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The Vatican City

Vatican City - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To RomeThe Vatican City is actually its own state within Italy and is the smallest in the world.

When you’re here then you should definitely consider one of the most important religious spots in the world. Located inside its square are powerhouses such as the Piazza San Pietro and St Peter’s Basilica.

You can also take in the majesty of the Vatican Palace. Also recommended is the Sistine Chapel which features the Creation of Adam.

The Colosseum

Colosseum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyYou can’t come to Rome and not visit one of the most famous attractions in the world, the mighty Coliseum.

The ruins of what was once a magnificent amphitheatre are one of the greatest historical relics of our time and once it would have had a capacity of over 50,000 spectators.

The amphitheatre is most well known for the gladiator matches. Spectators would spend the day baying for blood and didn’t care who’s it was.

Rome’s Ancient Forum

Rome's Forum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To RomeJust a stone’s throw from the Colosseum lies the fantastic ruins of Rome’s ancient Forum.

The Roman Forum is another one of Italy’s big hitter attractions and lies between the Capitoline and the Palatine hills in Rome.

This would once have been the centre of the mighty Roman Empire. You can take in the beautiful complex here as well as enjoy views from the terraces all over the wider city.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyCinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as being designated as a national park.

Nestled in Liguria, the ‘Five Lands’ is made up of five distinct villages. These villages sit on top of the craggy cliffs overlooking the famous Italian Riviera.

The five villages include Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, and Monterosso, and each has its own unique charms and sights.

The area of Cinque Terra sprawls between La Spezia and Levanto.

Here you will find romantic olive groves and traditional eateries. There are Azure sea views all the way along the coast.

Boat Trip Along The Almalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyThe gorgeous Amalfi Coast is one of the most scenic spots in Italy. If you want to experience as much of it as possible then consider taking a boat trip along the shore line.

A number of companies offer boat rental and you can take in sights such as the towering Lattari Mountains. Plus, you can take in all the various cute coves and inlets as well.

Seemingly out of nowhere traditional Mediterranean villages will appear. Boat tours usually come with food and drinks included so that you can snack on local produce as you take in the views.

Valley Of The Temples

Valley Of the Temples - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyIf you are going to visit charming Sicily as part of your travels, your first stop needs to be the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento.

Here you will find a huge archaeological complex that has some of the most intact Doric temples that were built here in the 5th century.

One of the best things about the temples here is that they overlook the town below and you can take in the stunning views as you tour the historical site.

Climb Stromboli

Stromboli - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyOn a visit to Sicily you absolutely can’t miss the chance to climb at least part way up Stromboli, a still active volcano. If you are looking for an easy trek, you can walk 400 meters up the sides of Stromboli by yourself.

Wishing to continue on to the crater which still billows clouds of ash and fire, you will need a certified guide to take you.

To get to the top takes around 3 hours with the descent coming in at around 2 hours, so all in all you need to allow a five to six hour trek in order to see everything.

A slog to the top but it is well worth it for the spectacular views. In addition to saying, I have stood at the top of a live volcano, tick bucket list.

Juliet’s Balcony

Juliet's Balcony - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyVerona is home to what is said to be the balcony of Juliet, the character made famous in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the city of Verona bought the home featuring the balcony in 1905.  The purpose of doing this was to make it into an attraction sadly Romeo and Juliet never existed in real life.

Still, the balcony is a pretty spot in the city and couples flock here to declare their love for each other.

If you want to reenact the famous scene, line your lines and away you go.

Pompeii

Pompeii Temple of Apollo - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyPompeii is famous for the events that took place here in 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the town in ash.

The eruption meant that Roman life was captured and frozen in time, and when the site was excavated it offered a glimpse of a bygone era.

If you visit Pompeii today you can expect a kind of open air museum. Here you will find preserved houses, baths, and ancient Roman forums. They are all filled with the relics of the people who were living here when the eruption took place.

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyMount Vesuvius is one of the most famous mountains in the world. Trueof its famous eruption that covered the unsuspecting town of Pompeii in volcanic ash.

Nowadays Vesuvius is mostly considered safe to climb. You can trek to the crater of the mountain which looks like something you would find on the surface of the moon.

Needless to say, the views from the top are just spectacular. The hike is suitable for a range of abilities so you will be well looked after.

Lake Como

Lake Como - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To MilanLake Como in Lombardy spans an amazing 146 square kilometres and is the perfect place to get out on the water and explore Italy by boat.

The area around Lake Como has houses owned by some of the richest celebrities in the world. This tells you everything to know about the kind of views you can expect here.

The landscape surrounding the lake is covered with alpine forest and traditional villages. Plus, dainty ornate houses that make you feel as if you are in a picture postcard version of an Italian masterpiece.

Nearby is Gardaland a huge theme park for all the family, age has no boundary when you want some enjoyment.

Historic Siena

Historic Siena - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyThe city of Siena is often overlooked in favour of Florence. Although this is unfair as there is a huge amount to see and do here. Parts of the city are as pretty as its neighbouring rival.

The Historic Centre of Siena in particular is well worth a visit. It starts at the Piazza del Campo which leads to a historic district that is covered with Gothic architecture that dates from the 12th century.

This mingles with buildings from the Middle Ages and signature points.  Look out for include the mighty Duomo, the Pinacoteca Nazionale, and the pretty Palazzo Salimbeni.

Saint Mark’s Basilica

St. Marks Basilica - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To VeniceVenice has a range of peerless attractions although perhaps the most famous of these is Saint Mark’s Basilica.This is located on the famed Piazza San Marco or Saint Mark’s Square.

The basilica is the final resting place of Saint Mark the Evangelist and started life as a Byzantine church before being developed over the years.

The church is a work of art in its own right. You will find glittering mosaics and gorgeous marble decorations all over the complex as well as bas-reliefs and touches of gold leaf.

Venice Grand Canal

Venice Grand Canal - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To VeniceThe Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most famous waterways in the world. There are a variety of ways that you can enjoy it.

One of these is to take a water bus known as a vaporetto. This takes in various parts of the canal where you can marvel at the little bridges and traditional Venetian homes.

Another more romantic way to travel around the canal is to take an iconic gondola ride. Here you can imagine that you are back in the Venice of a different time.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyThe Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa is a fluke of architecture. When the tower was constructed it immediately started to sink into the marshy ground beneath it.

This gave the tower its signature crooked stance. At various times in its existence it has been open and closed to the public as architects struggle to asses its safety.

When the tower is open you can climb to the viewing platform at the top where you can look across all of Pisa.

Blue Grotto Boat Trip

Blue Grotto Capri - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To ItalyOne of the premium sights in Capri is the Blue Grotto, also known as the Grotta Azzurra.

The grotto is the result of a cavern which is filled with water that glows a luminescent blue.

This happens when the sun hits it through shafts in the sides of the rock. The acoustics must be incredible, imagine playing an instrument from the boat.

 

 

Tribal County Galway

River Corrib Cruise

Corrib River Cruise - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a cruise onboard the luxurious all-weather 157 passenger boat, the Corrib Princess.

The Corrib Princess sails from Woodquay in the heart of Galway city. The journey takes passengers along the majestic River Corrib and onto Lough Corrib, Ireland’s largest lake.

It provides visitors with unsurpassed views and natural amenities that make this the most spectacular waterway in Ireland.

The Corrib Princess takes you past castles and various sites of both historical and cultural interest.

If you fancy a drink, apparently the Irish coffee is amazing from the boat’s bar.

Trad On The Prom

Trad On The Prom - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

MAY 2018 – OCTOBER 2018.

Under one roof performers who have captivated audiences from productions such as Riverdance, The Chieftains and Lord of the Dance have gathered on one stage. Here they present an unforgettable entertainment experience in Galway the City of the Tribes.

The music will touch your soul and the dancing will take your breath away. It’s a truly remarkable experience suitable for all ages and nationalities.

Trad on the Prom showcases the amazing talents of legendary trad musicians. In addition they are joined on stage by an amazing selection of guest musicians and dancers.

The show also features an outstanding array of World Champion Irish dancers.

Now in its fourteenth consecutive season, Trad on the Prom retains its position as Ireland’s number one music, song and dance experience.

Horse Riding

Horse Riding - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

Discover the natural wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way on this full-day horseback riding adventure from Galway.

Before heading off you will meet your guides and your horse for the day and the guides will make sure that you feel comfortable and safe.

Trek to Omey Island, where you can gallop across the beach and splash through the waves. You will also enjoy spectacular views of the Twelve Bens mountain range.

Suitable for all riding levels. hats and boots will be supplied by the riding centre. Make sure you bring appropriate rain and wind gear.

Pedal Power Pub Crawl

Pedal Power Pub Crawl - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

Taking in all the sights and sounds of Galway this is a great way to see the city.

The tour goes through Spanish Arch, The Long Walk and Quay Street, ideal for visitors looking for something different.

Available is a 15-seater bike called Big Berta which is great fun. It is the perfect vehicle to tour around Galway in addition to stopping at careful selected pubs.

There’s no party like a Pedal Power Party. Travel around Galway, playing all your own music on your blue tooth speakers.

Paddle Board & Kayaking Adventure

Paddle Board And Kayaking - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To GalwayArrive 15 minutes before time this will give you time to change into wet suit and buoyancy aid for the trip. You will then set off under the leadership of an experienced guide.

You will be provided with all the necessary equipment depending which pursuit you choose.

Your guide will take you to see magnificent scenery from a sea level view. Depending on which location is chosen for the day, this could include sea caves and arches and pristine white sandy beaches.

You might even catch sight of wildlife such as dolphins, seals, and the occasional basking shark.

Whiskey Tour

Irish Whiskey Tour - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To GalwayMeet your local guide in the infamous An Pucan Whiskey Bar. An Pucan is a very friendly, traditional Irish venue and the perfect setting for an intro to the history of Irish whiskey.

Here you will start the proceedings with two local Irish whiskeys. After this the venues are kept a secret which is part of the excitement.

Bar number 2 is a short walk away, your next whiskey bar awaits you for two more beautiful Irish whiskeys.

To finish off proceedings  you will be taken on a stroll through the historic streets to your last venue. Now it’s time to enjoy two more tipples of Irish whiskey.

From here who knows where the night will take you, but you’ll be sure to go home with a smile on your face as well as some great stories.

Galway Races

Galway Races - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

One of the greatest weeks in Galway, crowds in their tens of thousands flock religiously each year in August to celebrate this festival of horse racing.

Ladies Day is saved for the Thursday and here you will see the best of the best in fashion being displayed by all the ladies. A lavish prize is bestowed upon the best dressed lady on the day.

The race course dates back to 1869. What is unique about this course is that the last two fences are the closest together than any other race course in the world.

As part of his visit to Ireland in 1979 Pope John Paul 11 celebrated mass at the racecourse for two hundred and eighty thousand people. Afterwards the mayor of Galway then conferred the Freedom of Galway upon the Pontiff.

Walking Tour

Galway Walking Tours - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

What a great way to discover the rich history and cultural heritage of Galway city. The good thing about Galway is that it’s fairly compact and easy enough to get around on foot.

Whether you choose to go with a tour company or make your own way around the cobblestone streets, it’s a great way of being part of the hustle and bustle.

The advantage of going on your own steam is you can stop and start as you please without feeling you are delaying the group.

However, a tour company would have the advantage of a guide to answer those burning questions and also to add their personal touch with in-depth local knowledge.

Whichever way you choose to go and explore the city, the following should feature highly on your must-see list.

Oh, and don’t forget a good Galway map if you’re opting for a self-guided tour of the city.

InishBofin

Inishbofin Harbour - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

Come and discover Inishbofin or (Inis Bo Finne-Island of the White Cow in Irish), which lies seven miles  off Galway’s north-west coast.

The island is five by three miles long and the main activities on the island today are tourism, farming and fishing.

There are five villages: West Quarter, Fawnmore, Middle Quarter, Cloonamore and Knock.

Inishbofin has lots of interesting things to see and do, such as many species of birds, historical sites, white beaches, swimming, hill walks and shore angling. It is also a centre for traditional Irish music and song with its own Ceilí band.

With this tour you take a bus trip from Galway city to Cleggan Harbour, then a ferry trip over to the island to experience the unique life of this magical island.

Enjoy a delicious light lunch of local foods and craft beer, with a walk around the island before departing by ferry then bus back to Galway city.

Dunguaire Castle BanquetDunguaire Castle Banquet - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Galway

An evening of superb food and wines along with renowned music, song and storytelling. Also there’s intimate bench seating, dim candlelight and long oak tables.

In the tradition of the medieval King Guaire you are welcomed to savour a delicious four course dinner at Dunguaire Castle on the majestic shores of Galway Bay.

Enjoy fine wines, stories and excerpts selected to lift the soul and lighten the heart. When you arrive on the Castle steps the Butler will welcome you and show you into the Castle.

Savour a goblet of mead in the inner quarter while mingling with the Ladies of the Castle.

After a brief history of the Castle and a musical introduction by the Castle Singers, guests climb the stairs to enter the Banquet Hall.

Let the castle’s superb artists inspire you with extracts chosen from the works of great literary writers such as Yeats, Shaw, O’Casey and Synge.

Lovely Derry On The Foyle

The Peace Bridge

Peace Bridge, Derry - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours to Derry

Finally built in 2011 the Peace Bridge opened on the 25th June.

The reason for the bridge was to bring the two communities closer and to live in peace.

Not your standard straight bridge but a bridge with several bends and seats to rest.

It is also the newest of the three bridges in the city.

Free Derry Wall

Free Derry Wall - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

The Free Derry Wall is a historical landmark in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry.

In January 1969 a local activist, who might have been Liam Hillen. Allegedly painted graffiti on a gable wall at the end of a housing terrace stating, “You are now entering Free Derry”.

In August 1969, the “Free Derry” wall was painted white and the “You are now entering Free Derry” was painted instead.

The area in front of the wall became known as Free Derry Corner by the inhabitants.

Saint Columb’s CathedralSt. Columbs Cathedral - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

In the walled city of Derry is the mother church of the Church of Ireland, Diocese of Derry and Raphoe and the parish church of Templemore.

This Church is in memory to Saint Columba, an Irish monk who established a christian settlement in the area.

St. Columb’s has in its possession many documents dating back from the Siege of Derry.

The Cathedral has in its possession many portraits of William of Orange and the original keys of the city.

Londonderry Apprentice Boys Lodge

Apprentice Boys Lodge - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

The hall was opened in 1877, dedicated to the memory of the thirteen apprentice boys who closed the city gates in 1688 against Catholic forces.

The hall is an architecturally important building within the walled city.

It now houses the headquarters of the association, with its office and debating chamber it also houses a social club and a museum.

The Tower Museum

The Tower Museum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

The Tower Museum is a museum on local history in Derry.

The museum is located in Union Hall Place, within a historic tower just inside the city walls, near the Guildhall.

It presents the history of Derry and also has an exhibit on a local shipwreck from the Spanish Armada.

The museum opened in 1992 and has won a number of awards. It also covers the political conflict that has affected the history of the city.

Derry City Walls

Derry City Walls - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

Enjoy a fascinating guided tour along the walls of the city and listen to the old and the new history of Derry.

Derry has become a cosmopolitan and vibrant city. You will hear some of the most interesting stories regarding the troubles and the political struggles.

The guides tell their stories of the city with such pride and passion because as they say this is my home, my city and I love her.

Siege Museum

Siege Museum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

The Siege of Londonderry in 1689 is one of the landmark events in British and Irish history.

An event of such importance that its outcome has shaped and continues to shape the history of both Britain and Ireland.

105 days 30,000 Protestant people held the walled city of Londonderry in the face of the Catholic King James II. They held it until the relief fleet broke across the River Foyle and the Jacobite forces commenced their retreat on August 1st, 1689.

Inside the museum is a fascinating history of those days. Well worth a visit to get a feel of what it was like for both sides of the community at that period of time.

Londonderry Guildhall

Londonderry Guildhall - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

Derry’s original 17th-century Guildhall was located in the Diamond area of the Walled City. Its name reflected the status of Londonderry as being founded by the City & Guilds of London.

The Building has been subjected to fire and terror attacks over the years but still remains a focal point in the city.

Originally named Victoria Hall this was discovered due to the fact it was engraved on some foundation stones found during restoration works.

It was badly damaged by fire in Easter 1908 with only the clock tower surviving the fire intact.

The whole building was re-built and renovated after the fire and re-opened in 1912.

Furthermore during the troubles, the building was subjected to terror attacks.

Creggan Country Park

Creggan Country Park - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Derry

Enjoy a day out at Creggan Country Park for a wide range of outdoor activities, from orienteering to kayaking.

The instructors will be able to go through all the basics with you if you are a beginner or novice, you’re in safe hands.

For those who would like a bit more action, paint balling is available, all the boys will love that.

Bring an old-fashioned picnic with you and enjoy the delightful countryside around you.

 

 

Dublin – Ireland’s Capital

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

The Guinness Storehouse is the Home of Guinness, where you will discover what goes into the making of each and every pint.

Learn about the incredible brand history stretching over 250 years. Ireland’s number one International Visitor Attraction unfolds its tale across seven floors. Shaped around a giant pint, which, if filled would contain 14.3 million pints of Guinness.

On the fifth floor you can rest and order a pint with some food while being entertained by musicians and traditional dancers.

For those who would like to try and pour a pint for themselves the option is there to see how good they are.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Temple Bar is a busy riverside neighbourhood, spread over cobbled pedestrian lanes.

Crowded pubs host live folk music and DJ sets, and diners pack restaurants serving Asian, American and Irish cuisine.

Quirky boutiques stock clothes and crafts by local designers. Dublin’s number one drinking location is packed with visitors daily, morning noon and night it’s never empty.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Dublin Castle was first founded as a major defensive work Meiler Fitzhenry on the orders of King John in 1204.

Sometime after the Normans had invaded in 1169, it was ordered that a castle be built with strong walls and good ditches for the defence of the city.

In 1922 Dublin Castle was eventually given to its people and the new Irish Republic government under Michael Collins.

A guided tour is recommended, you will get to see some exhibits that you would not see just walking around on your own.

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours

Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history.

They Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera.

The Gaol was built in 1796 replacing the one which was more of a hovel than a gaol. From that date to 1820, hangings took place outside the front gate once a week.

Men, women and children were not segregated and 5 to a cell was the norm. All they had was the one candle for light and heat.

Most of the time the prisoners were in the dark and cold as they only got one candle every fortnight.

A fascinating tour about the prison and Irish history.

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours

Christ Church Cathedral is one visitor’s attraction that has to be seen.

History walks out from everywhere is this amazing cathedral. The cathedral was probably founded around 1028 and just after 1066 the Norman invasion, it became the property of the French.

Henry 11 is reported to have attended the cathedral for communion after he had Thomas Beckett murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

The cathedral was originally built in wood, but the Normans rebuilt it in stone.

It’s one place of worship that really is a must when you come to Dublin.

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Originally one of six main whiskey distilleries in Dublin Jameson was founded by John Jameson in 1780.

By 1805 the distillery had become the number one producer in the world.

A visit to the distillery is a must it is an exciting and engaging experience as the staff will tell you.

You will discover how three simple ingredients, water, barley and yeast are transformed into the drink that is known as Jameson Irish Whiskey.

There’s a little sampling to be done too, which can’t be missed.

Dublinia

Dublina - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Dublinia tells the story of Dublin from the Vikings through the Norman Invasion and through the ages.

You will definitely come away from here knowing so much more of Dublin and the people who lived here and built this city. It is located at Christ Church the crossroads of medieval Dublin.

There are a couple of more exhibitions on show too which would be of interest.

One being the artefacts that have been unearthed over the years such as the skeleton remains of a Viking warrior.

Viking Splash Tours

Viking Splash Tours - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Viking Splash Tours is a truly unique experience on land and water. Here you will take in the sights of Dublin during a fun-filled and engaging guided city tour.

Enjoy the sights of Dublin by land and water amphibious vehicles that take you from land to water and back again.

You will experience an unanticipated, enjoyable and informative experience that appeals to young and old alike.

The tour lasts for about 70 mins and the guides are very good. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen you might get the chance to do a bit of steering down the River Liffey.

Aviva Stadium

Aviva Stadium Tours - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Visit the Aviva Stadium for a tour. You will see the press conference room, home dressing rooms, players’ tunnel, dugouts and more.

The Aviva tour guides will bring you around the stadium and entertain you for an hour.

One of the guides is Patrick O’Reilly AKA Ralla. Ralla was kit man to the Irish Rugby team for 15 years and also kit man for two British and Irish Lions tours.

During the tour the team management are usually asked to sit at the media table so that the players can ask a few questions for a bit of craic.

Croke Park

Croke Park - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Dublin

Croke Park is the home of Ireland’s national game Gaelic Football and Hurling.

Every child in the country is brought up to play both sports just like children in New Zealand are brought up with a rugby ball.

Visit Croke Park on a stadium tour and you will learn all you need to know about this Irish sport.

There’s a chance to do the roof top tour which takes you all round the top of the stadium. This also allows you to walk out onto a podium which overlooks the pitch.

Hurling is the world’s fastest ball game and the ball can travel at speeds, the ball when hit has been clocked at a 100mph.

 

 

10 Things To Do In Belfast

Titanic Experience

Titanic Belfast - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, exploring the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way.

Make your way through the 9 interactive galleries of the Titanic Experience, explore the symbolism of this iconic building with the Discovery Tour.

Walk the decks of the last remaining White Star vessel SS Nomadic or immerse yourself in the historic slipways as you uncover the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

Come to one of Ireland’s biggest landmarks The Giant’s Causeway.

Located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles northeast  of Bushmills village.

Here you will read all about Irish mythology and its legends.

The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

Bushmills Whiskey

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

In the small village of Bushmills, settled on the banks of the river you’ll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

A place where family and friends have worked for generations is a small Northern Irish village. Here for over 400 years it has kept to its own philosophy. By hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth tasting Irish whiskey.

Experience a guided tour around the distillery and listen to how this famous Irish Whiskey is made from the very beginning to the bottling stage. There’s also the opportunity to purchase some of its products.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours to Belfast

The site now occupied by Belfast City Hall was once the home of the White Linen Hall. This was an important international Linen Exchange.

The street that runs from the back door of Belfast City Hall through the middle of the linen quarter is Linen Hall Street.

Construction of the building started in 1898 and was completed in 1906.

There are 15 amazing rooms to look through on this tour with amazing history for you to read and take in.

The people of the city and its visitors are welcomed to sit on the lawns and watch Belfast City at work.

Botanic Gardens

Palm House Botanic Gardens - Irish Rugby Tours, rugby Tours To Belfast

The gardens opened in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens.

Continued as a private park for many years, only opening to members of the public on Sundays prior to 1895.

It then became a public park in 1895 when the Belfast Corporation bought the gardens from the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society.

The gardens are now owned by Belfast City Council. It has two main exhibits the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine House. Here you will find many species of flower and trees from around the world.

Concerts have been performed in the gardens notably U2 who played here in 1997 their first concert in Belfast since 1987.

Ulster Museum

Ulster Museum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

You could spend hours browsing this state-of-the-art museum, but if you’re pressed for time don’t miss the Armada Room.

The museum is filled with artefacts retrieved from the 1588 wreck of the Spanish galleon Giron. It also holds the Egyptian Room, with Takabuti, a 2500-year-old Egyptian mummy unwrapped in Belfast in 1835.

Everyone is interested in history and a visit to this museum will give you an idea of what life was like in each ancient world.

Crumlin Road Gaol

Crumlin Road Gaol - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

This Prison was partly based on another prison in London, it was one of the most advanced prisons of  it’s day.

The prison was designed to hold between 500 to 550, one prisoner per cell but in the early 1970s that rose to 3 prisoners per cell.

During its 150 year history the prison has had many prisoners pass through its doors. Some of the more well known prisoners included Eamon De Valera, Martin McGuinness, Michael Stone and Bobby Sands.

The prison closed its doors in 1996 and was left empty for many years. In 2012 the prison reopened as a tourist attraction and recreates the history this prison once held.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

This castle was built by the Normans. Owned by the Scots, Irish, English, French and remains as one of the best preserved medieval castles in Northern Ireland.

Built by John de Courcy in 1177 as his headquarters, after he conquered eastern Ulster in 1177 and ruled as a petty king until 1204. He was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy.

It has had many uses over the years, first to house prisoners of war then became a prison. For a hundred years it served as an armoury. During WW1 it was a garrison and ordnance store then during WW11 it became an air raid shelter.

Ulster Folk And Transport Museum

Ulster Folk and Transport Museum - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

The Ulster folk and transport Museum is situated about 11 kilometres east of the city. It comprises of two separate museums, the Folk Museum and the Transport Museum.

The Folk Museum endeavours to illustrate the way of life and traditions of the people in Northern Ireland, past and present. While the Transport Museum explores and exhibits methods of transport by land, sea and air, past and present.

In 1958, the Folk Museum was created to preserve a rural way of life in danger of disappearing in Northern Ireland.

The present site was acquired in 1961. With the museum opening to the public for the first time three years later in 1964. In 1967, the Folk Museum merged with the Belfast Transport Museum, to form the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

Stormont Castle

Stormont Castle - Irish Rugby Tours, Rugby Tours To Belfast

Stormont Castle is a mansion on the Stormont Estate. It is used as the main meeting place of the Northern Ireland Executive it’s not classed as a castle in real terms.

Between 1921 and 1972, it served as the official residence of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

It also served as the location of the Cabinet Room of the Government of Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1972.

Before devolution it served as the Belfast headquarters of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, during the Troubles.

 

Would you really leave the heat for an Irish Rugby Tour

Abu Dhabi Harlequins – U14’s + Parents Visit to Ireland March 2016

Abu Dhabi Harlequins - U14’s Rugby Team

Q: Why would a group of ex-pat kids and their parents from all over the world want to leave hot sunshine to come to Ireland in the month or March?

A: For the welcome, for the scenery, for the pubs, for the rugby and for the snow!

The group flew from Abu Dhabi to Dublin using various connections and met in Dublin Airport for departure to Galway. The tone for the trip was set with a light hearted introduction to the highlights of Irish history to help the visitors to understand why the Ireland is what she is today.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins - U14’s Rugby TeamThere was no delay in getting into the business end of the visit with distribution of complimentary rugby kit and a training session for the team with an international rugby coach at the University Playing Fields. While the team were being put through their paces, the parents were occupied too with a walking tour of Galway City. Highlights included the buskers in Shop Street, the River Corrib the shortest in Europe and the magnificent Galway Cathedral which mesmerised the visitors. The Menlo Park Hotel pushed the boat out providing a separate room for the dinner and team meeting and providing a breakout room for the team to ‘hang out’.

Next day after a superb Irish Breakfast with all the trimmings departure was made for the first match of the tour against Monivea RFC. The welcome here was very warm both on and off the pitch. Harlequins won the match getting the tour off to a great start. The after match soup, sandwiches and conviviality led us to linger for quite a while after the presentations of awards. That evening all attended the Sportsground for the top of the table Pro 12 match between Connaught and Leinster. What an atmosphere, what a game, what a result! Connaught won by 7-6 much to the delight of the home crowd who celebrated with many renditions of the ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘The West’s Awake’.

The next day, wild weather welcomed us to beautiful Lahinch and the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. The storm created magnificent waves that excited the group and reminded them that we were at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. After a ‘bad hair day’ on the Cliffs the welcome in the nearby Doolin Hotel was very well received. The return journey was passed with the teaching of the popular Irish song ‘The Wild Rover’.

The following day, Ballina and Ballyhaunis provided the opposition for a three way competition in Ballina Rugby Club. The welcome once again was special with lots of parents and supporters turning out for the match and the afters. Harlequins won both matches keeping their 100% tour record. Many of the Ballina supporters had sore heads from the celebrations from the night before when they had won the Connaught Junior Cup. Excellent integration between the players after the games when jerseys were swapped. Arrived in Westport to take up residence in the Westport Coast Hotel. An evening visit to the world famous Matt Molloy’s pub finished a perfect day.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins - U14’s Rugby Team

Now for the snow! We wrapped up and boarded the bus for a climb of the 2,500 ft Croagh Patrick named after our national saint. Conditions were poor with intermittent rain, sleet and poor visibility from time to time. As we reached the shoulder at about 1500 ft we encountered a blizzard and lost visibility. The decision was made to retrace our steps to a local pub, but the experience of climbing in a blizzard was special as many of the kids had never seen snow before. Tired limbs made for a quite evening.

Next day it was off to Dublin for a trip with Viking Splash Tours when the tourists on the vehicle roar at the tourists in the street! An enjoyable trip was had by all before departing for the fourth match of the tour against Seapoint RFC. This was a tough game for Harlequins and it resulted in the first defeat of the tour but a lot of valuable lessons learned. A fantastic meal was served up to team and parents alike helped to block the memory of the defeat.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins - U14’s Rugby Team

The second last day dawned for the the essential visit to the Guinness Storehouse where the best pint of Guinness in the world is served in the bar with the best view of Dublin. The pints prepared the supporters to shout on the team at the final match of the tour against Suttonians RFC which resulted in another win for ‘quins. Once again fantastic food and mingling with locals after the match when kids and adults alike shared stories with the home team and supporters.

The last day finished withe a visit to Croke Park third largest stadium in Europe. The skyline walk across the roof of the stadium was followed by a trial at the unique Irish games of Gaelic Football and Hurling.

A fantastic time was had by all with great stories, great rugby and great memories of the visit to Ireland.

 

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