Category Archives: Travel

A Spiritual Trip to Fatima

If you’re looking for a holiday with a distinctly spiritual feel, then a visit to Fatima in Portugal is a must. Now a site of great importance to Christian pilgrims following an apparition of the Virgin Mary to three shepherds in 1917. For Catholics, the town of Fatima will hold very special meaning indeed. Here is a guide to the must-see churches of Fatima.

  1. Sanctuary of Fátima

Standing in this large plaza will give you an idea of the sheer number of devotees who come here, and you can’t help but be wowed by the size of the place. Fatima’s two basilicas can be found at each end of the plaza and the best time to visit is around the 13th of each month between May and October when various pilgrimages take place to the shrine.

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  1. Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário

Just shy of a decade after the apparition, work began on this Neo-Baroque church on the exact spot where the Virgin Mary was seen by the young shepherds, who first mistook it for a storm. On completion and consecration, the church was granted minor basilica status by the then Pope and the tombs of the young shepherds sit either end of the transept. For flights to Fatima from Irish Airports, visit

  1. Capela das Aparições

The very first site of worship to be constructed after the apparition, this church was built to answer the request of the Virgin Mary and is now housed in a bigger modern building. The site of the oak tree where Mary is said to have appeared now has a statue to mark the spot and is located in a glass display case in the chapel.

  1. Basilica of the Holy Trinity

By the mid-20th century, Fatima had become famous across the globe and visitor numbers exploded. It was clear that a second, larger basilica was needed, and this project finally came to fruition in the 2000s. With its minimalist design, it is impressive for its sense of scale, being able to seat over 8,600 worshippers.

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  1. Casa Jacinta e Francisco Marto

The three shepherds were children, two siblings and their cousin. They lived in a small village named Aljustrel, not far from Fatima. It is easy to reach their home by car, train or a walk along the Via Sacra. This is the house where the two siblings, Francisco and Jacinta sadly died during the terrible flu epidemic after World War One. It is quite something to stand in the home of two saints.

  1. Casa de Lúcia

This is the home of the third shepherd, the cousin of Francisco and Jacinta. She survived the flu epidemic, becoming a nun and living to the good age of 97 years old. It offers a fascinating insight into poor rural life of a century ago, as the possessions and furniture inside are all original.

  1. Igreja Paroquial de Fátima

The original parish church was standing here long before the apparitions occurred. It dates back to around the 16th century, with numerous reconstructions since Fatima was placed on the map by the sighting of the Virgin Mary. The most poignant thing to see is the font where the three child shepherds were baptised. The cemetery here was the original resting place for Jacinta and Francisco before they were moved to the Basilica.


Tips for staying calm at the airport

Do you love going on holiday but break into a cold sweat at the thought of the airport? While some people love the bustle, excitement and waiting around in departures, most of us would rather be magically transported to our destination without all the hassle. If you find your stress starts increasing as soon as you walk up to check-in, here are some tips for keeping calm at the airport:

  1. Let someone else drive

Driving to the airport, finding the right terminal and locating the car park is enough to set anyone on edge. Choosing public transport also means lugging your bags around and relying on others to get you there on time. The most relaxing option is to let someone drive you in comfort, so you can begin your holiday from your doorstep and not when you step off the plane! For Coach Hire Dorset could be the solution. For coach hire in Dorset visit Turners Coaches today.

  1. Have everything to hand

Avoid stress by having all of your important documents easy to reach. Place boarding passes, passports, tickets and flight information in the same pocket of your bag each time you travel, so reaching for it becomes second nature. This will save time and you from panicking to find the right documents at the right time.

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  1. Weigh luggage before getting to the airport

A set of luggage scales is a must-have accessory for frequent flyers. They can save you from embarrassment and hold-ups at check-in and help you avoid costly additional charges from the airline. This also means you don’t have to feel apprehensive on check-in and can just relax.

  1. Check the latest security measures

Getting through security can be time-consuming, especially when people don’t prepare for what’s involved. Understand that you might get patted down, be prepared to remove your shoes, take laptops out of bags and walk through scanners etc.

  1. Be patient and breathe

Nobody enjoys queueing but there’s no point in losing your temper, getting uptight or being miserable about it. Take a deep breath and practice some patience next time you’re in an airport. Do what you can to help speed up things but for the times when you can’t, just relax and accept the situation.

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  1. Be kind to yourself

Plan in advance to spend your time in the airport indulging yourself or having a treat. It is the start of your holiday after all! Buy a best-selling book, treat yourself to some perfume or see if there’s a spa or salon on site. Save the time you’ll be waiting around at the airport to do something nice for yourself.

  1. Give yourself lots of time

So, these days with online check-ins, you don’t need to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight but it’s still a good idea to be there at least a couple of hours ahead of time. This way you can check-in your luggage and clear security at a relaxed pace instead of panicking to get to the gate on time.

  1. Keep focusing on the destination

Try not to become overly distracted by the queues and people but on the excitement of flying and getting away for a holiday. If you feel your anxiety levels increasing, think about your destination and that a little stress at a bothersome airport is totally worth it.