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.

Re-opening of the US Rangers Centre

With the imminent re-opening of the Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre at Boneybefore, I am going to incorporate a visit there into a variation of the Tour.

The story of the US Rangers forms a significant part of the Tour, and the exhibitions in the Centre really add to that.

It’s a right wee dander (or “quite a walk” for any non-Northern folk out there) from the town to Boneybefore. It turns the Tour’s standard two-mile circuit into a three-and-a-half mile round trip. I think that for all but the most ambitious visitor, those are a few steps too far.

So, I’m going to try to do few variations of the Tour, to see how they work out.

My standard, “just turn up” scheduled Tours on most Saturday mornings at 10:30am will remain as they are: a two-mile, ninety-minute circular route that does not incorporate the US Rangers Centre. You can always visit the Centre at your leisure after the Tour.

I can also offer this standard Tour on other days and times, on request.

On a request-only basis (contact me to agree a day and time), if anyone wants to come on a Tour that includes a stop at the US Rangers Centre, I have a few permutations:

Walk the Walk. I don’t mind taking the extra steps. In fact, I could probably do with them! By doing the Tour (inclusive of visiting the US Rangers Centre), you will end up walking three and a half miles, in around two hours. You will follow most of the route we use in the Standard Tour, starting at the Castle, but deviate to Boneybefore, and then walk back along the promenade side of the Marine Highway. You get some decent photos of the Castle along this stretch. The standard Tour prices will apply.

Walk and Ride. This will be a combination of a shorter walk (about a mile and a half), followed by transportation to the US Rangers Centre, and then back to the Castle. The information I share during the Tour remains exactly the same as in the other Tours: you just do less walking. If you are able to provide your own transport, that’s great. If you don’t, I was planning just to use the local taxi service. The walking part of this Tour starts at the Castle, and ends at Taylors Avenue. From there, I will arrange for transportation to take us to the US Rangers Centre for 30-45 minutes, and then back to the Castle. I reckon, depending on how many are in the group taking the Tour, it should not add more than £2 to the standard cost of the Tour.

For these variations it really is only feasible if there are at least 3 people on the Tour, so you may need to rustle up a few additions from family & friends, or be prepared to join a waiting list until I get the necessary numbers. The more flexible you are about preferred days and times, the easier I may be able to cobble together a group.

A point to remember – the US Rangers Centre normally opens on Wednesdays to Sundays, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Tours incorporating a visit need to work round those times. In some circumstances, though, if there is decent size Group booking, the Centre may open outside of those times. I would need to be given a decent bit of notice in advance to make a request.

I am trying to be as flexible as I can for anyone wishing to come on one of my Tours. I appreciate that not everyone may be comfortable walking two miles (though it feels less – honestly!), or the Saturday morning slot may not suit. If you have any special requests about how I can help you join a Tour, please get in touch. I’ll do my very best to accommodate you.

The story of Carrickfergus during the Second World War is much more interesting than you may think! Join me to find out more.

All Tours conclude with a complimentary regular size tea or coffee at Dobbins Inn.

Tour now includes complimentary tea or coffee

I am delighted that Dobbins Inn is supporting the Lead The Way Tour.

I am now able to offer a complimentary regular size cup of tea or coffee to Tour participants at the conclusion of the Tour, in one of Ireland’s oldest buildings that is steeped in history and oozing character, offering a great atmosphere, real coal burning fire, “craic”, quality service and top class food.

There’s also accommodation available, with all bedrooms en suite complete with TV, telephone, complimentary WI-FI and tea/coffee making facilities.

Click on the logo below to visit the Dobbins Inn website.