Tour from Dublin
Tours are priced individually according to the route, group size, distances & hours required, date(s) in question, start & end locations, overnight locations (where applicable) and remaining supply at time of booking.
"Dear Chloe, we're on the way back from 'the north' and just wanted to thank you for arranging today. Titanic is amazing and political Belfast a real eye opener. We'll be back in June and will be in touch. I really want my husband to experience Ireland with you, hopefully with Don as our guide. Speak soon." - GB, Weston, Connecticut, United States
Your driver will collect you from your accommodation just after breakfast. As you relax back into the comfortable leather seats of your private Mercedes- Benz tour vehicle, your driver- guide will discuss how best to approach the day ahead while taking local and seasonal considerations into account.
You'll learn about the history and culture of Northern Ireland from your chauffeur as you travel with some fascinating stories along the way. The distance from Dublin to Belfast is just over 100 miles (170 km).
About an hour into the journey, you'll exit from the M1 Dublin to Belfast motorway and arrive at the first recommended stop of the morning. Here amongst a patchwork of rolling green fields and hedgerows you'll find the ruins of Monasterboice.
This Celtic Christian settlement was founded in the 5th Century and features a number of ruined churches and a stone tower which was used by the religious community to hide from a major Viking raid over 1,000 years ago.
Monasterboice is most famous however for the intricately carved Celtic crosses which tower over the countryside and depict scenes from the old and new testaments. The beautifully preserved Muiredach's high cross is regarded as the best remaining example in all of Ireland.
This is a relatively short stop to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and have a look around at the ruins. From here it's just over an hour to Belfast city.
As you cross the border from the Republic into Northern Ireland you are also crossing from the European Union to the United Kingdom (which exited from the EU following the "Brexit" referendum in 2016).
If you look closely, you'll notice the road signs change from blue to green, from kilometres to miles and from dual language (English and Irish) to just English.Driving through the 'Bandit Country' of South Armagh on the M1 motorway, you are entering into an area which was the most dangerous posting in the world for a British soldier for three decades.
Naturally, many guests who select this tour have family members who are concerned about how safe it is to visit Northern Ireland and who have renewed concerns after Brexit. Thankfully, there has been over 20 years of unprecendented peace since the power sharing agreement was negotiated. These days both the surrounding countryside and Belfast are statistically much safer than the majority of European and North- American cities.
Citizens of the United States, Canada, European Union do not require a visa to cross into Northern Ireland. Other passport holders should enquire with their local British Embassy.
Arrive downtown mid morning where you'll enjoy approximately 120 minutes at leisure for lunch and shopping. Any must sees should be scheduled in advance otherwise your driver will be on hand to offer local recommendations for your time at leisure.
Kennedy & Carr recommend:
Why not slow down and visit the historic Crown Liquor Saloon and sample a pint of Harp Lager or a glass of Bushmills Whiskey over lunch? Belfast's most famous bar was refurbished in flamboyant style in the late 1880's by it's owner Patrick Flanagan who was trying to attract the wealthy patrons of the Grand Opera House just opposite.
The interior was ornately decorated by Italian master craftsmen who were in Ireland helping to build Roman Catholic churches. Expect a unique atmosphere featuring stained and cut glass, marble, ceramic, mirror and mahogany all lit by gas lamps. The Crown Bar is known to serve a variety of oysters and a traditional fish & chips.
For those who are particularly interested in the modern political history and dark side of Belfast, perhaps allocate part of your leisure time to enjoy an optional Black Taxi tour. This local experience takes you the short distance from the city centre to the famous Shankill Road (British Loyalist) and Falls Road (Irish Nationalist) neighbourhoods.
The taxi drivers hail from both sides of the historical divide and many of them have first hand experience of the 1968 - 1998 conflict to recount to you. Accordingly, they are particularly well placed to help visitors to understand what actually drove the civil war on the ground from the multiple perspectives involved.
You'll see the famous murals along these streets and neighbourhood boundaries marked by kerbstones painted in red, white and blue or green, white and orange. The Irish and British flags fly from street lamps marking out territory and in parts of town there are 'peace lines' Berlin Wall style barricades dividing one side from another.
Hear stories of brutality, heroism, compassion, peacemaking and reconciliation. Not for everyone but quite an experience.
NB: those opting for this experience probably won't have enough time for a lunch stop at The Crown Bar.
NB2: please see "Guest Advice" tab below for details relating to Black Taxi arrangements.
After lunch, we'll make our way towards the historic Docklands. At the beginning of the 20th century, Belfast was one of the British Empire's most important ports, with the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard dominating global shipbuilding. The shipyard survived the upheaval of two world wars, the partition of Ireland, the Troubles and the sinking of her most famous product - Titanic.
Harland and Wolff's two iconic yellow cranes "Samson and Goliath" loom large over the horizon as we approach.
Titanic Belfast was opened to mark 100 years since her tragic sinking in the north Atlantic on her maiden voyage in 1912. This highly interactive museum contains nine galleries of full scale reconstructions and interactive displays and is fascinating for visitors of all ages.
Enjoy a recommended 120 minutes to explore at leisure. Naturally, we'll look after your skip the line entrance fees (GBP 19.00) in advance of arrival. We typically advise arrival for 14:00 (tickets are pre- booked for specific times).
NB: Please note that Titanic Belfast is closed for engineering work between 02JAN23 - 28FEB23 and will therefore not be included in the tour during this timeframe.
Regroup with your private driver around 16:00 and head back towards Dublin. Sit back and relax as your private driver navigates Belfast's busy streets and back onto the M1. After crossing the border we'll return through the rolling countryside of County Louth, making a comfort stop en-route if required.
Your driver will drop you directly back to your preferred Dublin location at approximately 18:30 after a full day of exploring Northern Ireland’s first city.
Kennedy & Carr recommend:
Perhaps check out The Bank Bar & Restaurant (20 - 22 College Green, Dublin 2) for refreshments and or dinner. The bar, a stone's throw from Trinity College and Temple Bar, was purchased by the Belfast Bank in 1892 to serve as their Dublin branch. The main banking hall is a stunning tribute to merchant power and frequently features a live pianist in the early evening. Think excellent beers on draught, a good selection of old world wines and top quality Irish grilled meats and seafood served in beautiful surrounds. Cheers!