Authentic Travel and Tours presents:
Tracing the Past in Ireland
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Download the full color brochure Ireland tour October 20-31 2015 Brochure CLICK HERE
Join us for a unique exploration of enchanting Ireland on the eastern and northern coast as we delve into the texture of Irish culture from prehistory to present. We begin in Dublin, which offers a look at hundreds of years of history through its architecture, culture and museums. We will visit the National Museum, which boasts pottery from the Stone Age, gold neck collars, called “torcs” made by the Celts, and elaborate metalworking created during monastic times. The Viking longship exhibit, and the influence of their presence in Dublin, provides an in-depth visual history of this culture in Ireland. We will see the rich and fascinating history in the landscape by visiting stone circles, ring forts, medieval churches, and ancient solar observatories. Woven into the story of the past will be activities with Irish artists, actors, guides and musicians.
In conjunction with this tour, a genealogy component is being offered by Dave Miller. Dave teaches a course on finding your Irish roots, and will be offering his consulting services to those in his class, with actual hands-on time in Dublin and Belfast to research further. The schedule is planned so that those working with Dave will have time to research with him, and those not involved will be engaged in a variety of other tour activities, including a trip to the World Heritage Site of Newgrange, the 5,000 year old structure aligned to dawn on the winter solstice.
In Dublin we will visit many sites such as the National Gallery, Trinity College, featuring the Book of Kells, and Christchurch Cathedral, which will provide a visual feast of history. The hop-on, hop-off bus will take us anywhere we like in the city centre, with the option to view from the bus or hop off and see things up close. Guided tours will be included at most sites, as well as walking tours where historic areas are described, including the Irish Rebellion, followed by a visit to Kilmanhaim Jail. Evening music and literary pub events will top off the days.
Next the group will head north to Belfast and northern Ireland, where those working with Dave on genealogy will spend several days investigating their heritage at research sites in Belfast, such as PRONI ( Public Records Office of Northern Ireland). and Ulster Historical Foundation .
Those not involved in research will be treated to day trips along the northern coast, including the spectacular Giant’s Causeway, with visits to castles, monastic sites, mansions, mountains and waterfalls, all providing a variety and breadth to Irish history and cultural insights. Those researching will also join some of these outings. In Belfast we will be visiting many sites of special interest, with time built in to sample a café, or take in some shopping or a museum. Our day trips will be with local guides, who promise to offer delightful stories and an “inside” look at the region’s history, culture and secrets, all told with a dose of Irish wit.
One highlight while in Belfast will be a personalized tour of the Titanic Experience, where we will learn about the construction of this iconic ship, delve into its history, and visit the amazing exhibit, complete with replicas from the original ship.
The city of Belfast and northern Ireland has had a turbulent past, but thankfully now it is a peaceful time. However, the political and religious climate of the “troubles” is still visible in the murals painted during those times. We will be able to see the murals, and learn more about the history with a guided tour, ending with a special highlight of viewing the “Peace Wall”.
The Antrim Coast is stunning, and we will venture out to see amazing scenery along with archaeological sites, such as standing stones and castle ruins. A stop at the Bushmills Distillery will give you a sampling if Irish whiskey as we wind our way back to the city!
We will visit Dunluce Castle, and learn about the fortifications and villages that surrounded castles such as these.
Each day our goal is to provide a perfect blend of activities, free time, and a pace that allows for an enjoyable trip. Most activities are not strenuous, but there will be walking as we visit sites, and for those interested, opportunities to hike through beautiful glens and scenery.
There will be free time allowed in the itinerary for individual activities such as shopping, taking afternoon tea at a downtown hotel, or hiking up to Belfast Castle to see the gardens and overview of the city.
Some photos courtesy of Dan O”Meara