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Celtic Villages & Islands Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Delve into the enchanting world of Ireland and Scotland
The traditions of Celtic culture run deep. From mythological fairies and banshees to ceremonies, festivals and rituals – passing through the villages of Scotland and Ireland will leave you with a lingering sense of enchantment. Travel from Edinburgh and through the Scottish Highlands passing through the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and Glasgow. Then cross over to Ireland and discover the magic of Belfast, the Aran Islands, Ring of Kerry and Dublin.
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Delve into the magical world of Edinburgh with a visit to the regal Edinburgh Castle. Standing at the head of the Old Town, explore this fortress before meandering around the historic streets of the city’s oldest quarter. Walk along the Royal Mile to see the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a fine example of classical Baroque-style architecture.
Take a scenic drive through Trossach National Park to view carpets of purple bluebells, incredible mountain peaks and perhaps even a golden eagle gliding through the air. Then travel to the picturesque village of Oban. Meaning the 'Little Bay' in Gaelic, admire the dramatic coastal scenery and enjoy a meal of some of Scotland’s freshest seafood.
Board a ferry and drift along the Sound of Mull past the colourful houses lining the harbour. Drop your bags in Tobermory then jump back on board a smaller boat for a coastal expedition around Mull. Whales, dolphins, seals and otters are often spotted in the area, so keep a sharp eye out. Stop off at the Isle of Iona where the graves of notable kings of the area, including Macbeth, can be found in an ancient burial ground.
Bordered by the highest mountain range in the British Isles, journey north to Glen Nevis. Take in the stunning scenery of the region on a nature walk towards Steall Falls before travelling to Fort William for the night.
Considered to be one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world, board the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig. Used in three Harry Potter films, this experience will delight film buffs while providing some incredibly scenic views for photographers and those who just want to relax. Later, take a ferry to Skye for an evening of Scottish whisky tasting at the Tallisker Distillery.
Journey to Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland. The stronghold of the Clan Macleod for over 800 years, Dunvegan is built atop a rocky hill overlooking the shores of Loch Ness. Take a step back in history while viewing exquisite paintings and ancient chambers indoors before taking a stroll through the gardens surrounding the castle.
Make one last attempt to spot the Loch Ness Monster before heading south towards Glasgow. Take in the dramatic highland scenery of Trossachs National Park along the way and stop off in Helensburgh to visit Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Hill House. Arrive in Glasgow for the evening and perhaps dine on traditional haggis, neeps and tatties for a true Scottish dining experience.
Beautiful Belfast is a cultural hot spot, mixing ancient cathedrals with modern museums. While here, take a jaunt around the bohemian Cathedral Quarter, tour the eerie Crumlin Road Gaol or admire the Neoclassical architecture dotted around the city. Take an evening stroll along the glistening waterfront where the Titanic set off on her maiden voyage 100 years ago or choose to settle into a cosy pub with a local stout and some hearty stew.
Take a walking city tour around Belfast before journeying to the 16th-century Enniskillen Castle. Now home to the Fermanagh County Museum, check out some art exhibitions within the grounds before visiting Knock Shrine.
Take a ferry to the rugged Aran Islands off Galway's west coast. Go on a hike over windswept landscapes and discover the area's historical monuments, cute stone cottages and unique cultural heritage.
Take a boat tour along the dramatic Cliffs of Moher for some brilliant photographic opportunities of this dramatically rocky vista. Later in the day, jump back on dry land for a tour of the medieval St John's Castle in Limerick.
Idyllic and unspoilt, journey along the Ring of Kerry for a quintessential Irish experience. Be blinded by greenery, enchanted by crystal-clear lakes, enticed by some of Ireland's finest beaches and get an all-round impression of the spectacular scenery of the region. After an exhausting day of exploring, tuck into a traditional pub meal and wash it down with a pint of Guinness.
Delve into a medieval history lesson while walking around 14th-century Blarney Castle. For the brave, why not give the Stone of Eloquence a smooch – it is said if you hang upside down and touch lips with this ancient rock you are bestowed with the gift of eloquence, so prepare to pucker up!
Stretching out over 200 sq km, it's time to pull on the hiking boots and take a stroll around the stunning scenery of Wicklow National Park. The natural lakes and winding streams will delight nature enthusiasts, while travelling by foot will provide a unique perspective of the regional wildlife. In the evening, arrive in Dublin for a final night out on the town.
Farewell the group after breakfast, then perhaps continue exploring Ireland's capital with a visit to the National Museum, Botanical Gardens or Guinness Storehouse.
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