“…..consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

On 1 September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. So started a conflict that would spread across all parts of the planet and last for six years: the Second World War.

As the German military machine swept through Europe, Carrickfergus (like many towns and cities across the nation) responded to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s call to support the War Effort.

Its citizens served in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Merchant Navy.

On the Home Front, factories in the town turned their attention to making the essential products needed for the war.

British, American and Belgian military units were stationed (and a significant one created) within the town, and a number of German and Italian prisoners-of-war were detained here.

So, join me as I Lead the Way and discover the unique role Carrickfergus played during  the Second World War.

Find out how Franklin, Rupert and Matilda left this town to play a significant part in the successful Allied victory.

Some useful information about the Tour is shown below, or you can jump to what you need by using the menus at the top and bottom of this page

The Tour

This Tour is designed to showcase the role Carrickfergus played during the Second World War (1939-45).

Throughout towns and cities across the United Kingdom during the Second World War, factories that made even the most routine of products were converted to manufacture goods needed for the War Effort. Carrickfergus was no different, and through this Tour you will learn about the very important items were created here.

Northern Ireland was a staging post for over 300,000 American troops on their way to the frontline. Carrickfergus was identified as a crucial part of the infrastructure required. The first American communication base was set up here in early 1942, but a more significant event took place in the town in the summer of that year. We will visit the location where this took place, discover why it was so important, and follow the historic onward journey of one of the American soldiers involved.

So, whether you are a local wanting to know more about what is right on your doorstep; interested in how manufacturing adapted to support the War Effort; a visitor wanting to see around the town; or just have an interest in the American military presence in Northern Ireland during WW2, this is the Tour for you.

I will share some dates and facts with you along the way, but I won’t be bombarding you with numbers. This Tour is more about the story of the town, and some of the people associated with it, during the Second World War.

The records of this period are hard to tie down as “Loose talk costs lives” during the War. I’m constantly finding out more and more about what was happening in Carrickfergus during WW2, and will gladly take on board any comments and additional stories that participants on the Tour share with me.

As a result, the content of this Tour may change over time, but that’s a good thing!

Variations of the Tour

Standard Tour

This is a one-mile circular route, on level paved ground.

It starts from just left of Carrickfergus Castle, as you face the front entrance, and takes roughly forty-five minutes to an hour to complete.

The Tour route will also take us past many of the significant older parts of the town that you may wish to visit after completing this Tour.

Along the way I will use the locations and some photographs to explain the town’s significance during the Second World War.

The Standard Tour operates on a “just turn up” basis on most* Saturday mornings, starting at 10.30am, though you can pre-book tickets through Eventbrite (which will give you a small discount).

Other days and times are available on request – please contact me to arrange a suitable day and time.

*occasionally, due to personal circumstances, a scheduled Tour may not run on a particular Saturday morning. Please re-visit the website, contact me or follow the Tour’s Social Media accounts, to confirm before you travel.

Extended Tour

This Tour is similar in content to the Standard Tour but adds an additional few stops and a supported visit to the US Rangers Centre at Boneybefore. This extends the route to just over two miles, and will take ninety minutes to complete (including the stop at the US Rangers Centre). Transport will be provided from the US Rangers Centre back to Carrickfergus Town Centre, or you can choose to walk back along the Marine Highway promenade (approximately one mile).

I can only offer the ExtendedTour on request. Please contact me to agree a suitable day and time.

NOTE: the US Rangers Centre is open from Wednesday to Sunday (11:00am to 3:00pm), so this Tour can normally only be arranged to fit into those times. In some circumstances, for Group Bookings, the US Rangers Centre may be available at times other than their standard opening ones, but I would need adequate advance notice in advance to make a formal request to the Centre.

Bespoke Tour

If neither the Standard or Enhanced Tours suit you, get in touch and I will work with you to create a Bespoke Tour that meets your requirements.

For example:

  • There are some interesting locations a little further outside the Town Centre worth visiting, but this would mean a walk of around 5 miles (may be suitable for Walking Groups) or you would need to make your own travel arrangements between each site.
  • The town’s manufacturing activities can be used to bring to life the “Home Front” to Key Stage 3 pupils and other students learning about the Second World War.
  • You may wish to include a visit to Carrickfergus Castle before or after this Tour.
  • You may wish to have a meal while in the Town

I will do my best to help you build a Tour programme that matches your requirements. Contact me to discuss possibilities.

The cost of a Bespoke Tour will be agreed in advance.

Pricing & Tickets

Standard Tour

Most Saturdays at 10:30am, with other days and times available on request.

(1 mile, 45-60 minutes)

Adult (over 16): £6

Juvenile (11-16): £4

Families (up to 2 Adults and 3 Juveniles): £18

Extended Tour

Available Wednesday to Sunday only, and by prior arrangement only – contact me to arrange

(2 miles, 90 minutes, includes supported visit to the US Rangers Museum and transport from the US Rangers Centre back to the Castle)

Adult (over 16): £8

Youth (11-16): £5

Families (up to 2 Adults and 3 Juveniles): £22

     

All Tours

Children (under 11): FREE, if accompanied and supervised by an Adult (1 Child per Adult). Note, this Tour may not be suitable for Children under 5

Groups: Discount available for pre-booked Tours, depending on Group size. Please contact me in advance to arrange a suitable date and time, and agree an overall cost.

Prices include a complimentary regular size cup of tea or coffee, per Adult/Youth, in Dobbins Inn at the end of the Tour. The Tour Guide will provide you with a Voucher which you should present to your server.

Ticketing Arrangements

You can either pre-purchase Tickets for the Standard Saturday morning Tour through Eventbrite (with a small discount), or pay your Guide on arrival.

If you pre-purchase a Ticket for the Tour, please bring a printed copy of your ticket to present to the Tour Guide.

Cancellations

In the event that a pre-booked Tour is cancelled, the following policy applies;

If Lead The Way Tour is unable to deliver a Tour, as promised, you will be offered a full refund. In addition, you will be given a 20% discount should you choose to re-book at a later date.

If you chose to cancel a Booking, you will receive a full refund if the cancellation is made at least one day prior to the Tour. There will be no refund if you choose to cancel less than 24 hours before the Tour is due to commence. See the Eventbrite booking page for details.

Getting Here

The Tour starts just to the left of Carrickfergus Castle, as you look at the entrance.

You really can’t miss it!

Carrickfergus Castle – meeting point for the start of the Tour

The Guide will be easy to spot – he’ll be carrying a replica US Army Jeep Bag like this one….

US Army Jeep Bag

There are excellent train and bus connections to Carrickfergus. Translink is Northern Ireland’s public transport provider. You can click here to use their Journey Planner.

If you are travelling by car or private coach, Car Park details are available here.
The Harbour Car Park is recommended as being the most convenient free one in the Town.

There is a bit more information about what else you may wish to do while in Carrickfergus in our “Stay Awhile” page.