I offer Public and Private Tours, designed to showcase the role Carrickfergus played during the Second World War (1939-45).
While on the Tour, 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.
I have over a dozen items from that period which I bring along to help tell the stories of the men, women and children who lived, worked or were stationed in the town.
Throughout the United Kingdom, towns and cities changed to meet the demands of the war effort. Factories that made even the most routine of products were converted to manufacture goods needed to support the military campaign.
Carrickfergus was no different. Through this Tour you will learn about the very important items that were created here, and how the women in Northern Ireland flooded into the town to work in the factories.
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 those American soldiers.
Then, we have the residents of the town who witnessed the very structure of the town changing. Visit the last remaining Air Raid Shelter in the town (subject to opening hours). See where civilians went to collect their gas masks, rationing books and identity cards. Understand why the town had to be in complete darkness after sunset and how this was achieved.
The route for my Public Tour is just over a mile long, circular, and on level paved ground. Tours start from beside Carrickfergus Castle. There are several stops along the way where I show photographs and bring out a series of exhibits to help explain the significance of that location to Carrickfergus during the war. This standard route takes around 90 minutes to complete.
I also offer Private Tours, which can be tailored to your specific needs and interests. We can visit a few additional locations, just outside the town centre, allowing me to add a bit more detail to the Tour content. For example, Private Tours can incorporate a visit to the US Rangers Museum at Boneybefore, a stop at the site of the world’s largest parachute factory (when it opened), and the town’s last surviving Air Raid Shelter. Note, visits to these will be dependent on their opening hours, though with sufficient advance notice I may be able to gain access outside of these normal hours..
Route and content can be adapted to suit your own specific preferences. My contact details are on the home page.
Advice for young children (Year 3 or younger) – if I am honest, the Tour may not be suitable for very young children. There is quite a lot of information shared on the Tour, and I am not sure that a very young child would find this sufficiently interesting. That said, I will leave it up to the main carer of such a young child to decide if they want to bring them on a Tour. In such circumstances, children of this age will be made more than welcome and I will not charge for their attendance. If in doubt, get in touch and I can offer more specific advice.