6187 NORTHERN IRELAND

Highlights

  • Tour of Belfast and insight into The Troubles
  • Spectacular coastal walking around The Giants Causeway
  • Ferry trip to wild Rathlin Island
  • The Gobbins dramatic and exhilarating coastal walk

The delights of Antrim and its coast encompass some of the UK's finest visual experiences such as the iconic Giant's Causeway and Rathlin Island with its colony of seals competing for attention with the haunting cries of seabirds soaring and diving around rugged cliffs. The Gobbins spectacular coastal path (originally created in 1902) is an exhilarating walk experience where bridges carry you over crashing waves to sunken caves and sheer cliff faces.

Sunday Overnight: Ballygally Castle Hotel

Rendezvous in Belfast for a poignant black taxi tour of the town. For many years visitors avoided Northern Ireland until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The Troubles are obviously the "elephant in the Northern Irish living room" and so, to set the scene for our walk ahead, we see some of those unforgiving murals and the strident graffiti. The strife in Northern Ireland can be traced back over eight hundred years. We see the memorial plots and the peace walls of Shankill and the Falls and hear some first hand accounts from people who lived through those troubled times. After our tour of Belfast, we take a private transfer to our hotel in Ballygally.

Monday Overnight: Ballygally Castle

We drive to the plateau behind our hotel and walk with splendid views of Scotland across the sea, down into Glenarm, one of the nine Glens of Antrim. We continue to the private Glenarm Castle with its beautiful park, home to the Earls of Antrim. We take lunch in the castle's gardens and enjoy a walk through the Earl's private garden and estate.

Tuesday Overnight: Bushmills Inn Hotel

We drive to the Queen of Glens described as "Switzerland in Miniature" to explore the most dramatic of the nine Glens of Antrim, Glenariff. We pass waterfalls, gorges and woodland and continue to the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge hanging precariously over an eighty feet chasm (crossing it is optional!) Then we head to the tiny, harbor village of Ballintoy and walk along the water's edge of the glorious sandy beach at White Park Bay. We end our day at our charming hotel in Bushmills.

Wednesday Overnight: Bushmills Inn Hotel

We pick up our trail to Ballycastle Bay where we take a ferry to fascinating Rathlin Island, eight miles off the coast towards Scotland. This boomerang shaped island has a particularly unspoilt environment which attracts geologists, botanists and bird watchers alike and its very steadily rising population has reached just over 100! It is where Robert the Bruce retreated from Edward I (Longshanks) in 1306 and where, in 1898, Marconi made the world's first radio communication.

Thursday Overnight: Bushmills Inn Hotel

We walk along a memorable and stunning stretch of coastline past the Giant's Causeway - the extraordinary geological phenomenon of 40,000 basalt columns. We descend by the shepherds' steps to the Stones themselves, with time to absorb this fascinating rock formation, and then to the new visitor center. After lunch we return to the spectacular Causeway Coastal Path and walk around Runkerry Point with its fabulous beach and cliff views. We continue back to our hotel with the option to visit the famous Old Bushmills Distillery.

Friday Overnight: The Merchant Hotel

We drive south and resume our Glen walk of earlier in the week, this time to Sallagh Braes, a location frequently used to film the Game of Thrones television series. We take an exhilarating boat ride alongside the newly reopened Gobbins Coastal Path, recently reopened after a multi-million pound investment, to marvel at this feat of engineering from the water. It was first created in 1902 and the walkway clings to the sides of the sheer basalt cliffs at Islandmagee. After lunch we walk along the cliff path, with its tubular and suspension bridges, caves and carved tunnels, and with its spectacular views over the ocean and of the waves crashing far below. We conclude our day with a short drive to our luxury hotel in Belfast for our Farewell Dinner in The Great Room Restaurant - a fine example of perfectly preserved, original Victorian architecture.

Saturday

We bid farewell after breakfast and transfer to our onward connections.
Easy-Moderate
"Wayfarers' Walks enrich your whole understanding of a country. They understand it's not just scenery; it's culture and history too"
Terrain: Spectacular coastal paths,unspoiled moorland, some hills. 8-10 miles walking per day.

TRIP DETAILS

6 nights from
$4,395.00
Double Occupancy
(Single Supplement $565.00)
Our Wayfarers friends Price is $4,175.00

Dates

From Jun 12 to Jun 18 (more dates)
Request booking
Arrival: Belfast Central Station
Departure: Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport

Activities

Walk ClassicBoat RideCoastal walkingGarden VisitHistoric Monument Visit
Northern Ireland June 2016 Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Ballygally Castle

Ballygally Castle

Perched on the tip of one of the greatest road journeys, the Causeway Coastal Route, sits a 17th castle called Ballygally Castle. Originally built in 1625, it has a fascinating history. It has glorious views over the golden sands of Ballygally Bay towards Scotland and is just a small distance from the 9 Glens of Antrim and the Giants Causeway. The original period rooms have been sympathetically and cleverly updated to retain the enchanting charm of the original castle. Each bedroom has its own style and charm and offers ensuite bathroom, phone, TV, tea/coffee-making facilities and hairdryer. The Garden Restaurant serves up a range of delicious dishes, many using the finest local produce.
Guests at Ballygally Castle can enjoy the use of Cairndhu Golf Course, with its magnificent coastal views. Only 2 miles from the hotel, tee off times and preferred green fees can be arranged by the hotel. Other excellent courses nearby include Portstewart, Castlerock and Masserene.

Bushmills Inn Hotel

Bushmills Inn Hotel

This award-winning hotel & restaurant has very successfully recreated its origins as the oldest Coaching Inn and Mill House dating back to 1608. Located in the same village as the worlds oldest distillery, between the Giants Causeway and Royal Portrush Golf Club, this hotel excels in providing an inherently warm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. The rooms are spacious and include telephone, TV, radio, hospitality tray, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, trouser presser, room safe and connection for modem or fax. Overlooking the garden courtyard, the award-winning restaurant takes in the original 17th century stables and wine cellar. The Taste of Ulster restaurant welcomes visitors for an imaginatively planned selection of dishes with a unique blend of classical and new Irish cuisine. Relax and savour the atmosphere of the Victorian bar and sample a glass of 25 year-old Bushmills malt whiskey from the hotels private cask.

The Merchant Hotel

The Merchant Hotel

One of Belfasts most renowned and best-loved buildings, the Merchant Hotel is the former headquarters of the Ulster Bank and a prime example of High Victorian architecture. It is located in the beautiful Cathedral Quarter, one of the oldest parts of the city. A luxury hotel with elegant rooms furnished with elegant Victorian or Art Deco styling, it also features a spa and gym. Each guest room enjoys full air-conditioning, free WiFi, blackout blinds or curtains, hospitality trays, fridge, television, hairdryer, robes and slippers, safe and multimedia hub. Diners in the hotel????????s Great Room Restaurant can enjoy the remarkable original Victorian interior topped by a glass cupola (and Ireland????????s largest chandelier), while savoring the chefs???????? imaginative menus which use the finest seasonal ingredients.

Start planning your trip

What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants