Covering both southern and northern parts of Ireland and blending history, legend and breath-taking scenery, this day tour from Dublin is an enthralling experience. Hop on the train to Belfast and travel north past rolling farmlands, splendid sea views and quaint fishing villages to visit the historic town of Drogheda, Dundalk, Carrickfergus and Dunluce Castles, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the iconic Giant’s Causeway!
To join our exciting Giant’s Causeway and Glens of Antrim Tour From Dublin, we will have to make our way to Connolly Station in Dublin. The tour operator’s representatives (wearing yellow jackets) will be waiting beside the customer service desk. They will check you in and show you to your reserved seats on the train. A dedicated host will be available on the train to assist you and may also act as a guide on sightseeing tours. There is also a dining car available on the train serving light breakfast (payable direct).
Our departure point, Connolly Station, was built in 1844 as the terminus of the Dublin and Drogheda Railway and is now the administrative headquarters of Iarnród Éireann – Ireland’s National Railway. We will depart northwards through the Dublin suburbs, which soon gives way to beautiful farmlands. The trail passes by the exclusive coastal village of Malahide before crossing the wide Broadmeadow Estuary, followed by Rogerstown Estuary. Panoramic views of the sea appear as we move through the coastal town of Skerries, followed by the fishing village of Balbriggan. A few kilometres further on you can catch sight of Gormanston – an Irish Air Corps military airfield – on the landward side.
The track then swings inland to Drogheda, where we will make our first stop. Immediately north of Drogheda we will be crossing the historic river Boyne by a magnificent viaduct, with great views of the town. Drogheda was stormed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649 with massive loss of life and close by is the site of the Battle of the Boyne, where [Protestant] King William of Orange defeated dethroned [Catholic] King James in 1690 – an event still celebrated annually by ‘Orangemen’ or ‘Northern Protestants’ on the ‘Twelfth’ of July.
Our next stop is the border town of Dundalk – an industrial seaport, famous for brewing and tobacco products. In more recent times it became famous as the hometown of the family musical sensation, The Corrs. The train now begins to climb into the foothills of the Camlough Mountains and border country. You can see Newry, which gained city status in 2002 by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, below on the seaward side, and is our third stop. The final stop before we arrive at Belfast is Portadown, where we will veer sharply to the east and head up the marvellous Lagan valley.
On arriving at Belfast – Ireland’s second largest city, we will board a motor coach for the tour to the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway. One of the city’s principal landmarks can be seen upon arrival – the two Harland & Wolff Cranes – nicknamed Samson and Goliath. It was here that many great ships were built – most notably for White Star Line, whose ships included the Olympic, Britannic and (perhaps the most famous ship of all), RMS Titanic.
Leaving Belfast, we will head out to the town of Carrickfergus for a short photo-stop and take the coast road north from here. Further north, we will reach the fishing village of Carnlough, where you stop for about 15 minutes for tea (payable direct). (This may have to be curtailed if the train from Dublin arrives late). This small village has gained a lot of popularity ever since it was featured in HBO’s hit-series Game of Thrones as Braavos in Season 6!
Our journey will take us pass the coastal villages of Glenariff, Cushendall and Cushendun, letting us soak up stunning views of the sea to the right and the mountains – or the Glens of Antrim –to the left. Most impressive are the spectacular views of Mull of Kintyre, Scotland – clearly visible on a fine day. Moving inland, we will come to the town of Ballycastle – home to Ireland’s oldest town fair, The Lammas, dating back to 1606.
Our next stop is the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a slender suspension bridge across a vertiginous drop. Take a shot at crossing the bridge if you want and savour the perfect rush of adrenaline! There is a nominal charge to cross the bridge. We will then head for Dunluce Castle (remember House of Greyjoy in Game of Thrones?) for a photo stop before arriving at the Giant’s Causeway, where we will stop for about 2 hours. The astonishing Causeway consists of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from a volcanic eruption. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and is owned and managed by the National Trust. The Scottish side of the causeway on the Isle of Staffa has similar basalt formations at the site of Fingal's Cave.
Leaving the Giant’s Causeway, we will head back to Belfast via the main road in time to take the train back to Dublin with the tour concluding at Connolly Station.
Daily except SundayDuration
Approx 15 hoursStart time
Check-in: 0710h (07:10am)
Train departs: 0735h (07:35am)
Duration: Approx 15 hours
Check-in is at Connolly Station, Dublin, beside the customer service desk. The tour operator’s representatives (wearing yellow jackets) will be present to check you in and show you to your reserved seats on the train to Belfast
Connolly Station, Dublin
Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details.
Luggage/ personal effects are carried at owner's risk. Please ensure that you do not leave anything on the train and/or coach on disembarking. The tour operator cannot be held responsible for any objects left on trains and/or coaches and we ask that you check seats and luggage racks before leaving.
Please observe instructions regarding times by your host and ensure that you use the ladies & gents facilities on the train before arrival at Belfast to ensure a swift transfer from the train to the bus.
Please note Sterling (British) Currency is required in Northern Ireland
I had a wonderful time on this tour! Our tour guide, Paddy, was knowledgeable, fun, and caring in regards to our needs and wants. He took the time to explain the day's schedule...Emily A Braskey, United States, 24/Jul/2016
...Michael Hill, United States, 13/Jun/2016
It was a great trip. Tour guide was excellent. It was all as advertised....Rachel L Jordan, United States, 16/Sep/2015