Sadly, our Northern Ireland tour leader and expert Seamus Kelters has died. Seamus both designed and led our tours in the region for the last 6 years. He had an immensely detailed knowledge of the politics of the region and wonderful ability to tell a story. He impressed and charmed everyone who joined him. He will be sorely missed.

We are appointing a new tour expert shortly. The itinerary we have was designed by Seamus and will remain unchanged.

Almost two decades on from the end of the “troubles” Northern Ireland seems to be experiencing a period of significant stability. Once irreconcilable foes are bound together at Stormont, the region’s parliament, and the chance of a return to violence is remote.

Our tour traces the steps that led to the historic Good Friday Agreement; from secretive talks between church leaders and paramilitaries, through to the signing of the agreement in 1998 that paved the way to a power sharing agreement.

DATESSaturday, 7th July 2018 – Saturday, 14th July 2018
DESTINATION

Northern Ireland

Londonderry/Derry, Belfast

DURATION7 nights
INCLUDED
All AccommodationMost Meals
Local TransportationExpert Guide
COSTCost: £3400.00
Single supplement: £450.00

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Meeting politicians, community leaders, former paramilitaries and ordinary people – from both loyalist and nationalist communities – we ask what’s next for Northern Ireland? The UK leaving the EU poses important questions for the province – as post Brexit it becomes the only part of the UK to share a land border with the EU, plus the Tory coalition with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) negotiated after the UK’s June 2017 election could place significant strain on the province’s delicate balances of power.

Cost: £3400.00

Single supplement: £450.00

As with all of our expert-led tours, we ensure that our groups remain small and intimate, and will not exceed 14 people.

As with all of our tours the itinerary focuses on current affairs, and owing to the dynamic nature of politics means that local conditions may lead us adjust the final schedule.

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The Road to Peace

We trace the steps that led to the historic Good Friday Agreement. What now for Northern Ireland as the ripples of Brexit can also be felt from across the Irish Sea?

Northern Ireland has experienced a period of significant stability, almost two decades on from the end of “the troubles”. Once irreconcilable foes are all represented at Stormont, the region’s parliament, and the chance of a return to violence is remote. But significant differences between the province’s two main communities remain.

At meetings with politicians, community leaders, former paramilitaries and ordinary people we ask what’s next for Northern Ireland?  The UK’s uncertain political future will also have an impact.  The province becomes the only part of the UK to share a land border with the EU after Brexit, And the Conservative coalition with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) negotiated after the UK’s June 2017 election could strain on the delicate balance of power.

The tour was designed by Seamus Kelters, a BBC journalist who sadly passed away last year. His replacement will be announced soon.

Day 1

Saturday, 7th July: Derry/Londonderry

Welcome dinner and introduction briefing by Seamus Kelters on Northern Ireland today Overnight Derry/Londonderry
Day 2

Sunday, 8th July: Stroke City

Derry/Londonderry (take your pick depending on your allegiance) as the city is called by locals is as good a place as any for an introduction to “The Troubles.” We get a guided tour of the city walls and Apprentice Boys Hall and the Bogside. This where some of the earliest clashes of the troubles took place, including the infamous shooting by the British Parachute Regiment of demonstrators on Bloody Sunday. We’ll also get a briefing on early contacts between nationalist and loyalist groups. Talk with community activists from the Catholic Bogside, and Protestant Waterside. Overnight Derry/Londonderry
Day 3

Monday, 9th July: Causeway and Belfast

We head east and for Belfast via the Giant’s Causeway. Lunch at Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough. Drive to Belfast. We get an introduction to the geography of the city and presentation on pattern of the Troubles in Belfast and their timeline. Dinner with guests. Overnight Belfast
Day 4

Tuesday, 10th July: Belfast Tour and The Troubles Legacy

Seamus Kelters leads a tour of the city, chronologically – east Belfast where the city’s prosperity has its foundation – including Parliament Buildings at Stormont – to west where the Troubles spilt on to the streets. Victims of the violence talk about the legacy of the conflict and their lives now. A former senior officer talks about the difficulty of policing in a divided society, the issues faced by the RUC and why policing was overhauled as part of the Good Friday Agreement. Night out in an historic Belfast pub. Overnight Belfast
Day 5

Wednesday, 11th July: The Settlement and Challenge from Brexit

At Stormont we review the power-sharing agreement that apparently made the best of friends out of two men who were once the worst of enemies – Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein and Ian Paisley – both now deceased. We’ll also review the challenges faced by the UK’s decisions to leave the European Union. Nowhere does the issue pose more problems than in Northern Ireland – both in practical and constitutional terms. Overnight Belfast
Day 6

Thursday, 12th July: Prisoners, Parades and Continued Divisions

How the prisons became a battleground and sparked the political rise of Sinn Fein. Tour of Crumlin Road Prison close to Belfast city centre. Now closed to inmates, the Victorian-built jail served as a remand prison for much of the Troubles. Meet the prisoners – two men from very different backgrounds describe their personal experiences, the problems that now confront them and their hopes for the future. A representative from one of the many voluntary groups working directly in communities speaks about the difficulty they face on the ground in a divided society. July is part of the parades seasons. Discussion with a BBC journalist on the difficulties that have been posed and continue to be posed by the parading issue. Overnight Belfast
Day 7

Friday, 13th July: Out of Belfast

We meet with some key politicians and journalists to address key questions from the week. And weather permitting we’ll get out of Belfast to Carlingford Lough, a local beauty spot – where we look back over the week over beer and picnic. Overnight Belfast
Day 8

Saturday, 14th July

Tour ends

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What’s Included

All of your accommodation and meals with water are included, as well as local transport (except during your free time).

Flights are not included in the price and need to be arranged by customers themselves or with an agent.

Following the news

Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.

This tour starts in Londonderry/ Derry and ends in Belfast.

Group size

As on all our expert-led tours the groups are deliberately small and will not exceed 14 people. Frequently we travel with 10-12 people. Limited spaces are available.

Visa

UK passport holders do not need a visa. Other passport holders may require a visa. It is always good to check with the embassy in your country for latest advice regarding visa requirements.

 

Weather

The tour is mid-summer.  Days can be hot and evenings cooler.  Some rain is to be expected.

Sunblock and rain gear are essential.

 

What to Wear

Dress is generally relaxed and casual. We suggest taking layers as the weather is different in the various regions. Rain showers are not uncommon too so please ensure you pack a rain jacket.  Most important is to have comfortable shoes for walking.

Men: Will need a jacket and tie for some of the meetings.

Women: You will need smarter dress for one or two meetings.

FCO Website

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo which you are recommended to consult before booking and in good time before departure. Where it considers it appropriate to do so, the FCO may advise against all travel or all but essential travel to particular countries or parts of particular countries. Similarly, the FCO may withdraw any such previously given advice. Where the FCO issues such advice, we may as a result cancel your tour or make changes so as to avoid the area concerned (see clause 10). Alternatively, we may ask you to sign a form confirming you wish to proceed with the tour notwithstanding the FCO advice. It is in the nature of the itineraries we offer that the FCO may have issued such advice in relation to the country or parts of the country we are intending to visit prior to confirmation of your booking. In this case, you will be asked to sign the above form before we confirm your booking.

 

Medical Requirements

Advice on health requirements may be obtained from your GP, or alternatively from the Department of Health leaflet Advice on Health for Travelers, or the Department of Health in the UK. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx

 We suggest you visit your own doctor or local travel clinic who will have the most up-to-date travel advice, and be able to recommend any vaccinations prior to travel based on your medical history.

Currency

Great British Pounds.

 

Electricity

Plugs are 3 pin UK.

 

Internet access

Wifi is available in all hotels as well as many coffee shops and restaurants.

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Seamus Kelters

Tour Expert

Kelters started as a senior reporter for the Irish News more than 20 years ago specialising in security, fair employment and the case of the Birmingham Six. Working for BBC Northern Ireland for the last 17 years, he has produced for its investigative strand and political unit and, for the last dozen years, has produced the evening news programme. His programmes on the IRA’s ‘stand down’ order and the Omagh trial verdict won separate Irish Film and Television Awards.

As a co-author of Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles, in 2001 he was awarded the Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for the promotion of peace and reconciliation in Ireland. He has addressed both the European and International Societies for Traumatic Stress Studies and, last year, a conference at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on the book.

Having been a Dart Fellow in 2002 and Senior Fellow in 2003, he served on the organisation’s executive commitee. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma aims to educate and support journalists who encounter trauma in the course of their work. Kelters has helped design workshops for journalists in Ireland and post-Katrina New Orleans.

Having lived in Belfast for more than 40 years he recently moved to the countryside outside the city and is married with two sons.

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Northern Ireland

I learned a lot – from the places we visited, from the fascinating group of people we met – and, not least, from Seamus.  I couldn’t have asked for a more varied programme in a whirlwind tour.  I now need some time to digest what I have heard and seen, and will do so in the coming weeks.
Everyone promised on the programme showed up;  and everyone, without exception, was fascinating.  Some of what I heard reinforced my thinking, some of what I heard challenged my beliefs, and some things were completely new or left field. HG

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Coming Soon

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