If you’re looking for something different to mark St Patrick’s Day this year, don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the man, the legend and his landscape with a day-long tour led by Dr Thérèse Cullen, an authority on Patrick and the Patrician tradition.
The tour features visits to Saul, St. Patrick’s grave, Down Cathedral, Inch Abbey, Slieve Patrick and Struell Wells and includes lunch in the relaxed atmosphere of Ballydugan Mill.
Cullen holds a Ph.D. in Irish Studies from Queen’s University Belfast, where her doctoral research focused primarily on how people publicly ritualised and memorialised St Patrick in Downpatrick, focusing specially on the modern manifestations of both pilgrimage and parade. The tour will make links between ancient as well as modern history and tradition of Patrician celebrations.
Cullen describes the tour this way:
The uniqueness of this tour will consist of giving a deeper insight into the religious background of the Saint and his legacy in Ireland. The tour will explore the life of St Patrick in detail, his religious beliefs and the impact he had on transforming and transmitting the Christian message.
The tour runs from 9.30 am-5 pm, with pick up and drop off at the front of Jury’s Hotel in Belfast. The cost is £30 per person and you must book by 10 March (Phone: +44(0)7513295292 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
I can vouch that Cullen is a dedicated and sensitive scholar. She completed the Master’s in Reconciliation Studies that I teach on at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at Belfast, and also served as a research assistant on our Visiting 21st Century Ecumenism project.
Cullen emphasizes that the tour is ‘interdenominational,’ noting that:
What is commonly forgotten is that Patrick belongs to both dominant Christian traditions (Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic) on the island of Ireland, and has been claimed as such.
I expect Cullen will share not only the history of St Patrick and the origins of his day, but further insights about how he might be re-imagined as a saint for Christian Unity at the present time.
(Image: Saul Church)