14 Day Best of Ireland & Scotland – Insight Vacations
Insight Vacations Country Roads Tour starting in Dublin and finishing in Edinburgh
Despite the incursions of the English, these countries retain their own distinctive character, as well as being blessed with dramatic scenery and warm-hearted people. This well paced tour has two-night stays in Dublin, Killarney, the Highlands and Edinburgh. The driving days are of a reasonable length with frequent stops for refreshment. Modern hotels like the George Boutique hotel in Limerick, and Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza contrast with the Ballygally Castle, rumoured to have its very own ghost!
Day By Day
Day 1 Welcome To Dublin
On arrival at Dublin Airport, your airport transfer service leaves for your hotel at 08:00, 11:00 & 13:30. Perhaps stroll around the shops of Grafton Street? Later, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception, with drinks and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. (WR/D) Stay: Clyde Court/Ballsbridge Executive Rooms, Dublin
Day 2 In Dublin’s Fair City
After a restful night’s sleep, a guided exploration of Dublin shows you the elegant Georgian squares, famous O’Connell Street and historic Custom House, one of architect James Gandon’s masterpieces. A walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin brings you to the magnificent Old Library. Inside, you’ll find the 9C Book of Kells, its delicate paintings one of the treasures of the Middle Ages and the barrel-vaulted Long Room, where 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books are housed. As evening falls, there is time for shopping and the chance to see an Irish Cabaret show. (FB) Stay: Clyde Court/Ballsbridge Executive Rooms, Dublin
Day 3 Head To Waterford And Then To Cork
Drive to Kildare for a look behind the scenes at one of the country’s main racehorse breeding centres and visit the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe, for A ‘Journey Through Life’. Then head for Waterford to see Reginald’s Tower, the ruined city walls and for a guided visit of the world famous crystal factory and to meet a master craftsman. Now on to Cork, Ireland’s second most populous city, built on the River Lee. (FB) Stay: Imperial, Cork
Day 4 Travel To Blarney Castle And Killarney
This morning, visit Cork’s bustling English Market and meet a local market stall holder who introduces you to a taste of delicious farmhouse cheese. See the Court House and Cork’s fine Georgian houses, before visiting ruined Blarney Castle, the home of the famous Stone of Eloquence, once kissed – never forgotten! Continue on to Killarney where you join a local ‘Jarvie’ aboard one of the jaunting cars. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Maybe take the opportunity to hire a bicycle and enjoy one of the many scenic trails around the lake or through the delightful National Park. (BB/D) Stay: Killarney Towers, Killarney
Day 5 Ring Of Kerry Experience
In the morning, tour the superb seascapes, towering cliffs and spectacular mountains of the Ring of Kerry. Follow the narrow road as it winds through delightful villages like Sneem, cross the peat bogs of the Black Mountains to Moll’s Gap and admire Queen Victoria’s ‘Ladies View’. Return mid afternoon for time at leisure. Maybe take the opportunity to hire a bicycle and enjoy one of the many scenic trails around the lake or through the National Park. (FB) Stay: Killarney Towers, Killarney
Day 6 To Limerick, The Land Of Song And Legend
This morning, enjoy a delightful ferry ride across the Shannon Estuary. Disembark and journey to the Visitors’ Centre at the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Clare Coast before continuing to Limerick, famous for rhymes, lace and elegant Georgian houses. See St. Mary’s Cathedral, King John’s Castle and the Treaty Stone. Your hotel is a Georgian Manor House set in 26 acres of beautiful gardens on the banks of the River Shannon. (FB) Stay: Castle Oaks House Hotel, Limerick
Day 7 Drive Through Galway And Connemara To Sligo Bay
Drive to Galway and join your Tour Director to see the infamous Lynch Memorial and the Church of St. Nicholas, where Christopher Columbus reputedly prayed before his discovery of America. Also see the aged Spanish Arch and Eyre Square, dedicated to the late US President, John F Kennedy. Now tour the wild Connemara region, a scenic wonderland of rivers, lakes and silent hills. Tonight, your perfect country retreat is set on the scenic shores of Sligo Bay. (BB/D) Stay: Radisson Blu Sligo, Sligo
Walk In The Giant’s Steps On The Way To Ballygally
The day begins in Drumcliffe, with a visit to the final resting place of Ireland’s famous poet, William Butler Yeats. Cross into Northern Ireland and visit Derry, its well preserved walls are still topped with cannons. Sightseeing with a local expert takes you past the Georgian houses of Shipquay Street to the Gothic Guildhall. Continue around the coast to the amazing Giant’s Causeway. Now enjoy a spectacular drive along the Antrim coast road to your hotel overlooking the sea at the head of Ballygally Bay. (BB/D) Stay: Ballygally Castle
Day 9 Drive Into Burn’s Country And On To Glasgow
Take the ferry to Scotland and continue along the Ayrshire Coast, taking in views of the Firth of Clyde and the Island of Arran. Pass the Open golf links of Turnberry before arriving in Alloway, where you visit Robert Burns’ birthplace and see the Burns’ Monument and famous ‘Brig O’ Doon’. Spend the night in the vibrant city of Glasgow. (FB) Stay: Crowne Plaza, Glasgow
Day 10 Journey Through Glencoe And Loch Ness To Inverness
Head north for a scenic drive along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond this morning. Now through the dramatic scenery of Glencoe, still echoing with the cries of massacred clansmen, before reaching Fort William. Pause at the Commando Memorial for a view of Britain’s highest mountain, before visiting the Ben Nevis Distillery to enjoy a wee dram of the finest Highland whisky. Continue along the mysterious shores of Loch Ness to Inverness. (BB/D) Stay: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
Day 11 A Highlands Experience
The next day, enjoy an orientation tour of Inverness before driving out to the Culloden Moor Visitor Centre, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army was finally defeated. Not much more than a cannon shot away lie the prehistoric Clava burial cairns, dating back to around 2000BC. The Scottish Border Collie is world renowned for its herding abilities. Visit a working Highland farm for a personal insight into the daily life of a shepherd and his dogs. (BB/D) Stay: Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
Day 12 On To St. Andrews And Edinburgh
A scenic drive takes you through the Grampian Mountains past the Duke of Atholl’s Blair Castle. Drive down and cross the Tay to visit St. Andrews, the home of golf. Now continue across the majestic Forth Road Bridge to the Scottish Capital. This evening, selected departures attend the spectacular Edinburgh Military Tattoo. (FB) Stay: Crowne Plaza – The Roxburghe/Holyrood, Edinburgh
Day 13 Edinburgh, Athens Of The North
In the morning, join your local expert for a visit to Edinburgh Castle, housing the Scottish Crown Jewels. At the bottom of the Royal Mile, stands the Queen’s Holyroodhouse Palace. Turn onto Princes Street, past the Scott Memorial to see Edinburgh’s famous Georgian New Town. Later, there is still time to shop. This evening, join your friends at a stylish restaurant overlooking Edinburgh’s famous Forth bridges – a unique water’s edge setting for your a grand finalé Celebration Dinner. Bon Appetit! (BB/CD) Stay: Crowne Plaza – The Roxburghe/Apex City, Edinburgh
Day 14 Farewell Edinburgh
Transfers arrive at Edinburgh Airport at 06:15 & 09:00. (FB)
Additional Included Highlights
- Dublin: See the Custom House and elegant Georgian Squares.
- York: See York Minster, city walls and medieval ‘Shambles”
- Cork: Enjoy an orientation tour.
- Limerick: See King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral.
- Galway: See the Cathedral, Spanish Arch and Eyre Square. Drumcliffe: Visit the final resting place of Irish poet Willain Butler Yeats.
- Londonderry: See ‘Derry’s Walls’ and Georgian houses.
- Great Glen: View the Commando memorial and Ben Nevis.
- Highlands: Drive along Loch Ness. Visit the prehistoric burial cairns of Clava.
- St Andrews: Visit the university town and see the golf course.
- Edinburgh: Enjoy a guided city tour down the Royal Mile past Holyroodhouse and over to the 18C ‘New Town’
- Scenic drives: Connemara, Ring of Kerry, Antrim & Ayrshire Coasts, Glencoe, Grampian Mountains, Loch Ness, Loch Lomond
Highlight Hotels And Locations
- Limerick: Relax in the old world charm and comfort of a Georgian Manor House.
- Inverness: The signature Kingsmills hotel comprises of an extended 17th Century residence, presenting a seamless blend of style and substance.
- Elsewhere, modern hotels like the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, contrast with the historic charm of Ballygally Castle Hotel with its antique furniture and resident ghost.
- Edinburgh: An unforgettable Celebration event sees you dining on a sunny evening, watching the occasional estuary traffic, and toasting to new-found friends!
- Welcome Reception (WD), 13 full Breakfasts (FB), 5 three-course Evening Meals with choice, or buffets, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).
- Dublin: Breathe the air thickened by the musty tomes of Trinity College Library and see the lavish 9C Book of Kells.
- Kildare: Join an equine professional for a behind the scenes look at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens.
- Waterford: A guided visit of the crystal factory.
- Cork: Visit the English Market and meet a local market stallholder who introduces you to a taste of delicious farmhouse cheese.
- Blarney: It is said that those who kiss the Blarney Stone are bestowed with the power to persuade, flatter and coax. But to do so, you must dangle from the ramparts!
- Killarney: A local ‘Jarvie’ informs you of the history, legend and folklore of Killarney aboard a famous jaunting car ride.
- Killarney: Venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and villages, as you tour the magical Ring of Kerry.
- Cliffs of Moher: Look out over the Wild Atlantic Way from these majestic cliffs.
- Giant’s Causeway: Steeped in legend, the awe inspiring coastal scenery is a spectacle to behold.
- Highlands: Sample a ‘wee dram’ and learn the fascinating process of whisky production.
- Highlands: Find out why the battle changed the Highland way of life forever at the Culloden Moor Visitor Centre.
- Highlands: Amidst the stunning scenery of a real working Highland farm, the sheepdogs of Neil Ross are put through their paces, and you meet the collie pups.
- Edinburgh: For a limited time in August, you are witness to the breathtaking spectacle of the Military Tattoo.
- Edinburgh: Walk within the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
- An expert Insight Tour Director – at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges’, expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.
- Insight motorcoach – Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight’s luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It’s business class comfort.
- Personal radio headsets – gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert’s fascinating insights and commentaries.
- Baggage handling everywhere – with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
- Hotel and restaurant tips included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Complimentary WiFi – the majority of Insight hotels have free WiFi access in lobby or bedroom areas. You will also find that WiFi is generally available on most touring coaches.
- Insight Flourishes – from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
- Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.