2014 Taste of Scotland & Ireland 10 Days/9 Nights
Start your trip at Glasgow Airport with a group transfer to your hotel, departing at 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 12:00 noon. If you arrive later than noon, transfer to the hotel at your own expense. At 2:30 pm tour Glasgow, a city that flourished in Victorian times. Drive around George Square with its ornate City Chambers and nearby Glasgow Cathedral. Visit Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house built in 1471, and step back in time to discover Glasgow’s unique history. The house was originally part of a hospital and has been extensively restored and furnished. Join your tour director and travel companions for a welcome drink before dinner.
Travel alongside the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty. Travel through the deep valley of Glen Coe, notorious for the Campbell massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue through Fort William and stop at the Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, which offers a good selection of quality Scottish goods. At Fort Augustus embark on a short cruise on Loch Ness to keep an eye out for “Nessie” as well as admire the lovely scenery of this long, narrow lake. Continue to Nairn for a Scottish Highland evening. (Friday departures will stay in Inverness and enjoy a ceilidh, a musical evening.)
Drive to Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry to see how whisky is distilled and sample some. Continue south to St Andrews, renowned as the “Home of Golf” and for its university, Scotland’s oldest and spend some time to explore on your own. Drive south to Edinburgh and to your gracious manor house hotel, set on 1,000 acres with two golf courses and spa facilities a few miles from the city. In the evening dine at a popular restaurant and discover the haunts of Edinburgh’s eccentric characters in the Old Town on a fun walking tour.
This morning an Edinburgh city guide will point out the principal sights of this capital city. Drive along the bustling Princes Street and through the gracious, wide streets of the 200-year-old Georgian New Town. Walk along part of the Royal Mile where compact medieval houses reach 11 floors tall. Visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city and contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. The balance of the day is free. On July 29 to August 19 departures, seats are reserved for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Depart Edinburgh early this morning and drive south through Ayrshire and along the coast. At Cairnryan take a ferry ride to Belfast for a visit to Titanic Belfast. Learn about this famous liner which was built in the adjacent docks. State-of-the-art displays describe Belfast, working conditions and many other aspects of the ship. Drive south to Dublin and check in to your hotel, located overlooking Dublin Bay. The evening is at leisure for independent dining.
Start your day with a guided walk through Trinity College’s campus and visit the Old Library to view the priceless Book of Kells. Drive through central Dublin to see public buildings, lovely parks and elegant Georgian houses. In the Guinness Storehouse learn about the famous brew and sample a pint in the rooftop bar. In the evening enjoy a canal dinner cruise with traditional Irish music aboard a former Guinness barge through central Dublin.
Travel through the midlands of Ireland, stopping for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel. Visit a farmhouse for tea with scones and watch skilled sheep dogs herd sheep. Continue south to visit Blarney Castle and kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” Also visit the Blarney Woollen Mills where you can find quality Irish-made goods. Drive to Killarney, picturesquely set beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel and relax before dinner. Afterwards you may like to explore some of Killarney’s famous “singing pubs.”
Take a jaunting car ride to view Ross Castle set on Lough Leane. Then embark on the Ring of Kerry drive – a winding route with breathtaking sights of mountains and coastal views. Cross to Valencia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience which describes the austere lives of early Christian monks on the nearby islands. Savor a pub lunch and stop in Sneem to admire brightly painted houses. Pause at Moll’s Gap for stunning views before returning to Killarney where you have an evening free for independent dining and activities.
Take a ferry ride across the River Shannon to reach the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of sandstone that reaches 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Check in to Bunratty Castle Hotel, close to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. If you wish, you may visit the Folk Park, have a drink in the 200-year-old Durty Nelly’s Pub or shop at the Bunratty Mills. In the evening head to Bunratty Castle for a memorable medieval-style feast where the lords and ladies will serenade you with song and harp music, evocative of the Middle Ages.
Take a group transfer to nearby Shannon Airport where the tour concludes at 10:30 am.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner