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N Ireland Planning

We are hoping to spend several weeks join Ireland (someday, the virus. will be over and we can travel again..). Everyone has been so helpful I thought to share our evolving plan - fly to Dublin, head directly to Belfast and spend several days in No Ireland, then take the train to the Republic and spend time there. We are interested in the history, less so nature/natural wonders (our knees can't hike any more). Suggestions or comments on the Belfast-Derry portion?

Take the hourly Aircoach bus from Dublin Airport to Belfast (2 hours) and then get a taxi to a hotel (we're looking at the Europa and Fitzwilliam but no decision yet. We love Premier Inns but thought we'd splurge a bit). The prices in Belfast are so much less than in Dublin, we may make reservations for the night before to be certain that we can get in and take a shower before heading out.

Day 1 - Belfast Arrive, taxi tour w/Peace Walls and Titanic Quarter. Duke of York pub.
Would you recommend Irish, Black or Cab Tours? We would love a good, historical tour.

Day 2. Belfast Walking tour, Crumloin Rd Gaol, St Malachys church, pub dinner at Crown Liquor Salloon.
Would you recommend -- Coiste Irish Political Tours and/or Sandy Row Walking Tours or About DC Tours A History of Terror?

Day 3 Train or bus to Londonderry. Which would you recommend? Lodging - Maldrons Hotel or Bishops Gate.
Martin McCrossan walking tour of the city, Tower Museum

Day 4. Derry Bogside history tours, Museum of Free Derry Museum, Tower Museum, Derry-Coleraine Railway

question - I know we could do a day trip to Derry from Belfast but thought Londonderry worth at least 2 days. Your thoughts?

Day 5 Train to Dublin?
Question - Does anyone know of a small group tour that would go from Derry thru the north oof the Republic (Sligo/Atlantic coast) and on to Dublin? We generally prefer to go on our own but would be interested in having someone else do some driving, as we'll be driving ourselves for 2 weeks after Dublin.

Anything else we should consider?? Thank you!!

Posted by
2261 posts

Does anyone know of a small group tour that would go from Derry thru
the north of the Republic (Sligo/Atlantic coast) and on to Dublin?

Does it have to be a tour? There are regular buses from (London)Derry to Sligo.

Posted by
173 posts

No, it doesn't have to be a a tour but taking the bus isn't as appealing, as a tour would private some information and maybe a stop (Ulster Park) en route. . I've seen a number of private guides and taxi services (quite expensive) that would go where you ask but usually small groups are more reasonable.

Posted by
686 posts

When you say Titanic Quarter, so you mean going to the museum? It's well worth the time.

Posted by
3518 posts

I would give Londonderry one day and spend at least one more in Port Ballintrae. Train to Coleraine then walk through station and onto the bus which will drop you at the hotel. The Bayview Inn is my favorite hotel in Northern Ireland. The views and restaurant are fabulous. It is a short distance from the Giants' Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Port Royal.

PS I've taken the bus from Derry to Galway. It is not for the faint of heart. Long trip, minimal breaks, but high on local flavor.

Posted by
105 posts

train to Londonderry /Derry from belfast is 2hrs btw nice journey Castlerock is nice as well its the stop after coleraine

Posted by
105 posts

here is a route map of the NI railways network the blue Line is the Derry/Londonderry line from Belfast also "Belfast central" has been renamed "Lanyon Place" and Bridge end is now called "Titanic Quarter"

Posted by
327 posts

Definitely spend several days in Derry. I've always stayed at the Maldrons hotel when there. Very nice accommodations, lovely breakfast, close to everything. Get a tour of the People's Gallery - the Bogside Murals. It's quite moving if you have an understanding of this history. I created this short video about the videos for a college course on political I designed and taught. You might find it interesting.

Walk the walls...that's worth some time just on its own! Eat at Sandwich, Co. in the middle of Derry - lots of locals there.

Can't advise on the tour to/from Derry as we always just drove, but that is such a beautiful part of the isle up there on the Antrim Coast. Totally worth a few days on its own. Enjoy!

Posted by
173 posts

Thank you so much - I enjoyed your video - beautifully done and informative, providing a window so that I could enjoy Ireland vicariously. Unfortunately, vicariously is the only was we can travel right now and so your post is especially appreciated. Someday we'll be traveling again,.,..

Posted by
19 posts

The Aircoach stop is on the side of the Europa and the Crown Saloon is across the street from the Europa.
Definitely take a Black Cab tour, it mostly centers around the Peace Wall and the Troubles.
Look into taking a tour with Susie Millar. She is a descendant of one the builders of the Titanic.
Paul Corkin also gives tours of Belfast.

Posted by
142 posts

Thanks Wendy for the wonderful video on the Bogside murals.

Posted by
105 posts

mmmm the giants causeway is 55 miles from Belfast below is the way to get there using Public transport and your own steam

Catch the train from either Great Victoria street or lanyon place stations to Londonderry/Derry...before you board be sure to purchase a £16.50 I-link card zone 4 this will cover all train and bus journeys anywhere in Northern Ireland, get on the train to either Derry or Portrush --

Jump off in Coleraine 1hr later and go into the combined bus and rail station in coleraine turn left once past the ticket barriers and walk straight ahead into the bus station

check the over head screens and catch the 402 Ulsterbus causeway coast rambler bus to Ballycastle this will stop in Bushmills and also at the giants causeway and also carrick a rede rope bridge before making its way to Ballycastle your zone 4 card will cover all journeys in NI for 1 day unlimited

Posted by
5689 posts

Seafood chowder at Mournes seafood Bar!

Also, a pint at the Spainard ( check to see if it’s reopened) peruse the Belfast Exposed Gallery on Donegall street and stop in at Beth’s Bakery and Cafe for a pastry or full on English breakfast.

If the Spaniard is closed then try the venerable Kelly’s Tavern which is next to Mournes.

Posted by
173 posts

I am so grateful; for all the suggestions. Needless to say, we've postponed our trip but our plans are getting better better and better as your thought and comments arrive - and they give me hope that we will all be traveling again...some day...

Posted by
104 posts

If you do add Giant’s Causeway to your trip, and I highly recommend that you do, the visitors center there is quite nice and there is a shuttle that you can take down to the causeway if you’re concerned about walking. It runs continuously. I was there in March of 2019 and I found standing at the causeway as the waves came in exhilarating and one of the (many) highlights of my trip.