Sunday 15 th April - .After a long wet, dreary winter it was great to see McGinleys coach
waiting in the Square to take a very large group of us to Belfast for our five day Spring break.
With a very pleasant and obliging Brian McGinley as our driver and guide, we headed north
in bright sunshine . Our first stop was in Kells where we enjoyed lunch in the Headford Arms
Hotel. On arrival in Belfast we booked into the very comfortable Corrs Corner Hotel.
Monday 16 th - After an early breakfast we continued north taking the coastal route through
Carrick Fergus towards Ballycastle. None of us were brave enough to make the terrifying
trip across the famous Carrick -a- Rede Rope Bridge. We continued on to visit the Giant’s
Causeway, one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions which is steeped in myth and legend. The
interactive exhibition in the Visitor Centre helps you to explore the origins and stories of the
Giant’s Causeway. As we travelled through the magnificent scenery along the Glens of
Antrim, Brian entertained us with tales of “Paddy the Pidgeon” . A plaque was erected in
Glenacloy to his memory..We had a brief stop to visit Bushmills Distillery where some of us
enjoyed a free sample of the “good stuff”. After dinner in the Hotel, some stayed on to enjoy
the wonderful entertainment while the card players adjourned to enjoy lively games of “25”
Tuesday 17 th April – We spent some time in Belfast city with a very informative local guide.
We viewed the Albert Memorial, Stormont Castle, the Opera House and the imposing City
Hall. In the afternoon, some went shopping while more went to visit the Titanic visitor
centre, Belfast’s largest tourist attraction.
Wednesday 18 th April – We travelled along the northern shores of Strangford Lough to visit
Mount Stewart, one of Northern Ireland’s most popular National Trust properties. Mount
Stewart is the Irish family home of the Marquesses of Londonderry. It combines the elegance
of impressive Georgian mansion with the 70 acres of beautiful gardens. It houses
Internationally important portraits, stunning silver, sculpture, furniture and many other
family treasures. It was indeed well worth a visit. To finish off our day, we enjoyed some
more retail therapy in an Outlet centre on our way home. Thank you Brian for your
Thursday 19 th April - We pack our bags to-day and head for home after breakfast. We
stopped for a welcome dinner in Tyrellspass Castle. A lot of weary, but happy travellers
arrived back in Ballinasloe after another very enjoyable Spring break. Once again, the
weather was kind to us, we found the people in Belfast very friendly and welcoming. It was
nice to see the economy booming once again .
Thanks to all the Social Committee for the time and effort put into organising these trips.
Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O) April 2018