EXPLORING NORTHERN IRELAND & DONEGAL

 

This Expedition Includes:

  • Walking in the city
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Farming & Agriculture
  • Island Ecology
  • Habitat Exploration
  • Cultural Exposure
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Museum Visits
  • Traditional Music
  • Ancient & Modern History
  • Political History

DAY 1. A HUNDRED THOUSAND WELCOMES

Depart this afternoon.

Overnight: En route

DAY 2. HOWTH PENINSULA & BRU NA BOINNE

Welcome to Dublin! You will be met at the airport by your Chill Expeditions guide(s). After gathering all bags and belongings, we will load onto our private bus. Rather than heading South into the city (which we will experience at the end of our adventure), we will drive East out to the Howth Peninsula, which forms the northern boundary of Dublin Bay. We will shake off the overnight flight with a late morning hike on the scenic coastal paths while viewing wild seabirds, seals, porpoises, dolphins, and maybe even a whale; just a taste of the many spectacular views to come. After lunch, we will load onto our bus and start our journey North to Bru na Boinne (Palace of the Boyne), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves one of the most archaeologically significant prehistoric landscapes in the world. In addition to megalithic art, Bru na Boinne includes a number of Neolithic age burial chambers. We’ll visit one of these tombs to learn 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.

Overnight: Drogheda

DAY 3. NORTH TO BELFAST & THE RMS TITANIC

After a warm breakfast, we will check out of our bed and breakfast, load into our bus and drive North across the border into Northern Ireland. Once in Belfast, we’ll stop to visit the Titanic Belfast, a museum located in the heart of the city, right beside the historic site of the ship’s construction. The experience takes you through nine galleries, telling the story of the RMS Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. After lunch, we’ll drive out to and experience the Gobbins Cliff Path. This path is a one-of-a-kind experience; walk along the tubular bridge (33ft above the sea) and marvel at the spectacular vistas and abundant wildlife. Cross striking bridges, climb stairways carved into the cliff face and explore hidden caves as the ocean waves pound the rocks below.

Overnight: Belfast

DAY 4. THE TROUBLES & CRUMLIN ROAD GAOL

After breakfast, we will take an award-winning black taxi political and mural tour of Belfast. We will be driven around the city in authentic London black cabs. The drivers are very friendly and knowledgeable about the Troubles which took place in Northern Ireland, specifically around Belfast, during the late 20th century. This powerful experience will take us to key sites on both sides of the city. After lunch, we will tour the notorious HMP Belfast, also known as Crumlin Road Gaol, a former prison situated on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast, one that evokes memories of severe conflict. On March 31, 1996, the Governor of Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol walked out of the fortified prison and the heavy air-lock gates slammed shut for the final time. The closure ended a 150-year history of imprisonment, conflict, and executions.

Overnight: Belfast

DAY 5. SHANKILL ROAD & FALLS ROAD

After breakfast, we will visit St. George’s Market, one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland. There has been a Friday market on the St. George’s site since 1604. Approximately 248 market stalls sell a diverse range of products from Atlantic shark to zips, to antiques and fresh fruit. We can also listen to live music from local solo artists. After lunch, we’ll continue learning about Belfast’s troubled history on a 3-hour political conflict walking tour with both Republican and Loyalist ex-political prisoners. We’ll explore their neighborhoods and hear their personal stories and stories of their communities on both sides of the physical wall. It will be easy to determine which side of the wall we’re on. If the curbstones are red, white and blue, and we see Loyalist murals and Union Jacks, we’re on the Shankill. If the curbstones are green, white and gold, and the flag is Irish and the murals are Republican, we’re on the Falls. Late this afternoon, we’ll drive West to Derry.

Overnight: Derry/Londonderry

DAY 6. GAME OF THRONES

Today is our official Game of Thrones Tour. After breakfast, we load onto the bus and start the full day adventure which will include stops at Downhill Strand, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Larrybane Chalk Quarry, Iron Islands Kingsmoot, Giant’s Causeway (another UNESCO World Heritage site), and the Dark Hedges. We return to Derry late afternoon.

Overnight: Derry/Londonderry

DAY 7. WEST TO GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, we will drive West into the Republic of Ireland to The Grianan of Aileach, an impressive stone fort that dates back to 1700 B.C. and was restored in the late 19th century. Here we will explore the intersection of mythology, history, and archaeology. We will then continue on to the Glenveagh National Park. Glenveagh is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, and enchanted native oak woodland in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. At the center of the park on the edge of Lough Veagh is Glenveagh Castle, a late 19th-century castellated mansion, built as a hunting lodge. We will spend the afternoon walking the various trails within the park.

Overnight: Donegal

 

DAY 8. SLIEVE LEAGUE

We spend the entire day hiking and exploring the mighty Slieve League, a stunning mountain on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal reaching nearly 2000 feet high with dramatic cliffs down to the ocean below.

Overnight: Donegal

DAY 9. ULSTER AMERICAN FOLK PARK & WALKING DUBLIN

After breakfast, we begin our drive back to Dublin but stop along the way to explore the Ulster American Folk Park. An open-air museum with more than 30 exhibit buildings to explore, the museum tells the story of three centuries of Irish emigration. Using costumed guides and displays of traditional crafts, the museum focuses on those who left Ulster for America in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. After lunch, we finish our drive to Dublin and check into our B&B. If time permits, we will do a short walking tour in Dublin prior to having a final, celebratory dinner with live traditional Irish music (of course).

Overnight: Dublin

DAY 10. MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK

Depart Dublin this morning. Home with inspiration!

Why settle for less?

MIKE BUDD

MIKE BUDD

EXPEDITION DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR at Chill Expeditions

As a husband, father, coach, and athlete, Mike is in perpetual motion. He will, however, pause for sushi, bacon, fried plantains, mint chocolate chip ice cream and a pint of Guinness.

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