Combine Ireland and Scotland on one great vacation
Can’t decide between Ireland and Scotland for your next vacation? Combine a visit to both! A tour exploring both of these beautiful countries is a wonderful way to explore the historic and cultural ties between them. They have much in common: magnificent landscapes, ancient castles, quaint towns and exciting cities – plus a legacy of migration that means for millions of descendants around the world, a visit to Ireland and Scotland is a special kind of homecoming.
When you take one of our combined Scotland and Ireland guided vacations, you’ll arrive in one country and depart from the other, taking a ferry between Northern Ireland (either Belfast or nearby Larne) and the southernmost tip of Scotland at Cairnryan. (The ferry duration depends on the exact route you’ll be taking and the time of year, but at its fastest it’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes.)
If you’re most interested in exploring the lands of your ancestors and exploring the histories of these neighboring countries, you might consider the Scots Irish Tour, a fast-paced tour that delves into the history and scenery of Scotland and Ireland North and South. Special highlights include visits to the Royal Yacht Britannia, Blair Castle, the Isle of Sky, Robert Burns’ birthplace, Giants’ Causeway, Glenveagh National Park, and the Arigna Mining Centre.
Scotland and Ireland have much in common, but each has its own special charm. Our favorite Scottish beauty spots include:
No Scottish wedding or New Year’s celebration is complete without the song named after this lake, Britain’s largest. (You know the tune: “Oh, ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road…”) This melancholy tune is believed to date back to the tragic aftermath of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, in which Scottish supporters of the House of Stuart lost their bid to regain the British Throne.
The sight of this majestic building looming over the city from its perch atop an extinct volcano is thrilling. The castle, the oldest parts of which date back to the 12th Century, houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, as well as the Stone of Destiny andthe National War Museum.
Eilean Donan Castle
This 13th-century castle on a little island surrounded by three lochs was abandoned for centuries. Restored 100 years ago as a family home, it’s now one of Scotland’s most iconic sights, and visitors can tour the luxurious rooms to see period furniture, fine art and displays of historical weapons.
Ireland’s beauty is famously wondrous. Some of our favorite highlights:
The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren:
The cliffs tower dramatically over the churning Atlantic below, while the flat limestone landscape of the Burren intrigues with its hardy little flowers peeking among the unique rock formations.
Set precariously on seaside cliffs in beautiful County Antrim, this 16th-century castle notoriously lost its kitchen one stormy night in 1639, when it fell into the sea.
The Ring of Kerry
This narrow winding road route offers magnificent views of mountains, valleys, lakes and coasts, as well as charming villages. It’s Ireland in all its emerald glory.
There’s lots of quirky history to explore in both countries:
- You probably sing Auld Lang Syne every New Year’s Eve, but did you know it was written by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns? You can visit his birthplace, which is now a museum.
- Ireland has buildings older than the pyramids! Visit the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre to learn about the Neolithic people who built passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, mysterious marvels constructed 5,000 years ago.
- The Titanic was built in Belfast, and there’s a fascinating, high-tech museum telling the whole story about the ill-fated oceanliner, the thriving industrial city where it was crafted, the excitement of its launch, and the hundreds of years of maritime history.
- Take a walking tour of Derry’s famous 17th – century walls, the only completely intact walled city in Ireland and one of the finest in all of Europe.
There’s so much to see in Ireland and Scotland – and CIE Tours can take you there.