IRELAND & SCOTLAND ADVENTURE
Caledonia and the Emerald Isle
Ireland: It is said that Ireland, once visited, is never forgotten, and for once the blarney rings true. The Irish landscape has a mythic resonance, from its green pastures and wild bluff coastlines to mystical lakes and glens. It is a place to explore slowly, roaming through agricultural landscapes scattered with farmhouses, or along the endlessly indented coastline. In town too, the pleasures are unhurried: evenings over Guinness in the snug of a pub, listening to the chat around a turf fire.
Scotland: Scotland is a land steeped in history, whose folklore, legend and romance blend together to provide a spectacular and exciting destination. Unspoiled, wild and dramatic scenery with castles, battlefields and ancient settlements combine with modern, cultured, vibrant cities. For the naturalist, the angler, the hiker or the golfer, the countryside is a delight. Looking for museums, art and culture? Head for the cities of Glasgow or the capital city, Edinburgh, famous for its castle and international festivals. From the rolling farmland and rugged sea coasts in the southern Borders, to the mountains and lochs of the Highlands and the magical outer islands, wherever you travel you receive a warm and friendly welcome.
Day 1 (Mo): Arrival – Dublin City Tour: Arrive at Dublin airport by 1pm, where you will be met by your coach & guide. Transfer into the city-centre. For early arrival - Enjoy a panoramic DUBLIN CITY TOUR and see the famous Georgian quarter which incorporates some of Dublin's loveliest 18th-century streets, squares, and landmarks – most famous the colourful doors of Dublin. See the Parliament Building, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, O’Connell Street and other landmarks. If time permits you will visit TRINITY COLLEGE, the scholarly home to many classical and contemporary Irish writers. Depart for our hotel.
Day 2 (Tu): Ballinasloe-Clonmacnoise-Athlone:Today you will head westwards across the midlands to Athlone. Enjoy an HISTORIC CRUISE on the Shannon & Lough Ree. The Viking I takes you back 1200 years to when Viking Warbands roamed and pillaged in these waters. The cruise goes to Lough Ree and to the Monastic site of Clonmacnoise. With the strong Viking connection to Clonmacnoise, arrival or departure aboard a Viking Ship adds immeasurably to the visit. During the cruise to Lough Ree and its islands live commentary is provided, with tales of Viking treasure.
Day 3 (We): Connemara: Thismorning set out to explore the wilderness of CONNEMARA, a region which is populated largely by sheep and the native Connemara-Ponies. Here you will see some of the most majestic scenery of Ireland dotted with hundreds of small lakes. The stonewalls, tiny farms, isolated thatched cottages and heather covered hills are bounded by a sea coastline with many quiet sandy beaches. Visit KYLEMORE ABBEY–Kylemore Abbey's greatest attraction is its location. Nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain [1736ft] on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, in the heart of the Connemara mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic buildings. Today the Abbey is the monastic home of the Irish Benedictine Nuns and a renowned international girls' boarding school. However, it was built in the 1860's as a country seat for Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy Manchester merchant. On your return journey you will stop in Moycullen and visit CONNEMARA CELTIC CRYSTAL. This family run business specialises incorporating unique Celtic designs and Gaelic motifs into ornate Irish Crystal. The tour gives you an insight into this traditional Irish craft and afterwards you can witness the creation of a unique piece of crystal by our master craftsmen. Return our hotel in Ballinasloe for overnight.
Day 4 (Th): Burren – Cliffs of Moher: In the morning you will travel through the magnificent landscape of the BURREN, a karst limestone region with a vast lunar like landscape. It is famous for its botanic variety harbouring many rare plants and flowers. Continue to the nearby famous towering CLIFFS OF MOHER, metres above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing over 200 and stretching for 8km along the rugged coastline, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland.
Day 5 (Fr): Aran Islands: This morning you travel to the small fishing port of Rossaveal. From here you will cross the Atlantic to visit one of the Aran Islands, the beautiful island of Inish Mor. The three islands stretch across the mouth of Galway Bay. Fishing & tourism are the main industries. Old island traditions live on; the currach (a light tar-covered boat) is still used by some for fishing and for the summer races. Most island women knit the traditional Aran sweater and pass on the skill. Gaelic is the first language among the islanders but most are bilingual. Inish more is a paradise of flora and fauna but also a vast open-air museum, rich in archaeological and monastic sites. You will tour the island by minibus and visit the impressive stone fort Dun Aengus. After spending some time in the local village you will return by ferry.
Day 6 (Sa): Shabbat – Day at Leisure
Day 7 (Su): Limerick - Bunratty Castle and Folkpark - One of Irelands top visitor attractions, Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval castle in the country. Built in 1425, it was faithfully restored in 1954 and has furnishings and tapestries which capture the mood and style of the times. The Folk Park, set in 26 acres, recreates 19th century Ireland. The Park features include a recreated village street, eight farmhouses, a watermill, blacksmiths forge, Macs pub and restaurant and a display of 19th century agricultural machinery. Continue on to Limerick city for a panoramic tour.
Day 8 (Mo): Scotland – Glasgow: Larne Ferry & Drive to Dublin: Driving North to Dublin, just outside Belfast at Larne we take a ferry ride across the narrow channel between Ireland and Scotland and arriving at Cairnryan. We drive north through part of the Southern Uplands and along the Scottish coastline arriving at Glasgow during our stay in Scotland.
Day 9 (Tu): Loch Ness & the Highlands: Our journey northwards takes us through Rob Roy MacGregor country to desolate Rannoch Moor. We’ll travel through haunting Glen Coe, the "Glen of Weeping". Next we travel to Fort William, which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis - Britain's tallest mountain. A real highlight is our drive through the Great Glen which is also the route taken by the Caledonian Canal. We will criss-cross the canal several times as we make our way to Inverness. The Great Glen contains three lochs (Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness), which offer us spectacular vistas. The pretty little village of Fort Augustus is our gateway to Scotland's largest and most famous loch. We will tour the entire length of Loch Ness, stopping at Urquhart Castle. Optional cruise on the loch - could that shadow be the monster? Next we will arrive in Inverness the Capital of the Highlands. Return to Glasgow we continue our journey southwards through the Spey Valley then on to the dramatic scenery of Glen Garry.
Day 10 (We): Oban and the Western Highlands: Enjoy some of Scotland’s most beautiful lochs, glens and mountains as we tour through the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park to visit the attractive town of Oban, in the heart of the beautiful Western Highlands. From Glasgow we make our way through Rob Roy country towards the little Highland village of Tyndrum. Next we travel through Glen Lochy to romantic Kilchurn Castle, which stands guard at the head of Loch Awe. For years Loch Awe was a natural protection for the Campbells of Inveraray against their enemies from the North. At Oban, a picturesque fishing port set on the Firth of Lorn, we will explore this bustling town and enjoy the views towards the Island of Kerrera and the Inner Hebrides beyond. The 3rd Duke of Argyll built the “new” town of Inveraray between 1746 and 1780 at the head of Loch Fyne. The town sits in the shadow of his castle and, as we will discover, this pleasant town retains much of its 18th Century charm. Our journey continues by way of Loch Long then over the dramatic “Rest and be Thankful” mountain pass to the gentle scenery of the “bonnie, bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond. Our enjoyable drive will afford wonderful views of Loch Lomond before we make our way back to Glasgow.
Day 11 (Th): Stirling Castle, Lochs & Whisky - Shabbat: A fascinating tour that will introduce you to the history of Stirling with its famous Castle and the natural beauty of the Loch Lomond National Park. We start our tour with a drive to the medieval city of Stirling. Here there is an opportunity to visit Stirling Castle and its town. The castle overlooks the ancient city of Stirling and is one of the historic buildings that have come to symbolize the spirit of Scotland. The Trossachs is a wonderful area of lochs and wild mountain vistas. We travel to Loch Venachar then climb the dramatic Dukes Pass to the pretty village of Aberfoyle. The Queen of Scotland's lakes - Loch Lomond is the largest stretch of inland water in Britain. We'll make a stop in Balmaha where you can enjoy lunch and take a stroll along the "bonnie, bonnie banks". Our last stop of the day is to pretty Glengoyne Malt Whisky Distillery. As well as having a behind the scenes tour to learn all about the distillers art there will be a chance to taste the end product too!
Day 12 (Fr): Edinburgh: Explore the city of Edinburgh, drive along the bustling Princes Street and through the gracious, wide streets of the 200-year-old Georgian New Town. See the compact medieval section along the Royal Mile where some houses reach 11 stories tall. Visit Edinburgh Castle which dominates the city center and contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. Return for Shabbat with the Jewish community of Glasgow.
Day 13 (Sa): Shabbat with the Jewish community of Glasgow
Day 14 (Su): Depart
*Optional 8 days Ireland only tour. Please call for details
Custom group departures (minimum 20 or more participants) are available upon request. Please call us for details.
Activitiy choices range from walking city and country tours to hiking and biking tours.
Custom group departures are available year-round. Please call for details and quote.