NORTHERN GEMS OF IRELAND TOUR
7 Day/6 Night Deluxe Tour of Northern Ireland from $1539.00 Per Person
Day 1: Arrive in Belfast
Cead Mile Failte -Welcome to Ireland. Arrive into Belfast Airport where you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your city center hotel.
Enjoy your day at leisure in Belfast. Belfast is one of Europe’s true renaissance cities. From playing host to the MTV Europe Music Awards to being a center of all things Titanic, the capital of Northern Ireland is buzzing like never before, with a legendry music scene, great pubs and a wealth of cultural events. Radiating from St Ann’s Square the Cathedral Quarter lies at the heart of the cities social life. An area full of character, you will find old pubs rubbing shoulders with fine hotels, and wine bars and bistros hidden down atmospheric alleyways. Anchoring the Quarter is the Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC) which has electrified the cultural scene and firmly put Belfast on the map. The Titanic Quarter is one of Europe’s most ambitious and dramatic waterfront regeneration projects. At the heart of the quarter is the architecturally impressive Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience. Your journey takes you through nine galleries of this state of the art visitor experience telling the story of the Titanic from her conception in Belfast, through her construction and launch to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. Right at the heart of Donegal Square visit Belfast City Hall, constructed out of Pale Portland stone in 1906. It is well worth joining the free one hour tour after which you can relax in the well-kept grounds. Visit the Ulster Museum, which presents an array of exhibitions from prehistoric times as well as European and American art and Northern Ireland history. Visit Queens University, founded as Queen’s College in 1845, it became a university in its own right in 1908. Situated near Queens University Belfast, the Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists. First established in 1828, the gardens have been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895.
Overnight at the Europa Hotel.
Day 2: Black Taxi Tour of Belfast
After a full Ulster breakfast at the Europa Hotel, enjoy a Black Taxi tour of Belfast City. Knowledgeable drivers supply an informative and entertaining history of the city. Tours can be customized to suit interests.
Visit the political Murals, the tradition of the political murals is more than 100 years old and the colorful work of the wall artists from the romantic to the surreal is astonishing. The Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845 and closed it’s doors as a working prison in 1996. After extensive renovations the gaol has re-opened as a visitor attraction and conference centre. Today you can take a guided tour of the prison and hear about the history of the site from when women and children were held within it’s walls through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners and learn about why the decision was taken to close the prison.
Overnight again in Belfast.
Day 3: Belfast to Derry
This morning you will be met by your driver – depart Belfast City and travel north along the scenic Antrim Coastline to Derry. The Causeway Coastal Route, is a way-marked 120 mile trail of outstanding scenic drives and attractions which, taken together, make up what has deservedly been described as ‘one of the world’s great road journeys’. The route is an odyssey of astonishing natural landscapes, from patchwork hills, mountain streams and waterfalls to a dazzling coastal road with majestic cliffs, golden sands and the unique glory that is the Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway is composed of thousands of strangely symmetrical basalt columns which jut out to sea between Port Ganny and Port Noffer. Legend has it that the whole Causeway was built by the Irish giant, Finn MacCool, so as to travel dry-shod across the sea to Scotland. Generations of guides have embroidered the tale until it is hard to disentangle modern invention from ancient folklore. In fact the Causeway is a product of the volcanic activity, which altered the face of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland many millions of years ago.
Continue along the Antrim Coastline to Bushmills to visit the Old Bushmills Distillery. The home of Irish Malt Whiskey, the Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world making whiskey since 1608. Single Malt Whiskies such as Bushmills and Black Bush are produced here. Whiskey the “uisce beatha” – water of life in Irish Gaelic has been distilled here at Bushmills since the 13th Century. But it was 1608 when the area was granted an official license by King James I to distil whiskey and has been making the finest Irish Malt Whiskey here for nearly 400 years.
Your final destination today is Northern Ireland’s second city, Derry. Check into the Tower Hotel for overnight.
Day 4: Derry City Tour
After a full Ulster breakfast enjoy a walking tour of Derry City. (approx 1 hour 30 minutes). Derry City Tours, operated by Martin Mc Crossan and his wife Sharon who both hail from Derry and from different cultural and religious backgrounds, is able to offer a balanced overview of the social, cultural and religious history, past and present, of this beautiful and ancient county. The River Foyle curves picturesquely around the old walled town of Derry, creating a cosy setting which jars horribly with the reality of this city’s recent troubled history. The old centre of Derry is the small walled city on the west bank of the river, with the square called the Diamond at its heart. Barbed-wire barriers detract from the magnificence of the city walls, though also giving resonance to their history. From the top there are good views of the Bogside and its defiant murals and the Free Derry monument.
This afternoon you may wish to visit the Tower Museum. The award winning museum contains two permanent exhibitions -An Armada Shipwreck and the Story of Derry, the Armada Shipwreck displays many of the objects recovered from LaTrinidad Valencera and the Story of Derry details the history of the city.
Overnight again at the Tower Hotel Derry.
Day 5: Derry to Fermanagh
Enniskillen is the county town of Fermanagh. The town is uniquely situated in the centre of the county between Upper and Lower Lough Erne. The name Enniskillen comes from the Irish Inis Ceithleann meaning island of Cathleen, who was an Irish mythological character. Through it’s many years of welcoming visitors, it has developed into a hub of entertainment, shopping and dining out! The area is a mecca for watersports, coarse and game fishing, championship golf courses and sightseeing. A feature of Enniskillen which is becoming increasingly unusual is the number of small bars and hostelries which appear on the Main Street, providing welcome relief from the shops! At the centre of the town is the Town Hall, which was completed as recently as 1901. The Clock Tower here is six stories high and can be seen from everywhere, complete with its statues marking the proud military heritage of the Town. At the west end of the Main Street can be found the town’s two main Churches. St. MacCartan’s Church Of Ireland Cathedral dates from 1842. The Cathedral is noted for its Bells, with one in particular being cast from a cannon used in the Battle of the Boyne. St Michael’s RC Church is opposite St. MacCartan’s, on the other side of the Main Street, and dates from 1875.
Day 6: Fermanagh
Enjoy the full day touring Fermanagh including visits to Florence Court, the former Home of the Earl of Enniskillen; Castle Coole, one of Ireland’s finest Neo-classical houses; and Crom one of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas. Return to Lough Erne for overnight.
You may like to visit Castle Coole, one of Ireland’s finest Neo-classical houses. The house allows visitors to glimpse what life was like in the home of the Earls of Belmore. Discover the story of the people who lived and worked below stairs as you explore the splendid suite of servants rooms and service quarters of this magnificent property.
You may like to visit Enniskillen Castle, which was once the stronghold of the Gaelic Maguire chieftains. Built almost 600 years ago, the castle’s history is traced from its beginnings as a Maguire castle until its use as a barracks in the 1700s and 1800s. The castle in its original form was a small square tower-house, and guarded one of the few passes into Ulster. In the 17th century it became an English garrison fort and later served as part of a military barracks. This historic site houses two museums, Fermanagh County Museum and The Inniskillings Museum -Fermanagh County Museum has award-winning exhibitions including ‘Country People, Country Places: ‘The Making of a Landscape’, which gives an insight into Fermanagh’s natural history, archaeology and rural lifestyle. Visitors can also watch a short film on Enniskillen called ‘Enniskillen Today and Tomorrow’ which is the story of the market town, told through memories of local people.
Time permitting this evening visit Crom, one of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species. Return to Lough Erne for overnight.
Day 7: Depart from Belfast
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*All prices are per person based on double occupancy.