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Healing from generational trauma through the exploration of your ancestry is a profound journey of self-discovery and resilience. In addition, it can be educational and fun. In this post, I am honored to share my personal experiences with you how I used ancestral travel for healing. Along the way you’ll learn about the amazing destination, Killybegs, Ireland.

Are you planning a trip to Ireland and looking for a unique hidden gem? Do you have ancestry connected to the land and seeking healing from the past? Here’s an Irish seafaring village that promises to provide you with both.

Healing Through Ancestral Tourism

My trip to Ireland was driven by a deep desire to heal generational trauma. Although I successful participated in traditional therapy, this journey evolved as a result of taking a DNA test to see if my dad was truly my biological father. The results were conclusive and matched other ancestry research I’d completed. So I booked a flight to Ireland, the homeland of my ancestors. For the whole story of that trip, read here.

For any trauma survivor, delving into the roots of family history is a transformative process. It can offer insights, healing, and ultimately forgiveness.

Embarking on a trip to Ireland symbolized the direct confrontation of my past. It enabled me to reclaim positive narratives that were lost due to alcoholism, incest, and shame. Black and white thinking is one cognitive distortion I’ve healed in my journey, and affirming that my family tree wasn’t “all bad” is a signpost of healthy growth.


Understanding that the generations of dysfunctional behavior patterns from my parents were instilled in me, just as the generations before, brought me peace. Furthermore, accepting the reality that my ancestors didn’t ask to be traumatized any more than I did, helped relieve my victim mindset. The scars of trauma may still be there, but they are fading.


Shame causes a person to hide, make themselves small, want to disappear. Confronting the lies of shame represents a reversing of the effects of trauma. Conversely, embracing the positive aspects of your ancestry is a source of empowerment and healing. It facilitates breaking the cycle of generational trauma with compassion and insight.

And it is from that mindset of seeking self-healing that I discovered the unique seaport town of Killybegs. Located in County Donegal, it is home to a charming historical village just waiting for you to explore.

Getting To Killybegs

Killybegs is located on the south coast of the county, north of Donegal Bay, near Donegal Town.

To travel to Killybegs, you’ll want to fly into one of the nearest major airports and then continue your journey by road or bus. Here are the closest airports:

  1. Donegal Airport (CFN) – This is the closest airport to Killybegs, located about 50 miles (about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car) away.
  2. Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC) – Located approximately 97 miles away, this airport offers more flight options, including international connections. The drive from Knock to Killybegs takes around 2 hours.
  3. Derry Airport (LDY) – Situated in Northern Ireland, about 76 miles from Killybegs. It takes roughly 2 hours by car. Derry Airport provides flights mainly from UK cities.
  4. Dublin Airport (DUB) – Although it’s about 150 miles from Killybegs, Dublin Airport is the largest and offers the most extensive range of international and domestic flights. The drive from Dublin to Killybegs takes about 3.5 hours, but you can also take a bus or train part of the way.
map of killybegs

Killybegs was an obvious choice for my healing since I come from a long line of fishermen. That lineage is on my father’s side, and was responsible for the greatest trauma damage done to me. So it would be easy to hate anything connected to the fisherman lifestyle. But I don’t.

My father was proud of his fishing heritage, including lobstering and even whaling. Our walls were lined with images depicting men in boats with fishing gear. My small ears listened to stories throughout my childhood of grandfathers and great-grandfathers making a living from the sea.

It would be natural for me to reject or even hate anything to do with that. But I don’t. I actually love it. Self-healing is the reason why.

Na Cealla Beaga (Killybegs)

The first thing you’ll notice is the Killybegs handsome fishing vessels. Docked side by side lined a maritime village, the boats resemble a setting out of a story book. A picturesque, historical Irish Seafaring Village unlike any other.

working boats Killybegs
As if the boats aren’t amazing enough, there are even harbor seals!

Nestled along the dramatic coastline of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Killybegs is a destination that seamlessly blends history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. The journey to this enchanting fishing village will leave you mesmerized and inspired. It a must-visit for anyone exploring the Emerald Isle. Make sure you carry your travel journal to capture these amazing sights and sounds.

The town of Killybegs is proud of their history, and it shows. This small hamlet boasts a rich historical legacy that’s deeply ingrained in its landscape. Strolling through the charming streets, discover remnants of its seafaring heritage. The bustling harbor, once a hub for fishing and trade, is a testament to the town’s past. A visit to the Maritime & Heritage Centre unravels the captivating and colorful stories of brave fishermen and the sea’s unforgiving nature, a poignant reminder of the town’s resilience throughout the centuries.

One such story involves pirates.

history of Killybegs

 The Charter of Killybegs seafaring village took place in 1615 by order of King James I, King of England. Just twelve years later, Dutch pirate warships loaded with Spanish gold and silver arrived in Killybegs harbor while awaiting pardon from the Queen of England. Eventually, boats from the pirate ships came ashore looking for food and water. Peace-loving citizens of Killybegs were relieved that the pirates were unarmed except for their knives to cut their meat. One glimpse of this historic seaport town and it is easy to see how the history and stories have withstood the test of time.

For nature-loving travelers, Killybegs is a paradise. The rugged cliffs, lush green hills, and pristine beaches paint a pretty picture of Ireland’s natural beauty. A hike I recommend is along the nearby Slieve League Cliffs, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. You will be in awe of Mother Nature’s healing beauty. Stand at the edge, gaze at the Atlantic Ocean, and affirm your power to heal generational trauma. Draw strength and connection from the infinite landscapes and the magnificent ocean. While you’re in Europe admiring sea cliffs, consider other islands that create a striking impression.

scenery in Killybegs
food truck Killybegs

You are going to love the seafood here! Starting with a beautiful sunny day, you’ll want to maximize your time outdoors and take in the local scene. Amongst the various food trucks parked conveniently along the quaint harbor, the food is priced budget. Furthermore, it’s friendly with practically no wait, and there was even outdoor seating nearby. That’s where you will be delighted to find the most delicious codfish sandwich of your life!

If you’re looking for something a little more formal, this Irish seafaring village will deliver. Renowned for its seafood, your taste buds are in for a treat. Indulge in the freshest catches of the day at seafood restaurants along the harbor. The flavors of lobster, tender crab, and buttery mussels will be unforgettable. Each meal will feel like a celebration of the sea.

Taking a boat ride along the Sliabh Liag Cliffs is an absolutely unforgettable experience. From the moment you set sail, you’ll captivated by the sheer magnitude of these tall cliffs that soar dramatically from the Atlantic Ocean. The boat’s gentle sway only adds to the sense of healing adventure as you hug the coastline, getting you up close and personal with the rugged beauty of Ireland’s west coast.

author on cruise Killybegs feeling happy from Ancestral Travel For Healing
Even in the summer time, it’s chilly enough for fleece and a hat

The highlight of the journey is undoubtedly the breathtaking views of the cliffs themselves. Towering at over 600 meters, the Sliabh Liag Cliffs are a natural wonder to behold. The boat allows you to appreciate their grandeur from a unique vantage point. The waves crashing against the base create a mesmerizing spectacle. The knowledgeable guide on board will share fascinating stories about the history and folklore surrounding these cliffs. Finally, if cruises and history are your thing, consider another British Isle to satisfy your travel whims.

view from cruise Killybegs to aid your Ancestral Travel For Healing
view from cruise Killybegs for Ancestral Travel For Healing

A day trip to Killybegs is perfect for capturing the classic Irish seafaring village. It is an experience where you can embrace the spirit of exploration and self-discovery. A destination that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, embrace the beauty of the wild, and connect with the ancestral land and soul of Ireland.

My visit to Killybegs left a mark on my heart forever. Killybegs may be a small village, but its charm and character are boundless. My journal is filled with happy insights of my time there.

Today I embrace my ancestors with pride. It is with humility and gratitude that I accept I am a product of generational trauma, but the story doesn’t end there. I am also a product of healing.

Frequently Asked Questions


What does traveling to ancestral lands to heal generational trauma mean?

Visiting the places your ancestors came from can help heal old family wounds. It lets you connect with your heritage, understand your family’s history, and feel a sense of belonging. This kind of trip can be a powerful way to fix broken ties and find peace with past troubles.

How do you know if you have ancestral trauma?

You might have ancestral trauma if you see repeating issues in your family, like unexplained fears or strong reactions to things. This might be inherited trauma in the form of emotional wounds passed down from your ancestors’ tough experiences.

What is the ancestral healing process?

Ancestral healing involves healing past family traumas through techniques like therapy, meditation, and rituals. It aims to understand, confront, and release inherited emotional wounds. This helps heal both yourself and future generations by breaking negative patterns. It also creates a deeper connection with your roots and ancestral stories.

What is the most common generational trauma?

The most common generational trauma stems from experiences of war, displacement, poverty, and sexual abuse. These leave deep emotional scars, affecting not just the victim, but also their descendants. This trauma can persist across generations and influence family dynamics, behaviors, and health unless addressed and healed.

How can generational trauma be healed?

Healing generational trauma involves therapy, talking with family, learning about the past, and sometimes spiritual practices. First you must recognize the trauma and see how it affects you and your family. Next you need to stop these patterns. Getting help from professionals and having supportive people around can make this journey easier.

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