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Scotland and Ireland Discovery Tour

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 6 - 12 people
Destination(s): Scotland   Ireland   Northern Ireland  
Specialty Categories: Archeology/History   Cultural Journey  
Season: May - June
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 4695 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4695 US Dollar (USD)

May 25th - June 8th, 2012.

Dublin City Tour, Malahide Castle, Locke's Distillery Tour, Clonmacnoise Monastic Settlement, Galway, Strokestown Park House and Famine House, Boyle Abbey, Sligo, Belleek Pottery, Old Bushmills Distillery, Giant's Causeway, Belfast, Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling Castle, Edradour Distillery, The Queens View, Castle Menzies, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Perth, St. Andrews,
Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Edinburgh City Tour, Edinburgh Castle, Palace of the Holyrood House, Highland Dinner and Show and much more!

A small intimate tour of Scotland and Ireland limited to 10 - 12 people in order to provide a more personal experience. In keeping the tour size small we are able to take advantage of ccommodation, restaurant and sightseeing options that would not be available to a larger group. With a small tour size we can veer off the main
tourist areas and get a real feel for these warm wonderful countries. We will not rush you from venue to venue and each tour is designed to spend as little time on the minibus as possible. You may find yourself staying in a delightful city guest house, a warm country house hotel or farmhouse and a 200 year old coaching Inn all in the same visit.

Full Irish or Scottish breakfast each morning and all meals as indicated in itinerary. All accommodations. Guided minibus tour with luggage handling. All sightseeing including any entrance fees. All taxes and service charges. No hidden costs!

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 - May 25th - Arrive in Dublin with time enough for some sightseeing and shopping in Ireland's Capitol City. You will take an Open Top Bus Tour with hop on and off service this afternoon. Stops you may want to make while on the tour are Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park, Old Jameson Distillery, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral. This evening we will gather for a Welcoming Pub Dinner to kick off the tour! Overnight Dublin. (D)

Day 2 - This morning we drive to Malahide on the northside of the city to Malahide Castle, a stunningly picturesque fortress that stands amidst a profusion of massive oaks, mighty chestnuts and towering sycamores. The castle is one of the oldest and most historic castles in Ireland. From 1185 until 1975, it was the home of the Talbot family. This was a remarkable tenure by a single family and is one of the longest in Ireland. We then return to Dublin for Lunch before some free time to shop and explore. Tonight we are out for a Pub Dinner and Music Night with the Merry Ploughboys. Dinner and Overnight Dublin. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - We leave the big city behind today was we head toward the west. First stop today is Locke's Distillery Museum which houses last remaining example of a small pot distillery in Ireland established in 1757. The distillery made pot still Irish Malt Whiskey for almost 200 years. Lunch in Athlone before a visit to Clonmacnoise Monastic Settlement, an early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian Grave Slabs. We will drive through the "Field of Athenry" as we make our way to Galway and Galway Bay. Galway is the center for the Irish-speaking regions in the West and a lively university city. The center of the city lies on the banks of the River Corrib which flows from Lough Corrib. Pub Dinner and Overnight Galway. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - This morning we visit Cong and Cong Abbey. The most fascinating remains of this 12th century Augustinian abbey are the Gothic chapter house, stone bridges and the monks' fishing-house overhanging the river. Next we travel through the beautiful National Park in the heart of Connemara, a combination of bogland, lakes and mountains. Along the way we visit Kylemore Abbey sheltered by the slopes of the Twelve Bens, this lakeside castle is a romantic, battlemented Gothic Revival fantasy. Afternoon Tea in DerryInver before a stop in Clifden, framed by the grandeur of the Twelve Bens mountain range. Once we return to Galway you will take some time to investigate the city and enjoy a night out on your own. Overnight Galway. (B,L)

Day 5 - Our first destination today is Strokestown Park House, an 18th century mansion which has been faithfully restored. It is unique in that it retains its original furnishings and professionally guided tours allow visitors to browse freely
through the stately surroundings. There is also a Famine Museum which uses a combination of original documents and images from the Strokestown Park collection to explain the circumstances of the Great Irish Famine of the 1840's. We will Lunch at Strokestown before we stop Boyle before a visit to Boyle Abbey, an impressive and well preserved Cistercian Monastery which was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the
MacDermotts. Although a ruin, Boyle Abbey nevertheless retains its ability to impress the visitor as one of the most formidable of the early Cistercian foundations in Ireland. Dinner and Overnight Sligo in a Historic 17th Century Mansion. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - This morning we visit the little border village of Belleek where the world famous Belleek Pottery was founded in 1857. We will stop at the visitors' centre and museum where you can view this fine Parian China. Our next stop is Donegal and Donegal Town. Donegal is a thriving market town at the head of Donegal Bay. While here we will visit the 17th Century ruins of Donegal Castle which dominate the town and was the seat of the powerful O'Donnell Chieftains. Leaving Donegal behind we drive to Lough Esk and Lough Esk Castle for Lunch. This afternoon we visit Derry for a Guided Tour of the Walls of Derry. Most of the original structure is still there dating back almost 400 years. The end of the day finds us at along the northern coast of Ireland. Dinner and Overnight Portstewart. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - This morning we make our way to the Old Bushmills Distillery which is the oldest distillery in the world! We will
tour the distillery and end up with whiskey sampling in the 1608 bar. Lunch in Bushmills before we begin our journey along the Causeway Coast with a stop at the ruins of Dunseverick Castle. King Dunsobairce of Ireland built a fortress here in 1525BC to rule the ancient Kingdom of Dariada, the location is named after him. Our next stop is the Giants Causeway where 37,000 basalt columns extend from the cliffs and into the sea. No matter how many times I have seen this, the sheer wonder and magic of the columns never fails to impress! We will remain on the breathtaking coastal route with a few photo ops almost all the way to Belfast for an evening free in the city. Overnight Belfast. (B,L)

Day 8 - Today we spend in Belfast, Northern Ireland's largest city and one of my favorite European cities! We'll take a Tour of the City aboard an Open Top Bus. Get on and off at your own pace and take in the sights of the city. You may want to take in a lunch stop at the famous Crown Liquor Saloon, a flamboyant Victorian drinking palace. You may also want to visit City Hall, St. Anne's Cathedral and the Titanic Quarter. The Titanic's Dock Tour takes in
Thompson Dock and Pump House where the celebrated RMS Titanic had its final fit-out. A must see, The Pump House is one of the few most significant remaining heritage buildings from the Titanic technology era. Dinner and Overnight Belfast. (B,D)

Day 9 - This morning we take the ferry across to Stranraer, Scotland. The crossing will take us a few hours but is a very
comfortable crossing. Once we are in Scotland we will Stop for Lunch before we continue our journey along the Beautiful Coastline of Southwest Scotland. Our next stop in Scotland is at Culzean Castle. Standing on a cliff's edge, this 16th century keep stands in an extensive parkland estate and is Robert Adam's finest masterpiece. The first written reference to a Tower House at Culzean dates to the 1400's, although it is possible there was a building here even earlier. After we tour the castle we will continue on northward to just outside of Glasgow where we find dinner waiting. Dinner and Overnight near Glasgow. (B,L,D)

Day 10 - Following breakfast this morning we make our way through the enchanting Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. This is where the Highlands meet the Lowlands, where the lochs, mountains, rivers and villages hold secrets of history, legend and radition.O ur journey will take us to my favorite Trossachs village of Callander. Callander is full of wonderful shops, woollen mills and delightful tearooms. Lunch in Callander before we visit Stirling and Stirling Castle. Stirling is one of the grandest of all Scottish Castles and Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here. We
next begin our journey into the Highlands and the to the beautiful Highland Village of Pitlochry. Dinner on your own tonight in Pitlochry. Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L)

Day 11 - This morning we visit Blair Athol Distiller, one of the Oldest Distilleries in Scotland and continues the tradition of making whisky by hand. Next, we make our way out of town to The Queen's View named after Robert The Bruce's wife Isabel but made popular by Queen Victoria. This is one of the most breathtaking sights in Scotland and will become a favorite of yours. After a spectacular drive through the moors we find ourselves in Aberfeldy for Lunch as the Moon and Sixpense. This afternoon we visit Blair Atholl and Blair Castle. Bonnie Prince Charlie spent 2 days
here in this 700 year old rambling, turreted castle with over 32 rooms open to the public. We then return to Pitlochry where the evening's highlight will be Dinner and then a Performance at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre! Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)

Day 12 - This morning we leave the Highlands behind on the way to Perth and Scone Palace, the home of the Earls of Mansfield. Once the crowning place of Scottish Kings, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scotland's history. A breathtakingly beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone,Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in Scotland's crown. You will want to visit the Grounds and Gardens as well. We will stop in the bustling town of Cupar on our way to visit St. Andrews. Sightseeing in St. Anfrews will include the Old Course, St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral. The Castle was the former Bishops' Palace, the residence of the Archbishops of St Andrews. The Cathedral itself dates from around 1160, and was consecrated in the presence of Robert the Bruce in July 1318. Dinner and Overnight Kingdom of Fife. (B,D)

Day 13 - Our journey today will take us south toward Edinburgh but not before stopping in Dunfermline and visiting Dunfermline Palace and Abbey. Dunfermline Abbey was founded about 1070 by Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore. Margaret was made a saint, and she and Malcolm were buried here. Robert the Bruce's body (apart
from his heart, which is at Melrose) is buried here as well. Lunch in Dunfermline before our journey to Edinburgh. The evening is free for exploring Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the many eateries to be found in the city. Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L)

Day 14 - This morning you will take in all the sights of Edinburgh and the best way to see the city is by bus, so we will board an Open Top Tour Bus and enjoy all the highlights of the city. You may want to depart the bus at both Palace of the Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle. You will have the afternoon free for shopping on Princes Street and The Royal Mile. Tonight we will enjoy an Evening of Food, Fun, Highland Dance, Song and of course
Bagpipes! Overnight Edinburgh. (B,D)

Day 15 - June 8th - This morning we make our way to Edinburgh International for your journey home. (B)

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- All accommodation
- Full Scottish breakfast each morning
- All lunches and dinners as listed in itinerary
- Porterage of one suitcase per person
- Motorcoach travel including tour guide
- Knowledgeable guide for all tourist venues
- All sightseeing as indicated in itinerary including any entrance fees
- All taxes and service charges.