(mailed to you once you get back home)
per person* (Discounts for 3+ persons)
(based upon 2 persons room sharing and subject to dates,
extras and changes E&OE)
After arriving at Shannon Airport you will be met by your Chauffeur/Guide for your awesome trip. After introducing himself to you he will drive you to Limerick for an extensive tour with great views of King John’s Castle, and a visit to Frank McCourt’s museum giving an amazing insight into Irish life in the 1930’s and 40’s, especially if you have read the book, Angela’s Ashes. Then you continue through the green landscape that is the ‘Emerald Isle’ south west to Killarney National Park. This spectacular combination of hills lakes and awesome scenery is a must see in Western Ireland. You will stay at your luxury hotel in Killarney.
Today we explore more fully the beautiful Killarney National Park and the Iveragh Peninsula. This world renowned area of outstanding beauty has the most beautiful combination of lakes, mountains, valleys and sea. You will be charmed by the natural and pristine countryside of the ‘Ring of Kerry’. We will stop at the elegant Muckross House where they have beautiful gardens, traditional farms and the chance to ride in an authentic ‘Jaunting Car’ (horse & carriage) around the lovely Victorian era estate. A total Irish experience!
This evening you will explore the pubs of Killarney to experience the ‘craic’ or typical friendly Irish atmosphere of music and lively conversation!
Today we head east and our first stop is Blarney Castle. Every visitor to Ireland must ‘kiss the Blarney Stone’ , and you have the chance to do just that. At this historic and lovely village you can indulge in this famous ritual, which legend has it will give you the ’gift of the gab’, or an instant ability to communicate in a fluent and entertaining manner! Wow! Then on to Cork and a visit to the red and white Church Tower of Shandon, Cork’s most famous building,where we will get a lovely vista of the city. Then on to St Fin Barre’s Cathedral , surprisingly a place of worship for Anglicans, built in 1870 following an architectural competition won by one of the most outstanding Victorian architects William Burges. A really stunning landmark, and well worth visiting. We then head for your night stop Waterford and a visit to the famous Crystal factory. Here you can enjoy a factory tour and learn about the manufacturing process both historical and contemporary. There is also the world’s largest display/ collection of this famous glass.
Today we travel north through the picturesque Wicklow mountains towards the Glendalough Monastic Settlement. This award winning visitor attraction which means ‘Valley of Two Lakes’ was founded by St Kelvin and was a major monastic place of worship from the 6th to 14th Centuries when it was destroyed by the English! However, it continued to be a place of pilgrimage for centuries afterwards and is a place of fantastic natural beauty. We later arrive in Ireland’s Capital, Dublin!
Today you have the whole day exploring ‘Dublin’s Fair City’. You of course will have a date with a pint of ‘The Black Stuff’, and a tour of the famous St James Gate Brewery, the home of Guinness, but first your chauffeur will give you an extensive tour of the city and environs. You can take your choice of visiting: Dublin Castle, National Museum of Ireland, Phoenix Park, Jamieson distillery – you decide and agree with your chauffeur. However, no visit to Dublin would be complete without walking to Temple Bar located just south of the Liffey which can be fitted into you day. This evening you will visit the Irish House Party for an entertaining evening of traditional Irish music and dancing at its very best. A great day.
Today we head north to cross the border to Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. Our first stop is in Dundalk and the Hill of Faughart where we will get great views over Dundalk Bay and the Cooley Mountains in this border area. Then upon entering Northern Ireland we take a stunning drive through the Mourne Mountains via Warrenpoint and Kilkeel and on towards Newcastle, giving great views to the Irish sea. Lisburn and on to Belfast. After a city tour we head to the award winning and incredible Titanic Visitor Experience. Now we are off to Bonnie Scotland, and embark our ferry in Belfast to Cairnryan and then our overnight in the awesome Trump Turnberry.
(Overnight Trump Turnberry)
A leisurely breakfast today at the wonderful Trump Turnberry resort and then departure for Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. As it grew rapidly in the 19th century, it became known as the Victorian City, with extensive selections of Victorian architecture. During the early years of the 20th century this ‘second city of the Empire’ was by far the foremost shipbuilding centre in the world. In the early 1860’s ships commissioned by the Confederate States and built in Glasgow, known as ‘Blockade Runners’ helped the South temporarily survive the Union blockade and extend the American Civil War for two years. You can if you wish visit the Riverside Transport Museum that tells the story of the Blockade Runners and the rich history of Glasgow’s shipbuilding and transport past. Alternatively, you can visit the Kelvingrove Museum and Art gallery, Glasgow Cathedral or just enjoy some shopping. Late afternoon we depart for your comfortable hotel in Edinburgh.
Your tour of Edinburgh continues, visiting the Old and New Towns,(together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and then to the Royal Yacht Britannia. This was Her Majesty the Queen’s private yacht, and was where Charles and Diana had there honeymoon !Britannia was also named the No. 1 Attraction in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards 2014/15. It gives visitors a unique insight into the private lives of the Royals, – one not to miss ! In the afternoon you will be taken on a lovely drive south of Edinburgh to the ancient Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders. This magnificent 12th. century partly ruined monastery is where King Alexander 2nd and other Scottish Kings are buried, and houses some remains of Robert the Bruce. On the journey back to Edinburgh you will visit the 15th Century Roslin Chapel, made famous by the Hollywood movie The Da Vinci Code. Still a place of worship, it has mystical associations with the Knights Templars, and freemasons make a pilgrimage from all over the world as it is held to be of great significance. Then back to Edinburgh to get ready for your exciting evening at the Taste of Scottish Show and dinner. This evening of Scottish tradition is held at the historic Prestonfield House and you will love it!
The trip to the Scottish Highlands starts today when you drive north leaving Edinburgh and crossing the iconic Forth Bridges (a third being added in 2016). North side of the Bridges one enters into the county of Fife and on towards the home of Golf – St Andrews. Home of the first ever golf club, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. It remains today the holy grail for golf lovers everywhere, and is also has the British Golfing Museum, Cathedral and Castle. St Andrews is also the oldest University in Scotland founded in 1413, and today regarded as one of the finest seats of learning in the UK. It’s popularity is in part due to their famous alumni, Prince William and Catherine, who fell in love here (if you want to, you can visit the cafe where they first dated!). After lunch at one of the various charming cafe/ pubs you will cross the River Tay past Dundee to Scone Palace, where for 1000 years Scots Kings were crowned. The coronation ceremonies during that time included the monarch sitting on Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny. Sadly this important relic was stolen by the English King Edward 1st in 1296, and taken to London and placed under the English monarch’s throne. Thankfully it has been returned and can be seen in Edinburgh Castle. You will stay overnight in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, which grew out of the it’s popularity with Victorian tourists after the railway opened in 1863.
Leaving Pitlochry we get our first glimpse of Scotland’s Highland Mountains, The Grampians. We continue north and follow the River Spey to ‘Speyside’, an area where the majority of the famous Scotch whisky brands are produced. A distillery visit awaits, the choice is yours and is vast: Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Aberlour, Cardhu…(let us know). Whisky products produced here are found in virtually every hotel bar around the world! The distillery tours are first class and very informative, plus you get to sample the results of this ancient process too!
North now to Cawdor Castle, made famous by William Shakespeare in his play Macbeth. Still a family home it has one of the loveliest gardens in the country with a maze and fascinating display of paintings and antiques. Then it’s on to Culloden battlefield. This was in 1746 the last land battle to be fought in Britain, and saw the end to the Jacobite Rebellion. The Duke of Cumberland saw off ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie and his assorted clansmen, and heralded a change to the highland way of life. He banned the Clans and also the wearing of Tartan, and constructed a large military garrison, Fort George, just north on Culloden. The wearing of tartan was only resurrected by way of the ‘Romanticism’ of the early 19th Century. Encouraged by the novels of Sir Walter Scott and Victoria and Albert’s love of Scotland tartan regained it’s poularity. After the award winning Culloden Visitor Centre we head to your hotel in Inverness, the Capital of The Highlands.
This morning you will be toured around Inverness and then along the Great Glen towards Loch Ness. It has been said that deep in it’s dark deep waters lives a monster! ‘Nessie’, as she is known, has been sighted on occasions over the years, (Remember, if you should spot her please take a photo, the National Enquirer will pay big bucks to get the ‘exclusive’!). Who knows you might be that lucky visitor! If not, just take in the magnificent scenery surrounding this very deep loch. The Great Glen is a geological fault line from Inverness to Fort William and has a series of lochs or lakes along it’s length. The famous early 19th century Scots engineer Thomas Telford constructed a series of canals linking these lochs. This is known as the Caledonian Canal, and an impressive series of canal locks are found at the next destination, Fort Augustus. Here you will also take a trip over the loch in the hope of spotting ‘Nessie’. After lunch the tour will take you through arguably Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, Glencoe, Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond side. There will be stops for photography in this dramatic land of legend. In the 1692 ‘Massacre of Glencoe’, 38 members of the Clan MacDonald were brutally killed by government backed Campbells. This was a result of turmoil after the first Jacobite of that time.
After Glencoe you will traverse the windswept Rannoch Moor, an unspoilt wilderness of beautiful mountains, lochs and moorland. You will then travel through Rob Roy country, the Trossachs, towards Britain’s largest lake (or loch) Loch Lomond, and its 3300 feet high mountain Ben Lomond (‘Ben’ being the Gaelic name for a mountain.) Your hotel is on the banks of the loch, where you will overnight.
(Overnight Loch Lomond)
After breakfast you head to Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most visited attractions, and the place where Mary Queen of Scot’s held her Court. This award winning venue has actors in costume (and character) throughout the castle helping to bring to life this ancient palace and fortress. You can see the ‘Stirling Heids’ and fine tapestries that adorn the rooms of the castle, making it a must for those interested in Scottish history. From Stirling you head back to Loch Lomond for a cruise on the loch. See fate afternoon you will have time to get in some shopping in Glasgow city centre.
Today your Driver/Guide will take you to Glasgow Airport for your flight home.