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The Thistle and the Shamrock (6/10/13 - 6/21/13)


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Tour Details:

Departure City: Midland-Odessa
Duration: 12 Days
Overnights: Killarney 2, Dublin 2, Lake District 1, Edinburgh 2, Highlands 2, Glasgow 1

Cultural Connections:

Poetry Reading at Rydal Mount
Evening of Traditional Irish Song, Dance and Food

Field Trips & Extensions:

Evening of Traditional Irish Song, Dance and Food
Poetry reading at Rydal Mount

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will discover how castles evolved over the centuries, from defensive powerbases to comfortable homes for key Irish and Scottish Gentry or Royalty.
  • Students will learn of Ireland's resurgence and current economic condition by walking throughout Dublin's revitalized center including Temple Bar and Grafton Street.
  • Students will learn about the rich heritage that Ireland presents through the oral traditions of story telling and music.


Jun 10, 2013 Overnight Flight
Depart from the USA.
Jun 11, 2013 Killarney
Fly into Shannon and travel through the Irish countryside to Killarney. The remainder of the day is free to unpack, relax and explore this picturesque town. (D)
Jun 12, 2013 Killarney
Experience Ireland at its most beautiful as you travel around the Ring of Kerry. (B,D)
Jun 13, 2013 Dublin
Today's journey brings you first to fabled Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the Blarney Stone. Continue to the Rock of Cashel to visit the imposing ruins of Cormac's chapel, offering panoramic views of rolling green hills. Your final destination tonight is Dublin! (B,D)
Jun 14, 2013 Dublin
Sightseeing this morning shows you the busy streets and tranquil Georgian squares of Dublin. Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells. Wander around old Dublin or visit one of its many excellent museums this afternoon. This evening you will enjoy an Irish Evening filled with folklore, traditional food, singing and dancing. Audience participation is encouraged! (B,D)
Jun 15, 2013 Lake District
Cross the Irish Sea by ferry and arrive at Holyhead, once the island home of the Druids. Journey through the villages of North Wales to the Lake District. This area's stunning scenery has inspired countless writers and artists and continues to delight all who visit. (B,D)
Jun 16, 2013 Edinburgh
This morning visit the village of Grasmere and William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage. Following your visit enjoy a special poetry reading with refreshments. The countryside becomes increasingly rugged as you cross the Scottish border and make your way toward Edinburgh. Catch your first glimpse of the castle that dominates the skyline of this historic city. (B,D)
Jun 17, 2013 Edinburgh
A guided sightseeing tour shows you Princes Street, Charlotte Square and the Royal Mile. A visit to Edinburgh Castle, home to the Crown Jewels of Scotland, is included. This afternoon you may want to learn about local literary history at the Writers' Museum or shop for woolens, tartans and sheepskins. (B,D)
Jun 18, 2013 Highlands
This morning's drive brings you to Pitlochry, where you visit Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. Continue to the Highlands, a journey that provides stunning views of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak. (B,D)
Jun 19, 2013 Highlands
The Isle of Skye is one of the jewels of Scotland. Today's journey takes you there to visit Dunvegan Castle. Set on a rocky promontory, this has been the headquarters of the ancient Macleod clan for nearly 800 years. (If not available, an alternate excursion will be substituted.) (B,D)
Jun 20, 2013 Glasgow
Today travel to Glencoe, site of the 1692 massacre. Continue through the Trossachs, whose crags and lochs are steeped in legend and folklore. Next you will visit Stirling Castle, scene of one of William "Braveheart" Wallace's most famous victories. Arrive in Glasgow with time to explore the city's Victorian architecture and experience its bustling, industrious culture. (B,D)
Jun 21, 2013 Departure
Depart for the USA. (B)
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Tour Cost:

Cost Per Traveler: $23,514
Cost breakdown
Registration Fee: $95
Program Fee: $22,655
Final Departure Fees: $764
Total Group Fees 1:
1 Valid through with deposit of $195

Additional Fees (as applicable)
Adult Surcharge: $125
Single Room Supplement: $800
Double Room Supplement: $450
Ultimate Protection Plan: $360
Comprehensive Protection Plan: $300

Full Payment Deadline: 2/15/13

What to See


Grafton Street
It's no more than 200 yards long and about 20 feet wide, but brick-lined Grafton Street, open only to pedestrians, can claim to be the most humming street in the city, if not in all of Ireland.

The Blackrock Market
With over 50 shops specializing in clothing, gifts, art and curiousities, the Blackrock Market is one of the most popular shopping destinations amongst visitors and locals too.  Housed in a 250 year old Georgian house and located in the elegant Blackrock village in South Dublin, one can go for simply for the sights, if not the shopping.


Princes Street
The main shopping street in downtown Edinburgh has impressive views of the Old Town and of Edinburgh Castle. Here you'll find all the main department stores such as Debenhams, Frasers, BHS, Marks & Spencers.  If you're tired of shopping, why not relax in the shadowy garden next to the Castle.

St. Andrew's Square
Here you'll find Multrees Walk, which has quickly become the city's version of London's Bond Street, with big brand name stores like Armani, Louis Vitton and Mulberry.

Cockburn Street
This street is home to three indepedent music stores, the Avalanche, Underground Solu'shn and Fopp, which all offer an alternative to the crowded megastores.

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Dublin Theatre
Dublin is home to a thriving theater scene. Venues include the Gate Theatre, the Rupert Guinness Theatre, and the Abbey and Peacock Theatres, home of Ireland's National Theatre Society.

Kilmainham Gaol, Inchicore Road
Restored in the 1960s, this building stood as a prison for 130 years and served as the holding place for many of the Nationalists that were executed after the Uprising of 1916. Tours include an audio-visual component. Open daily.

National Museum, Kildare Street
Built in the 1880s to the Victorian Palladianism design of Sir Thomas Deane, the museum houses priceless items such as Ireland’s Bronze Age gold, silver and glassware as well as unique items including 16th and 17th century wollen garments recovered from Irish bogs. Open daily, closed on Monday.

National Gallery, Merrion Square West
Houses a collection of more than 2,000 works from every major European school of painting, with particular emphasis on Irish landscape and portraits. Admission to the permanent collection is free. Open daily.

Dublinia, St. Michael's Hill, Christ Church
Presents a multimedia offering of Dublin’s medieval heritage from the arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the closures of the monasteries in 1540. Formerly the Synod Hall of the Church of Ireland, the impressive building was designed by G. E. Street. Open daily.

Chester Beatty Library
A connoisseur's delight, this "library" is considered by many to be the most impressive museum in Ireland. After Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), a Canadian mining millionaire and a collector with a flawless eye, assembled one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern art in the Western world, he donated it to Ireland.


Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street
Here you'll see famous Scots of long ago and the present. Portraits range from Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and even Sean Connery. The Gallery also houses the Scottish National Photography Collection. Open daily, free admission.

Museum of Childhood, 42 High Street, Royal Mile
Home to many toys, dolls, games, costumes, and more! Probably the world’s noisiest museum and the first in the world to specialize in the history of childhood. Open daily, free admission.

Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street
Opened in 1998 in Edinburgh's Old Town, this Museum traces all of Scotland’s history from geological times to the present. Open daily, free admission.

Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street
Museum housing large collections of African, American, Middle Eastern, and Pacific ethnography, jewelery, scientific instruments, costumes, and fossils. Located next to the Museum of Scotland, open daily, free admission.

The People's Story Museum, Canongate Tolbooth, Royal Mile
Housed in the sixteenth century Tolbooth, this museum tells the story of the life and work of Edinburgh's people for the past 200 years with life-like reconstructions. Open Monday through Saturday, free admission.

The Writers' Museum, Lady Stair’s Close
A museum dedicated to the lives of Scotland's great literary figures: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Open Monday through Saturday, free admission.

National Gallery of Scotland,The Mound
A wonderful collection of paintings, drawings, and prints by Renaissance, Romantic, and Impressionist artists. Open daily, free admission.

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Merrion Square
Created between 1762 and 1764, this tranquil square a few blocks east of St. Stephen's Green is lined on three sides by some of Dublin's best-preserved Georgian town houses, many of which have brightly painted front doors crowned by intricate fanlights.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
The largest cathedral in Dublin and also the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland, St. Patrick's is the second of the capital's two Protestant cathedrals.

St. Stephen's Green
Dubliners call it simply Stephen's Green, and green it is (year-round) -- a verdant, 27-acre Southside square that was used for the public punishment of criminals until 1664.

Trinity College
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I to "civilize" (Her Majesty's word) Dublin, Trinity is Ireland's oldest and most famous college.

Christ Church Cathedral, Christ Church Place
Work on the present building at Christ Church began in 1169 under the direction of the Norman knight, Strongbow. The crypt below the cathedral is one of the largest in the British Isles and is thought to be Dublin’s oldest surviving building. Open daily. (During services, access is limited.)

For Those of Drinking Age
Literary Pub Crawl, The Duke Pub, 9 Duke street
Professional actors lead this tour, performing from the works of Ireland’s great writers while visiting Dublin’s best known literary haunts. Open daily in the summer, Thursday through Sunday in the winter.


Sir Walter Scott Monument, Princes Street
Impossible to miss, this Gothic spire was once called "a steeple without a church." By climbing the 287 steps not only is the view great, but you can see Scott and his dog. Hours vary by season; open daily.

Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street
A beautiful, lush park to rest in after walking the Mound or Princes Street. Be sure to check out the Flower Clock which is made from thousands of different dwarf plants.

Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Park
An energetic hike to the top of these volcano-made cliffs located in Holyrood Park will give a most stunning view of Edinburgh and out across the Firth of Fourth as well.

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Café Carlo, 63-64 O'Connell Street
Across from the famous Dublin Spire, Café Carlo is a wonderful eatery that offers a mix of Irish and Italian cuisine. This is a favorite spot amongst locals and visitors for its relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

The Green Bistro, Pearse Street
This bistro prides itself in the quality of its food, so it only uses the freshest of local ingredients. Known for its mouth-watering steaks and burgers, they only use prime Irish beef in their meals.  The bistro is located in the Holiday Inn in Dublin Center and also has 24 hour room service. This makes it an excellent place to dine before going up to your room accomodation.

Trocadero, 3 St. Andrew Street
"The Troc," as it's called is over a half century old and is known for its excellent pre-theater menu. Because the Troc is within walking distance of the Olympia Theatre, The Gaiety and Andrew's Lane Theatre, it is a popular place to have a traditional Irish dinner before heading out to see a show.


The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge
The coffee shop where J.K. Rowling spent most of her time while writing the Harry Potter series.

Kalpna, 2-3 St Patrick Square
The unremarkable facade of this vegetarian Indian restaurant, amid an ordinary row of shops, and the low-key interior, enlivened by Indian prints and fabric pictures, belie the food -- unlike anything you are likely to encounter elsewhere in the city.

Witchery by the Castle, The Royal Mile
The hundreds of "witches" who were executed on Castlehill, just yards from where you will be seated, are the inspiration for this outstanding and atmospheric restaurant. The cavernous interior, complete with flickering candlelight, is festooned with cabalistic insignia and tarot-card characters.

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What's Included

  • Round-Trip Flights
  • Centrally Located Hotels
  • 24-Hour Tour Manager
  • Muckross House
  • Blarney Castle
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Traditional Irish Evening
  • Dublin Tour with Guide
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Trinity College Library
  • Dublin-Holyhead Ferry
  • Dove Cottage
  • Poetry Reading at Rydal Mount
  • Edinburgh Tour with Guide
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Blair Castle
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Stirling Castle

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