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Edinburgh Stirling Castle Ben Nevis Distillery Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge Giant's Causeway Belfast City Hall Newgrange Dublin Ring of Kerry Galway
Ben Nevis Distillery
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
Belfast City Hall
Ring of Kerry
You are invited to join Cheryl Wason and friends from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on this 17-day tour of the Celtic lands of Scotland and Ireland. The tour includes castles (you’ll even stay in one!), majestic scenery, incredible historical sites, live music, cultural activities, fabulous architecture, free time to explore, and the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful sights with a fun group.
[printfriendly] Key: IF = In Flight Meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1: Monday, April 22, 2019: Depart USA
Our adventure begins as we depart the USA on our international flight, and wing our way over the Atlantic to Edinburgh, Scotland!
Day 2: Tuesday, April 23, 2019: Edinburgh
We land at the Edinburgh Airport, in the Scottish Lowlands, and after going through immigration, we meet our coach and driver. We enjoy a panoramic tour of Edinburgh, a beautiful city, often referred to as the “Athens of the North!” Highlights include the Walter Scott Monument, the Royal Mile, plus much more! We have an inside tour of Edinburgh Castle, with its foreboding ramparts and walls, amazing city views, Crown jewels and the siege gun, Mon’s Meg. We check into our hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner and a good night’s rest. (D)
Day 3: Wednesday, April 24, 2019: Edinburgh
Today we spend a relaxing day in Edinburgh, Scotland’s elegant capital city. This morning we a visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, a 300-foot vessel until recently, commissioned to Queen Elizabeth II. The remainder of the day is open for options, an opportunity to visit museums, explore, or perhaps shop for that special “Scottish Tweed.” See Scotland’s majestic architectural sights are situated along Prince’s Street, one of the loveliest streets in Europe. Edinburgh also boasts excellent shopping possibilities, as well as magnificent botanical gardens. (B)
Day 4: Thursday, April 25, 2019: Fort William
After breakfast, we drive north to Stirling for a tour of the Stirling Castle, which dominated Scottish history for centuries and is one of the most imposing castles in Britain, both historically and architecturally. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Our next stop today is the Trossachs, long considered the “Mecca” of travelers to Scotland. It’s often described as “Scotland in miniature”, an area of lower mountains and lakes extending east and north from Aberfoyle to Callander, and reminiscent of the English Lake District. A highlight of today is a visit to the enchanted village of Aberfoyle. Here we discover the story of Scottish Wool, try our hand at spinning wool into yarn the traditional way, learn about Reverend Kirk and his Mysterious Legend, or attend a sheepdog demonstration. We continue north and have picture stops along the “bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond. We stop for dinner at a local Scottish restaurant. Before we arrive at our home for the night in Fort William, we stop at Three Sisters viewpoint named one of the finest views in the UK. (B/D)
Day 5: Friday, April 26, 2019: Portree Area (Isle of Skye)
This morning we have a chance to view Ben Nevis. At 4406 feet, it is the highest mountain in the British Isles, and the vistas are breathtaking. We also stop at the Ben Nevis Whisky Distillery for a tour to learn the “Legend of the Dew”, a taste of their product. Afterwards, we make our way to Mallaig. We stop along the way to see the Glenfinnan Monument and the Glenfinnan Aqueduct. In Mallaig we take the ferry to the Isle of Skye. As we continue our journey, we stop to explore 40 acres of historic gardens and woodland walks around the romantic ruins of Armadale Castle, and enjoy stunning views across the Sound of Sleat to the mountains of Knoydart. We enjoy dinner at the castle restaurant with traditional live Scottish Music. (B/D)
Day 6: Saturday, April 27, 2019: Mallaig
On the agenda this morning is a visit to the Bride’s Veil Falls and Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint, an observation point offering panoramic views of waterfalls, cliffs and the sea. Next, we visit the Skye Museum of Island Life, where we are transported back in time to an old Highland village offering a unique experience and a true insight into island life 100 years ago. We take a short drive to the village of Skyeskyns to witness a Tannery demonstration on traditional hide production. We learn how real sheepskin is made into leather using time-honored methods of leather making. And, of course, there is time for shopping for luxurious fleeces or high-quality leather items. We then embark on a Ferry to our home for the night, Mallaig. We check into our hotel then have free time for dinner, a drink, people watching, or chatting with locals. (B)
Day 7: Sunday, April 28, 2019: Glasgow
Departing the Highlands, we spend the morning traveling south to Glasgow. When we arrive, we are met by a local guide who introduces us to the city including Glasgow Cathedral, George Square, The People’s Palace, City Chambers, Necropolis (a memorial Victorian cemetery where 50,000 people are buried) and explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore, and dinner is on our own. (B)
Day 8: Monday, April 29, 2019: Belfast
After breakfast we visit the National Piping Centre where we are given a bagpipe demonstration and learn tidbits of its 300-year history. (If the group would like to try piping themselves, we can arrange a “try-it” for $15/person) We depart Glasgow and drive to Stranraer on the western coast of Scotland. We enjoy lunch here at a local Irish restaurant. Then we board a ferry and cross the Irish Sea to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We meet our Irish driver and board our motor coach. After checking into our hotel, we have the remainder of the evening to explore Belfast on our own or relax. (B/L)
Day 9: Tuesday, April 30, 2019: Belfast
Today, we embark on a tour of Belfast and see the sights which make the city famous including Donegall Square, the Queen’s University, the Spires, Albert Memorial, St. Anne’s Cathedral and Samson & Goliath in the shipyard. We are also treated to a short tour of the Belfast City Hall, with its beautiful, ornate decor and stained glass. Here we learn the story of Belfast and the people who have played their part in the story. We enjoy lunch on our own. Next, we discover the RMS Titanic in nine interactive galleries at the Titanic Experience. We’ll learn about the building of the fated ship, step aboard the SS Nomadic, and see so much more! After dinner, we participate in a historic pub tour, starting at the unique Crown Bar, where the interior is a mosaic of hand-painted tiles and glass, wood and brass fittings, all lit by gas lamps. There’s no better way to enjoy the ‘craic’ and the banter with the locals than over a few drinks. (B/D)
Day 10: Wednesday, May 1, 2019: Londonderry Area
After breakfast, we drive north along the Antrim Coast Road, considered one of the most scenic routes in Europe. Constructed between 1832 and 1842, the road offers spectacular views of moorlands, limestone and basalt cliffs and the northern channel of the Irish Sea. Our first stop is the Carricka-rede rope bridge, suspended almost 100 ft above sea level, the rope bridge was first erected by salmon fisherman 350 years ago. Will anyone brave the cross? We continue towards the bizarre geological curiosity, the beautiful Giant’s Causeway. We marvel at Finn MacCool’s “creation” as we gaze across the Irish Sea to Scotland. We continue to the Londonderry area for our overnight. (B)
Day 11: Thursday, May 2, 2019: Sligo
A scenic travel day along the majestic western coast of Ireland awaits us today. As we transverse the wind-swept rocky crests and layered peat bogs, Edinburgh Castle we can admire the wild, haunting beauty of this area. We stop in Glencolumbkille Folk Village, one of Ireland’s best living-history museums. Next, we visit Parke’s Castle, a restored plantation home of the early 17th century, picturesquely situated on the shores of Laugh Gill. The Courtyard grounds contain evidence of an earlier 16th century Tower House structure once owned by Sir Brian O’Rourke who subsequently was executed in London in 1591. Later, we check in at our hotel in Sligo and enjoy an evening on our own. (B)
Day 12: Friday, May 3, 2019: Dublin
This morning we drive to Mullingar to visit the Belvedere House, Gardens and Park, where we spend the afternoon tweaking our imaginations with stories about the scandals, romance, intrigue and history of those who lived here. Next, we tour the World Heritage Site, Newgrange. Newgrange is a prehistoric monument built by a farming community. Later we drive the short distance to Dublin to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner on our own. (B)
Day 13: Saturday, May 4, 2019: Dublin
After a leisurely breakfast, we enjoy a panoramic tour of Ireland’s fair capital. During our tour we visit the impressive St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After lunch we visit the Japanese Gardens & Irish National Stud Farm, where we can learn how the lands around Tully have been associated with the breeding of horses since about 1300, when it is likely that war horses were bred here for the Knights of Malta. The gardens are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting and tell of “The Life of Man” from the Cradle to the Grave. This evening we are treated to dinner and Irish entertainment at the famed Abbey Tavern. (B/D)
Day 14: Sunday, May 5, 2019: Waterford
Another fantastic excursion awaits us today as we make our way south to the medieval city of Kilkenny. We walk through St. Canice’s Cathedral and admire the high crosses found in the cemetery, and the round tower adjacent to it. With a chance to appreciate the strength and charm of the Anglican influence, we visit the imposing fortress, Kilkenny Castle and its lovely gardens. It was once the seat of the Butler family, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde and is now ours to explore. We continue to Wexford County where we stop to visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship. We board the ship and imagine what it might have been like for the Irish Famine emigrants on their journey of hope across the Atlantic Ocean. Before dinner on own we tour the famous crystal factory. After an introductory audio-visual show, we proceed into the factory to watch and learn firsthand how modern technology has been harnessed to the traditional skills of master blowers and cutters. Naturally, there is an opportunity to purchase some of the fine crystal ware. Tonight, we spend the night in an Irish castle. (B/L)
Day 15: Monday, May 6, 2019: Dingle
After breakfast, we travel to Castlemaine to stretch our legs then continue to the Dingle Peninsula and enjoy the sights of the most northerly of the hilly promontories of County Kerry. We see the Gallarus Oratory, Inch Beach, beautiful Conor Pass, Slea Head, not to mention beehive huts, ring forts, ogham stones, and of course, Dingle. Tonight, we have an authentic farm dinner at Murphy’s Farmhouse where we spend the night. (B/D)
Day 16: Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Galway
After a delicious country breakfast, we venture northward to Galway. En route we stop at Bunratty Castle to stroll in the Folk Park. A living reconstruction of the homes and lives of Ireland a century ago, we delight in the rural farmhouses, village shops and Bunratty House, all furnished as they were then. Next, we stop in at Rathbaun Farm and see the Irish farmers at work with a demonstration of their hard-working sheep dogs. Later, we head north past the “moonlike” Burren area to Galway and the breathtakingly beautiful Galway Peninsula. We have free time for shopping and last-minute souvenirs before our farewell dinner and show at Dunguaire Castle. (B/D)
Day 17: Wednesday, May 8, 2019: Return to the USA
Sadly, it is time to bid farewell to Ireland as we transfer to the airport for our return flights home. We return, however, with memories of stunning landscapes, fabulous architecture, inspiring stories of Celtic history, and most importantly, a wealth of new friends! Welcome home! (B)
Please note this itinerary is copyrighted.
Our hotels are chosen for their quality, amenities and proximity to areas of interest. Whenever possible, we choose hotels in town centers, so that you are able to go off and explore in your free time. It may be necessary for us to substitute hotels for others of equal quality. You will be fully informed of any changes that affect you. Enjoy your stay!
April 23-25, 2019
Jurys Inn Edinburgh
43 Jeffrey Street
Edinburgh EH1 1DH
Fort William, Scotland
April 25-26, 2019
Fort William PH33 6AJ
Portree Area, Scotland
April 26-27, 2019
The Bosville Hotel
9-11 Bosville Terrace
Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DG
April 27-28, 2019
West Highland Hotel
Mallaig PH41 4QZ
April 28-29, 2019
Jurys Inn Glasgow
80 Jamaica Street
Glasgow G1 4QG
Belfast, Northern Ireland
April 29-May 1, 2019
The Europa Hotel
Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7AP
May 1-2, 2019
City Hotel Derry
Londonderry BT48 7AS
May 2-3, 2019
The Glasshouse Hotel
Sligo F91 NCA4
May 3-5, 2019
Clontarf Castle Hotel
Dublin 3, D03 W5N0
May 5-6, 2019
Waterford, Co. Waterford
May 6-7, 2019
Castlemaine, Co. Kerry
May 7-8, 2019
Eyre Square Hotel
Galway HP1 TCP0
We can either assist you with flights or you are welcome to book your own. Please ensure we have a copy of your flight itinerary for our records as soon as you have booked it.
April 23, 2019 – Please arrive in Edinburgh before noon
May 8, 2019 – You are welcome to depart from Shannon at any time
Price based on a minimum of 20 participants.
• Land Transportation: via deluxe air-conditioned motor coach
• Accommodations (double-occupancy)
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Professional Tour Director throughout the tour
• All transfers, as a group
• All taxes and tips
• Basic passenger trip cancellation insurance (additional pre-tour cancellation insurance available)
• Round-trip air transportation
• Single supplement ($1,000)
• Meals and beverages not identified in itinerary
• Items of a personal nature, such as passports and visas. Passports must be valid for six months beyond return date.
• Trip cancellation insurance
• Deposit of $500 will secure your place on the tour. Please send all payments to Reformation Tours, P.O Box 854, Belleville, IL 62222.
• Final invoices will be sent in February 2019
• Final payment is due on March 15, 2019
• Reservations will be accepted after March 15, 2019, subject to availability
Regardless of reason, cancellations are costly. To offset these costs the following fees will apply, plus any non-recoverable expenses to our suppliers:
From time of deposit to until 100 days before departure: $100
From 99-15 days prior to departure: $350 plus any non refundable deposits
14 days or less prior to departure: No refund– Cancellation charges also apply to additional accommodation reserved prior to and after the tour.
– Cancellations must be received in writing by 5:00 p.m. central time on the last business day of the applicable time period.
– For flight changes or cancellations, revision fees and/or airline cancellation charges will apply.
– Roommates canceling can result in a single supplement charge for the roommate. The Participant who cancels will be responsible for that charge if a substitute roommate cannot be found.
– Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is strongly recommended.
Reformation Tours cannot assume responsibility for any additional costs or fees relating to the issuance and/or cancellation of air tickets or other arrangements not made through Reformation Tours.
We look forward to welcoming you on the tour.
You can fill out your reservations online by clicking the “Book Now” tab or click here to download the form.
You can either send a check made payable to “Reformation Tours” to P.O. Box 854, Belleville, IL 62222 or click here to pay by credit card.
We offer the Professional Plan by Roam Right Insurance, a division of Arch Insurance Company. We include $500 coverage in your tour price and you are welcome to upgrade to cover the full tour premium. The cost of the tour insurance is the tour cost (minus $500) x 6.14%. A quote will be automatically added to your invoice.
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