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The Three Wise Men at Irish Rugby Tours do not have camels but they are following a star.

The constellation of rugby touring still burns bright even though every conceivable difficulty has been placed in the way of the coaches, players and volunteers in 2020.

The salvation of the game now rests with dedicated scientists around the globe working to produce a vaccine that will allow normal travel to return and with it the resumption of what has been a part of rugby for over one hundred years – the tour.

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They are following a star to a place where nobody has ever been before.  It is certain that rugby touring will not be the same but through their efforts the experience will be none the poorer.

 

Amazingly, every day they lament the lack of time to finish the allotted tasks.  “Lack of time”, you may ask, with no teams or clients to worry about? Things have never been busier for rugby tours 2021 at Irish Rugby Tours.

The preparation is intense for the resumption of the sport we love.  New possibilities must now be factored in to the planning.  How will the airlines react, what cancellation policies will hotels employ and above all what radical rule changes for the amateur or under-age groups are likely?

In 25 years, we have faced every conceivable challenge and now a new world awaits.  Rest assured we will be ready.

Why not contact us?  We would love to hear from you by phone or email even if just to chew the fat.

As Churchill or it may have been Roosevelt, said, “we are all in this together”.

 

Fado Fado, which is the Gaelic for “ long long ago“ and a rugby tour bus in Galway stopped and asked a farmer how to get to Dublin.

After a few minutes of rapt concentration, the farmer removed his pipe and said, “well I wouldn’t start from here.”

Irish Rugby Tours, does intend to start from here, as our great game goes through its greatest paroxysm since World War 2. It survived that as it did the First War.

We intend to be here for our current clients and hopefully our new ones when touring recommences. There are already green shoots of progress. The professional game is up and running. In even more rude good health in the Southern Hemisphere games are played in front of large enthusiastic crowds. Playing and touring will return, even if we must patiently wait for a date for resumption.

Wilmington Charter Force School - Irish Rugby Tours

When this pandemic broke the staff at Irish Rugby Tours, felt like putting their heads under a pillow and crying. That depression did not last very long and we have used the current period of inactivity to make plans. Included are new innovative tours; revised arrangements with airlines and hotels.  Finally above all entering in to arrangements that will guarantee the safety and integrity of every booking made with us.

One thing is certain, there will be a renewed burst of enthusiasm for touring once it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, tours are not put together overnight so all of us involved in this great experiment will have to plan for an uncertain future. Solution, by putting together embryonic strategies that have the capacity for change without cost that is the way ahead.

South Jersey RFC - Irish Rugby Tours

For twenty five years we have organised tours, many of whom returned year after year and became trusted friends.

We will not let old and new clients down. We are here for the long haul and unlike the old farmer we know the best way to go, the way ahead is clear.

New Trier RFC - Irish Rugby Tours

 

To celebrate fifty years, South Jersey Rugby Football Club wanted to do something that little bit special. Earlier this year, they jetted across the Atlantic to Ireland for what they later described as a “great planned rugby tour that was carried out…to perfection”.

Irish Rugby Tours at the Guinness Storehouse

Time to quench that thirst at the Guinness Storehouse

The tour was organised by global rugby tour specialists, Irish Rugby Tours, who bring their distinctly attentive touch to tours all over the world. Irish Rugby Tours has over twenty years experience of looking after groups from both home and abroad. The company has built up long and strong bonds with the rugby community in their native Emerald Isle and thus was the obvious choice for South Jersey RFC.

“We would and will be recommending Irish Rugby Tours to others and we will definitely be using them again.”

“A local university had used Irish Rugby Tours before,” says Bob Carr, South Jersey RFC. “They came highly recommended and now we know why. They did a great job. They were always accessible and ready to answer any questions or give information. Our guides and drivers were terrific and on the rugby side of things, the matches that were provided were very fair; we didn’t play against a team that was far superior. The post match that was provided was great fun too and a lot of people got involved with the music and dancing.”

Irish Rugby Tours at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

South Jersey Rugby at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland

All teams represented

The touring group consisted of over sixty people representing both women’s and men’s teams from South Jersey RFC. Over six days, they packed in two matches, against Athy RFC in Leinster and Monivea RFC in Connacht. In Dublin, the group witnessed a full international as Ireland took on Italy at the Aviva Stadium. From the home of Irish rugby it was on to the home of Guinness for a pint of the famous Irish ‘medicine’ before heading into the West and along the Wild Atlantic Way to the Cliffs of Moher. A highlight for many was the free day to explore the delights and charms of Galway City while many others welcomed the chance to use the pool and steam room in the Connacht Hotel after the bruising encounter with the aforementioned Monivea RFC.

 

South Jersey Rugby get ready for their game against Monivea RFC

“As many of us had not been to Ireland before the places we toured and visited were perfect,” says Bob. “Since we got home, I have been talking with a bunch from our group and we all have some great stories from the trip. We would and will be recommending Irish Rugby Tours to others and we will definitely be using them again. It was worth every penny. There was nothing else we could have asked for.”

Shorter game times, less set pieces and more fluid, free flowing rugby have meant that for many sevens has a broader appeal than the fifteen-a-side game. Purists may slate is as something of a modern gimmick; a symptom of late twentieth century impatience. But sevens, or seven-a-side rugby, has a long and proud history that stands up when compared to its more eminent cousin.

With the sports greatest competition, the Hong Kong Sevens, set to kick off this weekend, we give you seven things you (maybe) don’t know about sevens.

Sevens is old…

OK so it might not be as old as the game allegedly conceived by William Webb-Ellis but Rugby sevens is till pretty old. Sevens was dreamed up by two butchers from Melrose in Scotland. In 1883, Ned Haig and David Sanderson, put together a fund-raising event for their local club, Melrose Rugby Football Club and sevens rugby was born.

Ireland missed out on a (kind of) World Cup…

The first-ever officially sanctioned tournament for national teams was the 1973 International Seven-A-Side Tournament held at Murrayfield. Although it is not officially recognised as being a World Cup, there was a tacit acceptance that it was. Eight teams took part in two pools of four. Pool toppers, England and Ireland contested the final. In injury time, and with Ireland leading 18-16, KEith Fielding latched onto a loose pass and ran the length of the pitch before touching down to win the tournament.

Ireland at last year’s World Cup in San Francisco. Pic: Inpho/Billy Stickland

World Cup

The first official Sevens World Cup was held in Melrose in 1993. There have been seven tournaments since then. New Zealand have won three of those, Fiji have the won the tournament twice while both England and Wales have won the trophy once.

 

Find out more about our Rugby Tours to Spain

 

Hong Kong Sevens

Many argue that the Hong Kong Sevens tournament did much to modernise rugby. Started in 1976, it was the first rugby tournament to attract corporate sponsorship. It also gave the gave a much needed dose of glamour and in many respects internationalised the game of rugby. It is still the showcase tournament of Rugby Sevens and this weekend it promises to be greater than ever.

Hong Kong Sevens

Olympics

In 2016, Rugby Sevens made it to the Olympics in Rio. In the men’s competition, Fiji won the gold medal, Great Britain took silver while South Africa won bronze. The women’s gold medal was won by Australia, with New Zealand taking silver and Canada bronze.

Marika Vunibaka

Vunibaka, now forty-four, is the top try in World Cup with 23 tries. The Fijian was top scorer in 1997 when his country claimed their first World Cup. He also appeared in 2001 and popped up again to wreak havoc on defences when Fiji were crowned champions for the second time in 2005.

Some of the rules are a bit funny

Well it is a different sport after all and the whole point of the game is attack, entertainment and speed. Each half is just seven minutes long but usually stretches out to ten as tournaments reach their grand finales. HAlf time breaks are just two minutes long and with only five substitutes allowed you can be sure that everyone is duly knackered by the end of the day. Conversions are always drop goals and you only have thirty seconds in which to knock them over. Another curiosity about the sevens game is the rule that the team who has just scored restarts the game thus handing the impetus back to their opponent.

 

It’s a funny old game

 

Would you like to find out more about taking your team to play in a Sevens Tournament? If the answer is yes, please get in touch with us at Irish Rugby Tours. 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle off Dame Street, was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government’s administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex.  A guided tour is highly recommended in order to get a comprehensive  tour and a wonderful, memorable and invaluable experience, from guides on a Irish Rugby Tours tour.

The Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park of any capital city in Europe.
It was originally formed as a Royal hunting park in the 1660s and opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. The Park is also home to the Zoological Gardens, Áras an Uachtaráin,(the President of Ireland’s residence) Farmleigh House and the official Residence of the United States Ambassador to Ireland, plus the Visitors Centre and  Victorian flower gardens. The Phoenix Park is only a mile and a half from O’Connell Street. Both passive and active recreational pursuits may be viewed or pursued such as walking, running, polo, cricket, hurling, and many more all on a Irish Rugby Tours tour.

 

Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House is a stunningly beautiful historic house, which is the Irish State’s official guest house for visiting dignitaries and royalty.  It has a fully restored interior showcasing it’s  many  important collections, an art gallery, a spectacular library, and a complete working farm. It’s open 7 days a week all year round. It was formerly one of the Dublin residences of the Guinness family…. shame it’s not Irish Rugby Tours HQ.

 

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the new County Gaol for Dublin. It closed its doors in 1924.
Today the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Leaders of the many rebellions , including those of 1798,1916 were detained and in some cases executed here. Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also detained in Kilmainham Gaol, guarded by British troops , and you can get the full experience this on a Irish Rugby Tours tour. 

 

National Stud

Irish National Stud

The Irish National Stud belongs to the people of Ireland but prides itself on being enjoyed and appreciated by visitors from all parts of the globe and those on a Irish Rugby Tours tour . Nowhere better symbolises all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry, than the stud, a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty that is home to some of the most magnificent horses.

 

Japanese Gardens

Japanese Gardens

Created between 1906 and 1910 the Japanese Gardens were devised by Colonel William Hall Walker, a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family, the gardens were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru.  This can be visited while at the National Stud – one of our Irish Rugby Tours Tour.

 

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several route ways, this splendid castle is full of tapestries , with no expense spared by its former owners, with the gold leaf that can be seen everywhere.It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade but this won’t keep out a Irish Rugby Tours Tour.

 

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

Step through the doors and step back in time : Take a distillery tour to the home of Irelands’s most famous whiskey makers, the Jameson Distillery. It’s a journey through history when you see the old kilns, mills and malting houses , the water wheel and the old warehouses. Visitors can take part in tasting panels, and be rewarded with a much coveted ‘ Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate’, all while enjoying the delights of this amazing experience with Irish Rugby Tours.

 

Rock Of Cashel

Rock Of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, is a historic site located at Cashel, County Tipperary.  The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion of 1169. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe and also on a Irish Rugby Tours tour.

 

Glendalough

Glendalough

Irish Rugby Tours will take you to Glendalough an ancient monastic settlement, a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul.  For thousands of years people have been drawn to ‘the valley of the two lakes‘ for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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