Tourism and Spirituality

spiritual journey
Welcome to the United Diocese of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe (incorporating the ancient dioceses of Achonry, Aghadoe, Ardfert, Emly, Clonfert, Kilfenora, Killala and Kilmacduagh): the Diocese of the Wild Atlantic Way!!

As a visitor to the west of Ireland you may be overwhelmed by the amount of things there are to see and to do. There is the fabulous scenery; provided the clouds have not intruded upon the sun’s delight in making the lakes sparkle, the mountains gleam and the grass blush a vivid green. Or there’s the heritage, the cottages, the castles, the folklore, the music, the ruins, the ancestors and the history. Then again, what about the restaurants and pubs, the whiskey, the “craic” and the “ceilidh”. Whichever it is, its effect will be to touch your heart; to lift your spirit; to enhance your well-being.

This is the Spirituality of Tourism; it’s a characteristic response of the soul to being touched by creation in all its diversity and awesome grandeur, whether in the landscape or in the creativity of humanity at its best. Look around you; see, feel, experience, be inspired. In other words, this is a spiritual communication with the Divine Creator, the spiritual energy of the Universe, the One who inspires love, joy, peace.

This sense of oneness with nature in all its aspects is what defines the early Irish (so-called Celtic) spirituality both before the arrival of Christianity and subsequently. This is what inspired the plethora of ancient sites and the memories that populate our minds, our imaginations, as we touch what the saints touched, sense what they sensed. So we can share with them—through the centuries of spiritual engagement that has seeped its way into the landscape, soaked into the very earth on which we stand—the same capacity to experience the wonder, awe and blessedness that moved them to see and feel God present everywhere and in everything. This is what it is to be a Tourist!

Pause a moment and ask yourself a question:

  • Why is this bit of culture or spiritual history or special place here?
  • What is it about the events/places that are represented here that makes this place, this moment, this memory unique?
  • Why is my heart feeling uplifted, my mind excited, my soul warmed, by this place and its memories?
    Or conversely, why is it I feel the sadness, anger, regret, about the periods of upheaval and unrest, of pain and suffering?

On the one hand we feel the spirit of the place as a mark of the power of love, of belief, of hope. On the other hand we feel the pain of those whose spirits were harmed and abused. Either way, it is the power of the Divine, communicating with us the Joys and the Sorrows; of the Divine Presence, echoing for us and bringing us into association with those who trod these lands before us. The early Irish were particularly good at connecting with the Divine in the landscape and “events of place”; it is an aspect of everyone’s humanity. Rekindle that capacity in yourself; let the land and the memory speak to you and let your soul be enriched by the “touch of the Divine Presence”.

We hope you’ll enjoy your visit with us and be blest by a deeper engagement with the Divine presence in the landscape. You can take this new insight back home and discover—God is present everywhere and all the time. Be enriched by this experience and take our love home with you.

gach beannacht “every blessing”