Welcome to Ireland and Northern Ireland
Home to some of the most notable medieval castles and fortifications in the world, a visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland is sure to leave lasting memories for years to come. Your stay will provide your group with the incredible opportunity to see famous sites in both countries and discover parts of Ireland less typically visited.
Traditional Irish music has had a profound influence on modern music, including country and roots music in the United States, which in turn influenced modern rock music. Performers such as Enya, U2, James Galway, Van Morrison, and the cast of Riverdance all hail from Ireland. Ireland has not only produced incredibly talented musicians, but is also a hub for artists from all over the world. The world premiere of George Frideric Händel’s Messiah took place in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and each year musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists flock to Ireland for the many festivals held here each summer.
Enjoy a concert tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and let yourself be immersed in all that they have to offer as you share your music with local people.
Depart North America for Dublin, Ireland.
Welcome to Ireland! Enjoy an introduction to the capital city on a guided tour of Dublin including Dublin Castle, O’Connell Street, Phoenix Park, the house of author Bram Stoker and Merrion Square.
Continue on to visit Trinity College and view the lavishly illustrated Book of Kells, the most famous illuminated manuscript in the world. After time for lunch, check in to your Dublin hotel. Rehearsal can be arranged this afternoon.
Tonight your group will be treated to an exciting welcome dinner with traditional Irish music and dancers. Your tour manager will preview the highlights of the days ahead.
Begin your first full day in Dublin with a visit to one of the following: the Dublinia Viking Experience, the Guinness Storehouse, or Christ Church Cathedral.
Enjoy time for lunch in one of the historic pubs in the Temple Bar district.
This afternoon, perform a concert at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of Ireland.
This evening, enjoy dinner with your friends in Dublin perhaps while listening to traditional Irish music.
This morning, travel north and over the border into Northern Ireland. Enjoy a visit to the Ulster American Folk Park, an outdoor museum that tells the emigration story of the millions of people who left Irish shores for America over the decades. There will be time for lunch at the museum.
This afternoon, arrive in the walled city of Derry and check in to your hotel.
Dinner is served in a Derry restaurant tonight.
This morning, start the day with a guided walking tour of the Derry City Walls. Next, visit St. Columb’s Cathedral. Dating back to the 17th century, it was the first cathedral to be built by the Anglican Church after the Reformation in the British Isles and the first non-Roman Catholic cathedral built in Europe.
Enjoy some time this afternoon to visit the city center’s wonderful shops and tea houses.
This evening, perform a friendship concert with a local choir at a church or theater in Derry.
Today enjoy an excursion through the beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland, first stopping at the Slieve League Cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
Continue on to Glenveagh Castle, a Scottish-style castle surrounded by Ireland’s finest gardens. The castle grounds are a National Park, home to 40,000 acres of scenic mountains, lakes, glens and woods.
Tonight, enjoy a dinner of local specialties in Derry.
Enjoy the route along the Antrim coastline and make a stop at the Giant’s Causeway. Here you’ll encounter Northern Ireland’s favorite giant, Finn McCool, who according to legend created the causeway by building stepping-stones to Scotland to challenge the Scottish giant Benandonner.
Continue on to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a spectacular rope bridge spanning a chasm 30 meters deep and 20 meters wide! Those bold enough can cross.
Arrive in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, in time for dinner and check in to your hotel.
Begin your day with a guided tour of Belfast that includes the wharf where the Titanic was built, and Shankill and Falls roads which reflect the years of struggle between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Continue on to visit the Titanic Experience, which recreates the story of the world’s most famous ship in an interactive six-floor museum next to where the ship was built in 1912. Perform an on-site afternoon concert at the museum for your many fellow visitors.
For your last night, indulge in a festive farewell dinner with live entertainment and music!
Depart for the Belfast International Airport and your return flight to North America.
Dublin’s intimate flair, pedestrian-friendly streets, and setting on the banks of the River Liffey and Dublin Bay make it an ideal European destination. In 1988, Dublin celebrated its 1,000th anniversary as an Irish city with festivities and projects that restored many of its historic buildings and facades, and turned the famous Grafton Street into a pedestrian shopping thoroughfare. Although the name Dublin derives from the Gaelic “Dubh Linn” meaning “dark pool,” it is the city’s light and the lightheartedness of its people for which it is best known. Dublin is filled with music on street corners, in pubs and restaurants, and in churches and concerts halls. You can't go a block without melodies floating out from a doorway!
Belfast, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, was once the home of the Irish linen industry, tobacco production, rope making and the world famous Harland and Wolff shipbuilders. It also was at the heart of the struggle for independence by the Irish. Today, Belfast remains a center for industry, the arts, higher education, and business. Although the city suffered during the period of conflict called the Troubles, it has since undergone a sustained period of calm and peace, free from the intense political violence of its former years. Expect warm welcomes and proud citizens during a visit to Belfast. The city is teeming with local music and you won't want to miss the chance to visit a restaurant in the evening to hear some authentic Belfast musicians!
Founded in the 6th century by St. Columba, Derry is the second largest city and port of Northern Ireland. Columba named the city “Doire” or “Oak Grove,” which was later anglicized as Derry. In 1613, the city was selected as a major plantation project organized by the London livery companies, and as a result it acquired the prefix London. In the same year, the walls of Derry were built to protect the town from the Gaelic chieftains in Donegal. A walk on the walls is a must for any visit to Derry, as they are among the best-preserved fortifications in Europe. Today the walls separate two communities, the Bogside (a Catholic ghetto) and Waterside (a Protestant enclave). Derry too now enjoys the advantages of the new peaceful atmosphere of Northern Ireland and its city center is once again lively and pleasant.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN IRELAND
Our friendship concerts are a featured experience on our tours and are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years' experience of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Your singers will have the chance to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time usually follows the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.