Tour highlights: pastor’s hometown, historic Irish sights

NATCHEZ – Father David O’Connor, pastor of St. Mary Basilica and Assumption Parish, will lead a 10-day tour to Ireland departing from Jackson on Friday, July 8, and returning Monday, July 18.
The trip will include nine nights in Ireland, seven of which will be in four-star hotels and two will be in Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel. The overnight stays will be in Dublin, Donegal, Mayo, Limerick, and the final night will be at Carton Manor Hotel in Kildare County. Each day will begin with a full Irish breakfast. Seven dinners, including a medieval banquet in a castle, are part of the tour. The group will travel in a luxury air-conditioned motor coach.
“I will be with the group throughout their visit to Ireland, and will offer a tour of my home town and will introduce them to the history, culture and myths of my native country,” said Father O’Connor. “My initial plan is for a group of approximately 30 people. At least half of that number have already indicated an interest. My hope is that those who decide to make this tour will enjoy the natural beauty and history of Ireland and will return home with great memories.”
Upon arrival at Dublin airport the group will be transferred to Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, overlooking Dublin Bay, for a two night stay. Dublin adventures will include a tour into the heart of the world famous Guinness Brewery and a guided tour of Ireland’s Capital city, In the afternoon the group will travel south to Wicklow, known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’ where they will see the monastic settlement established by St. Kevin in the sixth century.
A stop in Northern Ireland will include a visit of the city of Derry. This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest walled cities in Europe. In Donegal, the group will experience the stunning scenery on the Wild Atlantic Way where the Atlantic Ocean has beaten the coast for millennia, shaping and molding it to the whim of the tides for generations.
From Donegal the group will head for Mayo, stopping to visit the grave of W.B. Yeats, a round tower dating from the 11th century, and will spend two nights in the picturesque town of Ballina. We will visit Knock Shrine, the site of the apparition of Mary in 1879, and Croagh Patrick, a place visited by St. Patrick.
A two night stop in Limerick will include a visit to Adare – Ireland’s prettiest village with its 13th century church, and to Father O’Connor’s home church where he was baptized and attended elementary school.
The group, on its last day in Ireland, will travel through Tipperary County, making a stop at the seminary where Father O’Connor studied theology and was ordained to priesthood, and/or also visiting the ‘Rock of Cashel’, a monastic site with the ruins of a Gothic cathedral dating from the 13th century.
The package price, including airfare is $3,675 per person.
Further information on the tour is available by visiting St. Mary Basilica website (, calling Father O’Connor, 601 445-5616, or emailing the agency at For registration call Sara, 617-639-0273.
(Submitted by Regina Mardis, secretary at St. Mary Basilica)