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Best of ireland and scotland

10 days

Ireland and Scotland—two countries with histories marked by wars, famines, and plagues all set against breathtaking lakes and crags etched into a landscape by glaciers. Both countries enjoy lush landscapes and traditions as well as great whiskies and beers. Their residents are known as storytellers, and their pubs are still the centers of social life where tales are told and newcomers are welcomed for a bit of craic, an Irish and Scottish word for good conversation and good times.

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  • Limited to 20 guests.
  • August 8-17, 2020: $5,995.
  • Prices are based on double occupancy. Single supplement: $1,699.

August 8-17, 2020

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Ireland

  • Welcome to Dublin, Ireland’s capital and urban oasis, a city that’s given the world the words and wit of writers including Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw, and James Joyce. This is a walking city divided by a fast-flowing river, the River Liffey, or “life.” The street life of Dublin is famous, especially for Temple Bar, a raucous, colorful stretch of restaurants and nightlife on the south side the River Liffey.
  • You’ll be met at the airport by our driver and taken to our host hotel. We’ll then have a welcome briefing followed by a walking tour of downtown Dublin to give you a flavor for the local scene before heading to dinner.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 
  • Welcome dinner will be hosted at The Vintage Kitchen, a cozy, traditional Irish restaurant—bring your favorite LP record if you’d like to hear it during your meal.

  • Hotel: The Davenport, a four-star hotel located on a street famous for its Georgian buildings.  

Day 2: Dublin

  • This morning we explore Dublin and visit one of the most popular sites in the capital city: the Old Library at Trinity College. Trinity was opened in 1592 by the English to “civilize” the mostly Catholic Irish with a dose of Protestantism, though Catholics were not originally permitted to attend.  Today, most of the students there are Catholic, and its mix of men and women from around the world give Dublin the feeling of a college town. Most importantly, its library contains Ireland’s most iconic relic, the illuminated Book of Kells that contains the first four Gospels from the New Testament.  It was lavishly illustrated (the colors came from insects that monks ground up to use as ink) and written in Latin in the 9th century. 
  • In the afternoon, you can join us for a visit to the Guinness museum.
  • Alternately, you are welcome to explore Dublin’s pubs, shopping and sites on your own.
  • Dinner will be served at a unique restaurant, The Church Restaurant & Bar, a 320-year-old church converted into a restaurant – with entertainment and excellent craic.
  • Special moment: Sample a bit of famous Irish Culture, Irish music, and dancing show at dinner.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

  • Hotel: The Davenport 4*

Day 3: Dublin to Killarney

  • Hop on the Inter City train as we head out of Dublin to kiss the Blarney stone and visit Blarney Castle, that mystical stone said to grace anyone who kisses it with great eloquence, but you’re just as likely to get a cold if you kiss it—we don’t advise it. The limestone rock was set into the walls of the Blarney Castle in the 15th century.
  • In the afternoon, we take a short drive to Killarney where we end the day with a private tour of Ross Castle, an impressive, 15th century stone structure on the banks of Lough Leane. Legend has it, a ghost haunts the place still today.
  • Dinner will be served at a traditional restaurant, Bricín and Boxty House. “Bricín” is an Irish word for “delicious food.”

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

  • Hotel: Killarney Park 5*

Day 4: Killarney – Choose one

  • Tour 1: Play a round of golf at Ross Golf Club, green fee and lunch included.
  • Tour 2: Take a scenic drive around the famous Ring of Kerry. You’ll go past ruins and enjoy glimpses of the sea, majestic mountains and quaint farmlands.  At 111 miles in length, it’s about a 3.5-hour tour, but you’ll see the Irish landscape at its very best.
  • Tour 3: Take a hike in Killarney National Park located on the Lough Leane—we can provide a suggestion for the top 10 walks in Killarney, most of which curve around to return you to your starting point.  Otherwise, an afternoon spent shopping and pubbing in Killarney is time well spent.
  • Dinner: Hannigans Bar & Restaurant, where locally sourced ingredients shine and where singers might break out in song spontaneously in the wood and cut-stone bar adjacent  to the dining area.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Hotel: Killarney Park, a five-star hotel dedicated to preserving Irish hospitality in the heart of Killarney.

Day 5: Limerick

  • This morning we take a drive and visit the breathtaking, windswept Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. The cliffs are Ireland’s most-visited attraction, and the sweeping views of the sea make for breathtaking photos.  We’ll have lunch at a charming harbor town along the coast.                
  • After lunch, we’ll head to Limerick, the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, where we’ll have an optional tour of King John’s Castle, a 13th-century castle in Limerick next to the River Shannon.  It’s built on the site of a Viking village that dates back to 922, a reminder that we’re in a land invaded by, among others, Vikings who eventually intermarried with locals.
  • Dinner is served at Freddy’s Bistro, a restored, 19th-century coach house with a modern grill menu, wooden floors, and exposed brick.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Hotel: The Savoy, a five-star, boutique hotel in heart of the town of Limerick City.

Day 6: Edinburgh

  • In the morning, we fly to Edinburgh where we’ll spend the afternoon at the jewel of Scotland, the famous Edinburgh Castle high above the city proper.  Built on thousand-year-old foundations, the castle has a bloody history.  It was occupied between the 11th and 16th century by Scottish nobility (Mary Queen of Scots had her only child here) before becoming mostly a military garrison.  History tells us it endured 26 sieges through the years, making it the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked castles in the world. We’ll tour the castle whose walls are imbued with tales of royal intrigue, brutal battles, and the cries of prisoners.
  • In the evening, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the always-sold-out Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a dramatic evening of military musicians, performers, and marching bands from around the world all set against the stunningly lit backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.  This is an event not to be missed.
  • Dinner is served at Forage & Chatter, a restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End whose menu showcases foraged items from the region as well as local meats and fishes.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Hotel: Kimpton Charlotte Square, a four-star hotel made up of seven interconnected Georgian townhouses that overlook a pleasing, garden square. 

Day 7: St Andrews – Choose one

  • Tour 1: Play a round of golf at any of the St. Andrews Golf courses, green fee and lunch included. Premium event: Play a round of golf at the famous St. Andrews Old Course (Maximum handicap 24 for men and 36 for women, $250 upcharge, subject to availability)
  • Tour 2: Visit one of the most remarkable buildings in Scotland, the Rosslyn Chapel, formerly known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthews.  Built in the late 15th century, the chapel is best known for playing a role in Dan Brown’s 2003, mega-selling novel, The Di Vinci Code.  But on your visit, you’ll also appreciate some of the finest pagan and religious symbols as well as the Apprentice Pillar, a magnificently carved stone column allegedly carved by an apprentice when his boss was away. It was so well done that the master mason, upon seeing the perfect pillar, killed the apprentice, though there is no convincing documentation of the murder. We’ll have lunch in Stirling before visiting the famous Stirling Castle and Stirling bridge.  The castle was a powerful stronghold thanks to its position on a volcanic rock at the River Forth that separates the Scottish Lowlands with the Highlands.  The name “Stirling” is derived from the word for “strife,” appropriate for country that for so long endured so many wars. After, we’ll drive to our hotel in St. Andrews and rejoin the rest of our group.
  • Dinner is served at The Grange Inn, a 17th-century farmhouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Hotel: Fairmont St Andrews, a five-star hotel set on 420 acres and just two miles from the St. Andrew golf courses.

Day 8: Loch Ness and Inverness

  • Today we take a drive north and visit the Scottish Crannog center, a living history museum featuring music and craft exhibitions.  We’ll also drive around Loch Ness in search of the famous monster on our way to Inverness.  If you see the Loch Ness monster, please photograph it—you’ll make history and be able to retire on the reprint rights.
  • Dinner is served at Fig & Thistle.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
  • Hotel: Royal Highland Hotel, a carefully restored hotel in Inverness.

Day 9: Inverness – Choose one

  • Tour 1: Play a round of golf at Inverness Golf Club and spend the afternoon shopping and walking  around town in Inverness, the ancient cathedral city in the Scottish Highlands. In the Old Town, check out the Inverness Cathedral and the indoor Victorian Market selling food, clothing, and gifts.  Like most cities in Ireland and Scotland, Inverness is a joy to walk.
  • Tour 2: Visit the Glenmorangie Whiskey distillery to learn the fine points of creating a world-renown Scotch and, of course, sample the wares.  You may spend your afternoon walking through the town of Inverness or park yourself at a whiskey bar and compare Glenmorangie to the competition!
  • Our farewell dinner in Inverness is served at Mustard Seed Restaurant, set in a former church known as a “standard bearer for casual elegance,” as one reviewer put it.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Hotel: Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness

Day 10: Journey to London – Choose one

  • Option 1: Today we venture to London via First Class train for a 7.5-hour, scenic journey through the breathtaking Scottish Highlands and the English countryside, arriving in London in the afternoon.   
  • Option 2: If you’d like a faster way to London, there are frequent flights from Inverness. 
  • After arriving in London, the tour concludes and we say goodbye. 

 

* Restaurants and Hotels are subject to change to equal or better
* Rudy Maxa will personally join all or parts of all journeys in 2019

THE RUDY MAXA DIFFERENCE

When you let The Original Savvy Traveler arrange your trip through Europe, you are guaranteed peace of mind. Rudy Maxa’s team provides personal service and assistance from booking all the way through your journey.

What’s included:

 

  • Welcome package with luggage tags, tour information, and a personal gift from Rudy Maxa.
  • An exclusive experience with a small group (maximum of 20 guests.)
  • Rudy Maxa’s expert team lead by his Group Director will make your trip seamless, and magical. In addition to the team traveling with you, known and approved local guides with extensive knowledge will be show guests around.
  • The freedom to choose between multiple excursions and programs.
  • All tours, admissions, and entertainment.
  • Airport arrival meet and greet with transportation to the first host hotel.
  • Upscale, handpicked hotels inspected and approved by Rudy Maxa’s team.
  • All meals, including an upscale restaurant every night inspected and approved by Rudy Maxa’s team.
  • Luggage Butler Service: leave your bags in your hotel room in the morning and find them waiting in your room at your next hotel.
  • Transportation between cities in smaller luxury vehicles, high speed trains, or by air.
  • All gratuities.