Summary : Enjoy the Emerald Isle like never before on a British Isles expedition which includes a comprehensive Ireland tour. Discover mysterious Dún Aengus; the cliffside monasteries and lookout towers of the Celtic monks; the Viking legacy of Waterford; and the 17th – 18th century English fortresses, mansions, and elaborate gardens gracing Cork and Killarney. Rolling green glens are studded with shimmering lakes and dramatic cliffs, busy with breeding seabirds, that reach vertically from the sea. In true Ireland adventure travel style, explore such islands as the Saltees, Skellig Rocks, and Blasket as well as Scotland’s Inner Hebrides by Zodiac. Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site, along with a visit to Scotland's Lagavulin Whiskey Distillery make a fitting finale to our British Isles tour.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart on an independent overnight flight to London.
After checking in to your hotel, explore the city at your leisure. This evening gather for a welcome reception, followed by dinner, staff introductions, and a briefing.
Depart via train for Plymouth after breakfast. Enjoy lunch in town before a tour of Plymouth including a visit to an Elizabethan house built in 1631 and the City Museum and Art Gallery. Birders visit Dartmoor National Park, known for its blanket bogs and upland heath. This afternoon, board the Clipper Odyssey and begin the voyage.
The Isles of Scilly, 150 or so granitic isles, are known for their lovely beaches, rocky promontories, and ideal climate. Warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, the Isles of Scilly have given their fortunate inhabitants the luxury of turning a passion for growing flowers into a major industry. Board local boats and cruise to Tresco this morning. Visit the ruins and exquisite subtropical gardens at the medieval Tresco Abbey.
This morning anchor off the privately-owned Saltee Islands, which attract a variety of birds to their craggy masses. On Great Saltee Island, search for puffins, murres, razorbills, gannets, and more of the 47 bird species known to inhabit the island.
Later this morning, the ship docks in the charming fishing village of Dunmore East. A drive to the House of Waterford Crystal allows you to witness the creation of exquisite crystal ware—from blowing to cutting and engraving—and a visit to the local museum provides enlightenment on the history and archaeology of the area. Or, choose to tour the classical gardens of Mount Congreve, a 700-acre estate with a celebrated collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Enjoy your choice of tours in the morning. A Cork city drive goes past St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, then through lovely countryside to Blarney town. At legendary Blarney Castle, you may wish to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, reportedly guaranteeing the gift of gab. Or, explore University College Cork, with its splendid Gothic revival-style buildings and the Honan Chapel, which showcases every aspect of the Irish intellectual, arts, and crafts movements of the early 20th-century Celtic revival period. At the Crawford Gallery, discover why Cork was named the European Capital of Culture in 2005.
After lunch aboard, join a countryside journey to picturesque Kinsale. The dramatic 17th-century Charles Fort presides over the harbor entrance; the Lusitaniawas torpedoed by a German submarine in WWI within sight of the ramparts. Enjoy the superb views and take a stroll among Kinsale’s many galleries and shops before returning to the ship.
This full-day excursion encompasses some of the world’s finest scenery on the drive east from Sneem to the market town of Kenmare. The circular route then climbs through Moll’s Gap, revealing an idyllic lake and mountain panoramas. Visit Muckross House in Killarney National Park, a restored 19th-century Elizabethan-style manor house and gardens, where artisans ply their traditional trades and craftwork in the Kerry Folklife Centre. After lunch in nearby Killarney, continue along the northern route, through Killorglin with its grand land- and seascapes. Pass along the shores of Dingle Bay en route to re-embark the ship in Caherciveen.
Approach the remote and precipitous Skellig Rocks at dawn. Little Skellig is home to the second-largest colony of gannets in the world; thousands upon thousands of birds greet your arrival. Permission pending, visit nearby Skellig Michael, the craggy site of an important 9th-century Christian monastic settlement. This afternoon enjoy a nature walk to explore the Blasket Islands, an archipelago off the Dingle Peninsula populated by numerous seabirds and seals.
The Dingle Peninsula is Ireland’s most westerly outpost—the views from Slea Head over the seacoast and off-lying islands are dramatic. Continue to Dunquin’s Blasket Centre, which offers insights into the isolated island communities. Also, visit the unusual Gallarus Oratory, a very early 9th-century church, built without mortar, to resemble an upturned boat. Enjoy free time in the small fishing town of Dingle to stroll and explore craft shops, or raise a pint at one of the lively, local pubs.
Be on deck early this morning as your ship cruises by the seabird-studded Cliffs of Moher. Arrive at Inishmore, largest of the three Aran Islands and an outpost of Gaelic culture, where Irish-speaking residents live in traditional stone cottages. The morning tour brings you to 5th-century Dún Aengus Fort, dramatically situated at the edge of 300-foot cliffs. Stop to enjoy a pint in the pub, before re-boarding the ship.
Choose a full- or half-day tour of charming Donegal Town today. Both tours visit Donegal Castle and the remains of a Franciscan monastery that date to the 15th century. After lunch at Donegal Pub the full-day tour continues to Belleek Pottery for a chance to see potters at work and view the delicate, slightly iridescent final product.
Pass the dramatic landscape of the North Antrim Coast this morning. The ship docks at Portrush and you travel overland to the World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. This three-mile section of coastline is a geological masterpiece—some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea. In the afternoon, tour the Lagavulin Whisky Distillery. Founded in 1816, whisky is still produced, matured, and bottled on-site. Learn about the colorful history of the company and enjoy a sample of the intoxicating result.
Sanda is a privately-owned island that hosts a variety of nesting and migratory seabirds. Step ashore to explore with your naturalists and stop for refreshments at the small restaurant. After lunch on board, make an expedition stop on Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano. This uninhabited island is a bird sanctuary that provides a home for puffins and huge numbers of gannets.
After breakfast on board, disembark in Greenock and transfer to the Glasgow airport for your independent flight. Arrive in the USA on the same day and connect with homeward flights.
Accommodations in hotels and on board Clipper Odyssey as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; group transfers; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000)*.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.