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 (4.88)
Program No. 22092RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,149
Flights start at
675
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9 days
8 nights
14 meals
7 B 3 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Welcome to Belfast
Belfast
D
Maldron Hotel Belfast City

Activity note: Hotel check-in is available from 2:00 p.m. Luggage will be stored at the hotel until rooms are ready.

Morning: Early morning arrivals to Dublin airport and transfer to Belfast. Feel free to take a walk of personal discovery.

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. You will find a variety of places to eat and drink outside our centrally located hotel.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel, take some time to freshen up and relax before Orientation. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Next, enjoy a welcome drink at the hotel and continue getting to know your fellow participants.

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

Evening: At leisure. Settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Political Murals in Belfast
Belfast
B,L
Maldron Hotel Belfast City

Activity note: Entering/exiting taxis, walking up to 1 mile.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the “full Irish” breakfast buffet offers a variety of eggs, bacon, sausages-pork, beef, hot and cold cereals, vegetarian, hash browns, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, fruit, pastries, toast and jams/marmalade, juices, coffees, teas, water.

Morning: We will be joined in the hotel by a local expert who will discuss murals as signs of the times and the political transformation of Northern Ireland. After the lecture, we will transfer to An Culturiann Irish Language and Culture Centre.

Lunch: At An Culturiann, lunch includes a main course plus coffee, tea, water.

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

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Titanic Belfast, Belfast Castle Dinner
Belfast
B,D
Maldron Hotel Belfast City

Activity note: The morning is a self-guided experience, approximately 2 hours, with pace and distances walked determined by the individual; flat terrain, elevators to all levels.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will visit Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to the ill-fated liner, where you are welcome to explore at your own pace and see 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.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: At leisure.

Dinner: From the hotel, we will travel by private motorcoach for a special experience: a candle-lit dinner at Belfast Castle. Our 3-course meal includes coffee, tea, water. Our host, a Belfast raconteur, will engage us with local lore as we dine in the sumptuous surroundings of what is the third castle built on this site. It was commissioned in 1862 by the third Marquis of Donegal and completed in 1870. His heirs retained title to the castle and estate until presenting it to the City of Belfast in 1934. The castle’s prominent position provides excellent views.

Evening: Linger over dinner to enjoy the conversation and camaraderie.

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

Activity note: Walking 1/2 mile road to reach Causeway. Visitor Centre, toilet facilities, and some areas of grounds and trail are accessible; grass, uneven, narrow, loose and hard gravel paths, steep slopes, steps, undulating rocky terrain. Walking and standing up to an hour at the Brewery; some steps.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: As we check out of the hotel, luggage will be loaded on to our motorcoach and we will transfer by coach to Londonderry/Derry with a stop at the 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 Bushmills Inn, lunch includes a main course plus coffee, tea, water and a sample drink.

Afternoon: We continue our learning adventure with a field trip to a traditional local brewery. We'll discover the magic of locally brewed Belfast products and learn about the ancient craft passed down through many generations.

Dinner: In the hotel, we will have a 3-course meal with coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Derry City Walls
Derry
B
City Hotel Derry

Activity note: Walking of up to 1 mile, approximately 2 hours. In addition to walking on paved surface city walls, there are some steps and hilly streets.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We will depart for an expert-led walking field trip around Derry City. Derry is 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 Scots 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.

Afternoon: At leisure.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Donegal, Glenveagh National Park
Derry
B,L
City Hotel Derry

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile. Glenveagh Visitor Center, toilets, gardens, and ground floor of castle accessible.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We will depart via motorcoach for a full-day, expert-led field trip to Donegal, beginning at Glenveagh National Park & 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 actually a Victorian construction built from 1867-73 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.

Lunch: At Leo’s Tavern, renowned as the musical birthplace of world famous talents Enya, Clannad, and Moya Brennan, enjoy a main course plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We return to the hotel, taking in some of the North West Coast and Sheephaven Bay.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Ulster American Folk Park, Bru Na Boinne
Dublin
B,D
CityNorth Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, luggage will be loaded on to the coach and we will depart 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. Highlights include thatched cottages, a full-scale emigrant sailing ship, and costumed characters displaying traditional crafts.

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 comprises the Neolithic age burial chambers of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. Their survival through more than 5,000 years reflects the sophistication of their design, and ingenuity of the Stone Age people who constructed them. We expect to arrive at the Dublin airport hotel late afternoon, with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 3-course meal with coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure. Say farewell to new Road Scholar friends and prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Dublin
B

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to Dublin Airport for return flights to North America. This concludes our program. 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 rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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