Three Day Tour of the North East & Northern Ireland 

Tour Highlights

(Day 1) Dublin - Trim Castle - Bective Abbey - Monasterboise High Crosses - Hillsbourgh - Belfast

 Google route map dublin to Belfast via Trim Castle

Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare, (Strongbow). 

Construction of the massive three-storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun c. 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall, and moat. 

Bective Abbey is a Cistercian abbey on the River Boyne in Bective, County Meath. The abbey was founded in 1147, and the remaining structure and ruins primarily date to the 15th century.

Monasterboice (Irish: Mainistir Bhuithe) the historic ruins are of an early Christian settlement in County Louth. It was founded in the late 5th century by Saint Buithe who died around 521 and was an important centre of religion and learning until the founding of nearby Mellifont Abbey in 1142.

The site houses two churches built in the 14th century or later and an earlier round tower, but it is most famous for its 10th century high crosses.

Hillsborough Castle has been a grand family home and is now the official home of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and a royal residence. Her Majesty The Queen stays at Hillsborough, as do other members of the Royal Family when visiting Northern Ireland.

Viewed by some as a politically neutral venue, Hillsborough has played an important role in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland since the 1980s.

In 2014, Historic Royal Palaces took over the running of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and began an ambitious project to restore the house and gardens to its former glory.

(Day 2) Belfast City Tour - Titanic Museum - Carrickfergus Castle - The Gobbins Cliff Path.

Google route map for Belfast to Ballycastle via Carrickfergus

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital. It was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which famously struck an iceberg and sunk in 1912. This legacy is recalled in the renovated dockyards’ Titanic Quarter, which includes the Titanic Belfast, an aluminium-clad museum reminiscent of a ship’s hull.
The Peace Lines or Peace Walls are a series of separation barriers in Northern Ireland that separate predominantly Republican and Nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods from predominantly Loyalist and Unionist Protestant neighbourhoods.
HMP Belfast, also known as Crumlin Road Gaol, is a former prison situated on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast. It is the only Victorian era prison remaining in Northern Ireland. It is affectionately known as the Crum.

 

Titanic Belfast visitor attraction opened in 2012, a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built.

Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle, situated in the town of Carrickfergus, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough.

Besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, the castle played an important military role until 1928 and remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland.

For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Ireland landscape whether approached by land, sea or air. The castle now houses historical displays as well as cannons from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

The Gobbins is a cliff-face path at Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the Causeway Coastal Route. It runs across bridges, past caves and through a tunnel, along The Gobbins cliffs. The cliffs are recognised for their rich birdlife, important geology and notable species.

 

(Day 3) Giant's Causeway - Rope Bridge - Dunluce Castle - Derry City Walls - Dublin,

 Google road map Ballycastle to dublin via the derry walls

Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles northeast of the town of Bushmills. 

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. 

Dunluce Castle bears witness to a long and tumultuous history. First built on the dramatic coastal cliffs of County Antrim by the MacQuillan family around 1500, the earliest written record of the castle was in 1513.

Derry, also known as Londonderry, is a city on the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. It’s known for the intact 17th-century Derry’s Walls with 7 gates. Within the walls, spired St. Columb’s Cathedral displays artifacts from the 1688–9 Siege of Derry. Near the Peace Bridge, the Tower Museum has city views and historical exhibits. Huge stained-glass windows adorn the neo-Gothic red sandstone Guildhall.

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