Retreats at Ballintubber Abbey

School Retreats at Ballintubber Abbey

Retreats at Ballintubber Abbey

Communion, Confirmation & Second Level Retreats

Our vision is rooted in an understanding of the presence of God in all things. We aim to guide students toward an awareness of their inherent gifts, uniqueness, and immense capacity for goodness. The program offers young people an opportunity to develop a stronger sense of self, build meaningful relationships with others, draw closer to God, and appreciate the wonder and beauty of creation.


School Retreat Program

Program Objectives:

In a creative and relaxing manner, we strive to:

  1. Boost the self-esteem of each participant.
  2. Help young individuals gain a deeper appreciation of their abilities and potential.
  3. Tailor programs to suit the age-appropriate needs of young people, ranging from Communion and Confirmation to Leaving Certificate levels.


Our Approach:

  • Our students encounter their retreat experience in a welcoming, relaxed, and non-judgmental environment.
  • We incorporate experiential workshops that encourage creativity and self-expression, including activities such as art, scriptural drama, role-playing, music, and ritual.
  • Participants engage in both large and small group activities, which allow for reflection and exploration of the day’s theme in age-appropriate ways.
  • Group discussions foster active listening, empathy, and respectful expression of thoughts and viewpoints.
  • Meditation, a central aspect of the day, provides students with an opportunity to reflect on God’s Word in the quiet of their own hearts.
  • The Tóchar Walk, along with insights into the history and surroundings of the Abbey, enhances the overall enjoyment and appeal of the day.


Storytelling holds a significant role in our retreat programs. We use the inspiring Faith-Filled story of Ballintubber Abbey and the Tóchar Pilgrim Walk to effectively explore the workings of the Holy Spirit. As the day unfolds through storytelling, art, moments of quiet reflection, group activities, and prayer, students are encouraged to contemplate how they can embody love, joy, peace, patience, faith, and hope in their own lives, whether at home, in school, or within their community.

During our closing liturgy, all students have the opportunity to participate. They can retell a story, showcase their artwork, offer a prayer they have composed, or reflect on their experiences from the day. In this way, all the experiences, talents, and insights of the day are shared.

Practical Information:

  • Students should bring their own packed lunch.
  • Given that some of the retreat activities occur outdoors, it is essential to bring rain gear and warm clothing, as well as a change of clothing and suitable footwear if participating in the Tóchar Walk.
  • We can accommodate a maximum of 35 students.
  • The Confirmation program lasts for four and a half hours, while the Second Level program extends to five hours. We are flexible with starting times.
  • A teacher must accompany the students.

Student Comments:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day; there was nothing I disliked! The closing ceremony was especially beautiful, with all the candles and the lovely stones we received. I also loved singing the concluding song.”


“I cherished every moment of the day; it was great fun. However, my absolute favorite part was when Maeve shared stories about the Crib, Elizabeth’s house, the Sean Ná Sagart tree, and all the other tales.”


“The Retreat at Ballintubber Abbey was a delightful experience. My favorite part was the meditation and hearing the nine stories. I found the stories about Jesus particularly interesting. I liked everything else too, but those stories were my favorite.”


“I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the church. We went inside and said a prayer, discussing Baptism. We also read stories about Jesus. I received a story about fishing and had to choose three words about Jesus in the story and write a sentence about them. We received footprints and wrote a word about Jesus on them, coloring them in. We engaged in many other activities as well.”