The Essence of Ireland & Scotland

July 1 to July 13, 2020

Tentative Itinerary

Join VETS for an adventure focused on touring Ireland and Scotland.  Our itinerary will allow you to see some of the “Best Of” these two amazing nations. Experience History, People and Places.  You will be earning RACE-approved continuing education credit while traveling with fellow veterinarians, their families and friends.  

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Day 1— July 1, 2020, Wednesday

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Depart from North America, arriving in Dublin, Ireland on July 2. 

Morning arrival from North America to Dublin, a busy city founded in the 9th century on the River Liffy.  At the most recent census there were about 2 million of Ireland’s total population of 4.7 million living in the immediate area.  

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You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to The Green Hotel, a luxury hotel in the center of Dublin and easy walking distance to the most interesting areas.  There are > 1,000 pubs in Dublin! 


Day 2 —  July 2, 2020, Thursday

Lunch, afternoon on our own and an evening pub experience.

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This evening you’ll be our guest at Trinity College (founded in 1592) for a visit to the Book of Kells, their historical library and a welcoming dinner in their dining hall.   

Transfer back and overnight at the Green Hotel






Day 3— July 3, Friday

Breakfast at the hotel.

Depart on bus for University College Dublin for 2 lectures, one on how disease is transmitted and the second providing some insights into how medieval folk remedies evolved into modern medicines.  University College Dublin is the location of the veterinary medicine program in Ireland.

Lunch

The Old Jameson Distiller

The Old Jameson Distiller

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

The Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse

Afternoon city tour to the Old Jameson’s Distillery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse.  

Evening guided Literary Pub Crawl 

Overnight at the Green Hotel

Day 4— July 4, Saturday

Breakfast at hotel

Bus to Boyne Valley about 2 hours north of Dublin. Visit a historical area called Newgrange built before the pyramids in Egypt.  You’ll also visit Monasterboice, the remains of a very early (early 5th century Christian settlement with a round tower, remains of two churches dating to at a minimum the 14th century, and three high crosses dating to the 10th century.

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Newgrange

Newgrange

Lunch

Return to Dublin

Evening at leisure

Overnight at the Green Hotel 

Day 5— July 5, Sunday

Breakfast at hotel

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Depart to bus to County Clare, with a visit to Bunratty Castle, a residential castle built ~1425 as a defensive fortress for a family (there are other castles such as Dublin Castle that were built to protect governments/kings/etc.).  The folk park is part of the castle grounds and has reconstructed typical housing with period furniture representing how the Irish lived. 

Lunch

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

We’ll drive to the Cliffs of Moher, famous sea cliffs that are as high as 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and look out over the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.  O’Brien’s Tower, constructed about 1835, provides a vantage point to spot any invaders making their way toward shore.  

Next we’ll drive through The Burren, about 200 square miles of land dominated by limestone formations and what was home to many early civilizations.  This area was hit especially hard by the Great Famine and Black Death in the early 1300’s.

We’ll continue to the Inn at Dromoland, our hotel adjacent to Dromoland castle and on the original castle grounds.  

This evening we’ll host a dinner at Durty Nellys, an authentic pub close to Bunratty Castle and enjoy some fine pub food as well as Irish entertainment.  

Overnight at the Inn at Dromoland Castle

Day 6— July 6, Monday

Breakfast at the hotel

The Connemara peninsula

The Connemara peninsula

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

We’ll depart for the Connemara peninsula and visit Kylemore Abbey.  This is one of the most photographed abbey’s in the world and we’ll take a tour!

Lunch

Return to our hotel at Dromoland.

Afternoon at leisure

Evening at leisure

We love a little town (Ennis) not too far away and plan on heading there to walk around, visit an ancient Friary, and eat in at local pub (hopefully with music).  Buses will be available at specific times to take people to Ennis or pick them up.  Dinner also available at the Inn or make reservations at Dromoland Castle (5 star restaurant-we recommend you make dinner reservations before you leave to go to Ireland).  

Breakfast at the Inn at Dromoland

Day 7— July 7, Tuesday

Breakfast at the Inn at Dromoland

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry

We’ll continue our adventure by heading south, crossing from County Clare to County Kerry by ferry boat, and head to the small city of Kemare as part of “The Mini Ring of Kerry”.  We’ll enjoy lunch in Kenmare, then continue up through Moll’s Gap and Ladies View with a stop at Muckross house, a restored home and gardens  just east of Killarney.

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We’ll head to our hotel, Europe Hotel.

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Evening at leisure with shuttles available to Killarney Town, a short ride away with many pubs and shops to enjoy.

Overnight at the Europe Hotel

Day 8— July 8, Wednesday

Breakfast at The Europe Hotel

Your free day to do what you want to do!  Option include:  

1)    Experience a jaunting cart with a pony ride up and over the Gap of Dunloe, then have some refreshments at Lord Byron’s historical cottage on the lake, just across an anchient stone bridge from where the cart will let you off.  After some refreshment you’ll get on a boat with about 10 people total and make your way through three connecting lakes to Ross Fort.  You’ll be picked up there and returned to the hotel.  

  or

2)    Do the full Ring of Kerry Tour, a long day but with many stops as some of the most beautiful (and photogenic) spots on earth. You will retrace a small part of what you saw on the Mini Ring of Kerry Tour. 

or

3) Choose a shorter day and a less famous but still beautiful tour of the Dingle Peninsula.  Lunch in the town of Dingle.

  or

4)    Golf at one of the 4 highly ranked courses in the area. You’ll be transported there with those doing the Gap of Dunloe tour.  Reservations a must before arriving in Ireland

or

5)    Choose to make use of the AMAZING spa at The Europe Hotel.  Beautiful facilities in a beautiful location.

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6)    Relax, walk around Killarney town, enjoy the hotel’s grounds

Day 9— July 9, Thursday

Breakfast at The Europe Hotel

Transfer to Shannon Airport (~2 hours) to catch our late morning ~90 minute flight to Edinburgh, Scotland

Panoramic orientation to Edinburgh 

Lunch in civic center restaurant

Check into the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, perfectly positioned for our exploration.

Afternoon at leisure

Group dinner at restaurant within walking distance from hotel

Overnight Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

Day 10— July 10, Friday

Breakfast at the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

VIP pre-opening admission and tour of Edinburgh Castle

Guided tour of the Royal Mile and Old Town

Visit to Holyrood House, the ceremonial home of Queen Elizabeth II

Lunch on your own, afternoon at leisure

Dinner????

Overnight Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

Day 11— July 11, Saturday

Breakfast at the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

Check out and travel toward Inverness

Private guided tour of Blair Castle 

Lunch in the Highlands

Orientation to Inverness

Check into the Palace Hotel

Cocktails and appetizers on a Loch Ness cruise (“Here Nessie, Nessie, Nessie”)

Dinner on your own

Overnight at the Palace Hotel

Day 12— July 12, Sunday

Breakfast at the Palace Hotel

Visit to Urquhart Castle?

Culloden battlefield

Visit a highland’s distillery

Stop at a shopping area with some traditional Scottish items

Group dinner Finale at Achnagairn Castle, no falconry, no piper, yes on dancers and trio, no on and to beat the retreat 

Overnight at the Palace Hotel

Day 13— July 13, Monday

Breakfast at the Palace Hotel

Depart for Inverness airport to start your journey home

Flights to London Heathrow or Amsterdam Schiphol International Airports to connect with flights home