2014 Scottish & Irish Gold 15 Days/14 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. Drive to Inveraray and browse around the town before touring Inveraray Castle, home of the Campbells. Drive through Glen Coe, a spectacular valley renowned for a skirmish between the Campbell and Macdonald Clans 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 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 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. 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 of the city. Tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle and enjoy 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.
Leave Dublin and visit Clonmacnoise Monastic site, founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran on the banks of the River Shannon. See elaborate high crosses as well as many church ruins and round towers. Drive to Galway for a panoramic tour before checking in to your hotel, located near specialty stores, cafés and pubs. Enjoy free time before dining in your hotel.
Drive through the heart of Connemara to Leenane to embark on a short cruise of Killary Harbour, a 9-mile fjord (Mar 10 – Oct 20 departures). Enjoy views of hills where traces of “lazy beds” of potato ridges from the 19th century can still be seen. Stop for a casual lunch and tour Kylemore Abbey, an impressive mansion that is set in a lovely location by a lake. Return to Galway where the evening is free.
Travel south around Galway Bay to see the Cliffs of Moher, which rise almost 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic surf. Watch trained working dogs herd sheep and 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. In the evening head to Molly Darcy’s Pub for a hearty dinner and some lively local music and step dancing.
Take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride to Muckross House. Tour the house to see period furnishings and learn of its prominent guests and owners. Travel around the Ring of Kerry where the road winds between mountains and Atlantic coastline. Visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the rocky offshore islands and stop at Moll’s Gap for great views of mountains and valleys. Enjoy free time to browse around Killarney before dinner.
Drive through the mountains of Kerry to Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” 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 to discover Waterford’s long history.
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. In New Ross visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of a vessel which took emigrants from Ireland during the 1840’s Famine. Continue to your hotel in Dublin and in the evening drive to O’Connell’s Restaurant for an elegant meal and some live music.
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