Ireland and Scotland – 14 Days

Introduction

Take in the breath-taking sites of Ireland and Scotland on this 14 day tour.

This tour begins in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, known for its bustling streets, welcoming atmosphere and rich history.

Visit Ireland’s world famous Irish National Stud Farm in County Kildare, breeding thoroughbred horses for well over 100 years.

Discover the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary once the seat of the ancient Kings of Munster.

Ramble through the historic town of Kinsale with its narrow winding streets and beautiful setting overlooking Kinsale harbour.

Venture along Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southerly point.

Tour the magical Dingle Peninsula once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by the National Geographic.

Visit the world-renowned Cliffs of Moher rising to a height of 702 feet over the Atlantic Oceanand accounting for over 8 kilometres of coastline.

Experience island life on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands.

Travel through the wild and rugged landscape of Connemara.

Continue north to Donegal Ireland’s most north westerly county.

Visit the historic city of Derry.

Experience the stunning views of the Antrim coast and visit the amazing Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tour Belfast City and visit Titanic Belfast the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.

Take the ferry to Scotland, tour Glasgow City, often described as Britain’s finest Victorian City.

Venture north through the historic and picturesque Glen Coe to Fort William and enjoy a wee dram at the Ben Nevis distillery.

Take a ferry to the Isle of Skye and continue into the Scottish Highlands to Inverness.

Stop in St. Andrews, famed as the home of golf.

Visit the bustling city of Edinburgh, steeped in history, with a rich cultural heritage and elegant Georgian streets set against the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the medieval turrets and spires of the Old Town.

This itinerary can be customized and tailored to your group’s requirements. 

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Dublin – City Tour

Following arrival at Dublin Airport, we will enjoy a tour of Dublin City, founded as a Viking settlement and has been home to the Irish Parliament since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. On our tour, we will see the Georgian Squares with their 18th Century houses, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Phoenix Park, which is the biggest town park in Europe, statue filled O’Connell Street and the fashionable Grafton Street. We will also see Trinity College, which houses the Book of Kells.

No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Brewery founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. Here we will enjoy a tour which concludes with a mouth-watering pint of Guinness in the 360-degree roof top bar while enjoying some spectacular views of Dublin City.

Overnight: Dublin.

 

Day 2. National Stud Farm – Rock of Cashel – Kinsale

This morning we bid farewell to Dublin and travel south to County Kildare – the center of Ireland’s horse breeding industry, where we will enjoy a guided tour of the Irish National Stud Farm.

Since it bred its first winner MINORUin 1909, the stud farm at Tully has continued to produce many famous race horses.

Also on the grounds of the Stud Farm are The Japanese Gardens renowned for their symbolism of “The Life of Man” and St. Fiacre commemorative garden.

From here we continue to Cashel where we will take a guided tour of the amazing Rock of Cashel. This was the seat of the Kings of Munster from 370 – 1101 and has early associations with St. Patrick. The group of medieval buildings includes a 12th century Round Tower, a 13th century Gothic Cathedral, a 15th century High Cross and Romanesque Chapel.

From here we travel to Kinsale, a historic fishing town on the southern coastline of County Cork with old cobble stone streets and many interesting shops and pubs. It is also renowned for its restaurants and is known as the gourmet capital of Ireland.

Day 3. West Cork – Mizen Head – Kenmare – Killarney

This morning we depart Kinsale and travel along the southern coastline to Skibbereen.

We continue to Ballydehob and from here to Mizen Head – the most southerly point of Ireland, where we will visit the award winning Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction. We can take a short walk to the 99 steps that lead to the Arched Bridge crossing the crashing waves to the Mizen Head Lighthouse for a wonderful view of the swirling Atlantic Ocean.

Following this adventure, we travel up the coast through some picturesque lazy towns & villages to Kenmare, an example of one of Ireland’s few planned towns. Kenmare derived from its Gaelic name Neidín meaning ‘little nest,’ aptly named because of its fine setting nestling as it does among the mountains of Cork and Kerry.

We continue our journey to Killarney taking in a 20-mile stretch of the famous Ring of Kerry.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 4. The Dingle Peninsula

Today we will enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by the National Geographic.

We will visit Brian de Staic studio in Dingle which specializes in Celtic jewelry. This unique jewelry is handcrafted and engraved with ancient Celtic symbols and the letters of the ogham alphabet, an ancient Irish form of writing.

As we continue around Slea Head, we will have some breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline and see some beehive huts (early monastic settlements) dating back over a thousand years. Our tour will take us to the most westerly point of Ireland where we can view the Blasket Islands.

We will also see some of the locations for such films as Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and the more recently filmed Star Wars The Last Jedi.

After some free time in Dingle for lunch, we return to Killarney.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 5. Tralee – Shannon Ferry – Cliffs of Moher – Galway

This morning, we bid farewell to Killarney and travel to Tralee, capital town of County Kerry and famous for The Rose of Tralee Festival.

We continue to Tarbert where we board the Shannon Ferry which crosses the Shannon Estuary to Killimer. From here we take the coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point; they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coastline. O’Brien’s Tower stands near the highest point and has served as a viewing point for hundreds of years.

Following some free time to view the cliffs, our tour continues through the lunar type landscape of the Burren, from the Irish word ‘bhoireann’ meaning’ a stony place’ or ‘a rocky place’ which is a very accurate description for this 350 sq. kilometres limestone plateau.

Our tour continues along the shores of Galway Bay to Galway City.

Overnight: Galway City.

Day 6. Connemara.

This morning we embark on a tour of Connemara. Connemara is made up of mountains, lakelands and boglands. Because of its wild and rugged beauty it has been the location for many films. “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O Hara and in more recent times “The Field” starring Richard Harris. The scenery is both magical and is a paradise for artist and photographer alike.

Our tour will include a visit to Kylemore Abbey, built 1866 and from 1920 to 2008 was home to the Benedictine Nuns. We will visit the Abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden, which is completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall and the beautiful Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry in memory of his wife who died four years after the castle was constructed.

On returning to Galway, the remainder of the evening is free to wander through the charming old cobbled stone streets, experience the history and appreciate the blend of past and present with modern day shops housed in century old buildings.

Overnight: Galway.

Day 7. Galway – Sligo – Donegal

This morning we depart Galway and travel to Cong, one of the main locations for the ‘Quiet Man’ film.

We continue northwards passing by the Knock Shrine, now an internationally recognized Marian Shrine with one and a half million pilgrims visiting annually.

We travel to Drumcliffe in County Sligo – set against the striking backdrop of the Benbulben Mountain. It is best known as the final resting place of one of Ireland’s great poets W.B. Yeats.  Found in the churchyard, his grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription, “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by.”

Afterwards, we continue to Belleek,on the banks of the River Erne, made famous for its fine Parian china produced in Belleek Pottery, the oldest pottery in Ireland. The china is valued by collectors from all over the world. Following a guided tour, we continue to Donegal town for an overnight stay.

Overnight: Donegal.

Day 8. Derry – Giant’s Causeway – Belfast

This morning we travel to Derry City on the banks of the River Foyle. Derry City was founded in 546 AD and still retains its 17C walls. We will see the new Derry Peace Bridge over the River Foyle. This 235-metre-long pedestrian bridge opened in 2011 and bridges a 400-year-old physical and political gap between two sides of a once divided community.

We continue to Limavady where we begin our journey along the Antrim Coast Road Drive. Sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery of crashing waves, sandy beaches and busy seaside villages.

Of course, no visit to Northern Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Giant’s Causeway, a remarkable basaltic formation made of over 40,000 hexagonal-shaped pillars and ranked as one of the natural wonders of the world. We continue the coast road to Belfast.

Overnight: Belfast.

Day 9. Belfast City – Scotland

We begin our final day in Ireland with a panorama tour of Belfast City. We will see the City Hall – one of the finest Classical Renaissance buildings in Europe, the Linen Hall Library which has been lending books for over 200 years, the Grand Opera House often described as the most beautiful Victorian theatre in the world.

We drive by many of Belfast’s colorful murals that depict the history and political views of the cities’ people. We also visit Titanic Belfast, a new state of the art visitor center which tell the stories of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic.

This afternoon, we board the ferry to cross the North Atlantic to Cairnryan in Scotland. On arriving in Scotland, we travel to Alloway – the birthplace of Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s greatest poets.

Overnight: Glasgow.

Day 10. Glasgow City – Ben Nevis Distillery – Fort William

This morning we enjoy a tour of Glasgow City, often described as Britain’s finest Victorian City. In 1999 its architecture won it the accolade of ‘UK City of Architecture and Design’. Our tour includes a visit to Glasgow Cathedral, one of the most ancient and historic sites in the city.

On departing Glasgow, we travel north along the bank of Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s most beautiful lakes, into the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, our tour continues through the historic glen of Glen Coe to Fort William and to the Ben Nevis Distillery. Nestled at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain the distillery, established in 1825, is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. Following a guided tour, we will enjoy a wee dram before departing.

Overnight: Fort William.

Day 11. Isle of Skye – Inverness

This morning we depart Fort William and travel to Mallaig to board the ferry to the Isle of Skye recently voted the 4th best island in the world by National Geographic.

We visit the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle. An award-winning Museum of the Isles. Here we discover the history of the Scottish Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald, one of the most powerful Scottish clans. Enjoy some breathtaking scenery as our tour winds its way through the island before returning to the mainland via the Skye Bridge which opened in 1995.

Afterwards, we will see the Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland’s most iconic sights. We continue along the banks of Loch Ness, keeping our cameras ready for a view of the monster, to Inverness – the capital of the highlands.

Overnight: Inverness.

Day 12. Culloden – St Andrews – Edinburgh

This morning we depart Inverness and travel a short distance to Culloden for our first stop of the day. The last major battle in Britain was fought here on April 16th 1746. This morning we will have the opportunity to relive the drama with a visit to Culloden Visitor Centre.

We continue south through the scenic Grampian Mountains passing by Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Atholl and the only person in Britain allowed to keep a private army.

We travel to Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews. Not only is St. Andrews famed as the home of golf, it is also an ancient ecclesiastical capital and Scotland’s oldest university.

We continue south travelling over the Forth Road Bridge to the stunning city of Edinburgh.

Overnight: Edinburgh.

Day 13. Edinburgh City Tour

This morning a tour of Edinburgh City awaits us. We will travel down Princess Street and the historic Royal Mile before visiting the Palace of Holyrood House – the official Scottish residence of her Majesty the Queen. Hear the tales of some truly intriguing characters – the Bodysnatchers, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Greyfriars Bobby. We will visit the majestic Edinburgh Castle and enjoy the magnificent views of the city from the castle ramparts.

This evening we will enjoy a traditional Scottish evening of song and dance accompanied by a great selection of quality Scottish food.

Day 14. Depart Scotland

This morning sadly, we will travel to Edinburgh Airport for our flight home.


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