Boston MA | info@crystal-travel.com | 1.617.327.4242 

Seán's Ancient East & Highlands | 12 Day Self-Drive

Program Includes

Accommodation

  • Kilkenny (2)
  • Dublin (2)
  • Belfast (2)
  • Glasgow (1)
  • Fort Augustus (2)
  • Edinburgh (2)

Breakfast each morning except day of arrival

Transport

Hertz and Enterprise manual compact cars with unlimited mileage, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), theft protection (TP), value added tax (VAT), third party liability and location service charge (LSC)

Other Inclusions

  • Scottish Heritage Pass
  • Travel wallet, luggage tags and driving map.
  • Expert travel assistance throughout.

Optional Extras

  • Visitor Attractions
  • Room Upgrades
  • Car Upgrade
  • Chauffeur Driver
  • City Tours

Price is per person land only based on double occupancy during low season and is subject to availability at the time of booking.

12 Days / 11 Nights
Starts at Shannon Airport / Ends at Edinburgh Airport

Highlights

Medieval Kilkenny City

Dunbrody Famine Ship

Guinness Storehouse & Glasnevin Museum

Glasgow Cathedral

Urquhart Castle & Culloden Battlefield

Edinburgh Castle & Royal Mile

 

Sean's Ancient East & Highlands Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Journey to Kilkenny

Journey out of the city to catch your first glimpse of the real Ireland. You will journey through the Wicklow Mountains on your way to your luxury hotel in Kilkenny. The Wicklow Mountains are one of the most scenic areas in the entire country and will definitely shorten your journey south. If you have the time or the appetite, there are many stop offs along the way, including the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens or Glendalough. You can also choose to arrive in Kilkenny early and take a look around this wonderful medieval city.

Day 2: Explore the Viking Triangle

Today you will explore the "sunny South East" also known as the Viking Triangle. The Vikings laid the foundations of many Irish towns – including its oldest city, Waterford, which was established by Norse settlers in 914AD. Reginald's Tower is a 13th-century defence fortification, perched like a pepper pot at the heart of Waterford’s own Viking Triangle, a portion of the city centre that also includes the new Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. Wexford is another south eastern town with deep Viking roots. Set at the mouth of the River Slaney, Vikings first landed here in 819AD. Today, Norse and Norman influences combine in a town that has retained its compact, medieval feel. You may also like to visit Dunbrody Famine Ship or the Kennedy Homestead for different aspects of the areas history.

Day 3: Glendalough & Dublin City

Leave Kilkenny this morning for Dublin city. You will want to take the scenic route to see some of Ireland's most spectacular views before you leave it behind for the city. For thousands of years people have been drawn to ‘the valley of the two lakes‘ for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Glendalough is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. Continue through the Wicklow Mountains National Park with spectacular vistas on both sides before entering Dublin for the evening.

Day 4: Glasnevin Cemetery & Kilmainham Gaol

Use the open top bus tour as your mode of transport today. Hop on and off at any attractions that you may be interested in which include the big ones like Guinness, Jameson, and Trinity College where the Book of Kells is housed, but also includes Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison now museum, Glasnevin Cemetery, featuring a who’s who of modern Irish history including Daniel O’ Connell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, and over a million other stories, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the national cathedral for the Church of Ireland.

Day 5: Newgrange & Battle of the Boyne

Leave Dublin this morning for the short trip to Belfast. Driving time is around 90 minutes but there are lots of stops along the way to enjoy. First up is Newgrange, best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. You may also wish to visit Drogheda and the Battle of the Boyne Centre commemorating the largest battle to ever take place in Ireland. At stake were the British throne, French dominance in Europe and Religious power in Ireland. Continuing north, stick to the coast for some beautiful scenery in the Carlingford area before arriving in Downpatrick. Here might be a good place to grab some lunch before visiting Castle Ward and St. Patrick Centre. The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint. Continue to your hotel.

Day 6: Giant's Causeway & Bushmills Distillery

Today you will take a day trip from Belfast further north. The highlight will be the Giant's Causeway, 40,000 interlocking basalt columns which are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, but there are plenty more wonderful attractions in the area. Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle teetering on the edge of a cliff, the Bushmills Distillery still welcomes visitors, take the exhilarating rope bridge to Carrick-a-Rede island and enjoy a truly clifftop experience, and the Dark Hedges is a beautiful avenue of beech trees planted in the eighteenth century that have a haunting feel. Return to Belfast in the evening.

Day 7: Ferry or fly to Glasgow

Make your way to Glasgow either by bus and ferry, or by air. Arrive in Glasgow and make your way way to your hotel in the city. Get out and about on foot and explore George Square and the main shopping area in Glasgow. Make your way out to Kelvingrove Museum near the West End and spend a couple of hours appreciating art and history. Alternatively (or additionally) you could pay a visit to Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel which is nearby. Spend the evening at a nice restaurant in Glasgow's West End and have a night cap at one of its many bars before returning to your hotel.

Day 8: Loch Awe & Glencoe

Depart Glasgow and drive north along the banks of Loch Lomond with views of Highland peaks.Travel across the mountains to Inveraray Castle. This imposing Campbell family home with four conical spires was built between 1746 and 1789. Stop off at Kilchurn Castle on the shores of Loch Awe. Kilchurn was another Campbell family stronghold and also a filming location for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Move further north along the shores of the spectacularly beautiful Loch Awe and the River Orchy. The drive into Glencoe is one of the most beautiful and it might be nice to stop here for lunch. Continue further north and arrive in Fort Augustus. Find your accommodation and settle in for the night.

Day 9: Urquhart Castle & Culloden Battlefield

Today will involve less driving than previous days. Drive along the coast of Loch Ness - all the while keeping an eye out for the mythical Nessie - and stop at Urquhart Castle on the shore for a tour. You might also like to take a cruise on the loch a little further on. Arrive in Inverness in time for lunch and take a short walk around the town. From Inverness, make your way out to Culloden Battlefield and spend some time in the museum and the walking around the battlefield outside. Return to Fort Augustus by the opposite shore of Loch Ness to take in its beauty from a different angle.

Day 10: Pitlochry & Stirling Castle

Treat yourself to a good breakfast as you have a longer journey ahead of you today. As you make your way to the beautiful city of Edinburgh take in the beautiful scenic landscape as you navigate your way down through the rugged Scottish Highlands. You will be journeying through one of the hearts of Scotch Whisky - the speyside - so be sure to stop for a distillery tour along the way if you're partial to a "wee dram". Stop off in Pitlochry for lunch. As you navigate your way south through the Scottish Highlands, you will drive along the outskirts of Cairngorms National Park. You will arrive in Edinburgh in the early evening. Find your accommodation and settle in for the night.

Day 11: Edinburgh Castle & the Royal Mile

See the bustling Princes Street and the gracious, wide streets of the 200-year-old Georgian New Town. Walk along part of the Royal Mile where compact medieval houses reach 11 floors tall. Take a tour of the Scotch Whisky Experience to learn all about the whisky making process. Visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city and contains the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Scone. Take a Ghost Walking Tour tonight to learn some of the city's darkest secrets. Enjoy an evening meal before settling into your accommodation for the night.

Day 12: Return Home

Make your way to the Edinburgh Airport which is about 20-30 minutes from your hotel. From here you will take you flight home.

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