We aim to let you know if you are accepted on the trip or added to the waiting list within two weeks of receiving your application, and you check will not be deposited nor your credit card payment processed until you are accepted on the trip. Once accepted on the trip, we ask that you send a check for the full balance of $1990, or four postdated checks for $497.50 per person, dated January 15th, February 15th, March 15th, and April 15th 2019.
Your place on the trip will be formally confirmed when we receive these checks. Again, if you wish to pay by credit card, just let us know.
Different payment plans may be available to spread the cost over a longer period - please ask for more details.
COST DETAILSThe cost of the trip is $2440, and includes the following:
• The services of our administrators, guides and retreat leaders, support team, and guests from the world of arts, spirituality, politics and peacemaking.
• Four nights in 400 year old thatched cottages in the Mourne Mountains with traditional Irish breakfastfoods.
• Four nights in 140 year old country house on the outskirts of Belfast.
•Transport from Belfast hubs to accommodation, and on organized trips throughout the tour.
• All admission fees on organized trips to sites such as cultural centers, museums, etc.
• The use of all accommodation facilities including lounges, gardens, etc.
• A life-changing experience of spirit, imagination, and community.
We recommend flying into Belfast International or Belfast City Airport, but flights to Dublin Airport, from which direct public transport options to Belfast are easily available, are often significantly cheaper than those to Belfast, so we encourage you to explore fight options to Dublin as well. Recently both Norwegian Air (Belfast) and WOW Air (Dublin) have begun offering inexpensive flights to Ireland, although we are unable to recommend any particular airline. All retreat guests will be picked up at the central Belfast transportation hub which is easily accessible from any of the airports. Please do not book flights until we confirm your place on the retreat after your application has been submitted.
SINGLE ROOMSRooms are shared with one or two other persons, but we are sometimes able to offer single rooms for a $500 supplement. Please let us know if you would like to request a single room; we aim to let you know if one is available by one month before the trip begins; we will only charge the $500 supplement if we can confirm a single room for you. Please note that older Irish cottages do not have en suite bathrooms.
CANCELLATION POLICYIf, after you are accepted on the trip, you should need to withdraw your application prior to April 15th, 2019, we will refund your registration fee minus 15% ($366). If you withdraw after April 10th, 2019, any refund will depend upon whether we are able to find someone else to fill your place, but in any case, will still be subject to the 15% administration fee.
TRIP INSURANCEWe strongly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes insurance in the event of your having to cancel. We cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage, or injury on the trip.
FITNESS REQUIREMENTS / WALKING AND HIKINGWalking is an integral part of our trip, and while our walks are not very strenuous, they can be challenging. If you have any questions contact us to discuss the walks before applying for the trip. It does not require extensive experience, but will be at least moderately demanding, though exponentially rewarding! Comfortable walking shoes, an open heart, and a willingness to have your stamina stretched (a bit!) are invited…
MEALSBreakfast is provided each day, with either lunch or dinner as well. You will be responsible for either lunch or dinner each day (on some days during the trip we will provide both lunch and dinner, meaning that one other day you will be responsible for both lunch and dinner, but it balances out!). We will always ensure you are near good and inexpensive restaurants for these meals. Meals that we share as a group will be homemade buffet style or generous packed lunches, depending on the schedule on a particular day. We are often joined by marvelous cooks, and we invite everyone to share in the preparation of meals and cleanup, as a fun and creative way of building community.
ARRIVALWe pick up our retreat guests from Belfast City Centre, at around 1.30pm on arrival day. Flights to Dublin Airport are often significantly cheaper than to Belfast, and there is a direct bus from Dublin Airport to Belfast, taking less than two hours. If flying to Dublin Airport please time your flight to arrive by 9.30am on Wednesday June 12th (John Dear & Gareth Higgins trip) or Wednesday July 3rd (Kathleen Norris & Gareth Higgins trip); if flying into Belfast International Airport, or Belfast City Airport please time your flight to arrive by 12pm on Wednesday June 12th or Wednesday July 3rd. If you are arriving in Ireland before the day the retreat begins, you should arrange to be in Belfast City Centre by 1pm. We will send specific details closer to the time.
CURRENCY AND MONEYBring at least $30 per day for a meal, drinks, etc. ATMs are as widely available as in the US, and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
DEPARTUREWe depart our accommodation on the morning of Thursday June 20th (John Dear) or Thursday July 11th (Kathleen Norris). On that day we will be about 20 minutes from Belfast City Airport, about 40 minutes from Belfast International Airport, and about 2.5 hours from Dublin Airport; recommended check in time for international flights is three hours ahead of departure. Please schedule your departing flight no earlier than 10:30am. If you need to depart earlier, please let us know, as this will require a taxi at your own expense. We will need to depart our accommodation by 11am.
PASSPORT & VISAEach participant needs a valid passport, but no Visa is currently required for U.S. Citizens traveling to Ireland or the United Kingdom.
A FINAL NOTE FROM OUR HOSTThis experience is very different from what might be typically understood as a traditional retreat. While there will be space for quiet reflection, we will be engaged in conversation and meeting folks whose stories sometimes make challenging listening. We take seriously the pain and struggle of the northern Irish story, but also the hopeful endeavors toward a more peaceful society.
Painful histories mingle with the surprise of new things, exquisite natural surroundings, food and drink and sounds that nourish the soul. There may be tears, but there will certainly also be laughter. There may be struggle, but also inspiration. It is one of the privileges and delights of my life to welcome you to my home, and to share in this gathering with my wonderful friend John Dear (June) or Kathleen Norris (July). I invite you to allow the stories, people, and landscape to speak to you about how your own life might become more peaceful, and help others on that same journey. I look forward to meeting you! - Gareth Higgins