22092
Northern Ireland

The Best of Northern Ireland: Past, Present and Future

Unravel the complex story of Northern Ireland as you meet its people, learn its history, explore its monuments and discover the exciting transformation of this vibrant region.
Rating (4.87)
Program No. 22092RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,199
Flights start at
625
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9 days
8 nights
15 meals
7 B 3 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Dublin, To Belfast, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Belfast
D
Jurys Inn Belfast

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel, take some time to freshen up and relax before Orientation. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with a Group Leader who will accompany us throughout the program and deal with logistics, deliver informal talks, conduct some field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. At various points during the program, we will be joined by local experts, who will lecture and conduct field trips. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel, we will have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Political Murals in Belfast
Belfast
B,L,D
Jurys Inn Belfast

Activity note: Entering/exiting taxis; driving about 20 miles, approximately 2.5 hours total field trip time including frequent breaks from driving. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobblestones.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the full Irish breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, potatoes, cereals, fruit, toast, pastries and jams, plus juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel for a lecture on the colorful and evocative political murals of Belfast, delivered by a local expert. The political mural tradition in the north of Ireland is more than a century old, and the lecture will trace the history of this distinctive form of political expression from the earliest examples — painted before the War of Independence, by loyalists who supported British rule — to its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, and more recent murals painted since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. After the lecture, we’ll walk to Belfast’s City Hall for a docent-led field trip. We’ll discover more of Belfast’s fascinating history as we explore this grand 1906 Baroque Revival building, and gain an insight into its links with the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic. We’ll board a motorcoach after our field trip, and ride to our lunch venue.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: It has been said that a city can be defined by its taxi drivers and nowhere is this truer than in Belfast. Via the renowned Black Taxis, we will ride to see the colorful and evocative murals of West Belfast with commentary by the local expert taxi drivers, stopping at some of the most significant to hear further explanations and take photos.

Dinner: At the Titanic Hotel, located in the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated and served candle-lit dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. A local expert will deliver a talk as we dine.

Evening: During dinner, our host will deliver a talk on the history of industry in Belfast. We’ll linger over dinner to enjoy the conversation and camaraderie. After returning to the hotel by motorcoach, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Titanic Belfast, Free Time
Belfast
B
Jurys Inn Belfast

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 3 miles, less than 1/2 hour. The morning is a self-led experience, approximately 2 hours, with pace and distances walked determined by the individual; flat terrain, elevators to all levels. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip to Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to the ill-fated liner. During this self-led exploration, take your time at your own pace to see and do what interests you most. The facility is situated on site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was designed and built. A series of nine interactive galleries present the story in innovative and insightful ways, from initial conception through construction, the maiden voyage and sinking, on to discovery of the wreck. With striking architecture that suggests a ship’s bow, incorporating symbols of water and the White Star Line logo, the building is the nucleus of one of the world’s largest urban regeneration projects, the Titanic Quarter. When completed, it will encompass 185 acres of cultural, educational, leisure, residential, and business facilities to transform the entire area. After our field trip, the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration, returning to the hotel independently.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Giant's Causeway, Local Brewery, To Derry
Derry
B,L,D
City Hotel Derry

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 105 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Walking about 3 miles, periods of standing; paved streets and paths, some uneven grassy areas; it is possible to walk on the uneven hexagonal "steps" of the basalt formation at Giant’s Causeway, and there are routes that involve minimal changes of level; shuttles are available from visitor center to Causeway to reduce walking distance. Some steps at the brewery.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: As we check out of the hotel, luggage will be loaded on to our motorcoach and we will transfer to Derry with a stop en route at the Giant's Causeway, made up of more than 40,000 hexagonally-shaped basalt columns resulting from lava flows stretching back 60 million years. Led by a National Trust expert, we will walk through this natural phenomenon, now a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that still stirs debate.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Portrush, we’ll have a plated lunch plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our learning adventure with a field trip to a local community-owned microbrewery in Portrush. As we explore with brewers, we’ll discover its connections to the Giant’s Causeway, and how this cooperative enterprise grew from a father and son’s home brewing experiments.

Dinner: In the hotel, we will have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Donegal, Glenveagh National Park
Derry
B,L,D
City Hotel Derry

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 125 miles, approximately 4 hours. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved and gravel paths, grass lawns; step-free access to most areas at Glenveagh Castle, but some areas including viewing platforms are accessible only by stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will set out via motorcoach for an expert-led field trip to Donegal, beginning at Glenveagh National Park and Castle. One of six national parks in Ireland, Glenveagh covers nearly 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) of unspoiled wilderness, glens, forests, lakes, estate grounds, and a castle with ornate gardens in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. The park’s many different habitats support a great variety of plant and animal life. The castle is a Victorian construction built between 1867 and 1873 by a wealthy land speculator, John Adair, who was hated by the local people for his eviction of tenants. Adair intended to develop it into a hunting estate but died before his plans could be implemented. His widow carried out major improvements to the castle over the next several decades. Glenveagh changed hands a number of times until the final owners gave it to the nation to become a national park. We’ll explore the castle and park with a local expert during our field trip.

Lunch: At Leo’s Tavern near the village of Crolly, renowned as the musical birthplace of world-famous talents Enya, Clannad, and Moya Brennan, we’ll enjoy a plated lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then return to the hotel by motorcoach along the North West Coast, with a short stop for independent exploration in the charming former fishing town of Dunfanaghy on Sheephaven Bay. Once we arrive at the hotel, we’ll have some time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Derry City Walls, Free Time
Derry
B
City Hotel Derry

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets and paths, some steps and steep sections. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out on foot, we will go on an expert-led walking field trip around the city of Derry, the only remaining city in Ireland with virtually complete walls surrounding the old inner core. The walls were erected early in the 17th century as defenses against encroaching English and Scottish settlers. Today, they serve as a walkway to observe the combination of heritage and contemporary culture within the Renaissance Style street plan. In addition to the walls, we will go to Bogside and conclude the morning at the Guildhall where a local expert will discuss on Derry’s past and present.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration in Derry,

Dinner: On your own to explore more of the local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Ulster American Folk Park, Brú na Bóinne
Dublin
B,D
CityNorth Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 135 miles, approximately 4 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel and woodland paths; steps to some areas at Ulster American Folk Park, including entrances to some buildings; uneven floors, low ceilings and low narrow entrance to Neolithic tomb at Brú na Bóinne; paved paths and grass outside burial mounds.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, luggage will be loaded onto the motorcoach and we will leave Derry for Dublin. En route, we will stop to visit the Ulster American Folk Park, an open-air museum that tells the poignant story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Volunteers in period costumes demonstrate day-to-day tasks of the era and the site consists of period housing, industry, and even a full-scale sailing ship.

Lunch: On your own at the Folk Park.

Afternoon: Brú na Bóinne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves one of the most archaeologically significant prehistoric landscapes in the world. In addition to megalithic art, Brú na Bóinne includes a number of Neolithic age burial chambers. After an introduction to the site by our Group Leader, we’ll explore the visitor center and take a shuttle bus to one of the tombs. At the tomb, informative displays detail how their survival through more than 5,000 years reflects the sophistication of their design, and the ingenuity of the Stone Age people who constructed them. We’ll arrive at the Dublin airport hotel late afternoon, with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated and served farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Dublin
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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