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12-Night Best of Ireland & Scotland Tour

Price: From $1,638 Per Person
12 Nights

On this tour, your twelve nights are split right down the middle - six in Ireland and six in Scotland! Start with two nights in vibrant Dublin City, where you'll discover a wealth of famous sights and attractions. On Day 3, collect your rental car and leave Dublin to enjoy time in Kilkenny - Ireland's bustling Medieval City, as well as County Kerry - Ireland's most scenic locale. Fly to Scotland (flight price not included) on Day 7 to begin a two night stay in the picturesque and historic city of Edinburgh. On Day 9, journey north to travel deep into the Scottish Highlands, exploring charming Pitlochry and spectacular Cairngorms National Park along the way. Your final two nights are in the celebrated City of Stirling. With a history dating from Roman times and spanning thousands of years, Stirling has been at the heart of several history altering events and wars. Return home from Edinburgh after truly savoring the very Best of Ireland and Scotland!

                            **Use tabs above to view Itinerary, Prices & How to Book.**

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • Spend 12 Nights in Boutique City Hotels and Cozy, Luxurious B&Bs
  • Spend 2 Nights in Cosmopolitan Dublin and 2 Nights in Beautiful & Historic Edinburgh

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Cars in both Ireland & Scotland - Includes Insurance, Unlimited Mileage & All Taxes

DINING OPTIONS

  • 12 Full, Sumptuous Irish & Scottish Breakfasts to Begin Your Mornings

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • 2 Day Dublin Double-Decker Bus Pass Included - Hop On & Off at Your Leisure!

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Marvel at 6th Century Glendalough & Medieval Kilkenny
  • Explore Stunning Scenery in County Kerry
  • The Rock of Cashel & Bunratty Castle
  • Explore The Breathtaking Scottish Highlands
  • Visit Scenic Loch Lomond & Mysterious Loch Ness
  • Learn about Centuries of War, Turmoil & Intrigue in Stirling
     

Dublin, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Arrive at Dublin Airport after your overnight flight if you are coming from the U.S. or Canada.

Dublin is Ireland's main airport - located just north of Dublin City.
If you are heading downtown, it takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
There are 2 terminals at Dublin Airport, the second of which opened to air traffic in November 2010.
Most flights from the U.S. (on Aer Lingus, Delta, United, US Airways & American Airlines) arrive into Terminal 2.


Accommodation

Davenport Hotel - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Big Bus Dublin 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off

Dublin, County Dublin

Hop onboard any Big Bus at any of the 30+ designated bus stops, and enjoy the freedom to explore Europe’s friendliest city across two great sightseeing routes - switch between the Red and Blue Line to cover all of Dublin’s best bits (not to be confused with bus color, all Big Bus Dublin buses are dark red) Your ticket is valid for 48 hours affording you ample time to visit attractions in Dublin such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle, The Guinness Storehouse & Kilmainham Gaol, to name but a few. Looking for things to do with kids in Dublin? Take the hop-on hop-off bus to The National Wax Museum, Croke Park Stadium or Dublin Zoo. The close proximity of Dublin’s main attractions means that each stop on the tour offers lots of activities and makes Ireland’s capital the ideal location for a Big Bus Dublin open top tour. Live commentary is available via witty & knowledgeable driver/guides, who have all kissed the Blarney stone at least once! Visit All of Dublin’s free Museums & Galleries, ask your driver about the free walking tour, or just relax and let the bus take you for a scenic spin. The hop-on, hop-off tour makes it easy to discover the best that Dublin has to offer.


Overnight Location

Dublin, County Dublin

On the Map: Dublin, Ireland's Capital City is located on the east coast of the country, and is well served by infrastructure linking it to all parts of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin is a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with culture. You could spend your time strolling the streets soaking up the atmosphere, relaxing in its cafes and bars or you could check out its myriad historical, literary and cultural delights. The 8th century illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, must be viewed. It is on display at the impressive Trinity College, Ireland's first university (founded 1592) in the heart of Dublin. For the rest of your time, it is up to you how much you want to pack in. Phoenix Park (twice the size of New York City's Central Park), Georgian Dublin around Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the National Botanical Gardens, National Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery are all highly recommended stops on your tour. Then there's the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.  A visit to Dublin's Temple Bar to experience the lively Dublin pub culture is a must, though many of Dublin's best bars can be found outside this area in the streets and laneways around Grafton Street, the shopper's street of choice. Purchasing a 'hop-on, hop-off' Dublin Bus Tour ticket is a great way to get around and see all the major sites at a very reasonable cost.


Must-See Sites

Trinity College, County Dublin

On The Map: Trinity College is located in the heart of Dublin City. Just south of the River Liffey, the campus grounds are bordered by Grafton, College, Pearse, Nassau & Leinster Streets.

Time spent in Dublin would not be complete without a visit to Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st, it is one of the oldest universities in the British Isles, and the very oldest in Ireland. Standing on a self contained site in the very heart of Dublin, the College itself covers some 35 acres of cobbled squares and green spaces surrounded by buildings which represent the accumulated architectural riches of nearly three centuries. Although Trinity offers much of interest to the visitor, the crown jewel is without doubt the Book of Kells. The Book is an 'illuminated manuscript', globally celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as 'insular majuscule'. Written in the 9th century, it has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid-19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year.


Guinness Storehouse, County Dublin

On The Map: The Guinness Storehouse is centrally located in Dublin City at St. James Gate, just off Crane Street and south of the River Liffey. The Storehouse is a leisurely 20 minute stroll west of Trinity College.

Come and explore Ireland’s top visitor attraction, providing an unforgettable welcome and a magical journey deep into the heart of the world famous Guinness brand and company. The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin. Housed in an old fermentation plant, the seven-story visitor experience tells the epic tale of Ireland’s iconic drink and brings to life the heritage of Guinness from early days to growth as a global brand, known all around the world. The experience starts standing at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass, which rises through the building.  It’s a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in The Gravity Bar where visitors will receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying spectacular views over Dublin. 


Grafton Street, County Dublin

On The Map: Grafton Street runs from Saint Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north

Grafton Street is without doubt Ireland's premier shopping street - in terms of retail rent, it's the fifth most expensive in the world! With beautiful historic buildings housing iconic Irish businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir & Sons and Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, Grafton Street offers an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianized, with the exception of a short stretch that runs between Nassau Street and College Green and contains the 18th century Trinity College Provost's House, home to the head of the college. If shopping's not your thing, Grafton Street is still worth checking out. It's a bustling, atmospheric spot, and high quality street performers including musicians, poets and mime-artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds.


Dublin, County Dublin

Accommodation

Davenport Hotel - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Temple Bar, County Dublin

On The Map: Temple Bar lies in the heart of Dublin City. Located on the south bank of the River Liffey, and just west of Trinity College and Grafton Street.

The lively and vibrant Temple Bar District - Dublin's Cultural Quarter, is well worth a visit. Best known for being Dublin’s major nightlife center, Temple Bar comes alive after dark, with many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. For those visiting during the day, the area boasts a timeless charm, with narrow cobbled streets and a plethora of cultural organizations, such as the Irish Film Centre & Project Arts Centre. There are also a variety of small galleries and stores - perfect for a day of shopping. While Temple Bar after dark might not be for everyone, the area is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon. 


Dublin Museums, County Dublin

Dublin has long been recognized as a center of art & culture. The city is literally awash with interesting museums and galleries of all types and sizes.
It's impossible to make note of them all, but three of the best are:
The Chester Beatty Library: Alfred Chester Beatty, a New Yorker donated a fantastic collection of books to the city of Dublin. Highlights include papyrus scripts, valuable copies of the Koran, Buddhist & Far Eastern literature, as well as early mediaeval manuscripts.
National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology: Enter this museum and be transported back in time to almost 7000BC! Gold and other treasures recount a varied Irish history through Christian and pre-Christian times. A range of exhibitions also present artifacts from many other cultures and regions.
National Gallery: Here you can admire European works of art from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. As well as Irish artists, the Gallery also boasts works by Angelico, Goya, Gainsborough & Reynolds, to name but a few.


Saint Patrick's Cathedral, County Dublin

On The Map: Saint Patrick's Cathedral is located in the heart of Dublin City, just south of the River Liffey, and west of such landmarks as Trinity College and Grafton Street. The Cathedral is located at the junction of Patrick Street and Upper Kevin Street.

Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life since its founding in 1191. The Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well, at which St Patrick himself reportedly baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The writer and satirist Jonathan Swift was Dean of Saint Patrick's from 1713 to 1747, and is buried within the church. In a romantic twist, Esther Johnson (Stella) is buried next to Swift. Although never married, Swift had a life-long, intense and mysterious relationship with Stella, and she was an inspiration for much of his work. Handel's Messiah received its first performance there in 1742, sung by the combined choir of Saint Patrick's and Christ Church. Music has played an integral part in the life of Saint Patrick's since its foundation and it is the only cathedral in these islands to sing two services every day. Living Stones, the cathedral's permanent exhibition, celebrates Saint Patrick's place in the life of the city, its history and its role at the dawn of the third millennium. It emphasises that the cathedral is not a museum, but a building embracing the past to herald the future.


Kilmainham Gaol, County Dublin

On The Map: Kilmainham Gaol is located in the west of Dublin City on the Inchicore Road, and just south of Phoenix Park.

One of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe, Kilmainham has played an integral role in some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland's emergence as a modern nation. The Gaol offers the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined in one of these forbidding bastions of punishment between the opening of Kilmainham in 1796 and its closure in 1924. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were all detained here, and names such as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell & Eamonn DeValera are synonymous with Kilmainham. Attractions include a major exhibition detailing the political and penal history of the prison and its restoration. Access to the Gaol is by guided tour only, which includes an audio-visual show. Tours may be arranged for visitors with special needs by prior arrangement


Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Accommodation

Ormonde Hotel - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 4:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12:00 noon.


Enroute Sightseeing

Powerscourt House and Gardens, County Wicklow

On the Map: Powerscourt House & Gardens is located in County Wicklow in the east of Ireland. Powerscourt is accessed via the R117 road, which intersects with the main M11/N11 approx. 30 kilometres south of Dublin City.

One mile long and lined by over 2,000 beech trees, even the avenue leading to the Powerscourt House echoes the magnificence of the whole estate. In addition the 47 acres of gardens are remarkable for their grandeur of scale, at the same time combining great delicacy and refinement of detail. The house was gutted by fire in 1974 but recently has been reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. An exhibition brings to life the rich history of the estate, while the double height Georgian ballroom has been restored and hosts weddings and corporate events. The house is now home to the best of Irish design in gifts, clothes, and furniture in the Avoca Stores and the Interiors Gallery. You can also treat yourself to a dish from the Avoca Cookbook in the Terrace Cafe. Or you can visit the Powerscourt Distillery onsite as well.  The gardens at Powerscourt, recently voted Number 3 in the entire world by National Geographic, were laid out in two main periods. When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodelled. The design reflected the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape. To the north formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottos and terraces lay to the south. Walks wound through the wooded grounds and a fine tree-lined avenue was created.


Enroute Sightseeing

Glendalough, County Wicklow

On the Map: Glendalough is located in County Wicklow, in the east of Ireland - just 1 hour south of Dublin City. Scenically nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is served by a network of small country roads. From the northeast (Dublin), travel on the R755/R756, from everywhere else, arrive from the west on the R756.

Glendalough ("The Glen of the Two Lakes"), is the site upon which St. Kevin founded a unique monastic settlement in the 6th century. Most of what remains of the settlement is in ruins but the Round Tower at Glendalough, built as a refuge from marauding Vikings, is over a 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. The site itself is set next to two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep glacial valley. It is one of the most serene and beautiful places in all Ireland and it is easy to see why the monks picked it for a place of prayer and contemplation. There are a myriad of walking trails throughout the area making it a truly invigorating place to spend the day.


Overnight Location

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

On the Map: Kilkenny City is located in County Kilkenny, in the southeast midlands of Ireland. Kilkenny is well-served by a good network of roads - the M9/N10 from Dublin (to the northeast) and N9/N10 from Waterford City (to the south).

Kilkenny, or the Marble City as it is known, is one of Ireland's oldest towns, and proud of it. Its array of ancient buildings is unrivalled. It is renowned for being a vibrant cultural center, devoted to the musical and visual arts. Its two most impressive landmarks are Kilkenny Castle, founded in 1172 and privately owned until 1967, and St. Canice's Cathedral. The current structure of the cathedral dates from the 13th century, though this is nowhere near the beginning of its story, which is rich in folklore and legend. There is no shortage of pubs to explore and enjoy in Kilkenny and during the summer the city is always full of life. The summer also sees the city host an Arts Festival and a very highly regarded Comedy Festival called the Cat Laughs.


Must-See Sites

Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny

On The Map: Kilkenny Castle is situated in the heart of mediaeval Kilkenny City, in the southeast midlands of Ireland.

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height, commanding a crossing of the River Nore and dominating the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. The original castle was constructed in the early 13th century for the 4th Earl of Pembroke. The Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family, and remained so for almost 600 years from 1391 to 1967. The Butler ownership ended when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. Due to major restoration works, the central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830's splendour, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. A suite of former servant's rooms is the Butler Art Gallery, which mounts frequently changing exhibitions of contemporary art.  The Parade Tower is the Castle's conference venue.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

Windway House - Killarney, County Kerry

B&B
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 4.00pm & 6.00pm. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the property on 064 663 2835.


Enroute Sightseeing

Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

On the Map: Cashel is located in County Tipperary in the southern midlands of Ireland. The main M8 motorway connecting the major cities of Dublin (to the northeast) and Cork (to the southwest) passes right by the town.

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick's Rock, is also known as Cashel of the Kings. One of the most visited sites in Ireland, The Rock is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a rocky outcrop of limestone, looming above the town of Cashel, County Tipperary. There is a 12th Century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic influences in their architecture. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.


Overnight Location

Killarney, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

Killarney lies on the edge of the astoundingly beautiful Killarney National Park, with its three magnificent lakes and the spectacular MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range. The park is also home to Muckross House and Gardens. Killarney is a wonderful base for all manner of activities including angling and water sports, golf, riding, orienteering, hiking, cycling, and canoeing. The town itself is quite small but full of charm - this you will soon see as you walk down the brick footpaths and pass curious old-style shop fronts. Killarney is well known for its excellent shops, restaurants and cosmopolitan appeal. It is also renowned for its evening entertainment including many singing pubs, cabarets, dancing venues, and banquets. Traditional Irish music can also be heard in many of the local pubs on a nightly basis.


Must-See Sites

Muckross House and Gardens, County Kerry

On The Map: Muckross House is located just 6 kilometres south of Killarney, County Kerry, in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney, take the N71 south for Kenmare. The only vehicle entrance is located approximately 1km beyond the Muckross Park Hotel - on the right.

Muckross House, set close to the shores of Muckross Lake & amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park, was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843. Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century land-owning class. While in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores. During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Between the months of April and July, Muckross Gardens are spectacularly adorned with the red and pink flowers of mature Rhododendrons. Other features include a Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden. An Arboretum, containing many trees from the Southern Hemisphere, was established in 1972. Muckross Traditional Farms are situated adjacent to Muckross House. These working farms recreate and portray the traditional farming methods, and way of life, of a typical local, rural community of the 1930s. The Walled Garden Centre incorporates the Garden Restaurant, Mucros Craft Shop and three Mucros Craft Workshops.


Killarney National Park, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

On the southwestern edge of Killarney Town lies an untamed, rugged & mountainous country. The area includes the McGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous lakes of Killarney. Here, where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, you'll discover the 26,000 acre Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies, lends the area a special scenic beauty. The Park contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oakwoods and yew woods, together with an abundance of evergreen trees and shrubs. A profusion of bryophytes and lichens thrive in the mild Killarney climate. The native red deer are unique in Ireland, with a presence in the country since the last Ice Age. At the heart of the National Park is Muckross House and Gardens. The house, a late 19th century mansion features period furnishings and artefacts and is a major visitor attraction in itself. Killarney National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

Windway House - Killarney, County Kerry

B&B
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 4.00pm & 6.00pm. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the property on 064 663 2835.


Must-See Sites

Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

On the Map: The Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) is in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Killarney is the usual starting point for people completing the Ring, although Kenmare is another good option for this purpose. The N70 road encircles the entire peninsula.

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most scenic touring routes. At 110 miles long, it circles the awe-inspiring Iveragh Peninsula. You’ll feel as if you have moved into nature’s mystic arena, and truly you have, as you pass between soft mountains, through forest glades, around bogs, rivers, lakes and pristine beaches. The road between the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountains presents secret passes and valleys dotted along the fabled shores of Dingle and Kenmare Bays. Ireland’s natural beauty sings throughout the Ring of Kerry. You may wish to explore several charming villages along the route, including Glenbeigh, Waterville, and Sneem. Stroll and talk to people—this is what makes your travel experience unique. The Ring attracted Ireland’s first settlers, and has a wealth of ancient sites. A 6th century monastery, clinging to the windswept cliffs of the Skellig Islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Staigue Stone Fort is an Iron Age stronghold dating from 300BC. This is also an area of Ogham Stones, the first mysterious forms of writing and art, nestled along the Ring. Follow the drive to Killarney by way of the Ladies View and the legendary Lakes of Killarney and the National Park. The Ring of Kerry is the stuff of dreams and lifelong memories.


Killarney to Kenmare, County Kerry

We appreciate that your time in Ireland is precious, and you simply won't be able to do absolutely everything. Completing the 110 mile Ring of Kerry, for example, might be a stretch on this tour. We do however highly recommend that you at least drive the section from Killarney to Kenmare (or vice-versa), which forms a portion of the Ring. It's only 30 kilometres/ 30 minutes each way on a narrow, winding road, but you are scenically rewarded at almost every turn. Highlights include 'Ladies View', so named for the excitement the vista illicited from Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting, during her famous 1861 visit. There's a little cafe and plenty of spots to pull in and admire the view that so stimulated the Royal Entourage 150 years ago! A little further along the road, you'll arrive at Moll's Gap. Set high on a rocky ridge, The Gap overlooks mountains, rivers, lush countryside and the famous Lakes of Killarney, with truly breathtaking views - Carrauntoohill, Ireland's highest mountain to one side, the Gap of Dunloe to the other. There's also an Avoca Store & Cafe at The Gap, selling the finest of Irish goods and souvenirs.


Ross Castle, County Kerry

On The Map: Ross Castle is located on the southern outskirts of Killarney, County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney town centre, head south on the N71/Muckross Road for Kenmare. Ross Road is right turn off the N71, and is well signposted.

Ross castle overlooks the Lower Lake in Killarney, and commands magnificent views of Purple Mountain, Innisfallen Island & Ross Island. The Castle is a typical example of an Irish Chieftain stronghold during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but construction was most likely completed in the late 15th century, by one of the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains. The castle is surrounded by a fortified bawn, and its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Ross was the last Munster stronghold to hold out against Oliver Cromwell's infamous British forces, before eventually being taken by General Ludlow in 1652. The castle contains an impressive collection of 16th & 17th century oak furniture. Legend has it that Brian Boru, Ireland's most famous High King was educated on the site of the castle by the Monks in the 9th Century. Please note that this is a very popular attraction, and visitors may experience a delay entering the castle during the busy summer months.


Kenmare, County Kerry

On the Map: Kenmare is located in scenic County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is accessed via the scenic N71 road that connects the cities of Killarney (to the north) & Glengarriff (to the south).

Kenmare, with its pastel coloured houses, is along with Killarney, a usual starting point for the Ring of Kerry round trip. The small charming town, founded by a handful of Englishmen in 1670, has every tourist convenience imaginable, including 2 of the most luxurious hotels in Ireland, both of which have been awarded much coveted Michelin stars: The Park Hotel and Sheen Falls Lodge. Kenmare boasts a remarkable number of excellent restaurants and quality pubs for a town of its size, and has garnered a fantastic reputation as a gourmet destination in recent years. Owing to its enviable location adjacent to Kenmare Bay and the River Finnehy, all set against the backdrop of the Kerry Mountains, Kenmare's picturesque aspect is hard to match.


Celbridge, County Kildare

Accommodation

Celbridge Manor - Celbridge, County Kildare

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out before 11:00am.


Enroute Sightseeing

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, County Clare

On The Map: Bunratty Castle is located in Bunratty Village - just off the main M18 motorway in the southwest of County Clare.

The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country, which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park, where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Meet and chat with the Bean an Ti (Woman of the House) and various street characters including the Policeman and Schoolteacher. Enjoy the tastes, scents, sights and sounds of this enchanting place as you stroll from house to house or around the charming village complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and of course the pub!


Enroute Sightseeing

Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

On the Map: Adare is located just 20km southwest of Limerick City / 43km south of Shannon Airport. The main N21 road (connecting the cities of Limerick & Tralee/Killarney) passes right through the centre of the village.

Adare is a quaint picturesque place, lined with traditional thatched-roof cottages. Snuggled in a wooded and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most unique village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village's broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins. Situated in the centre of County Limerick, with just 15 minutes from Limerick City and 45 minutes from Shannon Airport, Adare Village is an ideal base from which to explore County Limerick's many visitor attractions such as Lough Gur and King John's Castle.


Overnight Location

Celbridge, County Kildare

On The Map: Celbridge is located 23 miles west of Dublin City. It is most easily accessed by the R403 & R405 roads, which intersect with the main M4 Motorway connecting Dublin & Galway Cities.

The development of Celbridge commenced with the building of Kildrought House in 1720. The present day houses on Main Street and in the town center were built over the subsequent two hundred year period. Celbridge boasts several important historical buildings and famous sons. Number 22 Main Street was for a time occupied by Richard Guinness and his son Arthur was born there. Arthur went on to form the Guinness Brewery. Castletown House (pictured), was constructed in 1722, and is situated at the end of an avenue extending from the main street of Celbridge. Castletown is Ireland's largest and arguably finest Palladian Country House. Two features of particular note are the 80-foot blue and gold Long Gallery, and the main cantilevered staircase. Reputedly, only three staircases of this kind were ever constructed, and one lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the doomed Titanic. Celbridge Abbey was built in 1703, and is another beautiful structure, with many tales of woe to tell. In recent years Celbridge has expanded dramatically, yet most of the towns services and amenities still center on the single main street.


Must-See Sites

Boyne Valley, County Meath

On the Map: The Boyne Valley is a fairly large region located in the east of Ireland in County Meath. Only 30 minutes/ 20km north of Dublin City, the Boyne Valley is accessed via the N2 or N3 roads heading northwest from the city.

The Boyne Valley contains the largest and most decorated megalithic sites in all of Ireland and has been described as "the largest and most important expression of prehistoric megalithic art in Europe". The large Megalithic sites were built over 5000 years ago between 3800 and 3200 BC, built before both Stonehenge in England and the great pyramids in Egypt. Within a three square mile radius in the Boyne Valley are grouped more than 30 prehistoric monuments including the great passage tombs and their satellite structures, standing stones, barrows and other enclosures. The great sites of the Boyne Valley include Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Loughcrew, Fourknocks and the Hill of Tara. Neolithic communities built these sites over earlier sacred spots and it is suspected that they were used for a combination of different purposes, including use as burial tombs, sacred temples and astronomical observatories. The nearby towns of Trim, Slane and Navan make ideal bases from which to explore the area.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Arrive at

One-Way Flight from Dublin to Edinburgh, Scotland

The flight time from Dublin to Edinburgh is just over an hour, making it by far the best option when travelling between Ireland & Scotland. Car ferries are simply too slow (and expensive), unless you have lots of vacation time to play with! There are multiple flights from Dublin to Edinburgh every day, and if booked a few months in advance, fares are very reasonably-priced. Our Ireland/Scotland vacation quotes do not include airfare, but we are happy to advise and assist you in finding the very best fare and schedule.


Accommodation

Channings Hotel - Edinburgh, Scotland

4 Star
Room Type: Single

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out before 12:00 noon.


Overnight Location

Edinburgh, Scotland

On The Map: Edinburgh is located in the southeast of Scotland. Edinburgh is well served by a good network of roads and motorways, including the M8 from Glasgow to the west, and A68 from Newcastle, England to the southeast.

Edinburgh knows how to welcome travelers with grace and charm. She also knows how to kick up her heels and enjoy a nice shot of Scotch Whisky after a festival. The hill that Edinburgh Castle stands upon has been Scotland’s remarkable silent witness since the Bronze Age. Today her streets are filled with cutting-edge galleries and museums, tributes to the love of literature and music, fine cuisine, quirky shops, theater, and an extravagance of festivals. Four ancient streets, called the Royal Mile, are the main thoroughfare.  Running through medieval Edinburgh with her 66 alleys, tumbling shops, cobblestones, and tight homes the Royal Mile takes you to New Town.  Here you’ll stroll through fine gardens, perfect Georgian architecture and broad squares. The mix of time, while lost in time, is a heady brew. There may be no finer city than Edinburgh Scotland, to participate in the gifts of the past with an eye to a brilliant future. 


Must-See Sites

The Royal Mile, Scotland

On The Map: The Royal Mile is located in Old Town Edinburgh, and runs between Edinburgh Castle & Holyrood Palace.

The Royal Mile is the main thoroughfare of Old Town Edinburgh, and boasts a number of famous historical sites and buildings, as well as an impressive array of shops, eateries and pubs. The Royal Mile is actually more than a mile by 107 yards. It starts at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle & ends at the gates of Holyrood Palace. There are several independently named streets which connect to make up the Royal Mile: Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Cannongate, and Abbey Strand. The major attractions on the Royal Mile are: Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, The National Museum of Scotland & Camera Obscura - Scotland's oldest purpose-built attraction.


Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Edinburgh Castle is located at the top of the Royal Mile, at the west end of Edinburgh's Old Town. From its lofty position on Castle Rock, the castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline, and is impossible to miss!

Edinburgh castle sits on a high, rocky hill with a narrow ridge running east above the Old Town of Edinburgh. There has been a fortification of some kind here for thousands of years. The castle has existed through layers of time and history, and it is indeed magnificent. Edinburgh Castle has highlighted the city’s skyline for 800 years, is a national symbol, and it is Scotland’s most popular site to visit. The castle was a vital possession in Scotland’s historic struggles. The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland. In addition to guided tours provided by the castle stewards, there is an audio guide tour available in eight languages. The audio tour takes the visitor on a tour around the castle, explains its architecture, and tells its dramatic history.


National Museum of Scotland, Scotland

On The Map: The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chambers Street, in the heart of oldtown Edinburgh. A mere few minutes walk from the Royal Mile, Chembers Street links George IV Bridge & South Bridge

The National Museum’s forte is artifacts from around the world. The recently opened more modern Museum of Scotland is a small miracle and dedicated to the story of Scotland and its people. They have separate identities, while sitting right next to each other. Very handy. Together, they are considered one of the finest collections in the world. The rarest antiquities in Scotland create a treasure trove for the senses and imagination. Some highlights include: Ivory chessmen made by invading Vikings in the 12th century; Holy relics, one linked to St. Columba and Iona and the other to Robert the Bruce; A staff carried by St. Fillian in the 8th century, one of the finest examples of artistry present 1,200 years ago; The Maiden, a 16th century guillotine; Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Canteen—all the stuff he needed to travel and dine in style!; Egyptian mummy cases, decorated with Egyptian symbols of death and resurrection; a 3,500-year-old Egyptian toy mouse with string that would have been pulled by a child. When it walks the tail wags!


Edinburgh, Scotland

Accommodation

Channings Hotel - Edinburgh, Scotland

4 Star
Room Type: Single

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out before 12:00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Gilmerton Cove, Scotland

On The Map: Gilmerton Cove is located in the Gilmerton suburb of southeast Edinburgh. It's not walkable from downtown, but is served by the 3, 3a & 29 buses.

Gilmerton Cove is a series of strange, hand carved passageways and chambers that lie 10 feet below ground to the south of Gilmerton crossroads. After five years of work by Gilmerton Heritage Trust and The City of Edinburgh Council to restore and preserve it for future generations, it opened in August 2003, providing visitors of all ages with an educational and fun experience. The entrance to Gilmerton Cove is through a visitor centre adapted from a traditional mining cottage. This cottage now houses imaginative audio and visual displays that depict the various theories behind the origins of Gilmerton Cove which, after extensive archaeological and historical research, still remain a mystery. Just how old the caves are is unknown, but records go as far back as the 18th century and the system appears to be very much older. Who constructed them? When? Why? And what have they been used for over the years? Tomb of ancient kings? Meeting place for one or more persecuted religious groups? Masonic Lodge Room? Witches Coven? Illicit Whisky Still & Drinking Den? Knights Templar Retreat? Some theories even suggest that the Templars buried the Holy Grail here. Whatever the real answers, everyone can agree that it is truly a fascinating and mysterious site to visit. Daily tours are available by prior appointment - call 07914 829177. Please note that Gilmerton Cove is not located in the heart of Edinburgh. It's a 30-minute bus ride - use Bus No. 3 or 29 from Princes Street.


Camera Obscura, Scotland

On The Map: Camera Obscura is located in the heart of Edinburgh. Right on the Royal Mile and only 100 metres from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle.

Camera Obscura is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built attraction, originally established in 1835. There's certainly something for everyone in this unusual and highly entertaining venue. Enjoy unique views of Edinburgh from the fascinating Camera Obscura and rooftop terrace. In World of Illusions, experience five floors of interactive hands-on fun, including The Vortex Tunnel, Mirror Maze and Shrinking Room. At Light Fantastic, be dazzled by the spectacular collection of 3D holograms. In The Magic Gallery, interact with incredible things like floating sweets, Victorian bendy mirrors & fish that swim on the floor! Get involved, play with & touch everything. Money back guarantee if not fully satisfied, and voted ‘Best family attraction in Britain’, in The Telegraph newspaper in 2010.


Holyrood Palace, Scotland

On The Map: The Palace of Holyrood House is located in the heart of the City of Edinburgh. The famous Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle at its western end and Holyrood to the east.

The official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen, this beautiful palace sits at the bottom of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, sheltered by Arthur’s Seat. Holyrood has many strong ties in Scottish history, and is well-known for being the home of Mary Queen of Scots. Visitors can view the stunning Royal Apartments, which show the different tastes of each monarch with fine plasterwork ceilings and decadent furnishings. On a tour round the palace you can see the Great Gallery, hung with portraits by Jacob de Wet, of the real and legendary kings of the country, and see the display on the Order of the Thistle, the highest honour in Scotland. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the historic Holyrood Abbey ruins, and learn of the building’s fascinating history through the centuries from its beginnings in 1128.


Royal Yacht Britannia, Scotland

On The Map: The Britannia is berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith - just 2 miles north of the heart of Edinburgh. Majestic Tour Buses depart regularly from Waverley Bridge in the centre of town, and stop at the Royal Botanic Gardens en route.

Discover the floating palace that served the British Royal Family for over forty years from 1954. This magnificent ship has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. But, above all, she was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. The Queen played a large role in the design of the ship, personally approving plans and choosing the furniture and decor. She was once quoted as naming the yacht as the one place she could truly relax. Now in Edinburgh you are welcome on board to discover the heart and soul of this most special of royal residences. Experience what life was like on board The Royal Yacht Britannia with a fascinating audio tour of five decks. Highlights of the tour include the elegant State Apartments, the Crew’s Quarters, the Engine Room and the stunning Royal Deck Tea Room. Complimentary audio guide in 22 languages. Open year round with free parking at Ocean Terminal. **Authentic Ireland clients receive a 10% discount on admission - on arrival, show any official Authentic Ireland voucher / document, to avail of the discount.**


Inverness, Scotland

Accommodation

Lynver Guesthouse - Inverness, Scotland

Guesthouse
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3.00pm & 6.00pm on your day of arrival. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please contact the owner in advance on 01463 242 906.


Enroute Sightseeing

Pitlochry, Scotland

On The Map: Pitlochry is located in the very heart of Scotland. Cairngorms National Park is very close by to the north, and Edinburgh less than 1.5 hours to the south via the A9 road.

When Queen Victoria fell in love with the Highlands of Scotland, Pitlochry was a quiet village surrounded by the pine-covered hills of the Central Highlands. It became famous when she named it one of the finest resorts in Europe, and visitors began arriving to discover the magic of the Highlands. This vibrant town in the wooded valley of the River Tummel runs along a main street that’s lined with shops and eating places. It bustles with visitors, but relax and go with the flow. Look behind the busy-ness, and you’ll see the charming, Highland Victorian town that is still Pitlochry. Pitlochry is farther from the sea than any other place in Scotland, and it makes a good base for exploring the surrounding scenery, which is spectacular.


Enroute Sightseeing

Blair Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Blair Castle is located in Perthshire in the centre of Scotland, just north of Pitlochry Town. The castle is accessed via the main A9 road that connects the towns of Inverness (to the north), and Pitlochry & Perth (to the south).

The only man in Europe still allowed to have a private army is the Duke of Atholl, who resides at Blair Castle! The sight of his magnificent, white castle on the main road north will stop you in your tracks. The oldest part of the castle was built in 1269.  During the Jacobite campaigns, it was designed anew, and the turrets were added.  A brilliant stroke of genius. The ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to the Atholl Highlanders, Blair Castle stands proudly against the magnificent backdrop of Highland Perthshire. With collections that fill over 30 rooms, there are few historic homes in Britain that can claim to have more comprehensive family treasures than Blair Castle, which portrays Scottish life over 700 years. After a tour of the castle you can enjoy the variety and tranquility of the grounds and gardens which form part of one of Scotland's great estates.


Enroute Sightseeing

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

On The Map: The Cairngorms National Park, (Scotland's biggest), occupies a large region in the northeast of the country. The nearest major town is Aberdeen to the east, but Cairngorms NP is quite central to all Scotland's large cities.

Scotland’s pristine National Park, the Cairngorms, have the highest, rugged mountain range in Britain rising to 4,296 feet. This country is heaven for walkers, skiers, rock climbers & nature lovers. A number of species of rare birds are attracted to the thriving, unusual alpine flora. Rock-climbers and skiers particularly love the challenge of the Cairngorms. Its craggy sides attract climbers from around the world—they practice at the Cairngorms before trips to the Himalayas! During the summer a funicular railway climbs Cairngorm. The views over the Spey Valley are spectacular. There’s also a steam railway, dating from 1863, that runs from Aviemore and Broomhila.  This is a great way to get up-close to nature if you’re not into the thrills-and-chills of mountain sports!  Also, many estates in the valley supplement their income by introducing visitors to the Highlands. See Britain’s only herd of reindeer and walk among them - the Cairngorm Reindeer Center is happy to take you to these lovely animals. With mixed woodlands at the base, and the summit forming a sub-polar plateau, the Cairngorms present a huge variety of flora.  Ancient Caledonian pines, once common in the area, still survive in Abernathy Forest.  Fragile and flourishing, Arctic flowers thrive in the heights.


Overnight Location

Inverness, Scotland

On The Map: Inverness is located on Scotland's central northern coast. The town is accessed via the A9 road from the southeast (Cairngorms National Park), A82 from the southwest (Loch Ness) , and A96 from the northeast (Speyside, Whisky Country)

Inverness is the true capital of the Highlands, and with 50,000 people, it is one of Scotland’s fastest growing cities. It is also one of the Highland’s oldest settlements. All roads still lead to the Highland’s center, Inverness. It feels like a compact town, but it has the bustle and air of a lovely city. Let your imagination run wild, and take a ghost tour led by an 18th century ghost, complete with period costume. Expect to hear tales of the city’s blood-chilling past, including ghosts, witches, murders, and spells! Stroll along the River Ness, or cruise on the Moray Firth, searching out bottlenose dolphins. It is very peaceful, especially if you’ve just been ghost-hunting... The River Ness flows through Inverness, and salmon fishermen come during the summer, even where the river runs right through the city’s center. High above the city is Inverness Castle, a unique Victorian built of red sandstone. Just below the castle is the museum and Art Gallery which runs exhibitions and workshops for kids. The main shopping area fans out from there in three directions, and includes a lively gathering place where pipers and other musicians get together and make music.


Inverness, Scotland

Accommodation

Lynver Guesthouse - Inverness, Scotland

Guesthouse
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3.00pm & 6.00pm on your day of arrival. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please contact the owner in advance on 01463 242 906.


Must-See Sites

Speyside, The Whisky Triangle, Elgin, Scotland

On The Map: Speyside is a name that is associated with the area between the towns of Elgin, Keith and Grantown, in the northeast of Scotland. The area is just about one hour drive east of the city of Inverness.

Speyside is a gentle area that feels more dreamlike than parts of everyday life. Signposts often read like a well-stocked bar! Whisky, a word derived from the Gaelic ‘uisce beatha’, means “water of life”. It has been distilled here, legally and otherwise, for more than 600 years. (The first record of making whisky in Scotland was in 1494.) Whether the Scots took it to Ireland, or the Irish brought it with them to Scotland in the 6th or 7th century, isn’t clear. There are eight distilleries, mostly founded in the early 18th century, linked by the signposted Malt Whisky Trail. Glen Grant, Cardhu, Strathisia, Glenlivet, Benromach, Dallas Dhu, Glen Moray, and Glenfiddich. Each offers guided tours and whisky tastings, and opening times and admission fees vary. But come to Speyside even if whisky is not on your agenda. This area is romantic and the River Spey is gorgeous.


Cawdor Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Cawdor Castle is located in the north of Scotland. The castle is accessed via the B9090 road whichintersects with the main A96, northeast of Inverness Town.

Cawdor Castle has been the home of the Thanes of Cawdor since its construction in 1370. Originally consisting only of its central tower, the current structure is a result of significant additions in the 15th, 17th & 19th centuries. Well known for its fictional association with Shakespeare's Macbeth, Cawdor is also famed for its magnificent gardens, portions of which are over 300 years old. After you step inside, this other-worldly castle makes historical facts pale. Cawdor Castle fulfills all Shakespearean thoughts of love and tragedy. With its original keep, built in 1454, a drawbridge, ancient yew tree and enough weapons to start an uprising, this castle is the stuff of legend. The garden and estate, complete with maze, are equally remarkable. Who could ask for anything more? Cawdor Castle is open to the public between May & September each year.


Culloden Battlefield, Scotland

On The Map: Culloden Battlefiled is located just 15 minutes from Inverness in the north of Scotland. From Inverness, travel approx. 7 miles east on the B9006, Culloden Road. A daily bus service also runs from Inverness to the battle site.

Since the 1630s Britain had suffered political and religious upheaval. Civil war was a constant fear as Scotland, Ireland and England struggled to find a way to live and prosper together. The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion against the British Government, led by the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart ('Bonnie Prince Charlie') had had some success. However at 1.00pm on 16 April 1746, the Culloden Battle began. Hardly an hour had passed between the first shots and the final flight of the Prince's army. Although a short battle by European standards, it was an exceptionally bloody one, and would change the course of history in Britain. The exciting new Culloden Battlefield visitor centre and exhibition opened in December 2007. Through recent archaeological and historical research the National Trust for Scotland discovered that the previous centre was sited on the third Government line of the battlefield. With the Trust's resolve to return the battlefield to as original a condition as possible, the centre was moved. The new centre and exhibition allows the whole Culloden story to be told in an innovative and interactive way, which appeals to all the family.


The Black Isle, Scotland

On The Map: The Black Isle is located just north of Inverness in the Highlands of Northern Scotland. Construction of the Kessock Bridge (completed in 1982 and part of the A9 road) has greatly aided to access to the peninsula.

Despite its name, the Black Isle is not an island, but a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. The description ‘Black’ is just as misleading as Isle, and no one knows where the name originated. There are however a number of theories, the most colourful relating to the practice of black arts and witchcraft in mediaeval times. About 23 miles long by 9 miles wide at its broadest point, a drive around the peninsula, particularly if spending a few nights in Inverness, is well worth the effort. One of the Isle’s highlights is the village of Cromarty, poised on the tip of the peninsula. Probably the Highlands' best preserved historic town, Cromarty offers a wealth of attractions: sandy beaches, unusual architecture, Bottlenose Dolphins, pleasant eateries, and even a multi-award winning museum. Much of the village is original 18th century design, with little influence by modern-day architecture. The small fishing villages of Fortrose, Rosemarkie and Avoch are also highlights, located on the east coast of the Black Isle. Just across the water is the massive and imposing Fort George, built after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, in the hope of deterring any further unrest among the Highland Clans.


Stirling, Scotland

Accommodation

West Plean House - Stirling, Scotland

Guesthouse
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 4:00pm & 10:00pm on your day of arrival, If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the B&B owners in advance on 01786 812 208.


Enroute Sightseeing

Loch Ness, Scotland

On The Map: Loch Ness is a long stretch of freshwater, extending for approx. 23 miles southwest of the northern city of Inverness.

Loch Ness holds more water than all the lakes and reservoirs in the U.K. put together. Is it any wonder that a monster would choose to live there? During the Ice Age, glaciers tore and deepened a trench halfway through Scotland, creating a long glen of steep, forested mountains and mysterious lochs. Castles and forts abound, bearing witness to the Great Glen’s strategic importance. There is, of course, the elusive Loch Ness monster. She still attracts scientific interest, so keep your camera ready! Loch Ness is almost 1,000 feet deep and, on most days, has unusually black water, owing to the high peat content of the surrounding soil. This is an immensely atmospheric loch that is surrounded by everything you could hope for: mountains, castles, abbey ruins, and several enchanting villages. Loch Ness is worth every ounce of its fame.


Enroute Sightseeing

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland

On The Map: Loch Lomond is located in Central Scotland, approx. 20 miles northwest of Glasgow. The main A82 road runs along the west shore of the lake en route to Fort William and beyond to Inverness.

Encompassing approx 720 square miles, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs became Scotland’s first National Park in 2002. Originally made famous by the novels of Sir Walter Scott in the early 1800s, The Trossachs has been enjoyed as the ‘Highlands in Miniature’ by tourists ever since. For two centuries, people have come here to walk, climb, cycle and sail, to breathe fresh clean air and drink in the spectacular views. The landscapes covered by the Park range from the uplands of Breadalbane to the sea lochs of Argyll, and included within its area is the whole of Scotland's largest loch, Loch Lomond. The northern end of the loch is deep and narrow, with mountains on either side, including the iconic Ben Lomond. The southern half of the loch is much more pastoral and is home to many islands. The surrounding mountainous areas include 21 ‘Munros’ (individual mountains over 3000ft); 20 ‘Corbetts’ (individual mountains over 2,500ft); and two forest parks. To appreciate the very best of the Trossachs, we recommend the route of the Duke’s Pass from Aberfoyle to Loch Katrine.


Enroute Sightseeing

Urquhart Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Urquhart Castle is located on the western shore of Loch Ness in the northern Highlands of Scotland. The castle is approx. 16 miles southeast of Inverness on the main A82 road, in close proximity to the village of Drumnadrochit.

Wild natural beauty and 1,000 years of history - Urquhart Castle offers a taste of the Highlands at their most dramatic. Magnificently sited, overlooking Loch Ness, Urquhart is one of the largest castles in Scotland, and remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 13th to 17th centuries was particularly bloody. Following Edward I’s invasion, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 14th century, it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle and glen were frequently raided from the west by the ambitious MacDonald Lords of the Isles, before ultimately falling into decay in 1689. The castle’s history and that of its noble families – Durward, MacDonald and Grant - is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. The centre's veranda offers stunning views of the loch.


Overnight Location

Stirling, Scotland

On The Map: Stirling is located in Central Scotland, less than 45 minutes on the M80/A80 from Glasgow to the southwest & 1 hour on the M9 motorway from Edinburgh to the southeast.

Stirling is a taste of both the Lowlands and the Highlands. It is packed with castles and tales of people who are larger than life, and it is blessed with awe-inspiring, natural beauty. “Hold Stirling and you control the entire country…” This simple strategy has ensured that a castle, or some sort of fortification, has existed here in Scotland since prehistoric times. Stirling is associated with King Arthur and some believe it was the locale for Camelot. In recorded history, we know that Alexander I dedicated a chapel here. Below the very impressive Stirling Castle, Old Town Stirling is protected by the 16th century walls built to keep Mary, Queen of Scots, safe from Henry VIII. And, it was here, that the infant James VI was crowned in 1567. This area was also the home of Rob Roy, whose exploits still echo through the Highlands. There is something about Stirling that feels like a fairy tale. Its sense of time is similar to Edinburgh, but the hustle and bustle is turned down. The atmosphere is easy to absorb.  With its winding cobblestone streets, and the old town clinging to the slopes beneath the castle, you can feel the layers of time and heroism. Take a quiet walk in the moonlight on Stirling’s magic streets.  It’s an experience to be savored.


Stirling, Scotland

Accommodation

West Plean House - Stirling, Scotland

Guesthouse
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 4:00pm & 10:00pm on your day of arrival, If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the B&B owners in advance on 01786 812 208.


Must-See Sites

Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland

On The Map: The site of the Battle of Bannockburn is located just 2 miles south of the city of Stirling in central Scotland. To access the site from the M9/M80 motorways, take Junction 9 onto the A872 road.

Stirling Castle was central to the defence of the main route into northern Scotland, and between 1296 and 1314 it changed hands five times! In 1314, the castle was held by a garrison of King Edward II’s troops, and besieged by the Scots. Edward II marched rapidly northwards to relieve the garrison and Robert the Bruce chose a site at the crossing of the Bannock Burn to stop the advance of Edward’s army. The Battle of Bannockburn was a turning point for the beleaguered Scots.  Facing a thorough onslaught by the English in 1314, Robert the Bruce led the Scots to an astonishing victory. The Scots won their independence, their nation, and their pride. In 1329, in large part due to this battle, Scottish independence was ratified by the Pope. The sense of history here is tangible and Bannockburn is still a focus for Scottish pride today. You can find out what inspired this great Scottish victory at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre. Don't miss the gripping new film depicting the dramatic events of June 1314, as well as walking the battlefield under the gaze of Robert the Bruce himself, immortalised in a statue by Pilkington Jackson (pictured).


Wallace Monument, Scotland

On The Map: The Wallace Monument is located just north of Stirling City. It is signposted from both the town centre and the main A91 road.

William Wallace (1270 – 1305) was a powerful man with bright eyes. Standing more than six and a half feet tall, he was a veritable giant in a time when most men were five-feet-tall! Wallace spent his childhood near Stirling under the supervision of his uncle, a priest. Wallace probably led a comfortable and peaceful life as a child, and must have trained in the martial arts of the time, including horsemanship and swordsmanship. When King Edward I, known as Edward "Longshanks,” came to the throne of England in 1272, a reign of tyranny and terror began to subdue the Scots and cement English rule. Life had changed, and when Wallace came of age, he fought. The 220-ft National Wallace Monument commemorates the great man and his valiant fight for Scotland’s independence. Visitors will learn about Wallace’s dramatic tale in detail, as well as other national heroes like Robert the Bruce and Rabbie Burns. . Most electrifying is the “talking head’, which presents Wallace’s defense before his brutal execution in 1305. When you climb to the top, you’ll see Wallace’s amazing and massive two-handed broadsword, and the 360 degree view is extraordinary.


Stirling Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Stirling is located in the town of Stirling in Central Scotland. Stirling is less than 45 minutes on the M80/A80 from Glasgow to the southwest & 1 hour on the M9 motorway from Edinburgh to the southeast.

Stirling Castle sits high on a rocky crag above the town. It is a magnificent castle and is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Stirling occupied a key position in Scotland’s battle for independence. Seven battlefields can be seen from the castle, and the 220-foot Wallace Monument at Abbey Craig recalls William Wallace’s (the Scottish Hero on which the movie 'Braveheart' was based) defeat of the British in 1297 at Stirling Bridge. For generations Scotland’s royalty gathered at Stirling Castle to revel in its impressive buildings, superb sculptures, fine craftsmanship and beautiful gardens. Today Visitors can do the same. Highlights include The Great Hall, Chapel Royal, Regimental Museum of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, The Great Kitchens and Tapestry Studio. Guided tours of the castle help bring its rich and colourful past to life in vivid detail.


Doune Castle, Scotland

On The Map: Doune Castle is located in the town of Doune in Central Scotland. Doune is located approx. 8 miles northwest of Stirling along the A84 road to Callander. Callander is a further 16 miles northwest of the Castle.

Doune Castle has a rich and varied history, dating from the late 1300s. It's a fascinating place and visitors get a real sense of what life was like in a living, working castle. A labryrinthine collection of rooms, passageways and staircases are available to explore, and The Lord's Hall is particularly well-preserved. Many people however, visit the castle for reasons other than a history lesson! If it looks familiar, that's not surprising, as Doune regularly appears in TV shows and movies. Currently, Doune stars as Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan MacKenzie, in the acclaimed 'Outlander' TV series. The Castle is used for exterior scenes of the fictional Castle Leoch, but production designers also used molds of the architecture at Doune to build sets at the studio, for interior castle shots! Doune is also the castle used in most 'castle scenes' of the cult 1975 movie 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail'. Doune is a big draw for the many fans of the Monty Python movies. More recently, Doune Castle has once again gained fame - this time on TV, for its use in the opening episode of the excellent mini-series, 'Game of Thrones'. CGI technology played a large part in transforming Doune into Winterfell, home of the Starks in George R.R. Martin's HBO series. The interior was later used for the great feast scene, when King Robert Baratheon comes to call on the Starks.


Depart From

Depart from Edinburgh Airport, Scotland

Return to Edinburgh Airport 2 hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure. This will allow ample time to check in for your flight home.

Edinburgh is a small airport, but offers a surprisingly large array of shops and restaurants. If you have some time on your hands after check-in and security, you won't be bored!


Low Season

Available Tour Dates

Jan - Mar | Nov - Dec

From $1,638 per person

Mid Season

Available Tour Dates

Apr - May | Sep - Oct

From $1,726 per person

High Season

Available Tour Dates

June - August

From $2,359 per person

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • Spend 12 Nights in Boutique City Hotels and Cozy, Luxurious B&Bs
  • Spend 2 Nights in Cosmopolitan Dublin and 2 Nights in Beautiful & Historic Edinburgh

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Cars in both Ireland & Scotland - Includes Insurance, Unlimited Mileage & All Taxes

DINING OPTIONS

  • 12 Full, Sumptuous Irish & Scottish Breakfasts to Begin Your Mornings

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • 2 Day Dublin Double-Decker Bus Pass Included - Hop On & Off at Your Leisure!

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Marvel at 6th Century Glendalough & Medieval Kilkenny
  • Explore Stunning Scenery in County Kerry
  • The Rock of Cashel & Bunratty Castle
  • Explore The Breathtaking Scottish Highlands
  • Visit Scenic Loch Lomond & Mysterious Loch Ness
  • Learn about Centuries of War, Turmoil & Intrigue in Stirling
Prices Based On
  • All Taxes & Fees Included
  • Prices are Per Person based on 2 people traveling together and sharing a room.
  • Traveling Alone? No Problem. Just Ask Us for a Single Supplement Price.

Beautiful Ireland

byGwendolyn A GodfreyAuthentic Ireland Travel
Your Hometown: Zephyrhills

We worked with Lauren who arranged a fabulous Ireland trip for us and every detail was taken care of from start to finish. The hotels were wonderful and the Irish people are the very best. Don't hesitate to contact Lauren to plan your Irish vacation, you'll more more than satisfied.

Your Hometown: Dayton

Amazing!! Every single detail was taken care of for us! Heather did a great job! It was so nice to not have to worry about logistics and we could just enjoy Ireland. I would highly recommend if you are renting a car to get an automatic. I drive a standard in the states, but it would have been way to much to think about and would have prevented me from enjoying the county side.

Honeymoon

byElizabeth TravisAuthentic Ireland Travel
Your Hometown: Blacksburg

My husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon and it was AMAZING! Heather helped us and honestly, we had such a fun time. We didn't do a lot of the mentioned or planned items because we tend to just like to explore places but the set up to be able to do that if we wanted to or not was amazing!

Ireland

Your Hometown: Knoxville, TN

I am a travel agent and I had the opportunity to work with Tim LeGris which was a wonderful experience . The trip was for a 10 day chauffeured trip for an older couple who wanted to see and stay at castles and manors in Ireland. Tim put together the perfect trip. I had lunch with the couple when they returned. They said it was the best trip ever. Tim, thank you for your expertise and the amazing job you did on such a short notice trip to Ireland!

Your Hometown: Sag Harbor

Just wanted to share with all who are interested in booking with Authentic Vacations what a truly wonderful experience we had with our Destination Expert, Michael Erickson... He gave us a wonderful itinerary , with great ideas ,and was quick to email us back when we had questions and last minute revisions ..He was knowledgeable,kind,and made arranging our holiday to Ireland & Scotland a pleasure.. So thank you Michael Erickson & thank you Authentic Vacations.....

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1. Click on the Green “Get Started” Button to the Bottom 

Submit your travel dates, number of people and type of transportation. We can adjust the length of our vacation packages to suit your needs.
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2. Online Account & Quote Created

Our experts will create a custom quote & itinerary based on your requirements, and all details are posted to your Authentic Ireland online account (login info will be emailed to you!).

3. Make Changes / Ask Questions 

Your quote will have been created by your own personal Expert, who will be available to you at any stage of planning your vacation & even while you are in Ireland or Scotland. Call or email your dedicated Expert to discuss options, make changes or ask questions.

4. Reserve & Pay Online

Reserve your vacation package securely via your online account. We only require a 20% deposit to secure your vacation, and our Risk-Free Cancellation Policy provides you with complete peace of mind.

5. Print Your Travel Documents & Go!

Once your vacation has been paid in full, you will be able to print your travel documents directly from your online account. You’re ready to go!

At Authentic Vacations, each of our self-drive and chauffeur tours are tailor made to your specific requirements. We work with all budgets and group sizes to deliver a personalized experience that remains true to the authentic brand. When you book with Authentic Vacations, you can always expect a package rich with cultural experiences, secret spots and insider knowledge, unique and boutique accommodations and more.

We have been known to customize some pretty exceptional experiences: from jousting exhibitions to fly fishing to romantic serenades, there is nothing outside of the scope of what we will plan for our clients.

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