JMI Educational tours “In the Footsteps of John Moriarty”

In 2017 and 2019 Sacred Heart University and the JMI sponsored educational tours that included an eight-day trip following the journey of the distinguished Irish philosopher and storyteller John Moriarty, including significant places on the Dingle peninsula, Killarney, Skellig Michael monastery, Listowel, Clare, and Connemara. Guests enjoyed their stay in hotels, shared meals together, and travelled in a coach with a small group of 20-25 persons. The tour will be led by Dr. Michael W. Higgins, at the time Distinguished Professor of Catholic Thought at Sacred Heart University and Brother Séan Aherne, each bringing a different dimension to the tour. Higgins placed Moriarty’s ideas in the context of other significant twentieth-century thinkers, with insights from his own biographies of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. Sean Aherne, a member of the Christian Brother order, knew Moriarty very well, and offer valuable insights into how Moriarty experienced nature and sought a deeper spirituality. The tours visited the Dingle peninsula and toured several well-preserved ancient forts and chapels, such as Gallarus and Kilmalkadar, and holy wells. The tour then spend several days in Killarney where John Moriarty lived at the foot of Mangerton Mountain, and explored the beauty of Killarney National Park. Travelling north from Killarney the tour will visit Listowel, near Moriarty’s birthplace and famous for its writers, followed by a visit to the Cliffs of Moher, and then on to Connemara. Moriarty spend 24 years working as a gardener in Connemara, and it is here that he experienced bog land, native forests, and rough coastal shores: an environment shaped through time rather than by human interference. Galway is the center of the Irish west, and as a harbor city it has traded with the world, yet it retains a distinctive traditional Irish culture, proud of its music, literature, and language.

With the very restrictive travel rules due to the COVID pandemic the JMI has not been able to sponsor trips since its last one in 2019. When planning is possible and travel becomes normal, the JMI plans to offer more educational tours.