Sacred Singing Journey of Ireland with Virginia Schenck

With special guest Nóirín Ní Riain, Ireland’s acclaimed spiritual singer October 9 - 17, 2018

Join Virginia Schenck, vocal artist, with special guest, Ireland’s acclaimed spiritual singer Nóirín Ní Riain, to explore the voices, sounds, and sacred sites of Ireland. All singers welcome!

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree… I hear it in the deep heart’s core”, W.B. Yeats’ "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." Our Sacred Earth holds many traditional forms and expressions of music that arise from her core and people. Few are more alluring and enduring than the Voices of Ireland. Celtic tradition views culture close to the earth and her elements, rising in early rituals at such places as the neolithic Newgrange and Loughcrew and Sligo’s cairns of Carrowmore and Carrowkeel, St. Patrick’s hill of Slane and the High King’s hill of Tara, Yeats’ beloved Isle of Innisfree and the Holy Island on Lough Derg, to the symphony of sea sounds at the Cliffs of Moher. From Sean-nós singing to the Gregorian chant of the monks of Glenstal Abbey, from ritual chants to pub music, we will listen, explore, and sing ourselves in this spiritual and mystical, music-filled land. *all singers welcome! READ MORE

Tour Leader Virginia Schenck

Virginia Schenck, VA, is an accomplished international jazz vocalist, vocal artist, and retreat leader who takes listeners on a pilgrimage with music that is both authentic and soul-inspiring. 


Virginia and Noirin helped us all feel so comfortable finding our true authentic voices. There was a strong sense of acceptance and love.Joy Kaminski, East Rochester, NY


The journey was a lovely experience and I did hear the “Voices Of Ireland” in the places we visited in a way that will remain a part of my heart always.Rosalyn Timbie, Lyons, KS


Tour Description

Let Ireland inspire you, listening and learning from her indigenous voices and exploring and joining with our own voices in this mystical, music-filled land. From the iconic neolithic and Celtic site of Newgrange, the hills of Slane and Tara, the Cliffs of Moher, W.B. Yeats’ Isle of Innisfree and the Holy Island, goddess Maeve’s cairn and Carrowmore, the largest megalithic complex in Ireland, to hidden gems of Glenstal Abbey and Lough Gur’s largest stone circle, listen and sing. Learning traditional Sean-nós songs, ritual songs, chants, and vocal exploration and improvisation, let Ireland inspire you and your voice to a richer relationship with your own sacredness and that of Sacred Earth.

hill of tara
Connecting with the sacred energy at the Hill of Tara, Ireland

Newgrange, older than the pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge, is host to the winter’s solstice where the sun’s rays shoot through its east-west openings. The Brú na Bóinne complex includes similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth. Imagine the high kings and St. Patrick meeting on the hills of Slane and Tara, chanting at the Stone of Destiny. With homage to the rising sun and the White Cow, experience the land and monuments and have the opportunity to resonate and respond vocally. 

Goddesses Maeve and Morrigan, in the west of Ireland, held tradition as women warriors of the land and fertility. With all things Red, notice the focus on the setting sun and rising moon. Carrowkeel boasts 14 cairns, while Carrowmore encompasses 30. The Keshkorran Caves are said to be the threshold to the Otherworld. Enter these spaces, deepen your listening to time, place, and self, and explore the sounds of these marvellous ancient sites via your own voice and body.

Lough Gill mythology tells of the story of Gealla, whose song entranced a young man to her side. Tragic death ensued and Gealla lived out her days on the Isle of Innisfree. Listen for her song, “hear it in the deep heart’s core” as W.B. Yeats described in his epic poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”. Like the call of the wild, feel the Atlantic waves crashing on the west coast of Ireland as we sing atop the famous Cliffs of Moher. No more stunning sight could exist to intoxicate your soul and set your spirit singing.

singing workshop ireland
Our group working with acclaimed spiritual singer Nóirín Ní Riain 

Glenstal Abbey, home to Benedictine monks, and our special guest, Ireland’s legendary Irish spiritual singer and theologian, Nóirín Ní Riain. Sinead O’Connor claims “she is my biggest influence and heroine in music” and Anjelica Huston dubs her the “High Priestess of Gregorian chant.” Enjoy and learn in special workshops – and fireside chat in her private home – from the foremost holder of all of Ireland’s musical traditions: Sean-nós, Gregorian chant, chants, and ritual singing.
Lough Gur is the largest circle of stones in the British Isles, dating to 4000 BC. Engage in an acoustic ritual discovering the acoustic sweet spot in the Stone Circle in the oldest inhabited site in Ireland and enjoy a private tour of these historic grounds with Nóirín as our guide.

Lend your voice to angel song on the Holy Island in Lough Derg.

Our Voices are our own sacred cairns.
Join me on this journey discovering your Voice of Ireland!

We will visit the spectacular Newgrange, Ireland on this journey

Singing Notes

* Singers need not read music. A must ~ willingness for deep listening within, vocal play and exploration, and a sense of adventure!

Ireland’s music tradition and her people have continued to enthuse and inspire us with passion and magic. Muses always at play, listen closely, you may be surprised by what you hear in the air or in your own heart.

The voice, our first instrument, is always with us, and we have access to it at every moment. Indigenous cultures remind us music is and should be a part of our every day lives from routines and rituals to celebrations.

Digging deep within history, time and place, embracing, learning, and creating anew, may we bring our best voices forward. In this way, we make every moment Sacred. Every song is Sacred, every moment Sacred. Listen, and listen deeply, we will. Silence is as much a part of music as the notes and sounds themselves. The inner singing must come out for our health’s sake. Then there are the sounds around us of our environment, our families, friends, neighbours. Listening both within and without, we will invite the sounds of Ireland to inspire us.

singing with virginia shenck
Ireland is the perfect soundscape for this journey into voice exploration

Daily singing sessions will allow opportunity for our voices to connect us more deeply with our body, mind, spirit, and each other. Group chants, song circles, and improvisatory exercises will assist us to explore in a circle of wonder and play, with emphasis on listening and responding to our hearts in this glorious ancient and magical land.

Seize this opportunity to stretch your creative self and sensibilities while learning traditional Irish songs, ritual chants, and customs!

BlesSings ~ VA

Special Guest: Nóirín Ní Riain

Nóirín Ní Riain, PhD is an acclaimed spiritual singer who has shared the stage with internationally known musicians and lecturers, and has introduced the Dalai Lama at official occasions in Ireland and elsewhere.

noirin ni riaian
Spiritual singer and theologian Nóirín Ní Riain

A theologian, musicologist, recording artist and writer, who was awarded the first doctorate in theology from the University of Limerick, she has written several books including Listen with the Ear of the Heart: An Autobiography and Theosony: Towards a Theology of Listening. The subject of a major documentary by RTE (Irish television), Nóirín lived many years at the Benedictine monastery of Glenstal Abbey.

Meet Virginia and your fellow pilgrims in the lobby of the Temple Bar Hotel. The day begins with coach pick up at 10:00 AM. From there it's a short tour of Dublin, and then off to your first singing experience at St. Patrick's Cathedral!

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland, where writer and satirist Jonathan Swift was elected Dean in 1713, and was later buried. On this site in 450AD it is held that Saint Patrick baptized people into Christianity, and the current building we enjoy today was constructed on the site in 1220–1260. Music has always been an important part of Cathedral life: Henri de Londres (consecrated Archbishop of Dublin in 1213) created a college of sixteen vicars choral who lived within the precincts of the cathedral and in 1742 the combined choirs of Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals sang the first performance of Handel’s oratorio Messiah. Listening and drinking the Cathedral’s history in, we begin to grasp the immensity of Ireland’s traditions and expressions of Spirit. 

Taking in the spectrum of music Ireland offers we then move to O’Donoghues Bar (or similar), famous for its traditional Irish music, and especially for the band The Dubliners, who made a name for themselves here. The real deal.  

We then continue to our hotel in Co. Meath for check-in. This evening we gather for a group Welcome Dinner in a private room at our hotel to get to know our fellow travellers and tour leader.    
(Overnight at Bellinter House Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath or similar) 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jean Housen

st patricks cathedral dublin

After breakfast, and a good rest, we begin mid to late morning with our first group gathering and singing session in a private space at our hotel. Here we begin to create our own sacred circle, exploring our voices, learning, and sharing together. There will also be time to walk the grounds along the River Boyne and truly arrive.

Afternoon activities include a trip to the Hills of Tara and Slane. Tara was once the residence of The High Kings of Ireland, and the political and religious centre of Ireland. At the Hill of Slane, tradition holds that Patrick lit the Christian Easter’s First-Fire challenging the High King’s Beltane First-Fire. We will take the experience of our visit into our singing circle.
(Overnight at Bellinter House Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath or similar)   

singing workshops ireland

Today, we visit the three Megalithic Passage Tombs at Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. Newgrange, the largest and oldest – older than Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids of Giza – is known for its illumination at the Winter Solstice sunrise, where a shaft of light illuminates the inner chamber. The Great Mound at Knowth and Dowth are similar in structure and size, each with passageways to explore. Dowth, known for its orientation at the Spring Equinox, will provide an opportunity for a singing session among these ancient sacred sites.

Back at our hotel we will take part in a late afternoon/early evening singing session with Virginia. 
(Overnight at Bellinter House Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath or similar)



This morning we visit Loughcrew Cairns very early to take advantage of the morning light. These cairns are oriented for both the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. The focus for the Divine Feminine is strong here, replete with stone circle and the Hag’s Chair.

Venturing toward Sligo and sister neolithic sites, we visit Carrowkeel Cairns. Why so many cairn visits? Because these are precious sanctuaries, ritual spots, and often acoustic wonders. Carrowkeel is oriented with a Summer Solstice lightbox and a Winter Moon lightbox. Known as “the Pinnacles,” this promises to be an exhilarating place.

On to the Keshkorran Caves which are known as a fairy spot and threshold to the Otherworld. Here goddess Morrigan is said to emerge to do battle over her domain.  Strong feminine energy, indeed.
(Overnight at the Clayton Hotel in Co. Sligo or similar)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Cuchullain10


Juxtaposed to County Meath with its rising sun orientation, County Sligo orients itself to the setting sun, the colour red, and moon activity.

This morning takes us to Knocknarea, known as the Hill of the Moon, and Queen Maeve’s Cairn. Queen Maeve, “she who intoxicates,” is the goddess of Knocknarea, the warrior queen. We will sing to her strength and perhaps collect some intoxicating sounds of our own!

We then venture to Carrowmore, the largest megalithic complex in Ireland, with 30 cairns. Here, too, we launch in to Lough Gill and its mythology of the siren singer, Gealla, and the floating Isle of Innisfree, immortalized by W. B. Yeats in his epic poem of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” We will become experts at testing acoustics, and honouring these ancient ritual spots.

Our final stop of the day is Tobernault Well, the holy well of Innisfree, associated with the sacred trout and a sacred grove here. A healing stone in the centre is said to have the indentation of St. Patrick’s fingers. An icon of St. Philomena here is also said to offer divine energy in your life.
(Overnight at the Clayton Hotel in Co. Sligo or similar)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Willie Duffin


Today we travel to the west coast of Ireland, stopping first at Cormac’s Well (time permitting) before continuing on to the remarkable Cliffs of Moher, with their dramatic vistas and sonic seascape. Emerging from cairn focus, our senses are sure to be heightened by this fantastic sight! We will honour the Atlantic Ocean here.

Upon arrival at our hotel, the Fitzgeralds Woodlands Hotel, we will be treated to traditional Irish tea and scones (included in Tour Price). Afterwards, we will enjoy a singing session in a private room at our hotel. 
(Overnight in Adare at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands Hotel or similar)


Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

This day we spend entirely with our guest artist, Nóirín Ní Riain. She will greet us in her private home just outside the walls of Glenstal Abbey. Here she will treat us to her homemade scones and we will learn everything from Sean-nós singing, ritual chants, to the tradition of keening – the sonic grieving for the dead.

We will then break for lunch at the Abbey (included in Tour Price). 

In the afternoon Nóirín will guide us on a visit to the Glenstal Abbey grounds. For many years, Nóirín lived on the grounds of this progressive community of Benedictine monks. Progressive in their stance on protecting the environment, geothermal heating from their lakes, and being the first to allow a woman, Nóirín, to sing Gregorian Chant with them. Glenstal Abbey comprises over 400 acres of streams, lakes, and woodland gardens as well as its Norman style castle and boys school. We will have the chance to visit the marvellous Icon Chapel with its fabulous collection, and Black Madonnas, and hear the mystical story of its unfolding.
(Overnight in Adare at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands Hotel or similar)

noirin ni riaian singer

This morning we meet Nóirín at Lough Gur with its Stone Circle, the largest in the British Isles, dating from 4000 BC. Nóirín will lead us in a traditional ritual using songs and chants. We will experience the marvellous acoustics and discover the sweet spot within the Stone Circle. Nóirín grew up here and holds the history and story truly for the entire country.

After bidding Nóirín farewell, we venture to another lough/lake, Lough Derg, with its Holy Island where it is said the angels sing. Arriving by boat, we will sing our thanksgivings, needs, and anything else needed on this most Holy Island. Perhaps we will even hear the angels singing with us!

At day’s end, we will join together for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
(Overnight in Adare at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands Hotel or similar)

lough derg holy island

After breakfast this morning, we will be driven by coach to Shannon Airport for onward flights home.   

(B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.

virginia schenck

Sacred Singing Journey of Ireland with Virginia Schenck

October 9 - 17, 2018

Tour Includes:

  • 8 nights accommodation at 4/5 star hotels, based on double occupany
  • Full Irish breakfast daily, 1 lunch at Glenstal Abbey on Day 7
  • Welcome Dinner at Bellinter House Hotel on Day 1
  • Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant on Day 8
  • Tea and scones at the Dunraven Arms on Day 6
  • Private coach transportation to all sites on itinerary
  • Local guide services
  • Entrance fees to all sites as per itinerary
  • Baggage handling at hotels (1 piece of luggage per person)
  • 1 bottle of water daily



Added Features:

  • Travel with renowned vocal artist Virginia Schenck
  • Singing sessions with Virginia (in private room at hotels)
  • Excursions to inspiring sacred sites
  • Special singing sessions at Glenstal Abbey with Nóirín Ní Riain
  • Travel with a like-minded group of singers

Tour Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to Dublin and return from Shannon, Ireland
  • Gratuities for driver, guide
  • Cancellation & Medical Insurance (ask us for a quote)
  • Meals and drinks not specified
  • Cost to obtain valid passport
  • Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and telephone calls
  • Any item that is not specifically detailed on our website or in the final retreat itinerary


Tour Price:

    • Double Room: USD $3,350 per person
    • Single Supplement: USD $750
Book this Journey
or call us on
1-877-874-7922 to help you make your reservation

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