The Essence of Ireland & Scotland

July 1 to July 13, 2020

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 while experiencing the unique History, People and Places.  You will be earning RACE-approved continuing education credit while traveling with fellow veterinarians, their families and friends.  This itinerary may be modified slightly during our trip in order to pursue opportunities that could enhance our experience!

Beautiful Dublin

Beautiful Dublin

Day 0— July 1, 2020, Wednesday — Depart the USA for a July 2 (Thursday) arrival in Dublin

Day 1— July 2, 2020, Thursday — Arrive in Dublin, Welcome Banquet

Many pubs have nightly entertainment from local talent!

Many pubs have nightly entertainment from local talent!

Depart from North America on July 1st, arriving in Dublin, Ireland on July 2nd! 

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

The Green Hotel

The Green Hotel

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 (e.g. one idea of where to go . . . there are > 1,000 pubs in Dublin!) 

Lunch will be provided at the hotel, afternoon on your own.

Afternoon Check-in e

Late Afternoon: Depart for Book of Kells & Trinity College

This evening you’ll be our guest at Trinity College (founded in 1592) for a visit to the Book of Kells, their historical library known as The Long Room and a Welcome Banquet in ‘Great Hall.’   

Historic Trinity College

Historic Trinity College

The Illuminated Manuscript of The Book of Kells

The Illuminated Manuscript of The Book of Kells

After Dinner, we’ll provide transportation back to The Green Hotel.




Day 2— July 3, Friday — CE Lectures, Old Jameson’s Distillery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Guinness Storehouse, Pub Crawl (optional)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning departure for University College Dublin (the home of the Ireland’s national veterinary college.) We will participate in two RACE approved lectures, the first on “How Diseases are Transmitted” (think measles, Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, etc) and a second on “How Medieval Folk Remedies Evolve to Become Modern Pharmaceuticals.”

Lunch provided after the CE Event.

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


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Evening on your own or sign up for an optional guided Pub Crawl and dinner focused on either Literature or Music.

Overnight at the Green Hotel.


Day 3— July 4, Saturday — Newgrange & Castle Visit

Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Bus to Boyne Valley about 2 hours north of Dublin. Visit a historical area called Newgrange built before the pyramids in Egypt.  

Kerbstones & Megalithic art

Kerbstones & Megalithic art

Newgrange

Newgrange

—> We will also visit a nearby castle. Getting information on this now.

Lunch will provided as part of the Newgrange trip.

Return to Dublin.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight at the Green Hotel.


Day 4— July 5, Sunday — County Clare, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Dinner Banquet with Irish Entertainment

Breakfast at hotel

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Morning: Depart to bus to County Clare, with a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, 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 on your own.

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.

Limestone formations of The Burren

Limestone formations of The Burren

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 5— July 6, Monday — Connemara Peninsula, Kylemore Abbey, Town of Ennis

Breakfast at the Inn at Dromoland.

The Connemara peninsula

The Connemara peninsula

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Morning: 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 on your own.

Return to our hotel at The Inn at Dromoland.

Afternoon at leisure.


The Friary of Ennis

The Friary of Ennis

Evening at leisure with bus service to the little town of Ennis, that we fell in love with on our last trip. It’s 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).  

Dinner on your own in Ennis or it will 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).  


Day 6— July 7, Tuesday — The Mini-Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Dinner Banquet with Irish Entertainment

Breakfast at the Inn at Dromoland.

The region of Kenmare is part of the “Mini-Ring of Kerry”

The region of Kenmare is part of the “Mini-Ring of Kerry”

Morning: 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 Kenmare 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 2018 “Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor), a restored home and gardens  just east of Killarney.

We’ll head to our hotel, Europe Hotel.

The Europe Hotel with views of the Lakes of Killarney

The Europe Hotel with views of the Lakes of Killarney

Killarney is so popular because of its location but also because the town itself is so stereotypically Irish. Plan to walk through downtown to see the storefronts.

We will host a Dinner Banquet with Entertainment at the Europe Hotel.

Overnight at the Europe Hotel.


Day 7— July 8, Wednesday — Choose Your Own Adventure!

Breakfast at The Europe Hotel

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

1) We will take a group of 20 to Cork. We will visit Blarney Castle and you’ll have the option of ‘kissing the Blarney Stone.’ Kiss the Blarney stone and you’ll be given the gift of Eloquence! Also, we will visit the Blarney Woolen Mills— a great opportunity to purchase Irish textiles, clothing and gifts. Located within the Blarney Woolen Mills is Meadows & Byrne— a home furnishings store that also has Galway crystal and Waterford crystal!

Cork is a lovely city near the water, there is plenty to see and do. We will be staying at the Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork. It is near the university and walking distance from St. Fin Barre's Cathedral and Fitzgerald Park.

Dinner on your own.

The next morning, we will have a VERY EARLY flight (~4 am wakeup time) from Cork to Edinburgh, Scotland the next day. The Cork travelers will enjoy the morning in Edinburgh with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Royal Yacht. The rest of the group will catch up with us at lunchtime!

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Hayfield Manor— 5 Star Hotel in Cork

Hayfield Manor— 5 Star Hotel in Cork


2)    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 ancient stone bridge from where the cart will let you off.  After some refreshment you’ll get on a boat with about 10 people and make your way through three connecting lakes to Ross Fort.  You’ll be picked up there and returned to the hotel.  

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe

  or

3)    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. 

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry

or

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

The Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula

or

5) Golf at one of the 4 highly ranked courses in the area. You’ll be transported there and picked up.  Reservations a must before arriving in Ireland and we’ll need the information to coordinate your transport! Lunch on your own.

The Killarney Golf & Fishing Club

The Killarney Golf & Fishing Club

or

6) Choose to make use of the AMAZING Spa at The Europe Hotel.  Beautiful facilities in a beautiful location. Lunch on your own.

or

7)    Relax, walk around Killarney town, and enjoy the Europe Hotel’s grounds. Lunch on your own.

The Europe Hotel Grounds, with Breathtaking Views

The Europe Hotel Grounds, with Breathtaking Views

Killarney— a great place to walk & shop

Killarney— a great place to walk & shop


Day 8— July 9, Thursday — From Ireland to Scotland, Group Dinner

Breakfast at The Europe Hotel.

Early morning: Transfer to Shannon Airport (~2 hours) to catch our late morning ~90 minute flight to Edinburgh, Scotland. Flight leaves at 10:55 am and arrives at 12:30 pm.

12:30 pm: Arrive in Edinburgh. Panoramic orientation to Edinburgh.

Our CORK GROUP will take a direct flight from Cork to Edinburgh. They will leave the hotel early for a 6:40 flight with a 8:20 am arrival in Edinburgh. From there, the “Cork Group” will see the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Royal Yacht. The rest of our group will catch up with us at lunchtime in Edinburgh.

Scenic Edinburgh

Scenic Edinburgh

Afternoon: Lunch at restaurant Otro.

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

Afternoon at leisure.

Group dinner at Howies Waterloo within walking distance from hotel.

Overnight Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel.


Day 9— July 10, Friday — VIP Edinburgh Castle Tour, Royal Mile & Old Town, Holyrood House

Breakfast at the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel.

Morning: Depart hotel and arrive in time for a VIP pre-opening admission and Private Tour of Edinburgh Castle.

Impressive Edinburgh Castle

Impressive Edinburgh Castle

Late Morning: Guided tour of the Royal Mile and Old Town. Lunch on your own.

Royal Mile, Scotland

Royal Mile, Scotland

Old Town, Scotland

Old Town, Scotland

Holyrood House

Holyrood House

Afternoon: Visit to Holyrood House, the ceremonial home of Queen Elizabeth II. According to medieval legend, the Abbey was founded around 900 years ago in 1128 by David I of Scotland. While out hunting, the king had a vision of a stag with a glowing cross between its antlers. Seeing this as a message from God, he had an abbey built on the very same spot. 'Holy Rood', the name of the Abbey, and subsequently the Palace, means ‘Holy Cross’.

Late Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.

Evening: Dinner and evening at Ghillie Dhu Burly Ceilidh.

Overnight Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel


Day 10— July 11, Saturday— Inverness region, Blair Castle, Loch Ness cruise

Breakfast at the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

Morning: Check out and travel toward Inverness

Late Morning: Private guided tour of Blair Castle. Blair Castle has been the home of the Atholl family for over seven centuries. The castle has had a diverse history, witnessing both turbulent and peaceful times, enlarged and adapted over 700 years to suit the needs of the family and style of the day. Home to politicians, soldiers, agriculturalists and entrepreneurs, the family history is brought to life against a backdrop of fine 18th century interiors and Scottish baronial architecture, in 30 rooms. 

Blair Castle

Blair Castle

The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands

Afternoon: Lunch at Blair Castle.

Inverness Castle and the River Ness

Inverness Castle and the River Ness

Late Afternoon: Panoramic Orientation to Inverness. Inverness is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor.

Late Afternoon: Check into the Palace Hotel.

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

Cruising the Loch Ness

Cruising the Loch Ness

Dinner on your own.

Overnight at the Palace Hotel.


Day 11— July 12, Sunday— Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield, Distillery, Group Dinner at Achnagairn Castle

Breakfast at the Palace Hotel.

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

Tour 1: Glenfiddich in Speyside or Glen-Ord Distillery at the Highlands.

Tour 2 Visit to Urquhart Castle. The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area. It was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. 

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Visit the Culloden battlefield. The Culloden Battlefield is the historic site of the last battle to take place on British soil in 1746. This battle is frequently referred to as one of the most important for Scotland, as it marked the end of the clan system in the highlands.

Visit a highland’s distillery.

Stop at a shopping area with some traditional Scottish items.

Group dinner Finale at Achnagairn Castle, a five star resort with stunning views.

Overnight at the Palace Hotel.


Day 12— July 13, Monday — Depart Scotland

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.


Trip Prices

$7250 per person (based on double occupancy.)

$9750 for single occupancy