15 Day Scottish & Irish Gold Tour Itinerary
Day 1 : Glasgow City Tour
Your trip starts in Glasgow Airport with a group transfer to your hotel at 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 12:00 noon. At 2:30 pm take a panoramic tour around central Glasgow. View extensive collections in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Chat with your tour director over a welcome drink before dinner.
Day 2 : Loch Lomond Cruise & Inveraray Castle
Embark on a short cruise of Loch Lomond to appreciate views of Highland peaks. Take a guided tour around Inveraray Castle, home of the Campbell family, and browse around the nearby town. Drive through Glen Coe, a spectacular valley where the Campbells massacred many of the Clan Macdonald in 1692 and on to Ballachulish.
Day 3 : Isle of Skye & Highland Evening
Travel on the scenic “Road to the Isles”, stopping for photos at the Glenfinnan Monument. Take a ferry to the Isle of Skye and visit the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle. Drive through the island and return to the mainland by bridge, stopping for photos at the famous Eilean Donan Castle. Pass Loch Ness on the way to your hotel in Nairn. A Scottish Highland evening will feature haggis, bagpipe music and dancing.
Day 4 : Culloden Moor & Speyside Distillery
Visit the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre to learn about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat in 1746, which changed the traditional Highland way of life for the clans. Drive into the Speyside region to visit one of the prominent distilleries. Learn about whisky making and sample a “wee dram” at the end of the tour. Drive to your 19th century manor house hotel near Blairs.
Day 5 : Balmoral Castle & Afternoon Tea
Drive along the charming River Dee Valley, called “Royal Deeside” as it was made popular by Queen Victoria. Visit the Royal Family’s Balmoral Castle set in its spacious estate (Apr-Jul).Visit Crathes Castle when Balmoral is closed (Mar & Aug-Nov). Take a look around the town of Ballater, where shops bear the Royal Warrant. Stop at the Falls of Feugh to sample afternoon tea with freshly-baked scones and enjoy a talk on Highland life.
Day 6 : Glamis Castle & St Andrews Golf
Visit Glamis Castle, legendary setting of Macbeth and childhood home of the late Queen Mother. Travel across the Tay Bridge to St Andrews, the “Home of Golf.” Enjoy free time to look around and perhaps visit the British Golf Museum or the ruined cathedral. Continue south to Edinburgh to check in to your hotel near the Royal Mile. Head to the Ghillie Dhu for dinner followed by a ceilidh with traditional Scottish music.
Day 7 : Edinburgh Castle & City Tour
Tour Edinburgh this morning to see the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” and walk along part of the Royal Mile, the medieval section of the city. Tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle and enjoy splendid views. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure. On July 28 to August 18 departures enjoy the Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.
Day 8 : Titanic Belfast & Vibrant Dublin
Depart Edinburgh early this morning and drive south through Ayrshire and along the coast. At Cairnryan take a ferry ride to Larne. Drive to Belfast for a panoramic city tour followed by a visit to Titanic Belfast to learn about this famous liner through state-of-the-art displays. Drive south to Dublin and check in to your centrally-located hotel. You are free to dine independently.
Day 9 : Clonmacnoise Monastic Site & Galway City Tour
Leave Dublin and journey across the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to visit Clonmacnoise. This monastic settlement was founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran and is set on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. See elaborate high crosses as well as many church ruins and round towers. Drive to Galway and view the main sights of the city before checking into your hotel, located within easy reach of lively streets with fun specialty stores, cafés and pubs. Enjoy some free time to browse around on your own before dining in your hotel.
Day 10 : Connemara, Clifden & Catamaran Cruise
Drive through the heart of Connemara, past granite hills and sparkling lakes on the way to Leenane to embark on a short cruise of Killary Harbour, a 9-mile fjord (Mar 17 – Oct 27 departures). Enjoy views of hills where traces of “lazy beds” of potato ridges from the 19th century and earlier can still be seen. Keep an eye out for seabirds as you pass mussel and salmon farms. Rejoin your coach and drive through lovely countryside where sheep graze freely. Stop for photos at the Kylemore Abbey Visitor Centre and in Clifden, the principal town of the region, and return to Galway.
Day 11 : Cliffs of Moher & Killarney’s Jaunting Car
Travel south around Galway Bay to see the Cliffs of Moher, which rise almost 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic surf. Then drive through the outskirts of Limerick and stop in the picturesque village of Adare for photos. Drive to Killarney, a little town that is world-famous due to its exquisite location beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel in the center of the town. Head out to view stunning scenery on a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the grounds of the Killarney National Park to Ross Castle, set on Lough Leane.
Day 12 : Ring of Kerry Tour & Pub Lunch
Take a guided tour around Muckross House to see period furnishings and learn of its prominent guests and owners. Stroll through the mature gardens before embarking on Ireland’s most popular scenic drive - the Ring of Kerry. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains and the Atlantic coastline. Savor lunch at the Bridge Bar in Portmagee before taking the bridge to Valencia Island. Visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the rocky offshore islands where monks lived in early Christian times. Stop in the attractive village of Sneem and view the Three Lakes of Killarney from Moll’s Gap. Enjoy free time to browse around Killarney and dine on your own.
Day 13 : Titanic Experience, Traditional Music Session & Waterford Walk
Drive through the mountains of Kerry and West Cork into richer farming country on the way to Cobh, last port of call for the RMS Titanic. Here visit the Titanic Experience to learn about the people who embarked for the United States aboard the ill-fated liner. Drive along the coast to the Marine Bar in Dungarvan for a creamy Irish coffee and an informal traditional music session. Continue to Waterford and check into your historic hotel, located on the waterfront of this ancient port city. After dinner, take a fun walking tour around the narrow streets and ancient buildings to discover Waterford’s long history.
Day 14 : House of Waterford Crystal & Taylor’s Three Rock Pub
After breakfast tour the House of Waterford Crystal to watch glass blowing and cutting by master craftspeople and see a huge display of elegant tableware and magnificent trophies. Drive along the coast and through the Wicklow Mountains to Blessington. Take a guided tour around the stately Russborough House, a Palladian mansion filled with interesting treasures as well as noted works of art and early photographic collections. Continue to your hotel in Dublin and in the evening drive to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for dinner and a lively show with traditional Irish music, story-telling and step-dancing.
Day 15 : Depart for Home
Group transfers are provided to Dublin Airport to arrive at 6:00 am, 9:00 am or 12:00 noon.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner