Mount Melleray Abbey – Ancient Castles – Celtic stories –
Mindful Moments – Mountain trails – monastic ruins by the shore in Ardmore… Round Tower to Round Tower
St Declan’s Way is our signature Camino experience in Ireland. We have led many groups from Ireland and beyond on this age-old pilgrim trail. We’ve learned from our fellow travellers and adapted our programme to reflect what works best for everyone. We look after everything from your coach transfers to your accommodation to your guest guides, lunches, dinners and most importantly your pilgrim passport. You put your energies into walking the 115km from Cashel to Ardmore and leave the rest to us!
You arrive in on the Sunday evening and depart Friday afternoon. In between, 5 days of walking starting out from the Rock of Cashel on Monday morning and arriving onto the beach in Ardmore lunchtime Friday. Our base for the first 3 nights is Cahir House Hotel, and, as we make our way, we move to Mount Melleray Abbey Guest House for the last 2 nights of our Camino. The Abbey Guest House has a unique ambience to match its beautiful surrounds. Our visitors love Mount Melleray. It leaves a deep imprint long after the walking is over.
Our Camino along St Declan’s Way is only as good as the people we get to walk it with. The chats, the fun, the laughter, even the song is what keeps us going ’til we arrive into Ardmore. We try to strike a balance between making the walk a reflective time for each person but making sure that it is relaxed and enjoyable too. The meals each evening and especially our Gala Dinner on the Thursday night in Lismore make it a very memorable Camino. It’s the unscripted moments along the way that stay with you long after the walking is over.
Sunday: Welcoming dinner in Cahir House Hotel
- Check in to Cahir House Hotel any time from 3pm. Free parking in the hotel carpark.
- Welcoming Dinner at 7pm.
Monday: Cashel to Cahir
- Coach transfer from Cahir House Hotel to the Rock of Cashel at 8.45am.
- We will take a guided tour of the Rock of Cashel to set us on our way. The ‘city of kings’ was home to the high kings of Munster who ruled for centuries from the magnificent site of the Rock of Cashel.
- It was also from here that St. Declan left on his return to Ardmore after his many meetings with St. Patrick in the 5th Century. You sense the history as you leave behind this iconic pilgrim space to make your first steps en route to Ardmore.
- Arrival in Cahir at approximately 3.30pm. Time to relax before evening dinner at 7pm.
Tuesday: Cahir to Goatenbridge
- We leave the Hotel at 7.45am for our second day of the Camino. The earlier the start, the more time we’ll have to unwind in the afternoon. We will return to Cahir at approximately 3pm.
- Local guides will join us over these few days from Cahir to Lismore. Whilst sharing the path with them, their stories will help us to connect fully with all who have passed this way before.
- Afternoon, time to do as you wish. Explore the historic Cahir Castle, maybe a kayaking trip on the River Suir or discover the Swiss cottage. Even enjoy a fresh creamy pint of Guinness to mark the occasion. We gather for evening dinner at 7pm.
Wednesday: Goatenbridge to Lismore
- After early breakfast in Cahir House Hotel, we take our cars (or coach transfer if you use public transport) to our base for the next 3 days – Mount Melleray Abbey. By 8.30am we are ready to leave the carpark at Mount Melleray Abbey and take a transfer to the Liam Lynch Memorial from where we start out on Day 3 of our Camino.
- This is our longest trail on the Camino so we will set off just before 8am. The first half hour of this walk is the most challenging as we cross over the Knockmealdown Mountains at ‘Bottleneck Pass’ at an elevation of 537 metres.
- Apart from this stretch, this day’s trail passes through undulating but beautifully picturesque terrain as we make our way onto Mount Melleray Abbey, near Cappoquin. Mount Melleray is one of the major milestones along St. Declan’s way, although of course it was not there in Declan’s time. The monastery has been home to a community of Cistercian (or Trappist) monks for nearly 200 years. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Irish men who wished to become Cistercian monks travelled to the continent.
- We have lunch in Mount Melleray before continuing on our way. We give our group the choice here of a beautiful woodland trail rather than continuing by country road to Lismore.
- Back then to Mount Melleray to check into our Guest Rooms and enjoy evening dinner in the Abbey. During our time in Mount Melleray, we will be staying in the en-suite guest rooms and we have the option of attending morning and evening prayer. Everyone works to their own spiritual rhythm. You are free to do what sits best with you. We just ask that everyone respects this monastic space and appreciates the privilege of being able to stay here.
Thursday: Lismore to Aglish
- We’ll follow the flow of the River Blackwater as it leads us gently on towards Cappoquin, on into Villierstown before our descent into Aglish.
- As we leave Lismore, we are met by a local guide from Lismore Heritage Centre who gives us a unique insight into the story of Lismore and it people. It’s amazing to think that this place was a centre of monasticism going back over 1,000 years in the time of St Carthage. The Castle, Lady Louisa’s Walk, the River Blackwater all form a stunning backdrop to our departure on Day 4. We’ll come back to Lismore on Friday night for our Gala Dinner. We’ll have earned it by then.
- 8km down the line, we stop off in Barron’s Bakery, Cappoquin to sample their renowned coffee and homemade cuisine. It’s sets us up for the day ahead.
- We come off the way marked trail on this day to make our way past Dromana Estate into Villierstown for lunch before our ascent into Aglish. We make time for a short ‘mindful moment’ by the river before our return to Mount Melleray Abbey.
- In the evening, Gala Dinner in Foley’s Bar and Restaurant Lismore.
Friday: Aglish to Ardmore
- Our final day’s Camino leads us over beautiful undulating vales and hills to where the sea gradually opens up before us as we arrive into Ardmore.
- On arrival into Ardmore, we’ll have lunch by the sea before taking the cliff path from the Holy Well and Hermitage of St Declan around to the monastic ruins.
- We gather at St. Declan’s Well to mark the moment. You will feel a sense of achievement of having walked the 125kms (70 miles) all the way from Cashel to Ardmore as St. Declan himself did over 1,600 years ago.
- Mid-afternoon we will take our coach transfer back to Mount Melleray Abbey.
Phil and Elaine started out on their Camino journey 6 years ago and love nothing more than to roll out mindful experiences in the great outdoors. Tramore is their home. Each journey starts and ends from the shoreline. Phil’s reflective musings are posted monthly on PHIL’S BLOG
Each stage of St Declan’s Way is 20-25km per day. We adapt the distance covered to suit the fitness levels of the group. We have developed a training programme to help you prepare in advance.
PRICE: €1,250* includes:
- 5 nights bed and breakfast, 6 evening dinners and daily packed lunches for your Camino. (3 nights in Cahir House Hotel and 2 nights in Mount Melleray Abbey)
- Hosts Dr. Phil and Elaine Brennan.
- Guest local guides over the 5 days on Camino.
- Coach transfers and car parking for the duration of your Camino in the carpark at Cahir House Hotel and Mount Melleray Abbey.
- Gala Dinner on the Thursday night in Foley’s Bar and Restaurant, Lismore.
- St. Declan’s Way Camino Passport and completion stamp.
* Single Room Supplement inclusive of the 6 nights is €120
* Additional accommodation rates supplement for June, July and August of €100
* For those using public transport, we can arrange a private transfer on the Saturday morning to your connection point for an additional supplement.
What our guests say:
I completed the five-day St. Declan’s Way pilgrimage with a huge sense of personal satisfaction and triumph thanks in no small way to Phil and Elaine Brennan. The logistics were impeccably organized, freeing me to engage fully in the pilgrimage experience. Phil and Elaine were there throughout to pass along their knowledge, provide encouragement when the walking became challenging and to enjoy many a laugh with us. They are well-connected with both the local landscape and the local people, sharing these connections freely. St. Declan’s Way in itself is a spectacular walk. But, it is the warmth and kindness of the Brennans that made it such an enriching experience for me. (Margaret, Canada)
We completed the 5 days walk along St Declan’s Way in August with Phil, Elaine and Conor. They did a fantastic job in organising a wonderful week and sharing with us their passion and knowledge for the local area, and really did go above and beyond to ensure that everyone had a great week. Their easy-going manner and good sense of humour really contributed to the enjoyment of the week. A highlight for me was the musical reflections, particularly on the banks of the River Blackwater in Lismore and in Mount Melleray Abbey. Their encouragement to slow life down and to live simply is certainly a message that I have tried to take away with me. I would certainly recommend the company to anyone considering joining them for one of their walks. (Anna, London)
Phil and Elaine (& Conor!) animated a memorable St. Declan’s Way 5 Day Camino along the hills, farmlands and river walks of Waterford and Tipperary. Every element of the trip was overseen so well, from the accommodation in Cahir House and it’s beautiful heritage town, to the peace-filled environment of Mount Melleray Abbey. The walks were so well paced that even in the more challenging moments we felt carried along by the warmth, wisdom and laughter of our group, buoyed up by cups of tea and coffee and homemade treats provided from cafes and bakeries along the way. Input and stories from local guides added immeasurably to our experience. The musical talents of Phil and Elaine and others in our group were the icing on the cake and the sense of wellbeing and accomplishment as we completed the journey was felt by us all! A huge thanks… we will return! (Pat and Mary, Dublin)
Enjoyed an incredible 5 day Camino with excellent attention to detail, care and attention to the whole group. The experience was enhanced by incredible views, daily tasty fresh lunches, scrumptious dinners, great stories, informative guests/guides, visits to historic sites, mindfulness moments, nice easy pace of walking, spontaneous singing and even some comedy! Elaine and Phil are an incredible couple full of enthusiasm and passion. They went above and beyond to ensure everyone enjoyed their time on this historic walk. I look forward to booking another trip with them. (Anne, Dublin).
Departure Dates for 2023:
- May 7th-12th
- June 25th-30th
- July 16th-21st
- August 20th-25th
- September 10th-15th
Please email us at email@example.com for further details and to check availability.