Northern Ireland & Donegal - Doug Todd Custom Trip

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights

Overview

Picturesque coastal towns and villages, green pastoral fields, soaring cliffs, wild barren landscapes, the crash of the ocean, the laugh of a local. Ireland is romantic, authentic, a home away from home where both old and modern seem to cohabit seamlessly on a small island in the middle of the sea. Packed with history and tradition your days are spent exploring the island of Ireland’s famous and of the beaten track sites of natural, cultural and political interest. A world renowned food scene means your evenings are spent dining in style and with the promise of a pub just around the corner, music and laughter are never far away. Your trip to Ireland will surprise and delight you but the people of Ireland will stay with you, long after your journey has taken you home.

Highlights

  • See some of Ireland’s most picturesque and wild coastlines along the Causeway Coast
  • Explore Belfast's history from the Titanic to The Troubles
  • Meet locals as you enjoy some unique experiences

Day by Day

Day 1 - Welcome to Dublin

Arriving in Ireland today, a private transfer will pick you up from the airport and whisk you city to your 4 star hotel in the city centre. Check-in is at 3pm however feel free to leave your bags, freshen up, or have a bite to eat. Head out in the afternoon to enjoy a walking tour with a local private guide through this vibrant capital city, with its mix of 1,000 years of architecture from the mediaeval to Georgian to modern. See the Georgian style Merrion Square, lush St. Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square, as well as O’Connell Street, the site of the ‘1916 Uprising’ that led to Ireland’s independence in 1922. Your guide is also a historian who will bring the city to life with colourful tales of life in the city in times gone by.

Overnight: Dublin | The Merrion
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: None

Day 2 - Irish Dancing & Newcastle

Meet your guide this morning and after some short introductions you’re off on your first adventure! The 1700s and 1800s saw the introduction of Dance Masters who travelled throughout Ireland to teach the centuries-old Irish dancing steps to the masses. Throughout rural communities, locals loved to socialise by dancing at the crossroads after a long day of gathering potatoes or saving hay. Today you’ll head to Downpatrick, the burial place of St. Patrick, and learn the origin and evolution of Irish dance, the shoes and costumes before trying it out for yourself! You’ll have a go at everything from the steps from traditional Sean Nós (old style Irish dance) to the iconic steps of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Afterwards, head to the crossroads at the historic Down Cathedral which overlooks the Mourne Mountains, spotting some historic attractions along the way. Later on, continue on to the seaside town of Newcastle and check into your 5 star accommodation.

Overnight: Newcastle | Slieve Donard
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Biking The Mourne Mountains

Today you will meet a local biking expert and cycle an awesome circular route that meanders from the largely undiscovered Mournes coast to the foothills of the high Mournes, offering unique views in every direction. The highest and most dramatic mountain range in the northern part of Ireland, these mountains and hills are riddled with 18th century smuggler’s routes and its peaks capped with dramatic granite tors. This region is diverse in every sense, offering insights into the natural, built and social heritage that makes the ‘Kingdom of Mourne’ what it is today, including the stunning Greencastle Castle dating from as far back as the 13th Century. Today’s cycle will be tailored to your own requirements.

Overnight: Newcastle | Slieve Donard
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Belfast Food Tour & Black Cab

This morning, head further north and into the bustling city of Belfast where you will join a couple of locals on a private food tour. Start in the historic St George’s Market, meeting producers, and tasting yummy local products, before heading around Belfast to visit traditional bars, world-class shops and more, eating and drinking some of the best local food and drink along the way. This evening, you will be introduced to Belfast culture with a unique twist, joining a local Black Cab tour to visit some of the city’s historical and political sites.  Belfast was at the heart of The Troubles for over thirty years and you’ll see firsthand how this shaped the city and its residents.

Overnight: Belfast | The Merchant
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 - The Causeway Coastal Route

Today you will follow the stunning causeway coastal route out of Belfast along the northernmost coast to Portrush, Co Antrim. The Causeway Coastal Route is possibly one of the world’s greatest road trips, featuring castles, temples, cliff top walks, caves, Game of Thrones filming sites, remote islands and its most famous attraction, The Giant’s Causeway. En route you will visit the Gobbins Cliff Path, which is a spectacular cliff walk that offers breathtaking views of the Irish Sea. As you embark on the cliff walk, you would be able to witness the sheer natural beauty of the area, including stunning waterfalls, diverse birdlife, and rugged cliffs. Your guesthouse tonight offers breathtaking views as it overlooks the stunning Atlantic Ocean.

Overnight: Portrush | Blackrock House
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Visit Rathlin Island

Sail along the Causeway Coast today to Rathlin Island – many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin Island, though the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin where he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider’s efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown. You’ll boat out to the island and explore by foot today, visiting the bird sanctuary and discovering the lighthouses on the island’s east and west coasts. You may even spot the resident island Puffins!

Overnight: Portrush | Blackrock House
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 - Derry City

This morning after breakfast, it’s time to head to Derry City, the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. Built in the 17th century, the walls, approximately 1.5km in circumference, form a walkway around the inner city and provide a unique promenade with which to view the layout of the original town. You will meet a local who will lead you on a tour of the ancient walls. Visit the Bogside, sometimes referred to as “the cockpit of The Troubles”. Together you will take a stroll through time, from the city’s mediaeval foundation to its central position in “The Troubles” and Northern Ireland’s turbulent recent history.

Overnight: Derry | Bishop's Gate
Room Type: Deluxe
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 - Glenveagh National Park

This morning, depart Northern Ireland as you head for the hills of Donegal and the beautiful National Park at Glenveagh where you will visit the castle, learning about its many owners. Glenveagh National Park is a hauntingly beautiful wilderness of craggy mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enchanted native oak woodland, dominated by Mount Errigal’s glittering quartzite peak. On a hike along the nearby lake shore, keep an eye out for the herd of red deer that roam the hills. Your destination tonight is the fabulous Lough Eske Castle.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 - Glencolmcille & Slieve League Cliffs

Exploring south Donegal today, we will give you many recommendations to introduce you to the region’s history and culture. The folk village at Glencolmcille is an opportunity to step back in time, getting a sense of what life was like in Ireland in the early 20th century, when emigration was a daily reality for many in rural parts. Three times taller than the Cliffs of Moher, the Slieve League Cliffs are some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs and today you will get the chance to stand atop their edge as you hike to the summit.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Depart

This morning, check out of your hotel and head to Dublin airport. We do hope your time in Ireland has been memorable and we once again have the opportunity to welcome to our shores.

Meals Included: Breakfast

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