Let us plan your vacation to two of our favorite countries! Enjoy a 14-day trip to Ireland and Scotland in 2024. These countries have breathtaking scenery and architecture, rich cultures, and impressive history. Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone and travel to the expansive Cliffs of Moher. We will spend a day learning how to heard sheep, make Irish soda break, and play the boran drum, the Irish drum. At night, you can join a traditional sing along in a pub and dance with friends. In Scotland, we will visit the beautiful Island of Skye and search for the Loch Ness monster. And a real treat is riding the Jacobite steam train, on of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world. Relax with friend and meet new ones on this unique historical and cultural trip.
Regardless of reason, cancellations are costly. All cancellations must be in writing, and the date of postmark will determine the amount of refund due. For flight changes or cancellations, revision fees and/or airline cancellation charges will apply. Roommates canceling can result in a single supplement charge for the roommate. The Participant who cancels will be responsible for that charge if a substitute roommate cannot be found. Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is strongly recommended.
From time of deposit to February 26, 2024: $350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits that are incurred from the supplier.
From February 27, 2024 – March 10, 2024: $1,000 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits that are owed to the supplier.
From March 11-April 15, 2024: $1,350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits
From April 16, 2024 onwards: No refund
Key for meals: In flight meal or breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Day 1: Wednesday, July 17, 2024 Depart for Dublin
Day 2: Thursday 18th July 2024
Arrive in Dublin and meet our coach for a tour of the city with stops at the Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and, if time permits, the reading room. After time for lunch, we will take a tour of Guinness Storehouse and have a generous sample of Ireland's famous export. We will then check in to our centrally located hotel and have the rest of the day to explore the city, with an evening visit to the Temple Bar area for dinner and drinks. Riu Plaza The Gresham Hotel (I/F)
Day 3: Friday 19th July 2024 – Dublin to Waterford
Today, we will meet our full-time driver and guide, and we will enjoy a panoramic city tour. First you will discover the north side of the River Liffey. This area offers great striking monuments such as the GPO (General Post Office) on the city main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral or the Custom House along the quays, as well as the Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe. The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square, where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found (today owned by an American College), its colourful doors, along with Grafton Street and its quality shops. Not so far from St. Stephen’s Green, in Kildare St., you will see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. This part of the city is also dominated by the students of Trinity College, where the famous book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library. The university is facing the medieval district where Dublin Castle and the two Anglican Cathedrals can be found.
Our driver will drop us off for a guided visit to EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum. This is a state-of-the-art interactive experience located in the beautiful vaults of the 1820 Custom House Quarter building in Dublin’s Docklands, the original departure point for so many of Ireland’s emigrants. It will inspire and guide you on a journey to discover the stories of Irish emigration around the world, from early times to the modern day. Over the centuries, some 10 million people have left the island of Ireland. At EPIC you can step through 20 themed galleries to find out why people left, see how they influenced the world they found, and experience the connection between their descendants and Ireland today. Immerse yourself in the stories of some of the most remarkable tales of sacrifice, endurance, adventure, and discovery the world has ever known. EPIC brings these amazing stories to life in a unique and spectacular way. Lunch is at the Brazen Head Pub or similar
This afternoon, we will visit Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Today the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained and in some cases executed here. Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also detained in Kilmainham Gaol, guarded by British troops. We will then travel south to Waterford. Tower Hotel & Leisure Centre (B, L, D)
Day 4: Saturday 20th July 2024 – Waterford
This morning explore Waterford city with your guide. Then, we will visit Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. A unique highlight of a visit is the factory tour which gives an up close insight into the centuries-old tradition of Waterford Crystal making. Feel the heat of the furnace and marvel at the skills of the craftsmen. The factory tour includes the following traditional production areas; wooden mould making, crystal blowing and furnace, crystal cutting and quality inspection and finishing. After the tour visitors can browse the world’s most famous crystal in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world. The centre includes the retail store, exhibition and crystal installation areas, coffee shop and worldwide shipping facility.
After lunch, we will enjoy a horseback ride at the Laketour Stables, Tramore.
The rest of the day is free to explore. Tower Hotel & Leisure Centre (B & D)
Day 5: Sunday 21st July 2024 – Waterford to Kerry
This morning drive to Cork and visit Blarney Castle
Attracting visitors from all over the world, Blarney Castle is situated in Blarney village, 8 km from Cork city. An ancient stronghold of the McCarthy's, Lords of Muskerry, it is one of Ireland's oldest and most historic castles, and one of the strongest fortresses in Munster. Built in 1446, Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone, the Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it. Many legends tell the story of the Stone, but why not kiss it and find out the truth behind the legend. The Castle gardens covering 60 acres of land are under constant change and over the past few years, a water garden, fern garden and poison garden have been developed and are all open to visitors.
Free time for lunch in Cork City. On our drive to Killarney, we have a few options to check out the scenic southwest of the country. The Brehon Hotel (B & D)
Day 6: Monday 22nd July 2024 –Dingle Peninsula
Today explore the Dingle Peninsula. Some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas. This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. It is also a ‘Gaeltacht' (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savouring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. From Inch, a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter,” admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blasket Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with its villages painted in bright colours and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of its landscapes.
After dinner, we will enjoy Celtic Steps the Show. Celtic Steps was born from an idea to showcase Ireland's traditional music, song and dance and to portray the music of Kerry and beyond, the songs of Ireland's history. The show exhibits Irish dancing, from the Hornpipe danced on the old thatched cottage half-door and the polka set at the crossroads, to the phenomenon that is Irish dancing worldwide today. Rather than produce this in a story, in chronological order down through years, Celtic Steps has mixed music, songs and dance in a unique blend to let guests experience the spectacular that is an Irish tradition. The Brehon (B & D)
Day 7: Tuesday 23rd July 2024 – Kerry to Galway
Depart Kerry and travel across to Clare via the Shannon Car Ferry. We will Vvisit the Cliffs of Moher, which are situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren region. The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O' Brien's Tower built by Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru, to entertain his lady friends. A visit of the tower is also possible. The sweeping view across the Atlantic has recently been ranked the best 'cliff-view' on the planet by Conde Nast Traveler. The respected travel publication has voted the world-famous landmark at the top of a new chart of ' Nine Gorgeous Cliff Views That Rival The Grand Canyon'. Atlantic Edge is the exciting new interpretive centre at the Cliffs of Moher and is built into the natural landscape. The centre is a huge domed cave that contains images, exhibits, displays & experiences exploring different elements of the mighty Cliffs of Moher: Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man.
After our visit, we will travel through the Burren Region. The Burren landscape covers over 150 square kilometres and is one of Ireland’s 6 National Parks. The region is visually similar to a moonscape, yet shelters a mixture of flora and archaeological sites which have attracted visitors for centuries. Man came here over 6000 years ago, cleared the forests and set in motion soil erosion. Centuries of weathering has produced a terrain of fissured limestone pavements, disappearing lakes, terraced mountains, and underground cave systems. For millennia man has left his mark, megalithic tombs and cooking sites litter the pavements, while medieval towerhouses and churches guard the valleys. Today man is absent from most of the upland, leaving behind ancient field systems, routeways and placenames. Today’s visitors to the Burren will find Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants growing together. Lunch will be at Gus O’Connor’s Pub, an Irish favourite or similar. Salthill (B & L)
Day 8: Wednesday 24th July 2024 – Aran Islands
Today you will travel to Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands. The three Aran Islands, Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore are situated in Galway Bay. They are all composed of limestone, similar to the geology of the Burren. Today, the inhabitants live off fishing and tourism, whilst remaining strongly attached to Gaelic traditions. These islands are one of the last real “Gaelteacht” (Irish as a first language) areas of modern Ireland. Inishmore - the largest of the Aran Islands - is made up of 14 tiny villages and is covered in old stone walls and little fields. On the west coast of the island, majestic cliffs drop into the wild Atlantic Ocean. This area is dominated by Dun Aengus, one of the most impressive Neolithic forts in Europe. A trip to the islands offers a journey through time, as well as an encounter with the old Ireland, the mythical Ireland. Return to the mainland and enjoy dinner and music at Busker Brownes Pub or similar. Salthill (B & D)
Day 9: Thursday 25th July 2024 – Galway to Edinburgh
En-route to Dublin Airport, enjoy an Irish for a Day experience at Causey Farm
A working family farm that hosts visitor groups to experience aspects of Irish Culture in a fun way. There are a variety of indoor and outdoor activity programmes to suit every type of group and budget. The emphasis is on making sure that the visitors have fun during a range of activities. Visitors enjoy the interactive element of activities that can include dancing a jig, playing the bodhráin, learning to play hurling, cutting turf in a bog, baking brown soda bread, seeing a sheepdog at work and more! Enjoy a stew lunch at Causey Farm. Continue to Dublin Airport and fly to Edinburgh. On arrival in Edinburgh meet with your driver and transfer to your hotel. Doubletree by Hilton City Centre (B & L)
Day 10: Friday 26th July 2024 – Edinburgh
Today enjoy the Hop On Hop Off Bus and explore this beautiful city at your own pace. This evening we will have dinner at the Cellar Door Restaurant or similar and storytelling with Mercat Tours before returning to our hotel. Doubletree by Hilton City Centre (B)
Days 11: Saturday 27th July 2024: Skye
Our guide will pick us up from our hotel in Edinburgh and we will travel west, past stunning views of the Forth Bridge and enter the Highlands through Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers, and mountains. We will visit the quaint village of Dunkeld with its historic cathedral sitting on the banks of the River Tay. At Fort Augustus there is time to explore the shores of Loch Ness and a chance to spot Nessie. We will tour the spectacular Eileen Donan Castle (including a visit) before crossing the bridge over to the Isle of Skye. We will stay in Portree for 2 nights (B)
Day 12: Sunday 28th July 2024: Skye
Today is a flexible day on Skye; and our driver-guide will ensure we take a unique route that suits the weather, the local events, and our group’s interests. We can travel north to the Trotternish Ridge and beyond. Here we will find the geological wonders like Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, and the stunning mountain pass of the Quiraing. As an alternative, our guide may take us back in time and teach us about the legends and clan culture surrounding the 13th-century home of the Clan MacLeod, Dunvegan Castle. We will return to Skye in the evening. (B)
Day 13: Monday 29th July 2024: Edinburgh
We will have the chance to explore the castle and gardens of Clan Donald Skye before taking the ferry to the west coast fishing village of Mallaig. Here we will board the Jacobite Steam Train to Fort William, one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world. The train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct where a monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign now stands. We will head south through the dramatic scenery of Glencoe, with Rannoch Moor, then the heart of Rob Roy country, before arriving back in Edinburgh in the evening. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight. Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh West (B & D)
Day 14: Tuesday 30th July 2024 – Farewell
Transfer to Edinburgh Airport for return flight home to the USA!