Every year, the Tenon Tours team embarks on a company retreat to one of our destinations to explore and experience new and interesting tours and attractions to offer our travelers. It is an action-packed week of adventure, early mornings and long bus rides – but it offers us an amazing opportunity to bond as a team and learn our destinations in and out. This is important to us, because we truly want to provide each and every Tenon traveler with real advice and recommendations based on our own experiences. If we don’t like it, then we don’t recommend it. We think of each traveler’s vacations as though they were our own. We’ve included our highlights of our trip to share with you, fellow travelers. If you don’t want to read this entire post, scroll down to see which cities we traveled to and what our favorite parts were!
While the majority of our stay was in Northern Ireland, our team arrived and departed from Dublin Airport. Despite the fact that many of us have been to Dublin countless times, it never gets old. As our travel specialist, Jen, said: “Ireland always feels like home.” Some of our highlights were Glasnevin Cemetery, In Our Shoes Liberties Walking Tour, Pearse Lyons Distillery and Guinness Storehouse.
In total, we spent two days in the amazing city of Belfast. Our first day in Belfast was full of amazing site tours and delicious Irish fare. On our way from Dublin to Belfast, we first explored Killeavy Castle, a fantastic accommodation for those looking for eco-friendly travel. The estate prides itself on their sustainability measures – during our tour, we learned that 80% of their food comes from either their 250 acres of farmland or one of their vegetable plots. Even the blankets in each room are made with the wool from their resident sheep! Some of our highlights included Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, the official residence in Northern Ireland of Her Majesty the Queen where we saw the famous Throne Room; the festive Belfast Christmas Market; popular Titanic Belfast, a moving and educational museum; a Taste and Tour food tour with Caroline at St. George’s Market; private entertainment by Belfast Trad Music Trail at Kelly’s Cellars; and then a tour and dinner at the Crumlin Road Gaol, a famous decommissioned prison in Belfast. We also took turns signing the Belfast Peace Wall.
Coastal Causeway Route
On our third day in Northern Ireland, we departed Belfast. Our drive along the Coastal Causeway Route was a beautiful one, and a favorite highlight from our team was stopping at the Giant’s Causeway. Talk about a windy day! Those of us who had opted to listen to the audio guide weren’t able to keep the earpieces in because the wind was so strong, but the sights were absolutely stunning. Photos simply don’t do it justice. We received a warm greeting from Salthouse Hotel, a luxury eco-friendly hotel with mesmerizing scenery all around. Who else wishes they were sitting in this hot tub with that view?
We highly recommend to our travelers that they visit Derry during their time in Northern Ireland. We enjoyed a fantastic walking tour with Charlene from Derry City Tours followed by an incredibly poignant tour of Museum of Free Derry. It was an incredible experience to see how the cultural atmosphere has transformed this city over the years following the tragedy of Bloody Sunday. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a few samples of local beer at the Walled City Brewery, located just over the bridge from downtown Derry.
Our fifth day in Northern Ireland took us to Donegal, where we enjoyed a cup of Irish coffee and a looming demonstration at Irish House, followed by our awards night at the five-star property, Lough Eske Castle.
Tenon Tours’ Highlight Reel of Northern Ireland
Photos and highlight video by Caroline Phillips of Riverine Creative
Our time in Northern Ireland was incredible. Thank you to all our vendors and partners for making this possible:
Tourism Northern Ireland, Kennedy Coaches, Malahide Castle & Gardens, Killeavy Castle, Hillsborough Castle & Gardens, Malmaison Hotel Belfast, Grand Central Hotel Belfast, Irish Life Experience, Titanic Belfast, Taste and Tour, Jury’s Inn, Maldron Hotel, Europa Hotel, Belfast Trad Music Trail at Kelly’s Cellars, Crumlin Road Gaol, Jac from Visit Belfast, Ballygally Castle Hotel, Giant’s Causeway, Salthouse Hotel, Beech Hill Derry, Guildhall Derry, City Hotel Derry, Soda and Starch, Derry City Tours, Museum of Free Derry, Karen from Visit Derry, Bishops Gate, Walled City Brewery, Browns in Town, Station B&B, Maldron Hotel, Shipquay Hotel, Mill Park Hotel, Irish House, Lough Eske, Cabra Castle, Original Irish Hotels, Glasnevin Cemetery, Academy Hotel, Gresham Hotel, Old Storehouse, In Our Shoes – Liberties Walking Tour, Hyatt Hotel, Roe & Co., Pearse Lyons Distillery, Guinness Storehouse, O’Callaghans Hotels, Herbert Park Hotel, The Marlin Hotel and Zizzi.