12 Day Tour of Ireland & 5 Day Extension to Scotland

July 17 - 28, 2015 // Ext: July 28 - August 1, 2015
Group Leader - Tommy Chamberlin // EastKyTours@gmail.com // 606.422.5952
 
Day 1 | Friday | July 17 - Depart The USA

Day 2 | Saturday | July 18 - Dublin, Capital of Ireland
Arrive in Ireland and begin your Journey in Dublin, Capital City of Ireland. You will visit the National Museum, Kildare St to see the many Celtic artifacts displayed there. The exhibitions include the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in Western Europe, outstanding examples of metalwork from the Celtic Iron Age and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of medieval ecclesiastical objects and jewelry. Afterwards, you will visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells, the most richly illuminated of Ireland’s medieval manuscripts. | Overnight in Dublin | O’Callaghan Stephens Green Hotel | www.StephensGreenHotel.ie | DBB

Day 3 | Sunday | July 19 - Spiritual Journey Through Glendalough
This morning we will visit Glendalough in Wicklow and the setting of some of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements. This is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. You will visit the Heritage Centre and Museum where you see a video entitled “Ireland of the Monasteries”. Afterwards the group will meet Fr Michael Rodgers who returned to Ireland after twenty years missionary service to serve on his congregation’s leadership team. During this time he began to explore his own roots, a journey that led him eventually to mystical Glendalough. He will lead us on a spiritual journey along his Pilgrims walk through St. Kevin’s Monastic City and then take the Pilgrims Way to the upper lake and visit the remains of St. Kevin’s Cell, the Reefert Church and gaze across the lake to see St. Kevin’s Bed and the ruins of Tempall na Skellig “Church on the rock.” | Overnight in Glendalough
| Glendalough Hotel | www.GlendaloughHotel.com | DBB

Day 4 | Monday | July 20 - Clonmacnoise And Aran Islands, West Coast Of Ireland
We depart for a visit to Clonmacnoise, the site of St. Ciaran’s Monastery, on the River Shannon at the crossroads of ancient Ireland. Founded in 546, it was one of the internationally famous Irish monasteries. There are extensive ruined churches, round towers, and magnificent carved crosses—the originals are inside in the Visitors Centre with replicas outside. We continue to Rossaveal where we will board a ferry to the port of Kilronan on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands. We will overnight in Guest House Accommodation. | Overnight on the Aran Islands | Aran Islands Guest House Accommodation | DBB

Day 5 | Tuesday | July 21 - Aran Islands
This morning we will meet Padraigin Clancy who will give us intriguing information regarding the history and culture of these Islands. Padraigin has lectured extensively and has facilitated retreats and seminars throughout Ireland, appearing frequently on Irish national radio and television. Originally drawn to the Island by her studies, she has made it her home since 1990. In that time she has documented an extensive collection of Irish folklore and cultural history.
 
Together with Padraigin, we will visit the ruins of the chapel of St. Enda in Killeany graveyard. We will see Arkyne’s castle, built during the Cromwellian persecutions in the 16th century. We will see a Round Tower, Holy Wells and a Celtic Cross. We will also see Teampall Benan, a hermit’s oratory and beehive hut. After lunch we will continue our exploration of Inis Mór, beginning with the exceptionally impressive Bronze Age fortress of Dún Aonghasa overlooking a sheer 300-foot drop to the Atlantic. We will finish our day at the monastic site of Teampall Ciaran (who later founded the monastery of Clonmacnoise) where we complete the traditional rounds (a walking around in prayer) of the well of St. Ciaran. Overnight Aran Islands. DBB. | Overnight on the Aran Islands | Aran Islands Guest House Accommodation | DBB

Day 6 | Wednesday | July 22 - Croagh Patrick, Westport & Ballintubber Abbey
This morning we will journey to Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain that overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo and is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. St. Patrick, who is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance here. Weather permitting, the group will have the option to climb the first leg to the saddle/plateau at the base of the summit of Croagh Patrick lead by a local guide from Westport.
 
We will enjoy some free time to have lunch and explore unique and charming heritage town of Westport.
After lunch we will visit to Ballintubber Abbey. Ballintubber's history of pilgrimage goes back to pre-Christian times, people came from the East through Ballintubber on their way to the holy mountain on the west coast, now called Croagh Patrick. When St Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in c.441AD, he founded a church at Ballintubber. The present Abbey was founded in 1216 by King Cathal O'Conor. It is the only church in Ireland still in daily use that was founded by an Irish king. Here we will meet Fr Fahy who will give us the history of the Abbey. | Overnight in Westport | Westport Coast Hotel | www.WestportCoastHotel.ie | DBB

Day 7 | Thursday | July 23 - Wild & Rugged Connemara, Dinner Cruise & Entertainment
This morning we will visit Connemara and experience what Oscar Wilde described as the “savage beauty” of Connemara taking in Killary Harbour and Kylemore Abbey. Killary Harbour is a picturesque fjord, which forms a natural border between Galway and Mayo, in the heart of Connemara. Ringed by mountains, the fjord is often speckled with dolphins as they chase migrating salmon during spring and early summer. Killary Harbour is an incredibly calming place. It was this peacefulness that drew the famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein to stay at a friend’s cottage there shortly after WWII. There’s a plaque on the house in the hamlet of Rosroe where Ludwig tapped into the Connemara tranquility while writing.
 
We will continue to Kylemore Abbey the only Irish home of the Benedictine Nuns. Built originally as a Castle (1868) it is one of the best examples of Irish neo-gothic architecture. The estate features include a Victorian Walled Garden, restored Abbey reception rooms, Gothic Church, tranquil walks, craft shop, pottery, and restaurant.

Evening: Dinner Cruise with Irish Coffee Making Demonstration, Entertainment on board. This evening we will enjoy a private dinner cruise with entertainment on board the Corrib Princess www.corribprincess.ie a luxury river cruiser that departs from the Galway City Centre. Passengers will enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the lake as we Cruise River & Lough (lake) Corrib. You will enjoy a three-course dinner on board. After dinner, Roisin an Irish Coffee making World champion will give you an Irish coffee demonstration telling the history of Irish whiskey and demonstrating the art of Irish coffee making. The evening will finish with entertainment by Carmel Dempsey, Brenda Curtin and an Irish dancer. Carmel Dempsey is a well-known musician and singer from Galway. Carmel is famous for her lively personality and success at encouraging audience participation. She will be joined on board by the talented fiddle player Brenda Curtin. Brenda was one of the soloists from Michael Flatley’s world-renowned Riverdance. Carmel and Brenda will be joined by an Irish Dancer and guests will be amazed by her talent. | Overnight in Galway | Connemara Coast Hotel | www.ConnemaraCoastHotel.ie | DBB

Day 8 | Friday | July 24 - Cliffs Of Moher, Burren, Poulnabrone & Adare
This morning we will enjoy a scenic journey through The Burren, Ireland's greatest National Park, in North County Clare. The Burren is a unique place like no other place in Ireland. There are no bogs and very few pastures; instead there are huge pavements of limestone. It is a botanist's Nirvana! Plants that would normally only grow in tundra or arctic regions flourish in this area certain times of the year. En route we will pass through the village of Clarinbridge, home of the oyster! We will continue the quaint village of Kinvara, a seaside village with a nice sized harbour that hosts many of the renowned Galway Hooker boats that you should see moored in the harbour. We will see Dunguaire Castle, a beautiful castle nestled on its own tiny headland and surrounded by water. We will see the magnificent portal tomb at Poulnabrone in the rocky heart of the Burren, one of the most easily recognized monuments in Ireland, but is only one very small piece of an extraordinary wealth of heritage to be found in the Burren. Next stop are the Cliffs of Moher, 214m high at the highest point. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. | Overnight in Killarney | Malton Hotel | www.theMalton.com | DBB

Day 9 | Saturday | July 25 - Dingle Peninsula
Today we will explore the Dingle Peninsula along the way visiting the Early Monastic Site of Riasc and Gallarus Oratory (dated to the 10th Century), the most perfect early church in Ireland. We will also go to Kilmalkedar Monastic Complex with its Ogham Stones, beautiful Sundial and wonderful Romanesque Church, built on the ancient pilgrimage path to Mount Brandon. These three sites combined give us an incredible overview of the Early Church in the West of Ireland. All three are exceptionally rich in Early Christian archetecture.
 
With its amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, National Geographic magazine has named the Dingle Peninsula as one of the most stunning places in Ireland. Much of the Dingle Peninsula or Corca Dhuibhne is a Gaeltacht or an area where the Irish language (Gaeilge or Gaelainn) is widely spoken in the home, workplace or school. There will be free time to explore the colorful town of Dingle with its many craft shops, pubs and restaurants. | Overnight in Killarney | B

Day 10 | Sunday | July 26 - World Famous Ring Of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is one of the most scenic routes in Ireland. Beginning and ending in Killarney, it traces the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. The combination of ocean, islands, mountains with its many towns and villages makes it an exciting journey of discovery. Along the route you will see Skellig Michael in the distance one of the most famous and impressive sites from the ancient Christian world that can still be seen today in its original and true form. It is a monastic site sitting on the top of a rock in the middle of the wild Atlantic Ocean.
 
Other highlights of your tour include Stone Circle, Kenmare Molls Gap and Ladies View, which provide the best views of the Lakes of Killarney.
 
A visit to the Skellig Islands is the experience of a lifetime. It is always an optional visit and is very much weather dependent. A visit to Skellig Michael would entail a climb of 618 steps, ascending over 600 foot (100 m). It is a demanding climb and there are no handrails. Anyone with health issues should consider carefully their own physical condition before exploring this site. | Overnight Killarney | DBB

Day 11 | Monday | July 27 - Rock Of Cashel & Holy Cross Abbey
Today we return to Dublin via the Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. We will also visit Holy Cross Abbey, a 13th-century Cistercian monastery widely regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Ireland. In 1966 a new destiny opened up for Holycross. A move was initiated locally to restore the Abbey church and bring it back into use for the local community. Archaeological excavations began in the Abbey shortly afterwards and restoration began in 1971. The restoration was completed in 1975. We will continue our journey back to Dublin where we will enjoy a farewell dinner at your airport hotel. | Overnight in Dublin | www.MaldronHotelDublinAirport.com | DBB

Day 12 | Tuesday | July 28 - Depart Ireland for USA or Scotland
Landing in Glasgow airport we will m meet our Guide and Driver. We will drive through the City of Glasgow where we will stop and visit Glasgow Cathedral, built in n the 12th century, is a superb example of Scottish Gothic architecture. It is also one of the few Scottish medieval churches (and the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland) to have survived the Reformation not unroofed.
 
We will then depart the city and hea ad for the Scottish Highlands stopping at Stirling Castle and Duone Castle. Stirling Castle has a very long history y with several Scottish Kings & Queens were crow owned here, including Mary, Queen of Scots in 1542. A few w of the structures of the 14th century remain, while the outer defenses fronting the town date from the early 18th century. Located 20 minutes to the North h of Sterling is Duone Castle, built in the 13th Century and originally home of Robert Stewert, the son of King Robert II of Scotland. Damaged in the Scottish war of independence the castle was rebuilt in the 14th century and has remained virtually unchanged since that time. We will have Dinner and overnight in Glencoe H House Hotel. Glencoe House has a rich heritage and was built in 1896 by Lord Strathcona. He was born in S Scotland but made his fortunes in Canada rising to the governor of the Hudson Bay Company and also famously instigated the building of the Canadian Pacific railway. The significance of Glencoe House extends to its famous architect, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson; amongst his achievement was his work on the Royal Residence for Balmoral Castle. | Overnight in Glencoe | Glencoe House Hotel | www.Glencoe-House.com | DBB

Day 13 | Wednesday | July 29 - Valley of Weeping, Loch Ness, & Urquhart Castle
Our first stop this morning will be at the “Valley of Weeping”. Site of the massacre o of Glencoe where on the morning of 13 February 1692 where e the MacDonald clan were attacked, 38 killed in the fight and 40 women & children died of exposure after their r homes were burned. We will continue our drive through Fort William, Fort Augustus and along by the shores of Loch Ness where we will visit Urquhart Castle. The Castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in Scottish history. St. Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century and where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggle with the Crown for power. From here we will cruise on the famous Loch Ness to Inverness, this will take 90 mins and we will be free to lunch at our Leisure in Inverness. From here we will travel through the Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s highest and most impressive mountain range; its s biggest native forests; spectacularly clean rivers and lochs; m moorland and a stronghold for Britain’s wildlife. We will drive through the historic villages of Pitlochry, a popular holiday destination since the Victorian times when Queen Victoria visited here in 1842.

The town has retained many stone-built Victorian buildings and d the main street has an unusual period cast iron canopy over one side to shelter the Victorian Ladies from the sun and Dunkeld. Dunkeld is said to have been founded by the Picts in the late 700’s. Later it became a monastic settlement where half the relics of St. Columba of Iona were brought for safekeeping from Viking raids (the other half going to Kells, Co. Meath in Ireland). . Before the Reformation Dunkeld was the seat o of the Bishop. We will have dinner and overnight in Ballathie House Hotel. Located on lands owned by the e Earl of Perth this 19th century mansion was built in 1886 and has operated as a country house hotel since 1972 with extensive renovations done in the last 10 years bring it into the modern age with great care to retain all the features of the stately home with modern comforts. | Overnight in Perthshire | Ballathie House Hotel | www.BallathieHouseHotel.com| DBB
 
Day 14 | Thursday | July 30 - Glamis Castle & St. Andrews Castle
Our first stop this morning is Glamis Castle, the home of the Lyon family since the 14th century, though the present building dates largely from the 17th century. Glamis was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, wife of King George VI. Their second daughter, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born there. The Castle and the gardens are a wonder to explore before we leave for St. Andrews.

St. Andrews Castle was the official residence of Scotland’s Archbishops throughout the Middle Ages and was the setting for many important events which determined the course of Scottish history. Nearby we will also see the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral. St. Andrews is a vibrant university town steeped in history where we will enjoy some time to wander and have lunch. We will drive to Edinburgh via Roslyn Chapel, the exquisite 15th century chapel made famous in recent years as one of the locations for the film ‘Da Vinci Code’. The whole interior is covered in stone carvings. We will have dinner and overnight in the Marshal Meadows House | www.MarshallMeadowsHotel.co.uk | DBB

Day 15 | Friday | July 31 - Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse
We will visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, standing at the other end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Today we will enjoy a tour of Edinburgh. We will begin at one end of the Royal Mile with a visit to Edinburgh Castle, this instantly recognizable fortress, dominated the skyline of the city from its position on Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation on the rock since the Iron Age.  There has been a royal castle here since the reign of David I in the 12th century and is a powerful national symbol and part of the old and new towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, the backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, it is the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty, the Queen. This fine baroque palace is associated with Scotland’s rich Royal history. | Overnight in Edinburgh | Marshal Meadows House | www.MarshallMeadowsHotel.co.uk | DBB

Day 16 | Saturday | August 1 - Depart for USA
 

Day 1 | Depart for Ireland



Day 2 | Trinity College



Day 3 | Glendalough



Day 4 | Clonmacnoise



Day 5 | Aran Islands



Day 6  | City of Westport



Day 7 | Kylemore Abbey



Day 8 | Dunguaire Castle



Day 9 | Gallarus Oratory



Day 10 | Ladies View



Day 11 | Rock of Cashel



Day 12 | Travel to Scotland



Day 13 | Valley of the Weeing



Day 14 | Glamis Castle



Day 15 | Edinburgh Castle



Day 16 | Depart for USA

 




 
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