BBC World Service: Heart & Soul – The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland

Programme Producer: Regan Hutchins.

Writer Bébhinn Ramsay was 31 when her husband died, leaving her to raise her two young children.

Her faith and sense of self were left shaken by the tragedy – but when her parents mentioned that they were doing a memorial walk on a sacred pilgrim path in Ireland, she decided to join in.

Since then, she has discovered why sacred walking can lead to a spiritual awakening – irrespective of your faith.

Bébhinn tells presenter Regan Hutchins how pilgrimages helped her to cope with her grief and how they have brought a new meaning to her life.

These old Ways of the Saints are being restored as increasing numbers of people – believers and non-believers alike – seek them out.

Traditions and rituals associated with the pilgrim paths continue and new ones are added as Ireland finds its spiritual footing for the 21st Century.
Along the path of St.Kevin’s Way Regan joins other pilgrims to hear how they are drawn to the Old Ways to resolve inner conflicts and to make peace with the often chaotic modern world.

We hear how paths such as St.Kevin’s Way, are being organised to reach increasing numbers of pilgrims and tourists alike and how they open up some of the hidden treasures of the Irish countryside. Spirituality is at the heart of these routes and the practice of walking along them has brought strength and peace to travellers across the centuries.

You can find out more about Ireland’s pilgrim paths by listening to the World Service’s Heart and Soul programme here.

Camera: Ian Whelan
Video Producer: Sophia Smith Galer (for BBC WS) and New Normal Culture