2017 Irish & Scottish Sampler 9 Days / 8 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director at your Dublin hotel, located about 8 miles south of Dublin city center. Drive to Dalkey Village, now an upmarket suburb, for a gentle guided walk through the village, filled with interesting shops, restaurants and bars. Visit the imposing Dalkey Castle where history will come alive for you. Marvel at local literary connections in the newly re-furbished Writers’ Gallery in the castle. In the evening meet your tour director over a welcome drink to discuss your trip and enjoy dinner in your hotel.
This morning set out on an introductory tour of central Dublin to see rows of stately Georgian houses lining elegant squares. Pass Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells and Leinster House where both houses of the government convene. Tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which dates from 1220-1259, and your guide will point out monuments to prominent people, including Dean Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. The afternoon is free so that you may use your vouchers for an independent open-top bus tour around the city and a visit to one attraction. Drive to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for a dinner with Irish specialties. Then sit back with an Irish coffee to watch a lively show with music, songs and step-dancing.
Depart Dublin and travel north through the heart of Ireland’s farmlands to Derry for a walking tour of this historic city with a local guide. Learn about 20th century history as you travel through the Bogside and take a stroll along the medieval walls which completely encircle the city center. Continue to the Giant’s Causeway, hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. The enormous rocks have spawned legends about the mythical giant, Finn McCool, so enjoy a walk to see the various rock formations and sea views. Check in to your hotel in Ballycastle and relax before dining in the hotel.
Your first stop today is at The Causeway Coast Discovery Centre for some Irish hospitality and fun with tea and home-made scones followed by a turf-cutting demonstration. Drive along the Nine Glens of Antrim, a scenic region with lovely views of mountains, valleys and coastline where scenes from the “Game of Thrones” were filmed. On arrival in Belfast a panoramic tour 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 the background, building and short life of this ill-fated famous liner. Spend some free time to have a look around on your own before dining in your hotel.
Take a short ferry ride to Scotland and drive along the west coast to the outskirts of Glasgow. Enjoy a break and a guided tour around Pollok House, a grand country house which gives a real flavor of life in the 1930s with lavish family rooms filled with priceless furniture and an impressive collection of Spanish art as well as vast servants’ quarters. Continue your drive northwards into the magnificent scenery of the Scottish Highlands to your historic hotel in Pitlochry. This hotel first opened its doors in 1884 and still retains many original features with unique guest rooms and spacious grounds.
Very close to your hotel in Pitlochry tour Blair Athol Distillery to see how whisky is distilled and sample a “wee dram” before leaving. Continue south through great scenery to St Andrews, located on the east coast. This town is renowned as the “Home of Golf” and for its university, Scotland’s oldest, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied. Take a short walking tour and spend some time exploring on your own. After checking in to your hotel in the center of Edinburgh, head out to a Scottish Evening where you’ll dine on some excellent Scottish cuisine followed by a lively show with Highland dancing, kilts and bagpipes. On July 31 to August 21 departures enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the Castle esplanade and the Scottish evening will move to the following day.
This morning explore Edinburgh on a sightseeing tour to see the main points of interest. See the wide streets and elegant mansions of the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town”, built to expand the cramped conditions in the old city. Walk along part of the Royal Mile where medieval houses are clustered closely together. Tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle where you can see historic buildings and enjoy splendid views of the city. This is where the priceless crown jewels of Scotland are housed. The balance of the day is free for independent exploring, shopping and dining.
Spend the day on an independent hop-on hop-off bus tour of Edinburgh. Also enjoy a walking tour around parts of the city’s historic areas – you will have a selection of different tours and routes.
Your program ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner