Programme

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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, including Newgrange burial tomb, Derry/Londonderry, Barons Court, Dublin, Giant's Causeway, and Carrickfergus Castle.

Tuesday 12 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 1

Morning lectures

Irish land divisions
Archives and libraries in Ireland
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
Church records for use in genealogical research: administrative records
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Tuesday 13 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 2

Morning lectures
Wills and testamentary papers
School registers & education records
Graveyards & gravestone inscriptions
Occupation and business records
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself
Afternoon lectures 
Griffith’s Valuation & Valuation Revision Books
Tithe applotment books, tithe defaulters, freeholders’ registers
Landed estate papers
Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Wednesday 14 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 3

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

Day 1 - Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Welcome

19.00 - Welcome reception with wine and music in the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre in the historic Corn Exchange Building (adjacent to Ramada Encore)

Thursday 15 June

Day 2 - Research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) or tour to Carrickfergus Castle -Ulster’s most important Anglo-Norman castle, and South Antrim

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

or

A trip through south County Antrim including visits to one of the best preserved medieval structures in all of Ireland, Carrickfergus Castle and Sentry Hill farm – an old Ulster house and authentic Ulster farm, and typical of the homes of our Ulster-Scots ancestors

Our trip will take us up along Belfast Lough to the town of Carrickfergus, the gateway to the beautiful Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim and home to Ireland's oldest and best preserved Norman citadel, Carrickfergus Castle.

After our tour of the Castle we will have lunch in Dobbins Inn, one of Ireland’s oldest pubs which is steeped in history and character. Proceeding from Carrickfergus we will then visit Sentry Hill farm, an old Ulster house and authentic Ulster farm, and typical of the homes of our Ulster-Scots ancestors.

18.00 - Evening meal

19.30 - Return to Talbot Street

 

Friday 16 June

Day 3 – Tour to Barons Court, the home of the Dukes of Abercorn plus a trip to the Ulster-American Folk Park and Mellon Centre for Migration Studies or Research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

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

or

Tour to Barons Court, the home of the Dukes of Abercorn (Ulster’s only dukedom) plus a trip to the Ulster-American Folk Park and Mellon Centre for Migration Studies

We will proceed to Hill of the O'Neill - the ancient capital of Ulster. Following morning coffee we will tour the stronghold of the famous O’Neill dynasty and view the surrounding area from the top of the site.

We will then 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.

Visitors also have access to the Mellon Centre's Irish Emigration Database and talks will be given by migration experts Dr Brian Lambkin and Dr Patrick Fitzgerald. 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.

Our day in Omagh then will culminate in a tour of  Barons Court, the grand home of the Duke of Abercorn. Barons Court is not normally open to the public and for delegates this will be a rare opportunity to see inside this fascinating house.

18.00 - Evening meal

21.00 - Return to Talbot Street

 

Saturday 17 June

Day 4 –Tour through the spectacular scenery of the Glens of Antrim including visits to the Giant’s Causeway, the Rope Bridge at Carrick-a-Rede and Dunluce Castle.

08.15 - Our journey will begin in Belfast before travelling up the coast road through the nine Glens of Antrim, winding between picturesque villages and unforgettable scenic locations, including Rathlin Island, Glenarm Castle, Bonamargy Friary and Bushmills, home of Bushmills whiskey.

After lunch delegates can decide between either experiencing the stark beauty of the Giant's Causeway or the exhilarating experience that is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

We will then drive to the spectacular ruin that is Dunluce Castle, perched precariously on a headland above the Atlantic Ocean and the inspiration behind C.S. Lewis' Cair Paravel as well as being the actual location of the House of Greyjoy from Game of Thrones.

18.00 - Return to Talbot Street

 

Sunday 18 June

Day 5 - Free day for delegates to savour the delights of Belfast which could include visits to sites such as Titanic Belfast, the Pump House and Thompson Gavelling Dock, HSM Caroline, Crumlin Road Gaol and the Ulster Museum

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 Crumlin Road Gaol, the Ulster Musuem 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 19 June

Day 6 – Tour of Dublin including a guided tour of Kilmainham Gaol and Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells or research in the National Archives or National Library or Registry of Deeds

07.15 - Outing to Dublin with the choice of: A morning and afternoon of assisted research in the National Archives or National Library or Registry of Deeds (please note that the number of visitors to the archives is limited)

or

A tour of Kilmainham Gaol. Now operating as a museum we will receive a guided tour of this forbidding bastion of  punishment and correction, one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe. Leaders of many Irish rebellions were detained  in Kilmainham including Robert Emmet and Eamon de Valera.

We will then proceed to Trinity College for lunch before our tour of this renowned seat of learning, (the oldest university in Ireland) and home to the magisterial Book of Kells. This 9th-century gospel manuscript is housed in the the university's Old Library which also contains 200,000 of the library's oldest books (in the magnificent Long Room).

 

Delegates will then have free time to explore the area near Trinity College in which Dublin's premier shopping street is located (Grafton Street) as well as visit sites such as the National Museum of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland.

18.00 - Evening meal

20.30 - Return to Talbot Street

 

Tuesday 20 June

Day 7 - Tour of Northern Ireland's second city, Derry/Londonderry and trip to the Grianan of Aileach in Donegal or research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

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

or

08.15 - Coaches collect all delegates for our journey through the Sperrin Mountains to Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second city.

One of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe, we will walk on Derry's famous walls and explore the amazing sites that the city has to offer which can include visits to the First Derry Presbyterian Church;  St Columbs Cathedral; Tower Museum; Siege Museum; the historic Guildhall; St Augustine's Church;  Long Tower Church. Following lunch we will make the short journey to the Grianan of Aileach at Burt in County Donegal.

This fort, situated on a hill top approximately 800 feet above sea level will provide us with breathtaking views of Inishowen and the surrounding countryside (weather permitting!)

18.00 - Evening meal

20.00 - Return to Talbot Street

 

Wednesday 21 June

Day 8 – Tour of Newgrange and the Boyne Valley wherein delegates will experience 6000 years of Irish history in 6 hours or Research at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

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

or

Tour of Newgrange and the Boyne Valley wherein delegates will experience 6000 years of Irish history in 6 hours

Proceeding through County Down we will cross the border before our arriving in the Boyne Valley-  Irelands Ancient East. The abundance of historic monuments within this area testifies to being Ireland's most sacred and mythical landscape. Some of the most  important historic sites and monuments in Ireland dot the landscape here for including Monasterboice, notable for its impressive Round Tower and spectacular high crosses; Melifont Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery built in Ireland; the Hill of Tara, a sacred site associated with the High Kings of Ireland and of course the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Brú na Bóinne.

When we arrive at Brú na Bóinne we will first tour the extraordinary passage grave of Knowth. The tomb at Knowth contains the greatest concentration of megalithic art in Western Europe and is considered one of the top ten visitor attractions in Ireland by National Geographic. After a guided tour of Knowth we will then depart for the mysteriously beautiful passage tomb at Newgrange. Newgrange is the best-known neolithic monument in Ireland which predates the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000!

We will then leave pre-history Ireland and travel through the fabled Cooley peninsula, home to many tales from Irish folklore including the Táin Bó Cúailnge and Cú Chulainn before stopping and exploring the medieval town of Carlingford. In Carlingford you will find a unique combination of medieval buildings standing proud in the midst of a town full of atmosphere and character. We will then depart Carlingford for our final meal back in Belfast.

19.00 - Evening meal