2014 Scottish & Irish Dream 13 Days/12 Nights
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.
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 a number of the Clan Macdonald in 1692 and on to Ballachulish.
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.
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.
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.
Visit Glamis Castle, legendary setting of Macbeth and childhood home of the late Queen Mother. Travel to St Andrews, the “Home of Golf" for free time to look around and perhaps visit the British Golf Museum. Drive south into Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital and enjoy a Scottish Evening with dinner and entertainment.
Tour Edinburgh this morning to see the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” and walk along part of the Royal Mile, the medieval section. Tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle and admire splendid views. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure. On July 27 to August 17 departures enjoy the Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.
Depart Edinburgh early this morning and drive south through Ayrshire and along the coast. At Cairnryan take a ferry ride to Belfast. Close to the ferry terminal in the heart of the docks, visit 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.
Enjoy the morning at leisure or use your included open-top bus tour voucher. At 2:00 pm meet a local guide and tour central Dublin to see Trinity College, public buildings, tranquil parks and rows of Georgian houses. Take a guided tour through historic Dublin Castle, seat of government for centuries. Dine at the Merry Ploughboy Pub and enjoy a great show.
Depart Dublin and stop for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel. Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence” and shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Drive to Killarney, picturesquely set beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel and relax before dinner. Afterwards you may like to head to a “singing pub".
Today embark on the Ring of Kerry drive – a winding route with awesome mountain and coastline views. Watch a local farmer and his dogs herding flocks of sheep. Cross to Valencia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience which describes nearby islands. Enjoy an informal lunch and pause at Moll’s Gap for stunning views before returning to Killarney.
Take a ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary and view the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of sandstone that reaches 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Check in to Bunratty Castle Hotel and enjoy free time. Head to Bunratty Castle for a memorable medieval-style feast with a program of song and harp music, evocative of the Middle Ages.
Take a group transfer to Shannon Airport where your tour concludes at 10:30 am so that you can check in for your flight. Then you can shop for duty-free goods before boarding your flight home.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner