School Retreats at Ballintubber Abbey

Retreats in the Dorter in Ballintubber Abbey

Communion, Confirmation & Second Level Retreats

Our Vision comes from an understanding of the presence of God in all things; bringing students to an awareness of their giftedness, uniqueness and enormous capacity for good. The programme give young people an opportunity to gain a better sense of self, to build relationships with others, to grow closer to God and appreciate the wonder and beauty of creation.

School Retreat Programme

Aims of Programme:

In a creative and relaxing way, we aim to:

  1. Enhance the self-esteem of the participant.
  2. Enable the young person to gain a deeper appreciation of his/her abilities and potential.
  3. Programmes are designed to respond to the needs of young people in an age appropriate manner, with activities and discussions being tailored for specific groups of young people, from Confirmation through to Leaving Certificate.

Our Approach:

  • Our students will experience their retreat in a welcoming, relaxed and non judgmental environment
  • Experiential workshops which promote creativity and expression, including art, scriptural drama, roleplays, music and ritual.
  • Working in large and small groups reflecting and exploring the theme of the day in age appropriate ways.
  • Group discussions which promote listening, empathy and respectful expression of thoughts and views.
  • Meditation, a central aspect of the day, allows students to experience God’s Word in the quiet of their own hearts.
  • Participating in the Tóchar Walk and experiencing the history and environs of the Abbey adds to the enjoyment and appeal of the day.

Storytelling is an important aspect of the retreat programmes. The inspiring Faith Filled story of Ballintubber Abbey and of the Tóchar Pilgrim Walk are used to great effect in exploring the workings of the Holy Spirit. As the day evolves with storytelling, art-work, quiet-time, group work and prayer the students are encouraged to reflect on how they can exemplify love, joy, peace, patience, faith and hope in their own lives whether at home, in their schools or neighbourhood.

In our closing liturgy, all students have an opportunity to participate whether in retelling a story, offering the work of their hands by presenting their artwork and of their hearts by sharing a prayer they have composed or by reflecting on their experiences during the day. In this way all experiences, talents and fruits of the day are shared.

Practical information:

  • Students usually brings packed lunch
  • As some of the retreat experience takes place outdoors, rain gear and warm clothing is essential, as well as a change of clothing and footwear if walking the Tóchar.
  • The maximum number is 35 students.
  • The duration of the day is four and a half hours for Confirmation Students and five hours for Second Level. Flexibility and starting time can be accommodated.
  • A teacher must accompany the students.


Students Comments

“I enjoyed all of the day, there was nothing that I disliked!  I especially liked the ending ceremony cause all of the candles were really pretty and we got a pretty stone also!   And I loved singing the song at the end.”
“I liked the whole day.  It was great fun.  But my absolute favorite part was when Maeve was telling us the stories about the Crib, Elizabeth’s house, the Sean Ná Sagart tree and all the other stories.”
“I really enjoyed the Retreat to Ballintubber Abbey.  My favorite bit was the meditation and hearing the nine stories.  I enjoyed hearing the nine stories because it was very interesting.  I liked everything else but they were my favorite.”
“I was surprised because the church was huge.  We went inside the church and said a prayer, talked about Baptism.  We read stories about Jesus.  I got story about fishing.  I had to pick three words about Jesus in the story, write a sentence.  We got footprints and we wrote one word about Jesus and on it and colored it.  We did lots of other activities.”

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