Did you know there is more to Ireland than Dublin? We took a day tour from Dublin to Northern Ireland on a 13-hour tour and saw most of the famous must-see sights to visit during our tour. On Halloween, 2019, we took our first steps in Northern Ireland.
Wild Rover Tours is a fairly new company based in Dublin. They currently run 4-day tours from Dublin. We took their Belfast, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge day tour. This tour last 13 hours. Pick up was at 7:00 am from the Dublin Bus Office and we were dropped about 8:00 pm in the same area as our pick-up. Our guide was Richard and our driver Sydney, both interesting and entertaining characters. They made the entire journey (2.5 hours to Belfast) enjoyable.
Wild Rover Tours happy to assist any and all special needs guests in any way they can. Foldable, manual wheelchairs can be stored under the coach bus for travel between sites during the tour as well as rollators and other small medical devices. In order to get up into the coach bus though, you must be able to climb 4 steps assisted. Richard and Sydney are happy to provide support getting into and out of the coach bus as required. Unfortunatly, the coach bus cannot accommodate powerchairs (unless they are the folding travel chairs), and all guests must be able to maneuver the steps into the bus. Accessibility will hopefully change as demand for more accessible tours increases.
WIFI and charging ports are available at each seat on the coach bus allowing guests to stay connected and cameras charged for the entire tour. Northern Ireland is a breathtaking country that definitely deserves to be photographed. You can never take to many pictures. Though the WIFI was spotty once we reached Northern Ireland and often could not be used, and then once back in Ireland however, the WIFI worked perfectly and everyone was able to connect.
Our first stop on the tour was Belfast. The capital city of Northern Ireland, we were provided with 2 choices for activities; tickets to the Titanic Belfast or a political city tour of Belfast. We picked the Titanic Belfast visit. The Titanic museum is built on the site where the Titanic and one of her sister ships, Olympic, were built. Though the structures for ship building are no longer in place, you can walk down where the ships sat as they where being constructed. The museum itself takes visitors through the entire process for the Titanic from conception to post-sinking. The museum consists of 4 floors. Wheelchair access is available all throughout the museum with ramps, elevators and lowered exhibits. A unique part of this museum is a ride that takes guests through a portion of the ship building. Guests climb aboard a ride vehicle and are lowered and raised through the corridor as voices of actual people who helped build Titanic spoke of their experiences. Wheelchair access for this attraction is available, visitors will come to a handicapped marked box around the corner from the attraction. Guests are asked to wait inside the box and museum staff will assist guests into the ride. Please note powerchairs cannot be accommodated on this ride (unless they are the smaller travel powerchairs).
Our next stop on the tour was the Giant’s Causeway. Now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway is a protected area for visitors to explore. We had a 45-minute walking tour of the Causeway upon arrival. Our guide talked about how the formation of the Causeway took place and what makes nature create the formations it does. The Causeway visitor center has exhibits about how to the Causeway was formed and some history about the area. Both the Causeway and the visitor center are wheelchair accessible. There is a sloped walking path down to the main Causeway area. Unfortunatly, visitors with reduced mobility or no mobility will not be able to walk out onto the Causeway however, we got great pictures from the walkway. It is about a 15-minute walk from the visitor centre to the Giant Causeway, so allow yourself enough time to get down, spend some time, take pictures and get back to the bus. For anyone interested, there are 11 sites with this type of stone formations. The Giant’s Causeway is the largest site and only site that has attained UNESCO status.
Our third and final stop on the tour was the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. This bridge connects a small island to the mainland. This rope bridge was first built by fisherman and is now maintained by The National Trust. It is a 1 km walk from the parking lot to the bridge. The first half of the walkway to the bridge is accessible via flat walking path, but the second section requires stairs. You must be able to walk independently to cross the bridge as well as do several stairs unassisted. The stairs down to the bridge are very steep. The bridge is suspended about 100 feet above the water below making it a challenge for those afraid of heights, but also a thrill for everyone who crosses. If you cross one way, you must be able to return as well, there is no alternative route to the island and back. For those brave enough to cross, you can purchase a certificate showcasing your daring feat of crossing the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, something you can hang on the wall. If you choose not to cross the bridge or are unable to, the pathways halfway to the bridge provide some great photo opportunities of the Northern Ireland coast. Even on a grey sky day, the coastline is breathtaking to see.
At this point, we begin our 3-hour bus ride back to Dublin. Given it was Halloween our guide opted to play a scary movie for us on our return back to Dublin. There were no kids on our tour; otherwise, a child friendly movie or no movie at all would have been played. By this point everyone was tired, many slept on the bus ride back to Dublin.
This tour was definitely the ideal day trip for us. We were able to see all our preferred sites in Northern Ireland in one day. One day, however, is not enough. We cannot wait to go back. Northern Ireland has so many natural and unique features everyone should get to see and experience at least once in their lives. No matter how you choose to travel, be it on tours or perhaps backpacking through countries, make sure to put Northern Ireland on your must see list.