Request for information

With the Tour now in mini-hibernation for the winter (though willing to be woken up on request), I am continuing with research on events in Carrickfergus during the Second World War.

As well as using published material in books, magazines, websites and newspapers of the time, I would like to hear personal stories from those who lived in the town during this period.

Sadly, many of those citizens are no longer with us. However, I am sure many of their personal stories have been handed down the generations.

If you, or people you know, have any recollections of what it was like to live and/or work in Carrickfergus during the Second World War, please get in touch with me.

For example, from my own family I have discovered that:

  • my dad studied at the Tech on High Street, before getting a job helping with horse-drawn bread deliveries;
  • my grandmother used to watch the American soldiers parading down Lancasterian Street from her first floor landing window (she used to live in what is now a charity shop opposite the Fire Station);
  • my grandfather got a suspended prison sentence for his part in the theft of petrol from the Army store at Kinnegar barracks, where he was working (not the sort of story I hoped to find!);
  • my father-in-law was in the local Home Guard; and
  • my mother-in-law worked in Barn Mills (I recently found a photo of her there, taken in 1943)

Perhaps this request for stories is a good excuse for the younger generations to sit down and chat with their elders about this period in time.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, please get in touch to let me know if you have anything you think may be of interest – stories, photos, memorabilia etc.

I can arrange to meet up, if necessary, to record these stories or take copies/photos of any useful items. Or if you are happy to email me the stuff, that’s great.

The best way to get in touch, initially, is by emailing me at: leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com

I will follow up any offers of information over the winter months. I may not do this immediately after you email me, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me straight away.

Winter Tour Arrangements

During the winter period, there are a few changes to how you can join me for a Guided Walking Tour around Carrickfergus.

Scheduled Saturday morning Tours, offered on a “just turn up” basis, will stop after 26 October 2019 and re-start on 29 February 2020.

During this period, Walking Tours will continue to be available on request.

I know that weather conditions may have an impact on your decision to consider a Tour. I don’t mind getting wrapped up to tackle the elements, but it’s not everyone’s idea of fun. For that reason, I am more than prepared to consider requests for a Tour at short notice, so you can factor in the weather forecast. I will do my very best to fit something in for you.

To help with your planning, here are a few useful hints and tips:

  • To get the most from a Tour, it’s best it takes place during daylight hours.
  • I can include a supported visit to the US Rangers Museum where a Tour fits in with their opening times of Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 15:00.
  • My contact details are here: Contact Me
  • Here’s a link to the BBC Weather Forecast: BBC Weather

More details about the Tour, including how to get here and other things you may want to do while in Carrickfergus, are available here: Lead The Way Tour Website

Please note, I will definitely be unavailable for Tours from 21 November through to 9 December.

October 2019 dates for “Just Turn Up” Walking Tours

We are heading rapidly towards autumn now, and with the winter just ahead of us the “Just Turn Up” Tours, that usually run on Saturday mornings, will be going into hibernation from the end of October until the Spring.

However, if you want to go on a Tour during this period, just get in touch with me and I will do my best to accommodate your request. With the sunsets getting earlier, I will not be offering evening Tours during the winter period, but will be more than happy to operate in daylight hours during the week and weekends.

In the meantime, I will still be operating Guided Walking Tours on a “Just Turn Up” basis on every Saturday during October 2019. All such Tours will start at 10:30am, and leave from just to the left of Carrickfergus Castle, as you face the main gate.

Meeting point for the start of the Tour

I’ll be carrying a Jeep Bag with “U.S.” written on it, so you should be able to spot me!

Jeep Bag

Alternatively, if you have a group of people who would like to find out more about the activities in Carrickfergus during the Second World War, but do not want to venture out for a Guided Walk, I am open to requests to deliver a presentation on this.

My contact details can be found here.

Antiques Road Trip

This very popular BBC TV programme made a visit to Northern Ireland recently, and as part of the show it visited the US Rangers Museum in Carrickfergus.

This gave a flavour of the important part Carrickfergus played during the Second World War.

You will find out even more on one of my Tours, but in the meantime, here is a link to that episode of Antiques Road Trip: Antiques Road Trip Series 19, Episode 16

To book one of my Guided Walking Tours, please get in touch.

Recent Reviews (taken from the Tour’s Facebook Page)

As the Tour season moves towards a slowdown over the winter, I would like to thank those who have already gone on a Tour with me. I have been delighted with the feedback so far.

Here are some examples of what recent guests on my Tour have had to say:

“Just completed the Lead the Way tour…. absolutely brilliant and very informative. Great to learn so much about the wee town where I live and its involvement in the war effort! Couldn’t recommend it highly enough!”

“A fantastic tour around my home town and learnt a lot that I didn’t know in my 28 years living there. Adrian’s knowledge of Carrickfergus as a whole was excellent as well. Highly recommended.”

”Great presentation at a steady pace and very informative. Highly recommended.”

”Did the tour this morning excellent and well worth the wee walk great presentation and delivery I highly recommend it what a wealth of history around this great town .”

Please note that from the end of October until the Spring (exact date will be published closer to the time) there will be no “Just Turn Up” Tours planned.

However, Tours can be offered during this period on request – just get in touch.

Eighty Years Ago

Before dawn on the 1 September 1939, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler sent his armed forces into Poland.

At 04:45, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the Polish port of Danzig on the Baltic Sea. The Luftwaffe attacked Wieluń around the same time, and at 08:00, German ground troops attacked the village of Mokra.

The World held its breath…….

On the 3 September, just eleven months after he declared “Peace for our time” on his return from Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave a live radio broadcast:

“This morning the British ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.

“You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed.

“Hitler’s actions, show convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.

“We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace.

“But the situation in which no word given by Germany’s ruler could be trusted, and no people or country could feel itself safe, had become intolerable. And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will all play your part with calmness and courage.”

British armed forces had already been mobilised following the invasion of Poland; but it wasn’t until the declaration of war that the National Service Act was enacted, immediately enforcing full conscription for all men between 18 and 41.

Chamberlain also restructured his existing Conservative government to create a War Cabinet, with Winston Churchill returning as First Lord of the Admiralty.

The same day, King George VI addressed those in Britain and across the Empire. Speaking in a live broadcast from Buckingham Palace, he called upon “my people at home and my peoples across the seas” asking them “to stand calm, firm and united in this time of trial.

“The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right and reverently commit our cause to God.

“If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.”

This was the start of a conflict that would eventually engulf every Continent on the planet and affect countless millions of people.

Join my Walking Tour around Carrickfergus, and discover how this small town in Northern Ireland rose to the challenge, and made a significant contribution to the eventual Allied victory.

Hear how Matilda, Rupert and Franklin all departed from Carrickfergus to leave their mark on the outcome of WW2.

Scheduled Tour Dates for September 2019

Dates for scheduled “Just Turn Up” Tours in September 2019

Saturday 7 September, 10:30am

NO TOUR ON THE 14th SEPTEMBER

Saturday 21 September. 10:30am

Saturday 28 September, 10:30am

All of these Scheduled Tours leave from just left of Carrickfergus Castle, as you face the main entrance gate.

You can pre-book a place on these Tours through Eventbrite by clicking on the logo below, or pay on arrival. There is a small discount if you use Eventbrite.

These dates not suit?

Other Days and Times for Tours, including evenings, are available on request. I will do my best to fit in with your preferred itinerary. Contact me to discuss options.

More details about the types of Tours you can choose from are on “The Tour” page of this website.

Changes to the Tour

Standard Tour

Following a trial of a shorter version of the Tour, I am now going to offer this as the Standard Tour. It is just under a mile in length and takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

The prices for the Standard Tour are:

Adults (16+): £6

Youths (11-16): 4

Families (Up to 2 Adults and 3 Youths): £18

Small discount available if you pre-book through Eventbrite

Extended Tour

I can also offer a slightly longer and more detailed version of the Tour.

The Extended 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).

The Extended Tour can only be offered by prior request and at times that the US Rangers Museum can accommodate. Their opening times are Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00-15:00. Other times may be available for Group Booking, but I would need adequate advance notice to make a request to the Museum.

The prices for the Extended Tour are:

Adults (16+): £8

Youths (11-16): £5

Families (Up to 2 Adults and 3 Youths): £20

Bespoke Tour

If neither of these versions 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.
  • 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.

Short Tour (Trial)

I have had a few requests recently about doing a shorter version of my Tour, as the two miles, and ninety minutes, of the standard Tour may not suit everyone. It was also suggested that visitors to the Castle may not have the time to commit to a long walk, but may consider a shorter Tour.

I’m always open to suggestions.

Consequently, I am going to try out a new shorter route next week, which will be about a mile in length. This will mean missing out a stop that’s a bit out of town, and will reduce the time needed to come on the Tour to 45-60 minutes.

I hope to be able to include the main substance of the standard Tour, through sharing some photographs, but maybe not in as much depth as the normal Tour.

Time will tell.

To test this new route, I intend to run a Short Tour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week (29 July, 31 July and 2 August), leaving from the Castle at 2:00pm. This will mean the Tour will finish just in time to enjoy your mid-afternoon complimentary cup of tea or coffee in Dobbins Inn.

I tested out the new route with my dog Maxx this morning (he didn’t like it as it was too short!).

It will allow visitors to our beautiful town to see some of the older parts of Carrickfergus along the way: St. Nicholas’ Church, Town Walls, North Gate and Shaftesbury Park, to name a few.

As my Tour concentrates on the role Carrickfergus played during the Second World War, I won’t be going into any great detail about those parts of the town, but I should be able to give a few pointers for the visitors to explore later for themselves.

The price for the trial run of this shorter Tour is £5 for Adults (16+), £3 for Youths (11-16) FREE for younger children. This includes a voucher, for each paying guest, entitling them to a complimentary cup of tea or coffee in Dobbins Inn.

The next Scheduled full Tour will be on Saturday 27 July at 10:30.

Other days and times available on request. Group bookings welcome.

I may be able to offer a supported visit to the US Rangers Museum on certain Tours – contact me to discuss.

I would hugely appreciate you sharing this information on your Facebook Page, and liking/follow the Tour’s main page, if you haven’t already.

August 2019 – Scheduled Tour Dates

There will be a scheduled Tour every Saturday morning during August, starting at 10:30am.

These Saturday Morning Tours do not include a supported visit to the US Rangers Museum.

Other days and times, which may include a supported visit to the US Rangers Museum, can be accommodated on request – just get in touch and I’ll do my best to deliver a Tour that fits better into your itinerary.

All Tours leave from the left hand side of Carrickfergus Castle (as you face the main entrance).

Meeting Point for the start of the Tour

The Guide will be easy to find – he’ll be carrying a replica US Army Jeep Bag.

US Army Jeep Bag

You can pay on the day or pre-book a place on the Tour through Eventbrite – provided the ticket is purchased by 11:00pm on the day before the Tour.

Click on the Eventbrite Logo below to be redirected there.