Bus Tours

 

Dr. David Hume is a keen historian and his fields include local history, Irish and Scottish history.

 

He can devise and development bespoke bus tours from one day to several days duration, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and also Scotland and England. Tours can also be offered further afield such as the United States and Canada. Bespoke tours will differ in price depending on locations and duration.

 

In terms of non-bespoke tours which can be offered, the following are current;

 

 

Ulster Scots Heritage in East Antrim

 

From Carrickfergus with its ancient links to King Fergus of Dalriada to more modern connections to Scotland, this tour will take groups from Carrickfergus to Ballycarry, where the first Presbyterian congregation in Ireland was established in 1613 and along the coast to Larne and Ballygally, where the castle built by James Shaw in 1625 is outstanding as testimony to Scottish architecture in the local landscape. There will also be a visit to the Ulster-American memorial in Larne, which commemorates 300,000 emigrants who set sail to the New World. The tour take you further back in time to the invasion in 1315 by an army of 5,000 Scots and you will view the ruins of Olderfleet Castle, one of the sites associated with the invasion. Larne’s three seafront memorials with links to Scotland also feature as does the memorial to a Confederate leader during the American Civil War, whose ancestors were from Larne.

 

Presbyterian Heritage Tour

 

The history of the Presbyterian tradition in Ireland owes much to the East Antrim area. The first Presbyterian minister in Ireland, Rev. Edward Brice, came to Ballycarry in 1613, while the first purpose-built Presbyterian Church was built in nearby Carrickfergus. In 1642 the Army Presbytery attached to the Scots Covenanter army sent to Ulster to protect the Plantation settlement, established the first formalised Presbyterian structure. With such a wealth of history this is a tour spoilt for choice, so expect to enjoy:

 

  • Visiting Carrickfergus, where the Presbyterian Church in Ireland was formally established

  • Visiting the grave of the first Presbyterian minister in Ireland at Ballycarry and the church built for his predecessors

  • Learning how 19th century Presbyterians created a distinctive mission church at the lime works at Magheramorne on the Antrim coast, which remains an active church today

  • Travelling along the coast to Cairncastle, home of the historian of the early Presbyterian church, Rev. Patrick Adair and viewing the landscape which he would have been familiar with

 

 

The Home Rule Heritage Trail

 

The issue of Home Rule was a dominant in the final years of the 19th and early decades of the 20th century. Larne was a centre of much of the activity surrounding the debate, by virtue of its port status. Learn about the pivotal visits through Larne of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill and Andrew Bonar Law as well as the drama of the 1914 gunrunning. Visit sites associated with the gunrunning including a visit to Drumalis House, where the planning and execution of the event took place.

 

The tour includes a visit to the grave of William Chaine, located inside an ancient Irish rath, now in one of Larne’s public parks. He was one of the key local planners of the gunrunning. And on the other side of the argument, visit the site where Joe Devlin, the Ulster nationalist leader, once addressed a crowd opposing the possibility of conscription in Ireland.

 

This trip includes a visit to Larne Museum for a reading of letters written during the period by Betsy Galt Smith of Kilwaughter Castle to her mother in the USA and to view some artefacts from the period.

 

East Antrim Coastal Route

 

The East Antrim coastal route is one of the most distinctive in the world and our tour takes us from Carrickfergus to Whitehead, which was developed as a tourist town by the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company. We then travel north along the shores of Larne Lough to Larne, visiting the harbour, developed in the 19th century and a key centre for industrial links to Scotland and shipbuilding industry. The tour takes in the Princess Victoria Memorial, which commemorates the worst seafaring disaster in Northern Ireland’s history as well as the distinctive memorial to James Chaine MP, the man who developed the short sea route to Stranraer in Scotland in the 19th century. The tour then takes us along the coast for a pit stop to allow everyone to enjoy a leisurely stroll in the grounds of Carnfunnock Country Park, which is a major visitor attraction on the coast road. The Walled Garden, sundials and maze in the shape of Northern Ireland are all worth seeing.

 

We travel next to Ballygally, past the famous 17th century castle of James Shaw of Greenock, and then along the stretch of coast road to Glenarm before we turn inland off the coast road in order to get a view of the coast above Cairncastle that most tourists never see, travelling through an ancient landscape and overlooking the North Channel.

 

 

The Battle Bus Tour

 

The Battle Bus takes visitors to battlefield sites relating to historical periods;

 

  • The Bruce Invasion of 1315 and its history, visiting the Corran at Larne where an army of 5,000 Scots arrived, Raloo, where their first battle was fought, Ballynure, where the Scots army camped at Bruslee, Carrickfergus, where they besieged the Norman castle and where Bruce was crowned King of Ireland and Glenarm, where another battle took place and where the Scotio-Norman Bisset family held sway. Learn about the aftermath of Bannockburn and the unique and important role Edward Bruce and his brother Robert played in Irish history.

  • The Battles of the United Irishmen; visiting Antrim town and Ballynahinch with walking tours of both sites to highlight the events of June 1798. Also including Larne to view the site of the Battle there and the site where local loyalists fled by sea to get to Carrickfergus, as well as the grave of author Dr. James McHenry, who wrote his novel O’Halloran or the Insurgent Chief based on the actual events of the Rising.

  • Sea Battles off the Ulster coast; learn about the first American naval battle in history off the coast of County Antrim, the French invasion of Carrickfergus in 1760, submarine warfare in the North Channel and the fate of the Spanish Armada in a bus tour which starts in Carrickfergus and travels north along the Antrim coast and to the Giant’s Causeway.

 

Dead Famous: The Cemetery Tour

 

The ‘Dead Famous’ tour takes groups to sites where famous figures in Irish history are buried. The tour focuses on specific locations or cemeteries and includes some lighter relief such as shopping or café breaks! Examples of the Dead Famous tour include;

 

  • Tour to the Republic of Ireland to visit Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin, where you can visit Daniel O’Connell’s famous crypt inside an Irish Round Tower, see the graves of Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Luke Kelly, Suffragette Charlotte Despard, James Larkin and many others. This tour also includes a visit to the National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, where Irish soldiers who died in the First World War are commemorated. Also includes a visit to Monsterboice near Drogheda to view ancient Irish High Crosses

  • Dead Famous in Down; tour to County Down to visit the grave of St. Patrick and nearby Cathedral as well as the grave of Thomas Russell, United Irelander and the Man from God Knows Where as he was famously titled in a song. Includes a visit to Down County Museum and Inch Abbey to learn about the Normans in Ulster and connections to the Isle of Man.

  • Dead Famous in Antrim; visit the grave of the first Presbyterian minister in Ireland, the foremost of the Ulster-Scots Weaver poets and the army officer who signed the UK mobilisation order in 1939 at Templecorran cemetery, poets and seafarers in nearby Islandmagee, writers and sugar magnets in Larne and nobility in Glenarm. Includes a visit to Larne Museum and tea and a talk about famous figures from the world of literature at a local venue.

  • Dead Famous in Belfast; this tour includes Carnmoney cemetery, where you can view the Hebrew cemetery, visit the graves of prominent local people as well as Commonwealth War Graves and then travel to Clifton Street cemetery in Belfast where the graves of Henry Joy McCracken and Mary Anne McCracken are among the impressive range of prominent Belfast figures. City Cemetery is also included in the tour, which also allows some shopping time on the outskirts of Belfast at the Abbeycentre Shopping Centre.

 

For full details on itineraries and costs on any tour please contact us.

 

 

 

Case Studies

 

Dr. Hume has organised bus tours in the past to Londonderry, the Boyne Valley, County Monaghan, East Antrim and elsewhere. He has even organised a small group tour to the United States. His historical themed tours have included the 1798 Rebellion, Home Rule period, Williamite Wars, Ulster-Scots history, Ulster-American interest and others. These have been for community groups and historical societies.

 

He has organised tours for American tour groups, local history groups and societies and others in the past.

 

Dr. Hume offers tours of Scottish Covenanter historical sites in Scotland, Ulster-Scots history tours in Scotland and Williamite and Jacobite War tours in Ireland for Authentic Ulster as well as his own tours.

 

 

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