Going Places Educational Travel Blog - Top 5 Highlights from Yuletide in Dublin (and Belfast!) Trip
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January 7, 2014

Top 5 Highlights from Yuletide in Dublin (and Belfast!) Trip

The passports 2013 annual International Teacher Convention to Ireland was one of our best ever.

Over 100 teachers, their companions, and passports employees had a fabulous time.

We look forward to doing it again this year in a yet-to-be-determined location.  Check back here, or on passports.com or our Facebook page for details about our 2014 conventions.  Don’t miss out on all the fun!

In the meantime, here are our picks for the Top 5 best highlights from the trip:

  1. Dinner and entertainment at The Old Jameson Distillery.  A guided tour of how whiskey is made, led by a heavily-brogued local, gets you in the mood for a one-of-a-kind Irish experience at the Old Jameson Distillery.  Features include a traditional Irish dinner (or lunch, if you go during the day), tasting of fine Irish whiskeys (remember: our conventions are adult groups!), and the finest entertainment by local musicians playing traditional Irish music, a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure, all topped off by the incredibly-talented Jameson Irish Dancers.  
  2. Titanic Belfast museum.  Even non-fans of the various Titanic movies and documentaries come away more than impressed at this interactive museum located just 100 metres from where Titanic’s hull was constructed and then launched.  Visitors take a ride through a replica of 1900s shipbuilding, and then walk along at their own pace on a self-guided tour of the history of the doomed ship, and its aftermath that still fascinates people around the world to this day.  There’s even a small theatre where visitors can sit and watch “Titanic Beneath”, oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard’s high-def video of the wreckage, filmed in 1985 during his and Jean-Louis Michel’s expedition to Titanic’s final resting place.  
  3. Guided pub crawls with a literary theme and a music theme.  Some of the most famous of Dublin’s remaining 850 pubs (there once were over 3,000!) are visited in professionally-guided “themed” pub crawls.  The music-themed crawl provides a glimpse into the rich heritage of Irish music.  The guides perform songs, and even invite tour participants to join in and show off their singing talents!  (Again, let’s remember that our Yuletide conventions are adult trips, so a few sips of a pint or two come with the package.)  The literary pub crawls visit neighborhoods once frequented by the many authors native to Ireland, including James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, and of course, Oscar Wilde.
  4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Known for its beautiful bells, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is world-renowned for the famous well where St. Patrick performed baptisms.  The church was elevated to cathedral status in the year 1212 – over 800 years ago! But the cathedral has a colorful and tumultuous history, all described by a local professional guide when you go inside.  
  5. Ulster-American Folk Park.  On the trip from Dublin to Belfast (or return) a stop at the Ulster-American Folk Park open-air museum is in order.  Located in Castletown near Omagh in Northern Ireland, the park represents an important historical link between the area of Ulster in Northern Ireland, and America.  Many immigrants relocated to The New World from Ulster in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Authentic homes and buildings are on the site, including the Mellon House which is the birthplace of Irish-American financier Thomas Mellon.  This is a theme destination with workers and volunteers dressed in period costumes, sometimes giving demonstrations of occupational tasks performed during the 18th and 19th centuries.  There’s a nice walk through a rolling green field, complete with burros and stunning views.  Alternatively, a small authentic-era car will take visitors on the same paths.





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