I know that no passports were needed for our trip to Northern Ireland but we did land at Dublin in the Republic. We had to set out from Norwich at 4 a.m which was a difficult time as it was neither here nor there. A midnight start and we could have stayed up and slept on the coach. But with a 4 a.m start the question is to go to bed or not to go to bed. So I went to bed and grabbed a couple of hours before getting up again at 2.30 a.m.
One of the problems with coach tours is the way they zig zag across the country picking people up. So we had to go from Norwich to Downham Market and then Wisbech and Peterborough before setting off for the ferry at Hollyhead in Welsh Wales. That was followed by a three hour ferry journey to Dublin. That in itself was interesting. The on board pizzas were decent but it was the weather that was of particular interest. It was announced that the winds would be gale force eight or extreme gale force nine. I'm sure a number of years ago that would have seen the passage cancelled. But stabilisers were employed and the journey was pleasant enough.
Interesting journey from Dublin to Belfast as well. There were no border controls, no apparent "welcome to Northern Ireland" (unless I missed it) and the only indication that we had moved from one country back into the UK came when distances in kilometres were replaced by distances in miles and signs stopped being repeated in Gaelic alongside the English.
It seemed to take forever to get to our destination the La Mon Hotel and Country Club 15 minutes out from Belfast and in open countryside. I think we had about five minutes between getting to our rooms and the evening carvery where the asked for small portion of meat turned into a massive wallopper. So everyone wore the clothes they had travelled in but, after 17 hours of travelling, the lure of food seemed more important than sartorial elegance.