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The Thistle and the Shamrock (3/9/18 - 3/17/18)

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Tour Details:

Departure City: Austin
Duration: 9 Days
Overnights: Killarney 2, Dublin 2, Lake District 1, Edinburgh 2

Cultural Connections:

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

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.


Mar 9, 2018 Overnight Flight
Depart from the USA.
Mar 10, 2018 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)
Mar 11, 2018 Killarney
Experience Ireland at its most beautiful as you travel around the Ring of Kerry. The drive along the Ring's 100-mile scenic loop includes stops for photos as well as an opportunity to see how people lived and worked in the 18th century at the Kerry Bog Village. Before you return to Killarney, visit Muckross House, a stately Victorian home with magnificent gardens and breathtaking views of the lakes that surround Killarney. (B,D)
Mar 12, 2018 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)
Mar 13, 2018 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)
Mar 14, 2018 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. This afternoon, enjoy a special poetry reading at Rydal Mount, where the romantic poet spent many years(B,D)
Mar 15, 2018 Edinburgh
This morning visit the village of Grasmere and William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage. 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)
Mar 16, 2018 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 enjoy a magical Harry Potter walking tour around Edinburgh. (B,D)
Mar 17, 2018 Departure
Depart for the USA. (B)
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Tour Cost:

Cost Per Traveler: $17,711
Cost breakdown
Program Fee: $17,631
Weekend Surcharge: $80
Total Group Fees 1:
1 Valid through with deposit of $495

Additional Fees (as applicable)
Adult Surcharge: $95
Single Room Supplement: $665
Double Room Supplement: $315
Ultimate Protection Plan: $270
Comprehensive Protection Plan: $225

Full Payment Deadline: 12/1/17

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
  • Evening of Traditional Irish Song, Dance and Food
  • 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
  • Harry Potter Walking Tour

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