Travel Program - Ireland
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Ireland:  Two Capitals and the Country in Between
May 15-25, 2017

The island of Ireland is home to two Capital Cities - Dublin and Victoria in Belfast. Dublin was long the second city of the British Empire until the act of Union moved the Irish Parliament to London in 1802. Belfast became one of the major industrial cities of the British Empire during the mid-and late 19th century and early 20th century. Between the two cities are borderlands where numerous confrontations between the contesting powers took place. From the battle of the Boyne to the troubles, the borderlands were scenes of struggle. 

Our tour will begin in Dublin where we will see two churches of distinction, the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Museum of religious documents, the Guinness brewery, The Docklands Enterprise Zone, and the many famous pubs that make visiting Dublin a pleasure.

In Belfast we will see the Titanic Museum, the Peace Wall, visit with Protestant and Catholic prisoners, and tour the city in our air-conditioned coach. We will use Belfast as a launching point for a visit to the beautiful North Coast. There we will see Dunluce Castle and the Giants Causeway. My favorite part of the trip to the North are the strawberry scones at the Wee Cottage across the road from Dunluce.

Now the lands in between Dublin and Belfast. These are the lands famous in myth and history where legendary heroes contested and modern combatants put their lives on the line. We will be staying in Crossmaglen in South Armagh. Our lodging, the Cross Square hotel, is located on the big square of Crossmaglen.  A small boutique hotel, the Cross Square will be our home as we visit Carlingford Lough, Slieve Gullion, the two great cathedrals of Saint Patrick in the county capital of Armagh, and the legendary locales of Ireland's epic – The Tain Bo Culaigh--the Cattle Raid of Cooley.  

I have always felt that Ireland is the easiest place in the world to visit. The people are friendly beyond belief, it's almost impossible to get a bad meal, and even on a rainy day the rolling green hills and the sundering white clouds against the backdrop of deep blue sky still retain their beauty. We will be traveling with Matthews Coach, one of Ireland's best coach companies, on an air-conditioned modern coach that will be with us for the entire trip. Irish culture, the path of Saint Patrick, the misty legends of Cuchulainn, King Aillil, Queen Maeve, the great brown bull of Cooley and music, fine food, and the native whiskeys and beer of the land of saints and scholars - what could be better?

-- Jim Vincent 

Jim Vincent, class of 1965, will be our guide. Jim has taken over 120 students to Ireland over the past ten years and has made about 30 trips himself.  On board our coach will be a certified Irish guide both driving and guiding us. Our coach is both air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled. 

The price of the trip includes hotel, breakfast each day, all admission ticket fees, five dinners, and three lunches. Guests will be on their own for other meals and refreshments. Our coach will meet us at the Dublin Airport and drop us off there at the end of the trip. Often guests wish to expand their European stay. Jim will be happy to help you with arrangements if that is the case. 

While we will be seeing some of the major sites of Ireland, we will be meeting local Irish folks, musicians, and local historians. We will travel in style, sleep comfortably, and eat well while enjoying renewing friendships with our fellow Hiram family.

Click here for a detailed itinerary.

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