Tattoos & Tales of Scotland & Ireland
VISIT: Scotland; Edinburgh > Inverness > The Highlands > Loch Ness & Loch Lomond > Glasgow Ireland; Belfast / Co. Antrim > Co. Down
$2,600 Per Person
Est. Price – Finalized Once Dates Selected
- 9 Night Hotel Accommodation – 4 Star Stays (Taxes and Service Charges Included)
- Nights: Edinburgh (2), Inverness (2). Glasgow (1), Belfast (4)
- Hotel Porterage for 1 Bag Per Person
- Full Breakfast Daily (Except Morning of Arrival)
- Tickets for Belfast Tattoo & Edinburgh Tattoo
- Ferry from Scotland to Belfast
- 6 x Hotel Dinners
- Admission into 13 Sightseeing Tours (Detailed Below)
- Luxury Air Conditioned Coach w/ Professional Driver-Guide Throughout
If there ever was a travel itinerary which encompasses so many bucket list moments for a Scot-Irish American, this just might be it. Cara Group Travel is delighted to present; Tattoos and Tales of Scotland and Ireland, a collection of classic symbols of Ireland and Scotland to inspire the gathering of your clan.
Share priceless moments together when the fireworks at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo light the sky or where the hills, history and landscape of touring the Ireland and Scotland light up the eyes of all. Forever relish the time spent seeking out your favorite moment at the spectacular Belfast Military Tattoo or seeking out your most treasured fact about Scots-Irish heritage.
- City Tour of Edinburgh
- Visit to Edinburgh Castle
- Ticket to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
- Visit to Royal Burgh of South Queensferry
- Visit to Edradour Distillery
- City Tour of Inverness
- Visit to Clava Cairns
- Visit to Kilt Maker
- Visit to Loch Ness and Loch Lomond
- City Tour of Belfast
- Tour of Ulster-Scot Sites in Co. Down; Grey Abbey, Bangor Abbey and North Down Museum
- Ticket to The Belfast Tattoo
- Tour of the Glens of Antrim and the Giants Causeway
Thu Aug 24th: Heading for Bonnie Scotland
Today we start our journey by flying across the United States and taking an overnight flight across the Atlantic sea to Scotland.
Fri Aug 25th: Welcome to Scotland
This morning, we land in Edinburgh Airport. Once you go through passport control and collect your bags, head out into the arrivals area where you will find your very friendly Tour Director. Once abroad the coach, we will head for Edinburgh. Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, draped across a series of rocky hills overlooking the sea. It’s a town intimately entwined with its landscape, with buildings and monuments perched atop crags and overshadowed by cliffs – in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘a dream in masonry and living rock’.
Once we have checked into our hotel, we will meet for a welcome dinner and reception to toast the start of an exciting adventure which awaits us. Dinner and Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel
Sat Aug 26th: City Sightseeing in Edinburgh
After breakfast, we will set out on a city tour of this capital city and our guide will point out the principal sights with visits to “The Old Town & The New Town”. Edinburgh, the Royal and ancient capital of Scotland, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The Royal Mile with its cobbled streets is at the core of Medieval Old Town and leads from the Palace of Holyroodhouse (HM The Queen’s official residence in Scotland) to Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket is where the infamous murderers, Burke and Hare, had their lair. The 18th Century New Town boasts gracious Georgian terraces, grand squares and crescents. George Street has numerous designer stores so you can shop until you drop.
We will visit Edinburgh Castle which contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. Afterwards, you are free to explore Edinburgh at your own pace. Check out a local restaurant for dinner tonight and meet back as we head for ‘the experience of a lifetime. Tonight, we will attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacular performance by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military Bands and Display Teams in a magnificent location. After a day not to forget, we will return to our hotel where you can enjoy the rest of the evening. Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel
Sun Aug 27th: Heading for the Highlands
Once breakfast is finished up this morning, we will bid farewell to Edinburgh and embark north to the hills and glens and wild coastline of Scotland’s Highlands. On route, we will make a short stop at the medieval Royal Burgh of South Queensferry on the ‘Fifth of Forth’. Hear about the stories of the bridge you will undoubtedly admire and marvel at the Victorian engineering masterpiece and elegance of its Rail Bridge. We will board the coach and travel alongside magnificent views provided by the rich farmland of the queen of Scotland’s counties, Bonnie Perhshire, across the Highland Line into the lowlands and past the hill and forest of Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Play’, Birnam.
Next, we travel via the picture postcard village of Dunkeld to our next stop, Edradour Distillery, world renowned as the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland and arguably the most unique. Dating back to 1825, Edradour, stands alone as the last stronghold of handmade single malt whisky from a farm distillery still in production today. We will find out today how the making of this handcrafted ‘Water of Life’ remains a living tradition in the twenty first century.
Following this, we will make our way to Inverness, known as the “Highland Capital”, where we will stay over the next two nights. We will check in and enjoy dinner together this evening. Dinner & Overnight: Inverness Hotel
Mon Aug 28th: Highlights in the Highlands
Refuel on breakfast and get set for a day of touring. We start off in Inverness where there is a chance to find out about the fascinating history of his historic city before heading up the Culloden Battlefield, a place where so many Highlanders (including our ancestors) came to a bloody end over 250 years ago.
Our next stop is Clava Cairns, a fascinating 4000 year old burial ground located on a travel terrace above the River Nairn and is considered one of Scotland’s most evocative sacred prehistoric sites. The Clava Claims are dominated by a line of three exceptionally well-preserved burial Cairns, each enclosed by stone circles.
In the afternoon, we visit a Kilt Maker where you’ll see kilts being made for export all over the world and kilts being made for retail shops in Inverness. Here, we discover a traditional dress that dates back hundreds of years – and still has cultural resonance. After returning to Inverness later, we will enjoy dinner together after which, you are on your own to explore this fascinating city. Dinner & Overnight: Inverness Hotel
Tue Aug 29th: The “Locs”
This morning, fill up on breakfast as we prepare to leave Inverness for Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow. On route, we will encounter some of Scotland’s famous landmarks. Our first stop is the mysterious Loch Ness, so make sure to keep an eye out for “Nessie”. We will continue onwards to Fort William and stop at the Spean Bridge Woolen Mill, which offers a good selection of quality Scottish goods. Next, we travel through the deep valley of Glen Coe, notorious for the Campbell massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Our last stop will be the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty. Here, we embark on a short cruise of the Loch, taking in all the stunning scenery that surrounds it. After that busy day, we will arrive in Glasgow to have dinner together and relax for the rest of the evening. Dinner & Overnight: Glasgow Hotel
Wed Aug 30th: Welcome to Ireland
Finish up breakfast and get ready to board the ferry and sail across the sea to Belfast, Northern Ireland. After arriving in Belfast, we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Belfast, taking in all the areas of interest in this fascinating city. We will see Belfast’s compact center on Donegal Square, which is dominated by the elaborate City Hall, which was officially reopened in October 2009 following its £11m, two year refurbishment. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton performed a ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiled a plaque to mark the reopening. We will drive through West Belfast’s Protestant neighborhood of Shankill Road and the Catholic neighborhood of Falls Road, where large vivid murals painted on the sides of buildings express the feelings that still run deep on both sides. Though the names of these areas were much in the news during ‘The Troubles’ the gate in the Peace Wall between them now stands open. We will see theTitanic Quarter, a newly developed area which hosts a state of the art interactive museum that provides an unforgettable visitor experience. It tells the story of RMS Titanic, from her conception and launch into the River Lagan in 1911, to the tragic end of her maiden voyage a year later. It was here at Titanic Quarter in Belfast Harbor, the ship was built. Once we have checked into the hotel, we will enjoy dinner on our first night in this lively city. Dinner & Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Thu Aug 31st: Day Tripping to Ulster-Scots Trail
After enjoying a hearty Irish breakfast we board the coach and head out to visit landmarks rich with Ulster-Scot heritage. Our first stop this morning is Grey Abbey, a ruined abbey on the outskirts of Greyabbey village, at the entrance to Rosemount Estate. The Rosemount Estate was granted by Sir Hugh Montgomery to his son James in 1629 and has been in the hands of the Montgomery family ever since. James, who was killed by pirates in 1652, completed the first house on the site in 1634. This was burned down in 1695 and the family was forced by mounting debts to sell the estate to a cousin, William Montgomery. The present house, one of the finest Georgian country houses in Ireland, was built in 1762.
Next up is a building of great significance in the story of the Ulster-Scots, Bangor Abbey. Bangor Abbey was rebuilt by Sir James Hamilton between 1617 and 1623. One of the most important Christian sites in Ireland, it was founded by St Comgall around 558. The abbey was burned in 1572 by Sir Brian O’Neill, whose grandson Con hid here following his escape from Carrickfergus Gaol. That escape was arranged by Sir Hugh Montgomery as part of a deal which would lead to the private plantation of Scots settlers in North Down and Ards.
Beside Bangor Abbey is our next stop, North Down Museum which features two of the most important early Ulster-Scots artefacts anywhere in the world. Thomas Raven’s original folio of maps of Sir James Hamilton’s estate are on display here, as well as a sundial from Bangor Abbey. Dated 1630, the grey slate sundial was made in Scotland by John Bonar and is contemporary with the Abbey’s most famous minister, Robert Blair, who sailed on the ill-fated Eagle Wing to America.
We will return to the hotel this afternoon, where you are free to grab dinner before heading out for the evening at the spectacular The Belfast Tattoo which will showcase some of the finest international marching bands, musicians and dancers. The 2016 Tattoo had more than 600 performers and visitors came from as far away as New Zealand, Canada and the United Arab Emirates – Enjoy! Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Fri Sep 1st: Leisurely Day in Belfast
After breakfast, decide how you would like to spend your day in Belfast. There is much to do in this lively city so you may consider one of the following suggestions:
- Find out which heritage trails will lead you down the path to your ancestors at the Ulster-Scots Centre. Discover how the Ulster-Scots emigrated around the world to become some of the more important world leaders and entrepreneurs in history.
- Explore the hometown of the Titanic. The Titanic Quarter – only a short walk from Belfast’s city center, is not only an architectural triumph for the city, but it houses the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her, an unmissable experience which brings history to life in an unforgettable way.
- Check out St. George’s Market – built 1890-1896, this marketplace is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and you can sample delights and pick-up trinkets every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.
- You may want to check out shopping in the City Centre, take in the rooftop view at Victoria Square, smell the floral at the Botanic Gardens, discover the beauty of St. Anne’s Cathedral or stroll through one of three galleries at MAC Belfast.
- Tour Crumlin Road Gaol and be taken through 150 years of the life and experiences of prisoners who entered this once fully operational, fortified prison from 1846.
- Equally, catch up on sleep, people watch with a coffee in one of many quirky cafes or tee off in world class golf courses.
Later, visit one of many quality restaurants Belfast has to offer for dinner and enjoy your evening as you wish. Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Sat 2nd Sep: Unique Experiences in Antrim
This morning, refuel on breakfast and prepare to set out to visit the Giants Causeway. On our way we travel via the 9 Glens of Antrim, known locally simply as ‘The Glens’. It comprises of nine Glens (Valleys) that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. We continue to the Giant’s Causeway, an amazing geologic formation of approx. 40,000 basalt stone – some as tall as 130 feet, and mostly hexagonal in shape.
As Northern Ireland’s Premiere landmark, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll be free to decide for yourself whether the Causeway is a result of accelerated cooling of lava outflows 60 million years ago. Or is it the work of the legendary Irish giant, Finn MacCool, in his attempts to a) woo a distant lady giant, or b) meet a Scottish giant in battle to determine who the stronger giant was?
Following a busy day, we will return to our hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening together. We will meet for a farewell dinner to reflect on the great memories, new discoveries and budding friendships we have experienced. Toasting to a successful trip, we will enjoy our last evening in Ireland. Dinner and Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Sun 3rd Sep: Homeward Bound…
Pack your bags as we head for Dublin Airport where you will board your flight for home. Carry on your photos and memories and bring a bit of the Emerald Isle home with you. ‘The Land of One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’ will be expecting you again soon!