The Trailblazing Scots-Irish
VISIT: Belfast / Co. Antrim > Co. Londonderry > Co. Down > Co. Wicklow > Co. Wexford > Co. Tipperary > Co. Kerry > Co. Clare > Co. Limerick > Co. Dublin
$1,925 Per Person
Est. Price – Finalized Once Dates Selected
- 8 Night Hotel Accommodation – 4 Star Stays (Taxes and Service Charges Included)
- Nights: Belfast (3), Wicklow (1), Kerry (2), Limerick (1) & Dublin (1)
- Hotel Porterage for 1 Bag Per Person
- Full Irish Breakfast Daily (Except Morning of Arrival)
- 6 Dinners; 5 x Hotel Dinners, 1 x Banquet Dinner
- Admission into 14 Sightseeing Tours (Detailed Below)
- Luxury Air Conditioned Coach w/ Professional Driver-Guide Throughout
Did you know, 47 percent of U.S. presidents were of Scots-Irish descent, and of 216 years of the presidency, 113 of those years were occupied by a president of Scotch-Irish descent? Perhaps a coincidence, but these notable leaders share a powerful heritage which influenced Scotland, Ireland and America.
Cara Group Travel is delighted to present; The Trailblazing Scots-Irish, an insightful tour to Ireland which showcases the impact the Scots-Irish had on the Emerald Isle. Hear about the important figures in the Scots-Irish history whilst taking in the majestic greenery and iconic landmarks of Ireland. Experience the world famous Irish hospitality and discover where your ancestry can be traced.
- A panoramic Sightseeing Tour of Belfast with local step on guide
- Visit to the Titanic Belfast Experience
- Guided Tour of Crumlin Road Gaol
- Visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Giants Causeway
- Special Visit to the brithplace of Charles Thomson
- Guided Walking Tour of Maghera, Co. Londonderry
- Visit to St. Patricks Centre and Downpatrick
- Visit to Down Cathedral and the reputed burial place of St Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint
- Visit to the Monastic Site of Glendalough
- Visit to Blarney Castle and Gardens
- Sightseeing Day on the Rugged Dingle Peninsula
- Ferry Ride Across the River Shannon
- Visit to the Cliffs of Moher and the Atlantic Edge Exhibition
- Panoramic Sightseeing Tour of Dublin with visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Day 1 – Welcome to Ireland & Belfast
This morning we land at Dublin Airport. Once through Passport Control, we will collect our bags and head for the arrival area, where our Irish Tour Director awaits us. We then board our coach for the drive north to Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where long sought after peace has brought a revival of optimism to this elegant Victorian City.
Upon arrival, we check in at our city center hotel and after having time to refresh ourselves, we board the coach for our first introduction to this city, known for its shipbuilding and fine linen. We will see Donegal Square and its iconic City Hall, in the very heart of Belfast.
Our drive will continue through the West Belfast Protestant neighborhood of the Shankill Road; and the Catholic neighborhood of the Falls Road. Vivid murals painted on building walls, express a panoply of feelings that run deeply on both sides of the conflict. Though these neighborhood names were much in the news during “The Troubles”, the Peace Wall gate between them, now stands open.
We return to the hotel for dinner and our first overnight stay. Dinner and Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Day 2 – The Titanic Story & The Infamous Crumlin Road Gaol
After breakfast this morning we take in two very different museums, both of which have had serious impact upon the lives of the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Our first stop will be at the Titanic Belfast, a state of the art interactive museum which provides an unforgettable visitor experience. It tells the story of the 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 the Titanic Quarter (the former Queen’s Island) in Belfast Harbor, the ship was built. Enjoy the exhibits at your own pace.
We continue onto Crumlin Road Gaol, a working prison from 1845 until 1996. We will hear its bitter history, from the time women and children were confined within its walls, to the period of political segregation between Republic and Loyalist prisoners. With a 150-year history of imprisonment, conflict and executions, this is a visit one won’t easily forget.
The afternoon is free to further explore the city and this evening you are free to dine in one of the many quality restaurants found in Belfast, your Tour Director will have suggestions.. Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Day 3 – Antrim Coast, Giant’s Causeway & Charles Thomson Birthplace, Co. Londonderry
This morning after breakfast, we set on out our ride to the Giants Causeway, an amazing geologic formation of approximately 40,000 mostly hexagonal shaped basaltic columns – some as tall as 130 ft.
This is Northern Ireland’s premier landmark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consider whether the Causeway is: the result of an accelerated cooling of lava outflows of 60 million years ago. Or, could it be the work of that legendary giant Finn MacCool. We embark on County Londonderry to visit the village of Toberone, where Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in 1729 and lived until his emigration to America at eight years of age. He was the son of John Thomson, one of Ulster’s most respected men. His birth occurred at a time when Protestant emigration was robbing Ireland of its best people, 20,000 of whom left Ulster and settled along the American Atlantic seaboard, thus causing the demise of the woolen trade.
Our first stop will be to Gortaide Cottage, where Thomson was born. Local guides will provide a short history and talk. From there, we will continue into the town of Maghera for a guided walking tour of some of the old buildings, which the young Charles Thomson would have known well.
After a busy day, we will travel back to our hotel and share dinner together. Dinner and Overnight: Belfast Hotel
Day 4 – St Patrick, Monastic Glendalough & the Garden of Ireland
After breakfast this morning, we bid farewell to Belfast and start our journey back to the Republic of Ireland. Before crossing the border, we visit what is known as St. Patricks Country, in County Down. No place is more closely associated with the Apostle of Ireland, than Downpatrick, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lecale.
The mortal remains of St. Patrick are said to lie in the leafy graveyard of Down Cathedral, beneath a simple granite slab. His companions in eternal rest are two other patron saints, Brigid and Colmcille, reputedly buried here as well. Rival claims for St. Patrick’s last resting place do exist – “bones of contention”, one might say. Aside from claiming Padraigh’s grave, Down Cathedral has a history for which the word “chequered” barely does justice. Destroyed by an earthquake, pillaged by the Danes, burnt by the Scots, destroyed again by the English, it then lay in ruins for the best of 200 years.
We continue south to Wicklow, the ‘Garden of Ireland’. Like so many parts of Ireland Wicklow is drenched in history and heritage. One of the most famous examples is the Monastic Settlement of Glendalough. St. Kevin chose the location of the monastery in the 6th century, for its beautiful, remote setting. The settlement we will see is situated in a glaciated valley with two lakes, and decorated crosses. Also on this site as St. Mary’s and St. Kevin’s Churches, and a hauntingly beautiful Celtic high cross. We will then make our way to our hotel tonight, check-in and enjoy together. Dinner & Overnight: Wicklow Hotel
Day 5 – John Barry Memorial and a wee bit o’blarney…
After breakfast, we depart for Wexford Town to pay homage to Commordore John Barry, ‘Father of the U.S. Navy’, at the memorial in his honor on Crescent Quay. This son of a poor Irish farmer rose from humble cabin boy to Senior Commander of the entire U.S. fleet during the American Revolution. Intrepid in battle, he was as humane to his men to his adversaries and prisoners. His contributions in the struggle for independence are unparalleled. In placing Barry at the head of the Navy, George Washing stated he had special trust and confidence “in Commodore Barry’s patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities’. Neither Washington, Barry’s old friend, nor the Nation ever had reason to regret the selection of Barry as head of the Navy. Barry played a vital role in establishing the earliest traditions of the Navy; faithful devotion to duty, honoring the flag and vigilant protection of the rings of the sovereign United States. The statue of John Barry, a gift to the town from the people of the United States, was delivered by a United States Navy Frigate and unveiled in 1956.
We continue our journey to the Kingdom of Kerry and on our way, we stop at the village of Blarney and gain the ‘Gift of the Gab’ with a visit to Blarney Castle. Climb the winding stairs of this nearly impenetrable fortress, kiss the Blarney Stone and be granted the ‘Gift of Eloquence’. Explore the beautiful grounds and gardens that lead to Rock Close, Blarney Castle’s secret treasure!
Our journey continues to Killarney, where we check in for dinner and overnight stay. Dinner & Overnight: Killarney Hotel
Day 6 – The Lakes of Killarney & Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
After breakfast we see the beautiful Killarney lakes that have attached and mesmerized visitors for centuries. We travel to the rugged Dingle Peninsula, with its wild looking mountains and spectacular vistas of Dingle Bay. One of Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) regions, the unruly landscape continues to inspire writers and artists to this day.
We will enjoy some free time in the fishing port of Dingle, a small fishing port with eclectic little fashion and jewelry shops and intimate cozy pubs such as Ashes and Foxy Johns, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
We return to Killarney in the afternoon and you are free to enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants and take in some of the pubs in town full of music and singing. Overnight: Killarney Hotel
Day 7 – Majestic Cliffs of Moher & Dining Like Royalty
After breakfast, we say farewell to Kerry and journey to the Limerick via an iconic landmark – the Mighty Cliffs of Moher. Standing 702 feet at their highest point, they stretch five spectacular miles along the Atlantic Coast of County Clare, in the west of Ireland.
On a clear day, one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Bens, and Maumturk Mountains in Connemara; Loop Head to the south; and the Dingle peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry. O’Brien’s Tower, near the highest level, has served as a viewing point for visitors for hundreds of years. The Cliffs are home to the Puffin Bird and many other bird species that we will learn about in the interpretation center.
We continue on to ancient City of Limerick, on the Banks of the River Shannon, for our overnight stay. Tonight, as guests at a Medieval Banquet, we step back in time to experience the same fare and type of entertainment that was once only the province of 15th century nobility, who lived in this fortress. Overnight: Limerick Hotel / Dinner: Medieval Castle Banquet
Day 8 – Dublin’s Fair City
After a leisurely breakfast, we will prepare to cross the country to the capital city Dublin, whose English name is derived from the Irish Dublinnn, meaning “black pool”. Founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island’s principal city following the Normal invasion in 1169. Once in this small capital with a huge reputation, we will embark on a panoramic sightseeing tour of Dublin’s Fair City. As we drive the main thoroughfare, we see such historic building as the GPO (General Post Office) on O’Connell Street, and Trinity College, which houses the Book of Kells. We see the lovely Georgian Squares, such as Merrion Square and Oscar Wilde’s house, owned today by the American College.
We pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Adjacent is the famous well, where accordingly to tradition; Saint Patrick baptized converts during his stay in Dublin. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191, has contributed much to Irish life throughout its long history. Jonathan Swift, Dean from 1713-1745, is entombed inside.
Tonight, we will have our farewell dinner as we celebrate new friendships, discoveries and wonderful memories that were created during our adventure across Ireland. Dinner & Overnight: Dublin Hotel
Day 9 – Homeward Bound
Pack your bags and bid farewell to Ireland but take your knowledge of the Scots-Irish group, heritage, culture and religion back with you.Hold the wonderful memories you have forever. Start planning to your next trip to the North West Ulster Region.