I offer Public and Private Tours, designed to showcase daily life in Carrickfergus during the Second World War (1939-45), and the role the town played.
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 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 location of the town’s last remaining Air Raid Shelter, 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. Get a feel for life on the Home Front!
The route for my Public Tour is just over a mile and a half long, circular, and on level paved ground. Tours start from the paved area just to the left of Carrickfergus Castle, as you face its main gate. 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 two hours 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/or the town’s last surviving Air Raid Shelter (external view only).
Route and content can be adapted to suit your own specific preferences.
Advice for young children (Age 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.
March to September (inclusive)
Public Tour dates, times, and booking details can be found here, but please get in touch if you would like a Private Tour on a date and time of your own choosing, and I will do my very best to accommodate your request.
Payment can be made online for places on the Public Tours.
Payment arrangements for Private Tours will be agreed at the time of booking.
October to February (inclusive)
Many of the contemporary items I bring on my Tour are too fragile to be brought out during poor weather. As there is more risk that Tours may be cancelled during these months, due to inclement conditions, I don’t publish scheduled Public Tours for this period.
Instead, I’m more than happy to set up a Private Tour on request, with an assurance that should the weather prevent it from going ahead I will offer a full refund, even at relatively short notice.