2014 The Scots Irish Tour 11 Days/10 Nights
Your trip starts in Edinburgh Airport with a group transfer to your hotel, departing at 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 12:00 noon. At 2:00 pm depart your hotel for a short drive to visit the massive Stirling Castle, associated with “Braveheart” William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots. Return to Edinburgh for a welcome drink and you are free for independent dining this evening.
This morning tour Edinburgh to compare and contrast the wide streets and elegant mansions of the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” with the narrow lanes and medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile. In Leith tour the Royal Yacht Britannia, floating home of The Queen on many of her travels around the world. After dinner in a popular restaurant, take a ghost walking tour around the oldest part of Edinburgh. On August 3 to 19 departures enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.
Travel north to Pitlochry to visit Blair Athol Distillery to see how whisky is made and enjoy a “wee dram.” Continue through majestic Highland scenery to Leault Farm where dogs herd sheep through various obstacles. Drive to Inverness, a major town in the Highlands and enjoy a ceilidh, a musical evening (Sunday departures) or drive to Nairn to your hotel near the coast for a Scottish Evening (Tuesday departures).
Drive alongside Loch Ness and through wild Highland scenery, pausing for photos at the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle and cross to the Isle of Skye by bridge. Drive through part of the island and visit the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle to discover the history of the powerful Lords of the Isles. Return to the mainland by ferry and take the “Road to the Isles” through some lovely scenery, stopping for photos at the Glenfinnan Monument.
This morning enjoy final views of the magnificent Highlands as you drive south through Glen Coe and alongside the lovely shores of Loch Lomond. Stop briefly in Alloway to visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum to learn about the famous poet’s life and poetry. Travel along the coast to Cairnryan for a short ferry ride to Belfast.
This morning a Belfast guide will show you Victorian buildings, the imposing City Hall in Donegall Square and the shipyards where RMS Titanic was built in 1912. Visit Titanic Belfast to learn about this famous liner through state-of-the-art displays. In the afternoon join a local guide for a walking tour around part of central Belfast and find out more about life in this thriving city. The evening is free to explore and choose a restaurant to dine on your own.
Drive along the scenic route of the “Nine Glens of Antrim,” for views of mountains, valleys and coastline. Stop at the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity 60 million years ago which have spawned legends about the mythical giant, Finn McCool. In Derry join a local guide for a short walking tour around the defensive walls of the compact city before driving to Letterkenny.
Travel to Glenveagh National Park where Captain Adair built Glenveagh Castle in 1870. Learn about the history of the mansion on a guided tour and walk around the extensive gardens filled with exotic plants. Drive through Donegal town and visit the Belleek Pottery Factory to see the creation of delicate china. Continue to Kilronan Castle for a 2-night stay and relax in the great setting.
Drive through Enniskillen to Omagh to visit the Ulster American Folk Park. Browse through traditional cottages and learn about folk crafts in a natural rural setting. Board a replica ship bound for the “New World” to see how emigrants traveled and lived in their new homeland. Return to Kilronan Castle Hotel for leisure time before dinner.
Travel south to Galway city for a panoramic drive around the main sights and take some free time to browse around. Drive through the Burren to view the Cliffs of Moher, a dramatic wall of rock that plunges to the Atlantic Ocean. Check in to your hotel in Ennis and in the evening head to 15th century Bunratty Castle for a fun medieval-style banquet.
Take a group transfer to nearby Shannon Airport where your tour concludes at either 7:30 am or 10:30 am to allow time to check in for your flight home.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner