Religious tourism (Archive)

Eucharistic Congress Bell arrives at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, ArmaghIreland’s Christian faith was established in the fourth century with the arrival of Patrick the missionary from Rome.  Patrick travelled throughout Ireland, converting and instructing believers in the Christian faith.  Pagan chieftains and their tribes became Christian converts. There are monastic sites, high crosses and round towers which remain today, giving us a glimpse into how Christian communities worshipped and announced their religious fervour.

In the seventh and eighth centuries Irish monks created ornate illustrated books of the Gospel which have survived invasion and later religious oppression. The Book of Kells is on display in Trinity College Library, Dublin. 

Saint Brigid cross in stained glassFor centuries after Patrick, Irish saints, scholars and missionaries left Ireland to evangelise Europe. Saint Columcille, Saint Columban, Saint Aidan and Saint Gall were missionaries in Europe.  Their names are connected to churches and religious sites in Ireland, Britain, France and Switzerland.

Today there are many places in Ireland associated with Patrick and other early Irish saints.  Armagh, Downpatrick, Dublin and Mayo have significant religious sites devoted to Saint Patrick  which are visited by pilgrims and tourists each year.

We include in this section some resources on religious sites which explain Ireland's Christian heritage. 

Description of religious attraction County Resource
Glendalough Visitor Centre Wicklow Link to online information
Clonmacnois Offaly Link to online information
The Ecclesiastical Heritage of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon
Galway, Mayo, Roscommon Download
Abbeys, monasteries and churches All counties Link to online information
Croagh Patrick pilgrimage Mayo Link to online information
Lough Derg pilgrimage Donegal Link to online information
Marian Shrine, Knock Mayo Link to online information
Saint Patrick's Trail Down and Armagh Link to online information
The Saint Patrick Centre (in English, French, German and Italian) Down Download
Christian Heritage in North Down and Ards
Patrimonie Cristiano en North Down y Ards
Patrimonie Chrétien de North Down et Ards
Das Christliche Erbe in North Down and Ards
Down Download 
Ardfert Cathedral Kerry Link to online information
Mellifont Abbey Louth Link to online information
Tintern Abbey Wexford Link to online information
Boyle Abbey Roscommon Link to online information
Sligo Abbey Sligo Link to online infomation
Trails of the Saints Carlow  Link to online information

Religious destinations by train

Take a train to visit religious sites and places in Ireland. The Irish Rail/Iarnród Éireann train network goes to towns and cities across Ireland. 

Download Religious Visitor Destinations by Rail.

Tourism offices and local councils publish information leaflets about historical and religious attractions in Ireland. Find out more about visiting religious sites in Ireland.

Read more about cultural tours which include visits to religious sites in Ireland.

Back to top.