Depart Dublin and travel northwards to Belfast City. Enroute stop for Tea/Coffee & Scones. Continue northwards to visit the Saint Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick, which explores the legacy of Saint Patrick, ancient and modern, and recalls the saint’s own story – in his own words. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick’s legacy developed in early Christian times and reveals the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age. Located beside the Saint Patrick’s Centre is Down Cathedral, a Church of Ireland cathedral, standing on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Saint Patrick’s remains are buried in the graveyard.
Travel towards Belfast and the peaceful, leafy suburb of the Queen’s Quarter of South Belfast to check into the Malone Lodge Hotel for dinner & overnight. A chic Victorian townhouse hotel, where warm ambiance, Irish hospitality and contemporary luxuries will embrace you. Belfast is teeming with a multitude of stylish bars and trendy clubs. Visitors can enjoy traditional Irish music in
a local pub or dance the night away to the latest vibes – the choice is theirs!
After breakfast this morning, the group will be met by a local tour guide for a half day tour of Belfast City. Belfast’s industrial heritage has shaped a city steeped in culture, portrayed at its best at the Ulster Museum, City Hall and the city’s many preserved historic buildings. It is an industrial city, home to Harland & Wolffe’s Shipyard – the single largest shipyard in the UK and where the ill-fated White Star Liner “Titanic” was built. The
city’s many parks, gardens and galleries offer a perfect haven to relax.
In the afternoon depart Belfast and travel towards Ballygally. Stop enroute for a brief photo stop outside Carrickfergus Castle, which was besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French. The Castle saw actionright up to World War II. Continue for a visit to Glenarm Castle Gardens – The Walled Garden situated in the grounds of Glenarm Castle is one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens dating from the 18th century.
Dinner and overnight this evening is at Ballygally Castle Hotel, which faces the soft, sandy beaches of Ballygally Bay. This friendly and traditional hotel dates back to 1625 and is even reputed to have its own friendly ghost!
After a full Irish Breakfast, travel north along the Antrim coastline. Much of the Antrim Coast and Glens is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. An unrivalled seascape, towering cliffs, white sandy beaches, tranquil glens and lush forest parks all unfold as you make your way northwards on the Antrim Coast Road.
From Larne to Ballycastle, this is one of the most scenic routes in Europe. You’ll be constantly delighted as you travel around each bend in the road and pretty fishing villages or dramatic headlands come into view. From the magnificent vantage points at Fair Head and Murlough Bay you can enjoy uninterrupted views of Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre, as well as the wild and mysterious island of Rathlin just seven miles off the coast of
Ballycastle and accessible daily by boat.
Visit the Old Bushmills Distillery where whiskey has been distilled since 1608. Here you will have a guided tour through the working distillery followed by a ‘sampling’ of the product.
Afterwards visit the Giant’s Causeway, which is renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, and is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries.
The development of the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience has commenced and will be complete in 2012. During construction of the new visitor facility, visitors will continue to gain access to the Giant’s Causeway. Please allow extra time for your visit during the summer months as there may be queues due to the building work.
Travel back towards Ballygally in the evening for dinner and overnight again at the Ballygally Castle Hotel.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before travelling towards Derry City. Stop for a visit to Arthur Cottage, situated in the heart of County Antrim. This cottage only a short walk from the village of Cullybackey is the ancestralhome of Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st President of the USA. Enter the carefully restored cottage, be transported to a bygone era and see how the Arthur family lived in the late 18th Century.Follow the story of
the Arthur family and trace the link from a rural village in Northern Ireland to the American Presidency.Start your visit to Derry City with a walking tour taking in all of the main sights along the one-mile circuit,i ncluding the original Gates – Shipquay, Butcher, Bishop and Ferryquay. The Walls are among the best preserved city fortifications in the Western World. They rise to a height of 8m (26ft) and in places are 9m (30ft)wide. Completed in 1618 to defend the Plantation city, the walls have never been breached in three major sieges- even during the 105 day siege of 1689 when 7,000 of the 30,000 population died of starvation.
Check into the Tower Hotel Derry for dinner & overnight. The Tower Hotel is the only hotel in the city which is located within Derry city’s historic walls.
Depart Derry City after breakfast and travel just outside the town of Omagh to visit the Ulster-American Folk Park. Folk Park grew up around the restored boyhood home of judge Thomas Mellon (founder of the Pittsburgh banking dynasty). The Park’s permanent exhibition, called “Emigrants”, examines why two million people left Ulster for America during the 18th and 19th centuries. There are settler homesteads, including that of John Joseph Hughes, the first Catholic Archbishop of New York, churches, a schoolhouse and a forge, somewith craft displays, all with costumed interpretative guides. Continue southwards towards County Dublin. Arrive at the City North Hotel, Gormanstown, Co. Meath for dinner and entertainment and overnight. This 4 star hotel is located along the Belfast to Dublin M1 Motorway and lies just 20 minutes north of Dublin Airport
The group will be transferred directly to Dublin Airport in time to check in for their departure flight homebound.
Slan Abhaile (Safe Home)
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