Celtic Adventure - Ireland & Scotland
From the craggy inlets of Kerry's shores to the historic skyline of Edinburgh, uncover all that Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have to offer on this Celtic adventure. From the rugged natural beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way to vibrant and historical cities, diverse charms and rich history await your discovery. Experience cozy pubs and welcoming locals, tartans and bagpipes, castles, and green landscapes as far as the eye can see. From the Cliffs of Moher to the golfing greats of St. Andrews, kiss the Blarney Stone and you’ll be sharing tales from Giant’s Causeway, the Ring of Kerry, and the Scottish Highlands for years to come.
18 Days 3 Countries 24 Meals
Day 1 - Arrive in Dublin
Welcome to the Republic of Ireland and the capital city of Dublin! Founded as a Viking settlement in 841 AD and home to the Irish Parliament since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Upon arrival at Dublin, travel into the heart of the city for an introduction to this energetic city on a panoramic city tour, see the Georgian Squares with their 18th Century homes, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, statue filled O’Connell Street fashionable Grafton Street, and Trinity College home to the Book of Kells. The tour concludes at your hotel, check in for a two-night stay, the remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers at the Welcome Dinner.
Day 2 - Dublin
Today you discover the history of Dublin. Joining a local guide for a fascinating tour of Dublin Castle, from the excavation site of Viking and medieval Dublin to the Gothic Chapel Royal, and finally to the splendour of the former viceregal State Apartments. Followed by a guided tour of one of the most interesting places to go in Dublin, Kilmainham Gaol Museum. Built back in 1796, initially known as the ‘new gaol’ to differentiate it from the dungeon it was replacing, the Museum is an enthralling place to explore. See the prison’s chapel, visit the cells and stone breakers yard. There can be no better way to end a vigorous day of touring, nor would a visit to Dublin be complete, without a guided tour of Guinness Storehouse. Experience the history, heart, and soul of Ireland’s most iconic beer, exploring the story of Guinness across the seven floors of their iconic building. Followed by a mouth-watering pint of Guinness in the 360-degree roof top bar, offering spectacular views of the city.
Day 3 - Dublin to Kinsale
This morning bid farewell to Dublin and travel south to County Kildare – the center of Ireland’s horse industry, enjoy a guided tour of the Irish National Stud Farm. Having bred its first winner in 1909, the stud farm has continued to produce many famous racehorses. Also on the grounds is the Japanese Gardens renowned for their symbolism of “The Life of Man” and St. Fiacre Commemorative Garden. From here continue to Cashel for a guided tour of the amazing Rock of Cashel, a group of medieval buildings including a 12th century Round Tower, 13th century Gothic Cathedral, 15th century High Cross and Romanesque Chapel. This was the seat of the Kings of Munster from 370 – 1101 and has early associations with St. Patrick. Then onward to Kinsale, a historic fishing town on the southern coast with old cobble stone streets and many interesting shops and pubs. Known as the gourmet capital of Ireland and renowned for its restaurants. This evening check into the hotel overlooking Kinsale Harbour for a two-night stay.
Day 4 - Blarney Castle, Cohb and return
Travel to Cobh, one of the main points of emigration during the great famine. Here we will visit “The Queenstown Story” which portrays the hardship of life on board ship as it sailed to the “New World”. Annie Moore, the first ever emigrant to be processed on Ellis Island when it officially opened on 1st January 1892 left from Cobh with her two brothers. Cobh is also known for being the last port-of-call for the ill-fated Titanic. We then continue to Blarney where we will have an opportunity to visit Blarney Castle. Time to ‘pucker-up’ and kiss the famous Blarney Stone said to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who dare. The Castle visit includes the breathtaking gardens of Blarney Estate. After, take a short stroll to Blarney Woolen Mills, the worlds largest Irish gift shop which comes complete with a restaurant serving delicious homemade dishes. Perhaps you might fancy a visit to Christy's Irish Bar for a creamy pint of stout and a bowl of Blarney beef stew. A short stop at the 17th century Charles Fort for a photo-op to capture the stunning views and learn the fascinating history of this majestic fort. Arriving back in the charming village of Kinsale, the remainder of the evening is at your leisure to explore as you please. A great opportunity to check out one of the local restaurants in Ireland’s gourmet capital.
Day 5 - Kinsale to Killarney
Travelling along the southern coastline this morning, through the town of Skibbereen, to Ballydehob, from here to Mizen Head, the most southerly point of Ireland, visit the award-winning Maritime Museum and heritage attraction. Take a short walk, 99 steps that lead to the Arched Bridge crossing the crashing waves to the Mizen Head Lighthouse, for a wonderful view of the swirling Atlantic Ocean. Following this adventure, travel up the coast through picturesque lazy towns & villages to Kenmare, nestled among the mountains. With free time to explore a true example of one of Ireland’s few planned towns. The journey continues to Killarney travelling a stretch of the famous Ring of Kerry with stunning views over the Killarney Lakes and Ladies View. Arriving at beautiful Killarney, checking in for a two-night stay. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers this evening.
Day 6 - The Dingle Peninsula and return
Today enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by National Geographic. Visit Brian de Staic Studio specializing in Celtic jewelry. This unique jewelry is handcrafted and engraved with ancient Celtic symbols and the letters. Continuing around Slea Head, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline, see early monastic settlements shaped like beehives, dating back over a thousand years. Then to Ireland’s most westerly point with views of the Blasket Islands and other incredible locations made famous by the movies. After enjoying leisure time in Dingle, return to Killarney and the rest of the day is yours to explore on your own, you may enjoy visiting beautiful and tranquil Killarney National Park and Ross Castle.
Day 7 - Killarney to Galway
Bidding farewell to Killarney, travel to Tralee, capital town of County Kerry and famous for The Rose of Tralee Festival. Then off to Tarbert to board the Shannon Ferry crossing the Shannon Estuary to Killimer. Taking the scenic coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, standing 702 feet at their highest point; they stretch for 8 kms along the Atlantic coastline. O’Brien’s Tower stands near the highest point and has served as a viewing point for hundreds of years. Following leisure time to view the cliffs, head into the quaint and colourful village of Doolin. Enjoy some leisure time for lunch before continuing. Travelling through the lunar landscape of the Burren, and the scenic shores of Galway Bay, stopping to visit Dunguaire Castle, built in 1520, a restored 16th century tower house that sits on a picturesque rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay.
Day 8 - Connemara National Park and return
This morning we embark on a tour of Connemara made up of mountains, lake lands and boglands. The scenery is both magical, and a paradise for artist and photographer alike. Because of its wild and rugged beauty, it has been the chosen location for many films like “The Quiet Man” and in more recent times “The Field”. Visit Kylemore Abbey, built 1866 as a private home, enjoy a guided tour of the Abbey, stroll the Abbey’s Victorian walled garden, and the beautiful Gothic Church. Back in Galway, enjoy a guided walking tour through the charming old, cobbled stone streets of Galway as your local guide recounts tales of war and conquest, joy and tragedy, emigration and slavery, success and folly, along with some good ole Irish Blarney! Concluding with a visit to a local pub for refreshments and more informal storytelling with our local guide.
Day 9 - Galway to Donegal
Leaving Galway, travel through the town of Cong, one of the main locations for the ‘Quiet Man’ film, continuing northwards passing by the Knock Shrine, now an internationally recognized Marian Shrine with one and a half million pilgrims visiting annually. Travel to Drumcliffe, in County Sligo set against the striking backdrop of the Benbulben Mountain. Best known as the final resting place of one of Ireland’s great poets W.B. Yeats. Found in the churchyard, see his gravesite, marked by a simple headstone with the inscription, "Cast a cold Eye On Life, on Death, Horseman, pass by". Continue to Belleek, for a guided tour of the oldest pottery in Ireland Belleek Pottery. Made famous for its fine Parian China, valued by collectors all over the world. Then continue to the town of Donegal for an overnight stay and included dinner.
Day 10 - Donegal to Belfast, Northern Ireland
This morning travel to Derry City on the banks of the River Foyle. Derry City was founded in 546 AD and still retains its 17th century walls. See the new Derry Peace Bridge over the River Foyle, that bridges a 400-year-old physical and political gap between two sides of a once divided community. Continuing to Limavady to begin a journey along the stunning Antrim Coast Road Drive. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery of crashing waves, sandy beaches, and busy seaside villages. Of course, no visit to Northern Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the natural wonders of the world, before continuing along the coast road to Belfast for an overnight stay and included dinner.
Day 11 - Belfast to Glasgow, Scotland
Begin your final day in Ireland with a panorama tour of Belfast City. See City Hall, one of the finest classical renaissance buildings in Europe, Linen Hall Library which has been lending books for over 200 years, the Grand Opera House often described as the most beautiful Victorian theatre in the world. Driving by many of Belfast’s colorful murals that depict the history and political views of the people and a way of marking territory. Visit Titanic Belfast, a state-of-the-art visitor center which tell the stories of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic. Then board the ferry crossing the North Atlantic arriving in Cairnryan Scotland. Travel to Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s greatest poets, following a stop at Burns Cottage, then onto Glasgow for a two-night stay.
Day 12 - Glasgow City
Enjoy a tour of Glasgow City this morning, built on the River Clyde, once an important ship building center Glasgow is often described as Britain’s finest Victorian City. Visit Glasgow Cathedral, one of the city’s most ancient and historic sites, continue to Tenement House which provides a rare glimpse into life in Glasgow in the early 20th century. Then visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of Scotland's most popular attractions that features 22 state-of-the-art galleries displaying 8000 objects. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to enjoy Glasgow City on your own.
Day 13 - Glasgow City to Fort William
Departing Glasgow, travel to Balloch to embark on a cruise of Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s most beautiful lakes. Enjoy views of Ben Lomond, stately homes and castles nestled along the banks overlooking the lake. Then travel into the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, continue through the historic glen of Glen Coe to Fort William and to the Ben Nevis Distillery. Nestled at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain the distillery, established in 1825, is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. Following the guided tour, enjoy a wee dram before continuing to Fort William for an overnight stay and included dinner.
Day 14 - Fort William to Inverness
This morning travel to Mallaig and board the ferry to Isle of Skye recently voted the 4th best island in the world by National Geographic. Visit the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle an award-winning museum of the Isles, discover the history of the Scottish Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald, one of the most powerful Scottish clans. Enjoy breathtaking scenery winding through the island, before returning to the mainland via the Skye Bridge. Afterwards, visit Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic images of Scotland, situated on an island, and surrounded by majestic scenery. Then, following along the banks of Loch Ness, keeping your camera ready for a view of the monster, heading to Inverness, the capital of the highlands for an overnight stay.
Day 15 - Inverness to Dunkeld
Travel to the village of Aviemore, located in the heart of the Monadhliath and Cairngorm Mountains, the perfect location to enjoy spectacular views. Enjoy a vintage train journey, including a nostalgic Afternoon Tea in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Step aboard old-style rail cars powered by a restored steam engine that transport you back in time. Travel along part of the original Highland Railway track, through scenic Cairngorms National Park, past heather-clad moors, and beautiful woodland. After, board the coach and travel southward through the scenic Grampian Mountains to Blair Castle, seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to Europe's last remaining private army. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle and hear the fascinating history, from the visit by Mary Queen of Scots to the Civil War and the Jacobite cause, to the disaster of Culloden. Continuing through the beautiful Scottish countryside arriving at a tranquil woodland estate, resting on the banks of River Tay. Enjoy an included dinner and overnight stay.
Day 16 - Dunkeld to Edinburgh
This morning travel to Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews. Not only is St. Andrews famed as the home of golf, but it is also an ancient ecclesiastical capital and Scotland’s oldest university. Following a panorama tour of St Andrews, enjoy free time for shopping and lunch before departing. Continuing southward, passing through picturesque landscapes and quaint villages before crossing the Forth Road Bridge to arrive in the historic and stunning city of Edinburgh for a two-night stay.
Day 17 - Edinburgh
This morning a tour of historic Edinburgh City awaits. Travel down Princess Street and the historic Royal Mile before visiting the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of her Majesty the Queen. Hear the tales of some truly intriguing characters, the Body Snatchers, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Greyfriars Bobby on a guided tour. Visit majestic Edinburgh Castle and enjoy the magnificent views of the city from the castle ramparts. Enjoy leisure time in the city before heading back to the hotel. Spend a traditional Scottish evening of song and dance at the Spirit of Scotland show, accompanied by a great selection of quality Scottish food at the Farewell Dinner.
Day 18 - Depart Scotland
This Celtic journey comes to an end after breakfast, as you transfer to Edinburgh airport for your flight home, with found memories, newly acquired accents and many stories to relate to friends and family.
All prices are per person, land only and include all taxes and fees. Prices are in CAD.
Not included in price:
- International airfare
- Airline baggage fees for additional or over-sized luggage
- Airline fuel surcharges if there is a change in fuel prices
- Gratuities for Tour Director and Driver
- Meals and activities not specified in the itinerary
- Any personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
- Pre or post tour arrangements