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The Best of Ireland & Scotland

  • Destination: Europe, Ireland, Scotland
  • Duration: 16 days
  • Start: 05/31/2017
  • End: 06/15/2017
  • Price: $7995

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This fascinating tour brings you the best of Ireland and Scotland. Ireland’s capital, Dublin, is the birthplace of writers including Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, and home of Guinness beer. Nicknamed the “Emerald Isle” for its lush landscape of rolling green hills, it’s dotted with castles and ancient sites, such as massive 12th-century Cahir Castle. Scotland is a land of mountain wildernesses such as the Cairngorms and Western Highlands, interspersed with glacial glens (valleys) and lochs (lakes). Edinburgh, the capital, is loomed over by its iconic castle, and Glasgow, is famed for its vibrant cultural scene. Scotland is also the ‘home of golf’, typified by the 16th-century Old Course at St Andrews. This escorted tour promises to be a favorite with Coda travelers. These areas are best seen with professional guides who bring the history, both ancient and modern, to life for you. And the flowers are in bloom this time of year. Join us and discover these countries where so much of American heritage is derived. Also available are the trips to just Ireland or just Scotland if you have been to one but want to see the other with a fun group of guys.
Start in Dublin (DUB); End in Edinburgh (EDI)

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Please click ( + ) signs by each day for detailed information.

Day 1

WED MAY 31, 2017 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Dublin.
Day 2

THU JUN 1 • Welcome to Dublin, Ireland

Arrive at Dublin Airport. Make your own way to the hotel. If you wish to book a transfer, Coda Tours will be happy to assist you at additional cost. Check in to The Westbury Hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening, we will enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Dublin.

Hotel: Westbury Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Day 3

FRI JUN 2 • Dublin

i3After breakfast in the hotel, today begins with a leisurely walking tour of Dublin, focusing especially on the stately homes of Irish-Georgian Architecture. Along Merrion Square – the city’s largest and finest square designed by the 7th Viscount, Richard Fitzwilliam, we see the National Gallery, the National History Museum, and magnificent townhouse residences dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue along to the namesake Fitzwilliam Square, enclosed in 1813 to provide a quiet, more intimate atmosphere in bustling Dublin. Visit St.Stephens Green with its beautifully landscaped twenty-two acre parks and gardens, and Newman House, having a stolid exterior and astonishingly lavish interior “…with, perhaps, the finest artisan plasterwork in the city.”

Enjoy lunch on your own at a Dublin pub, and then resume with a tour at Trinity College.

Founded in 1592, Trinity College is one of the world’s oldest universities, acclaimed for its academic excellence, and thus being ranked as Ireland’s most excellent university. Among its vast collections of art, music and historic texts, is the hand-lettered/illustrated “Book of Kells” (the illuminated ‘Gospel Manuscript of the New Testament’) created over the 6th to the 9th centuries by secluded Irish monks, Afterwards visit the Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is Europe’s largest stout producing brewery and home to the Guinness Storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness, before evolving into today’s home of a very fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. Once the tour has finished we are invited to the Gravity Bar to enjoy a pint of Guinness. This evening enjoy dinner at O’Connell’s Restaurant of Donnybrook. Overnight in Dublin.

Hotel: Westbury Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

SAT JUN 3 • Dublin to Limerick

i4This morning depart the hotel in Dublin, travelling to Limerick. En-route visit Birr Castle Demesne.

Birr Castle Demesne, originally erected in 1170 A.D. and rebuilt to its present state in 1620 by the Parsons – past owners of the castle and its 1200 acre holdings – boasts fifty-plus acres of magnificent Formal Gardens and the River Garden, a parkland with thousands of rare trees and plants, as well as rivers, a lake and waterfalls. The neo-gothic castle is also home to the Historic Science Centre featuring the Great Telescope, built in the 1840’s by the Earl of Rosse. The Great Telescope, an awesome technical achievement of its day, was the largest in the world for 70 years, dismantled in 1914 and reconstructed in the 1990’s.

Enjoy an exclusive lunch at Birr Castle in the family dining room, accompanied by Lord Oxmanton or the Earl of Rosse, or perhaps Lady Rosse (subject to availability). This is a great opportunity to enjoy lunch in one of Ireland’s oldest – and most scientific – castles.

Continue on to Limerick and check into your hotel. Overnight in Limerick.

Hotel: Savoy Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

SUN JUN 4 • Limerick to Galway

i5This morning, drive through Ireland’s countryside to the coast to visit the Cliffs of Moher. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 755ft at their highest point above ground-level, and 26,247ft long, the cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay, as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara.

Enjoy a seafood lunch at Monks Restaurant in Ballyvaughan.

Continue on to Galway through the Burren RegionThe Burren (‘great rock”) form the 38.6 sq. mi. of Burren National Park; composed of Karst limestone criss-crossed by cracks known as grykes, The Burren also contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses as well as a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century. Drive on to Galway, and check into our hotel. Dinner is on your own. Transportation to town is provided. Overnight in Galway.

Hotel: Abbeyglen Castle
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

MON JUN 5 • Connemara

i6This morning after breakfast we will travel to Connemara.

Connemara is a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains; a land of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed since the beginning of time – it is, without a doubt, the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland. Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south, characteristically noted in old texts as “…idyllic scenes of the Irish countryside replete with stone-walled, thatched-roof cottages.” On its northern shore the land is harsher and more rugged, with spectacular views of the Ocean and the beautiful fjord of Killary Harbour, with its steep mountains overlooking numerous lakes and large bog areas.

We will visit Kylemore Abbey and enjoy an afternoon tea in the restaurant.

Originally built during the years 1867-1871 by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy London doctor, Kylemore Abbey is a 40,000 sq.-ft., 70-room castle located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. The architecture is best described as neo-gothic and the house displays all the characteristics of that period – perhaps one of its most famous features is the miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as “The Gothic Church”. Passed through varied ownerships, in 1920 the castle was purchased by the Catholic Church and converted into an abbey for The Irish Order of Benedictine Nuns. You may also visit the Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden, created during the castle’s original construction. Return to our hotel in Galway. This evening enjoy dinner at the Pullman Restaurant at your hotel. Overnight, in Galway.

Hotel: Abbeyglen Castle
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

TUE JUN 6 • Galway to Derry

i7Today you will depart your hotel in Galway and travel to Derry. En-route enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. On arrival in Derry you will meet with a local guide for a guided walking tour of Derry City Walls. Founded in the 6th century by St Columba, Derry is the second largest city and port of Northern Ireland. Columba named it “Doire” or “Oak grove” which was later anglicised as Derry. In 1613 the city was selected as a major plantation project, organised by the London livery companies and, as a result, acquired the prefix London, hence Londonderry. In the same year the walls of Derry were built to protect the town from the Gaelic chieftains in Donegal – a walk on the walls is a must on any visit to Derry as they are among the best-preserved fortifications in Europe, rising to a height of 26ft., they are, in some areas 29.5ft. wide. Today these walls separate two communities, the Bogside ~ a Catholic ghetto with its famous murals, and the Waterside ~ a Protestant enclave.

Check into the hotel. Overnight in Derry. Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Beech Hill Country House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8

WED JUN 7 • Derry to Belfast

i8This morning you will depart Derry and travel along the Antrim coastline. Visit the Giants Causeway.
The causeway was formed more than 60 million years ago due to volcanic eruption in
the earth’s crust. Quickly cooled by the raging sea, the lava crystallized and formed into the 40,000 basalt polygonal columns projecting out of the ocean, thus forming the Giants Causeway. A must on any visit to the North of Ireland, the Causeway is an UNESCO World Heritage site, and is often referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’

Next, visit the Old Bushmills Distillery. The Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim, North Ireland, is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery having received its “…licence to distil..” granted to Sir Thomas Phillipps by King James I in 1608. The present distillery was built in 1885 after the original had been destroyed by fire. A guided visit commences with an excellent short film on the history and distillation of Irish whiskey, followed by a tour of the distillery. The visit finishes in the distillery pub where all are invited to partake of a Wee Bush (a sample of Bushmills Whiskey). Enjoy lunch at the Bushmills Inn. Continue to Belfast and on arrival enjoy a panoramic tour of the city. The tour will take in the leaning Albert Memorial Clock tower (Irelands answer to the Tower of Pisa) and the Opera House, which is one of Belfast’s great landmarks. Pass by the City Hall, the Opera house, The Crown Bar (which dates from 1885), Queens University and the Botanic Gardens. You will also see the Harland and Wolfe Shipyard, where the Titanic was built and launched in 1912. A visit to the Shankill and Falls road will be of interest as it will give the visitor an indication of how life was in Belfast during the troubles. Dinner is at a local restaurant this evening.

Hotel: Europa Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

THU JUN 8 • Belfast to Scotland

GlasgowcathedralTransfer to Belfast ferry port to continue on to Glasgow, Scotland. Check in to the Blythswood Square Hotel.

This afternoon you will meet with your driver and guide and enjoy a Panoramic City Tour of Glasgow.

Overflowing with style and culture, Glasgow offers a blend of internationally-acclaimed museums and galleries, stunning architecture, fabulous shopping and superlative wining and dining and a gay, vibrant nightlife.The city tour will take you from George Square in the city center, past the impressive Glasgow Cathedral – the only mainland Scottish Cathedral to have survived the Reformation intact – and on to the West End to admire the historic University of Glasgow, founded in 1451.

Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions with its 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing over-8000 objects. The collections are extensive, wide-ranging and internationally-significant, including natural history, arms and armor, displays of the various Scottish art movements and periods of history, and much more. This evening enjoy dinner at the Two Fat Ladies Restaurant. Overnight in Glasgow.

Hotel: Blythswood Square Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10

FRI JUN 9 • Glasgow to Fort William

s3This morning you will depart your hotel in Glasgow and travel along the banks of Loch Lomond. Visit Inveraray Castle. Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clam Campbell and the iconic, must-see visitor attraction on the West Coast of Scotland. Featured in the television drama “Downton Abbey.” Inveraray Castle is a unique piece of architecture and was the first of its size and type to be built on the West Coast of Scotland. Next visit Inveraray Jail, a living museum and visitor attraction where actors portray life in a 19th century prison. An award-winning attraction, this costume-epic has established Inveraray Jail as one of Scotland’s most exciting heritage attractions. Continue to your hotel in Fort William for overnight. Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Moorings Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11

SAT JUN 10 • Isle of Skye

s4Today you will travel to Mallaig and take the ferry to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. Travel through the beautiful scenery on Skye to Portree where you will have lunch and free time. Travel back to the mainland via the Skye Bridge. Stop at the stunning Eilean Donan Castle for a photo-op. Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognized castles in Scotland and, without a doubt, an historic and beautiful structure, designated as a Kintail National Scenic Area site. Continue to your hotel in Inverness. Overnight in Inverness.

Hotel: Tulloch Castle Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12

SUN JUN 11 • Invernesshire

s5Visit Culloden Battlefield. See the site of the 1746 Battle of Culloden pitting the Jacobites (those in favor of deposing the House of Hanover and restoring the House of Stuart to the British throne) against the loyalist British armies of the Hanoverian Loyalists – the last formal battle to be fought on British soil, Culloden marks the beginning of the dismantlement of the structures of Highland society. The Jacobite loss caused harsher rules to be imposed on Scotland – from political and social reversals to even the banning of kilts and tartans.

Afterwards, visit Clava Cairns. Clava Cairns is the site of an ancient, exceptionally well-preserved grouping of prehistoric burial cairns, built approximately 4,000 years ago. Return to Inverness for afternoon at leisure. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening. Overnight in Perthshire.

Hotel: Tulloch Castle Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13

MON JUN 12 • Inverness to Perthshire

s6Visit Leault Farm. At Leault Farm participate in the working day of a Highland Shepherd and his invaluable sheep dogs. Watch up to eight dogs working simultaneously herding the sheep, with each dog responding to individual whistle commands from the shepherd. We will enjoy visiting the Scottish countryside and the rural life. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Pitlochry.

Next visit Edradour Distillery. Edradour, a unique, single Highland Malt Whisky, is produced in Scotland’s smallest distillery – hand-made today as it was over 150 years ago. Only 12 casks of whisky (600 gallons) are produced a week, making Edradour single malt a rare pleasure for a fortunate few. Check into your hotel. Dinner is at the hotel.

Hotel: Green Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14

TUE JUN 13 • Perthshire to Edinburgh

s7Today, travel to Edinburgh via St. Andrew’s. Visit St. Andrew’s Castle. St. Andrew’s Castle is the picturesque site composed of the ruins of the castle of the Archbishops of St. Andrews, dating in part from the 13th century. It was built on a promontory overlooking the North Sea, using this advantage to protect the Scottish homeland from enemy invasion.

Visit St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The remains of what was Scotland’s largest and most magnificent church still show how impressive St. Andrews Cathedral must have been in its prime. St Andrews Cathedral dominated the history of the Medieval Church in Scotland, from its construction in the 12th century until the Protestant Reformation in 1560. Enjoy lunch in the town of St. Andrew’s.

Continue to Edinburgh across the Forth Rail Bridge. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15

WED JUN 14 • Edinburgh City Tour

s8Edinburgh is one of the world’s finest cities – old and charming one moment, modern and vibrant around-the-corner. Its magnificent architecture shifts from the well-preserved buildings of its medieval Old Town, to the prestigious residences lining the Royal Mile, to the graceful, neo-classical houses of the Georgian New Town. While touring the Georgian New Town, pause for photo-ops on Calton Hill to admire the splendid views of the city and catch historic Old Town from a new perspective. Overlooking it all perches Edinburgh Castle, the medieval fortress which dominates the city’s skyline. Visit Edinburgh Castle, located on Castle Rock, an area inhabited from the 2nd Century, B.C. It has been an official Scottish stronghold for over 3000 years. In its dominating position overlooking the capital city, the grandeur and historical significance of Edinburgh Castle has made it a globally famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Next visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse. When visiting Edinburgh, Her Majesty, The Queen, resides at her official residence, Holyroodhouse Palace. Standing at the end of the prestigious Royal Mile, and framed against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, the tallest hill (822ft) located in the center of Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is a grand and imposing structure. Visit the adjacent Holyrood Park, formerly a 12th-century hunting estate and now a public park with a vast array of hills, glens, forests and lochs, and wander the eerily quiet ruins of Holyrood Abbey, founded in 1128 A.D..

This evening enjoy dinner at Wedgewood the Restaurant. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16

THU JUN 15 • Farewell

Make own way to Edinburgh Airport.

Hotels

Ireland

Westbury Hotel, Dublin

5star

Understated luxury and exceptional service. Designed to the highest standards, The Westbury Hotel’s 178 Guest Rooms and 27 Suites are furnished with custom-woven Irish wool carpets, soft mohair-covered George Smith chairs and sumptuous silk blackout curtains.

Savoy Hotel, Limerick

5star

The Savoy is Limerick’s most celebrated and glamorous 5* luxury hotel. Its lavishly appointed rooms and suites feature luxurious marble bathrooms and all the little extras one could hope for. For relaxation or exercise, indulgent spa treatments, gym, and a private pool are also available.

Abbeyglen Castle, Galway

4star

The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is located on the aptly named Sky Road overlooking the quaint alpine like village of Clifden, Connemara. Nestled in the romantic setting of the Twelve Bens with beautiful views overlooking Clifton Bay, the warm and friendly staff are always at hand to make your stay special.

Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Derry

4star

Beech Hill epitomises Georgian elegance and gracious country living. It is the hotel where your comfort and pleasure always come first and where you are assured of warm and genuine hospitality. Some of the world’s biggest celebrities stay at Beech Hill.

Europa Hotel, Belfast

4star

The World Famous Europa Hotel in Belfast is located in the heart of Belfast City Centre. The elegant décor, contemporary bistro, bustling bar and relaxing piano bar lounge make the four star Europa Hotel the hotel of choice for business and leisure guests visiting Belfast.

Scotland

Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow

5star

Blythswood Square Hotel is an award winning 5-star spa hotel in Glasgow. This splendid landmark property commands one side of the square overlooking beautiful gardens and is one of the most elegant and chic hotels in the heart of this cultural powerhouse city.

Moorings Hotel, Fort William

4star

Celebrated as one of the most popular hotels in Fort William, the Moorings Hotel is a hidden gem, located just five minutes drive from Fort William town centre but a million miles away from every day hustle and bustle. Situated on the banks of the Caledonian Canal at the famous Neptune’s staircase locks.

Tulloch Castle Hotel, Inverness

4star

Tulloch Castle dates from the 12th century, when first the Bains and later the Clan Davidson laid claim to its lands. Like its lively history, the castle’s fortunes have changed many times. Now, it is once again a magnificent fortress, with a ready welcome for travelers.

Green Hotel, Perthshire

4star

In the 18th and 19th century, The Green was a coaching inn and the Defiance stagecoach, which ran between Queensferry and Perth, changed horses at the Green Inn. The liveried horses were stabled in the buildings on Green Road. The Green Hotel, traditional with spacious bedrooms and our new contemporary Jock’s restaurant.

Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh

4star

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh is designed to blend into the surrounding medieval architectural with its own 16th-century style façade. The hotel’s spot in the middle of Edinburgh lets you see Scotland’s capital city from a convenient vantage point.

Rates & Facts

Rates Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
Per Person $7995 $9995

The rates do not include intra-tour airfare. All intra-tour airfares are subject to change until ticketed. These flights are in economy class, unless you request business class (based on availability). The rates are: $625 Coach; $780 Business. Single rates can be avoided if you are willing to share. We will be happy to match you with another single traveler who also wishes to share. If no share is available, the single rate will apply.

NOTE: Rates are based on current rates and currency exchange rates at the time of publishing the tour on-line. These rates are subject to change until final payment.

MINIMUMS: For fewer than 5 participants, the trip may still operate but rates may be revised. We can also quote this program as a private, custom trip. A Coda Tour Manager accompanies the tour on a minimum of 7 participants.

Inclusions for Ireland:

  • 7 nights at named 4 & 5 star hotels, all rooms with private bath or shower
  • Breakfast daily, Lunches & Dinners as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tea & scones at Kylemore Abbey
  • Entrance fees for sites described in the itinerary
  • Modern motor coach with driver
  • English speaking guide
  • Coda Tour Manager on minimum participation
  • Service charges and taxes are at existing rates
  • 1 x piece of porterage per person in/out of each hotel

Inclusions for Scotland:

  • 7 nights at named 4 & 5 star hotels, all rooms with private bath or shower
  • Breakfast daily, Lunches & Dinners as listed in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for sites described in the itinerary
  • Ferry from Mallaig to Armadale on day 3
  • Modern motor coach with driver
  • Excellent English speaking guide
  • Coda Tour Manager on minimum participation
  • Service charges and taxes are at existing rates
  • 1 x piece of porterage per person in/out of each hotel

Your tour does not include:

International airfare; Arrival & Departure Transfers: In Dublin & Belfast, you may make your own way to the hotel or book a taxi transfer through Coda Tours at additional cost; Pre-registered hotel nights in Dublin: check in may not be possible before 15h00. If you wish to book for immediate check in a supplement will apply; Visa and passport fees (if applicable); Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance (recommended); Meals and beverages other than those specified in the itinerary; Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, WiFi, Internet); Gratuities to guides, drivers and tour leader.

Travel Documents

No visas are required for this program for American & Canadian passport holders. Your passport must remain valid for six months passed your return to the USA. You must have sufficient empty pages/space in your passport for entry/exit stamps.

Shots

None required or recommended. It is recommended you have your regular vaccinations up-to-date before traveling. For further information, visit the Center For Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/

International Airfare

Delta, American Airlines, several European carriers are among airlines that can be used for this trip. We recommend booking at least 7 months in advance if you want to try to use Frequent Flyer Miles for free tickets or upgrades or the American Express Platinum card 2-4-1 program.

Minimums

All departures are guaranteed on a minimum of 10 participants. A Coda Tour Manager accompanies the tour on a minimum of 10 participants. This tour can be operated as a Private Tour, can be customized and repriced based on final itinerary. Rates are based on a minimum participation of 10. For fewer than 10 participants, rates may be revised.

Pre-Departure Information

A complete Portfolio of pre-departure information will be mailed to you approximately 3 weeks prior to departure. This will include information about traveling on this program and in this destination as well as what to expect the weather to be, recommendations for packing, tipping and a lot of other useful information.