2017 Taste of Scotland & Ireland 10 Days / 9 Nights
Your Scottish trip starts at 2:30 pm when you meet your tour director at your Glasgow hotel and set out on an introductory tour of central Glasgow. This is a city that flourished in Victorian times due to the shipbuilding industry and international trade. Drive around George Square with its ornate City Chambers and visit Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house built in 1471. The house was originally part of a hospital and has been extensively restored and furnished. Join your tour director, guide and travel companions for a welcome drink before dinner.
Travel alongside the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty and through Glen Coe, often considered one of Scotland’s most spectacular and beautiful places. Drive through Fort William and stop at a woolen mill for some refreshment and shop for quality Scottish goods. At Fort Augustus embark on a short cruise on Loch Ness to keep an eye out for “Nessie.” Continue your journey north to Nairn for your next overnight stay.
Drive to Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry to see how whisky is distilled and sample some before continuing south to St Andrews, renowned as the “Home of Golf”. Take a panoramic drive around and then spend some time exploring on your own. Head towards Edinburgh and your gracious manor house hotel, set on 1,000 acres with two golf courses and spa facilities a few miles from the city. Dine at a Scottish Evening on some excellent local cuisine with haggis, followed by a lively show with bagpipes, kilts and Highland dancing.
This morning tour the principal sights of central Edinburgh. 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. 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 August 01 to 22 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 and enjoy a casual lunch on board. Visit Titanic Belfast to learn about this famous liner which was built in the adjacent docks. State-of-the-art displays describe working conditions in the shipbuilding industry and the construction of the Titanic. Drive south to Dublin and check in to your hotel, located overlooking Dublin Bay. The evening is free.
Tour central Dublin today to see fashionable shopping areas around Grafton and Nassau Streets, view elegant Georgian squares and pass the General Post Office, where the 1916 Uprising started. Take a brief walk through Trinity College with a student guide to view the illuminated manuscript of the 8th century Book of Kells and learn how monks created this and other masterpieces. 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 where you’ll check in to your hotel and relax before dinner. Afterwards you may like to explore some of Killarney’s famous “singing pubs.”
Experience 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. Drive through Killorglin and Cahirciveen to cross the bridge to Valentia Island. Visit the Skellig Experience, which explains the life of early Christian hermits on Skellig Michael, a rocky offshore island, and how it featured in the “Star Wars VII” movie. Enjoy a casual lunch and stop in the pretty village of Sneem. Pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views and return to Killarney where the evening is free.
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 either Bunratty or Knappogue 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.
Your program ends after breakfast today.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner