Programme

Each day of the conference presents delegates with a choice of assisted research in the archives with our team of experienced genealogists or an excursion to a place of historic interest.

To uncover the history of this place, our extensive programme of tours throughout the week will take you through rolling countryside to sites of international renown from the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle on County Antrim’s wild Atlantic coast to the famous and historic Walls of Derry and a visit to Dublin City.

You will also visit one of the best preserved medieval structures in all of Ireland at Carrickfergus and journey through the heart of County Down walking in the footsteps of Ireland's patron saint and visiting Hillsborough Castle,  the official palace residence of the Royal Family in Northern Ireland.

Please note this programme may be subject to revision.

Monday 08 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 1

Morning lectures
Irish land divisions
Nineteenth & early twentieth century census returns
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Afternoon lectures
Civil records – birth, marriage & death certificates
Church records for use in genealogical research: registers
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Tuesday 09 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 2

Morning lectures
Church records for use in genealogical research: administrative records
Wills and testamentary papers
School registers & education records
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Afternoon lectures 
19th-century valuation records
Landed estate papers
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Wednesday 10 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 3

Morning lectures
Printed sources – newspapers, street directories, etc
Workhouse & local government records
Pre-1800 census substitutes
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 1 -  Welcome

19.00 - Welcome reception with wine and music

Thursday 11 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 2 - Tour of Belfast and south County Antrim.

A choice of:

08.15 - A day of assisted research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

or

After an introductory session in PRONI delegates will have the choice to stay and research in the archives or spend the afternoon touring Belfast and south Antrim. The tour will begin with a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol, where you will hear about the story of the site and its place in Belfast's history.

After the tour of the Gaol we will then travel through south county Antrim towards the coastal town of Carrickfergus. Here we will have a tour of Carrickfergus Castle, one of the best preserved medieval structures in Northern Ireland. Once the tour ends the group will then return to Belfast.

18.30 - Evening meal for both groups back in Belfast

Friday 12 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 3 - Tour of County Tyrone and the Ulster American Folk Park

A choice of:

08.15 - A day of assisted research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

or

Delegates will begin their day with a visit to Killymoon Castle, which was described in the Irish Penny Journal of 1841 as "one of the most aristocratic residences in the province of Ulster".

We will then travel through County Tyrone on our way to visit the Ulster American Folk Park and Mellon Centre for Migration Studies. Described as 'the ultimate in living history' the outdoor museum at the Folk Park includes the famous Mellon homestead, buildings from America, an Ulster and American street and a full-scale dockside galley and ship.

On the same site as the Folk Park, the Mellon Centre is a research library housing an extensive collection of materials relating to the history of the peoples of Ireland worldwide. Delegates may prefer to spend most of their time touring the Folk Park or researching at the Mellon Centre or a mix of the two. The choice is yours.

After immersing ourselves in the story of our emigrant ancestors at the Ulster American Folk Park, delegates will then visit the ancient capital of Ulster and a key location in the Flight of the Earls,  the Hill of the O'Neill.

Saturday 13 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 4 – Tour of the walled city of Derry/Londonderry

All delegates will be able to visit the walled city of Derry/Londonderry and visit Mussenden Temple.

One of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe, delegates will walk on Derry's famous walls and explore the amazing sites that the city has to offer which includes visits to First Derry Presbyterian Church and the Tower Museum. Delegates will also have free time to explore the other historic and interesting sites of the city which include the Siege Museum; the historic Guildhall; St Columbs Cathedral and St Augustine's Church.

After our visit to the City of Derry we will make the journey towards the North Coast and visit Mussenden Temple, an 18th Century private library which sits dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean. Following this tour we will then return to Belfast where you will have a free evening to enjoy the night life of the city.

Sunday 14 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 5 - Free day for delegates to savour the delights of Belfast

Free day for delegates to spend as they choose. Some may care to visit the church of their ancestors, explore the city of Belfast or visit the many fantastic attractions the city has to offer.

A full day can be spent taking in such sites as the award winning Titanic Belfast visitor centre and the Pump House and Thompson Gavelling Dock where you can learn about the Titanic and see where the ship was actually built. You could also visit the recently refurbished HMS Caroline, a lone survivor of the Battle of Jutland in 1916. A short bus ride will also allow you to take in such sites as the Ulster Museum and Botanical Gardens as well the Ulster Folk and Transport museum at Cultra.

A visit to St. George's Market is highly recommended. Located in a charming Victorian building (constructed 1890-1896) the market is one of Belfast's oldest attractions offering delicious food, local crafts and antiques.

In the evening, why not take in a performance amidst the Victorian splendour of Belfast's Grand Opera House or the recently refurbished Lyric Theatre with its marvellous views of the River Lagan and then finish off the day with a modest libation in Belfast's most famous pub, the Crown Liquor Saloon with its period gas lighting and cosy snugs.

Monday 15 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 6 –Tour of Dublin

A choice of:

08.15 - A day of assisted research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

or

07.15 - An Outing to Dublin with the choice of:

A morning and afternoon of assisted research in the National Archives or Registry of Deeds (please note that the number of visitors to the archives is limited) or a tour of Dublin (locations to be confirmed)

18.30 - All delegates who went to Dublin and those who remained in Belfast will have an evening meal.

Tuesday 16 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 7 - Tour through the heart of County Down

A choice of:

08.15 - A day of assisted research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

or

Delegates will begin their day with a visit to Hillsborough Castle, the official Northern Ireland residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Leading members of the Royal Family have regularly visited Northern Ireland since 1922, using Hillsborough as their ceremonial and personal base. Following a tour of the Castle and its magnificent gardens, delegates will then leave for a tour of the 17th century castle at Killyleagh, one of the most architecturally striking buildings in Ulster which is still the private home of the Hamilton family.

Delegates will then visit the county town of Downpatrick and learn more about the story of the patron saint of Ireland before we finish the tour at a 12th century monastic site on the bank of Lough Quoile, Inch Abbey; known more recently as a filming location for Game of Thrones.

Delegates will then be brought back to Belfast and have a free evening to enjoy the city before our final day together.

Wednesday 17 June

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Day 8 – Tour through the Glens of Antrim and a visit to the Giant's Causeway

A choice of:

08.15 - A day of assisted research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

or

08:15 - Our journey will begin in Belfast before travelling through the Glens of Antrim, winding between its picturesque villages and unforgettable scenic locations towards Portrush where we will have lunch overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean.

After lunch delegates will visit the iconic turreted ruins of Dunluce Castle, the inspiration of C.S. Lewis' Cair Paravel from the Chronicles of Narnia and the site of the House of Greyjoy from Game of Thrones before going on to experience the stark beauty of the Giant's Causeway a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was voted the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. Delegates will then return to Belfast for our final meal together.

18.30 - Final evening meal for all delegates in Belfast

21.00 - End of Conference