Pilgrimage and the Evolution of Spiritual Tourism Conference launched

Humanities
Pictured launching the conference at WIT is Victor Prince, author of The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership From a Walk Across Spain

Pictured launching the conference at WIT is Victor Prince, author of The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership From a Walk Across Spain

Symposium in March is the brainchild of Dr Bernadette Flanagan, Chair of SpIRE, and Programme Leadership team member, MA Applied Spirituality at WIT

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has announced an international conference on pilgrimage. Pilgrimage and the Evolution of Spiritual Tourism will take place in March.

The conference comes as there is a massive revival of pilgrimage afoot not just in Ireland but internationally. In 2016, over 275,000 people walked some or all of the Camino de Santiago, up from 100,000 in 2006.

In Waterford to launch the conference was Victor Prince, author of The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership From a Walk Across Spain.

Prince spoke about the history of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail across Spain and the seven values pilgrims are asked to observe while on the trail. He shared stories from his book about those values and how they can be helpful in life off the Camino.

The conference will be run in partnership with Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Dublin (SpIRE) and takes place on Friday, 9 March at WIT. The conference is the brainchild of Dr Bernadette Flanagan, Chair of SpIRE, and Programme Leadership team member, MA Applied Spirituality at WIT.

There is a massive revival of pilgrimage afoot not just in Ireland but internationally. Taking part are millions from the world’s spiritual traditions, and those of no faith but who are looking for a deeper sense of meaning and connection in life. This symposium reflects a worldwide revival of pilgrimage, across all faiths and none. This conference situates the popular revival of Irish pilgrim paths in an international context, providing an opportunity to discuss the potential for Ireland as a sustainable spiritual tourism destination, ” she said. 

Speakers include: Dr Dee Dyas of York University’s Centre for Pilgrimage Studies; from Luxembourg, Dr Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

Ireland’s pilgrim routes will be represented in a talk by John G O’Dwyer, Chairperson of Pilgrims Path Ireland, and author of Pilgrim Paths in Ireland: From Slieve Mish to Skellig Michael. There will also be parallel panels of short papers as well as posters and stands.

Ray Cullen, Head of the Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality at WIT, commented that the South East of Ireland has great resources for spiritual tourism, which is a rapidly expanding segment in the overall tourism market.

“For the first time ever, an international conference on the potential of Spiritual Tourism for the South East will be hosted by WIT, with special attention to pilgrimage and pilgrim routes. This conference will be of interest to local hospitality businesses and individuals and organisations with spiritual tourism interests, including tourism officers and tour operators. We would also welcome those who wish to integrate pilgrimage into their existing tourism and hospitality curriculum. It promises to be an exciting, cutting-edge occasion, with input from Irish and international scholars of pilgrimage and spiritual tourism.”

Dr Michael O’Sullivan Programme Leader, MA in Applied Spirituality, and Director of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) commented further. “It will also be of interest to people interested in Celtic spirituality, holy wells, and sacred sites; spiritual seekers, and potential students who wish to study spirituality. There is a flourishing interest in the academic study of Spirituality – in 2017 the first cohort of the MA in Applied Spirituality graduated from WIT, and one with a PhD,” said Dr O’Sullivan

For more details and booking see www.wit.ie/events.

Related Courses

Master of Arts in  Applied Spirituality
Bachelor of Arts in  Arts (Hons)

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