Day 1 - August 31st - We will meet at Dublin International Airport but our first adventure will be north of the city
visiting the
Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange and Knowth. The tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200
BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly
decorated with megalithic art. The
Great Mound at Knowth was built over 5000 years ago, probably after the
construction of Newgrange and before the construction of Dowth. The Great Mound at Knowth is similar in size to
Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds. We will have
Lunch in Donore before visiting the Hill of
Tara
. Tara was the political and spiritual center of Celtic Ireland and the Seat of High Kings until the 11th century.
Sitting on top of the
King's Seat was the most famous of Tara's monuments, Lia Fáil, Ireland's Ancient Coronation
Stone. 142 Kings
are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times. In ancient Irish religion and mythology
Temair was the sacred place of dwelling of gods, and the entrance to the otherworld. Saint Patrick is said to have come to
Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at its most powerful site.
Dinner and Overnight near Kells. (L,D)

Day 2 -
This morning we visit Kells Monastic Site. Kells or Ceanannus Mór was an important monastic settlement
founded by
St. Columba. The famous "Book of Kells" was kept here. A Round Tower, High Crosses and St.
Columba's House
are important remains on the site. We then make our way to Loughcrew Cairns. Possibly the oldest
cemetery in the world, it tells of Ireland’s neolithic cultures, shrouded in myth and mystery.  The tombs are located on three
different hills with the largest of the three having a
Vernal and Autumunal Equinox. In a landscape of inspiring beauty
and intriguing history, the cairns form the largest complex of passage graves in Ireland. The Cairns are megalithic structures
originally built about 4000BC as burial chambers
. We will then stop in Monagahan for you to find some lunch. After a
wee wander around town we make our way further north to the
Beaghmore Stone Circles. Discovered during peat
cutting in the 1940s the site at Beaghmore consists of 7 stone circles. All of the rings are associated with cairns and a stone
row that runs towards these cairns. I think what I like most about the site is the complete mystery that surrounds it! We
then make our way to our accommodation before dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Northern Ireland. (B,D)

Day 3 -
This morning we take in the Giants Causeway and the  Causeway Coast. First stop is Dunluce Castle, a
14th century castle which is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the
North
Antrim Coast
, and was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. Next we visit the Giants Causeway where 37,000
basalt columns extend from the cliffs and out into the sea. Long ago, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity the
larger fissures, through which the lava flowed, can be clearly seen as bands of dark rock which cut down the cliff faces and
jut out to sea. There were three periods of volcanic activity which resulted in the flows, known as the
Lower, Middle and
Upper Basalts.
It is the Middle Basalts rocks which forms the columns of the Giants Causeway. The rapidly cooling lava
contracted and variations in the cooling rate resulted in the world famous columnar structure. No matter how many times
I have seen this, the sheer wonder and magic of the columns never fails to impress! Next we take in the ruins of
Dunseverick Castle. King Dunsobairce of Ireland built a fortress here in 1525BC to rule the ancient Kingdom of
Dalriada
and the location is named after him. After taking in more of this spectacular coastline, we return home.
Overnight Northern Ireland. (B,D)

Day 4 -
This morning we make our way to the ferry terminal in Belfast for the crossing from Belfast across to Stranraer,
Scotland
. You will be able to find some lunch on the ferry while sailing across the Irish Sea on this very smooth crossing
takes just a little over hours. Once in Scotland, we make our way up the west coast with a few stops along the way to break
up this very long day! You will see some wonderful coastline and some beautiful glens and then we make our way along the
coast to
Ardrossan, Seahill and Largs where we will stop for some amazing ice cream in the lovely seaside town. We
then to
Gourock where we take a wee ferry across to Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula where we will dine and stay for
the night.
Dinner and Overnight Dunoon. (B,D)

Day 5 -
Today will be spent exploring Kilmartin Glen. The glen is a broad valley that extends south from the village of
Kilmartin
, just north of Lochgilphead and to south of Oban. The glen is famous for its rich archaeological legacy
and ancient history that includes burial cairns, rock carvings, and standing stones, as well as the remains of the fortress of
the
Scots at Dunadd. Dunadd is a 175 foot rocky outcrop on the River Add. Between the years AD500 - 900, this was
one of the most important places in Scottish history. The original Scots were migrants from Ireland who settled across Argyll
founding the
Kingdom of Dalriada. Dunadd was the capital of the Kingdom and was the place where its Kings were
anointed. We hope the day will allow for a
Picnic Lunch before more exploration including Temple Wood. At Temple
wood encloses two 4,000 year old stone circles with the remains of their cairns. After more exploration we make our way to
Oban which is known at the Gateway to the Isles. Dinner and Overnight Oban. (B,L,D)

Day 6 -
Following breakfast this morning we make will take some time to explore Oban before making our way to
Dunstaffnage Castle, one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Built around 1275 on a huge rock overlooking the Firth
of Lorn
, Dunstaffnage was the mighty stronghold of the MacDougalls. Built around 1220 by Duncan MacDougall, the
son of
Earl Somerled, known also as the ‘King of the Isles’, Dunstaffnage Castle was built at the height of the battle
between Scotland and Norway for control of the Hebrides and was even once besieged by
King Robert the Bruce during
the
Wars of Independence. We will then make our way to Loch Awe and St. Conan's Kirk, spectacularly sited
overlooking the loch. I could not imagine venturing through this area of Scotland without visiting this lovely
Romanesque
Church
. We will have lunch before continuing to Glencoe, which was the site of the 1692 Massacre of the McDonalds.
Against a backdrop of craggy peaks and the tumbling
River Coe, the Glen offers some of Scotland's most spectacular
scenery. We then make our to
Fort William nestled snuggly on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Here you will be able to find
some dinner on your own.
Overnight Fort William. (B,L)

Day 7 -
This morning we will take in the "Road to the Isles" from Fort William to Mallaig with a stop at Glenfinnan
which sits at the head of mysterious and beautiful
Loch Shiel and is at the crossroads of four steep sided Glens. It was here
that
Prince Charles Edward Stuart or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' as he came to be known, called for the local clansmen
to assemble in August 1745 and raised the standard proclaiming the throne of Great Britain to rightfully belong to his family,
the Stuarts. We will make a few more stops along the way at the picturesque
Lochailort, Arisaig and Morar before
ending up in Mallaig where you can find some lunch. Mallaig is a busy fishing port where visitors can soak up the
atmosphere of a working fishing port. After some time to walk around and explore, we take another short ferry ride across to
the
Isle of Skye. Once on Skye, we will continue our journey past the lovely Cuillen Hills and north past Portree to our
home for 2 nights on Skye.
Dinner and Overnight Skye. (B,D)

Day 8 -
This morning we journey to Dunvegan to visit Dunvegan Castle which has been the stronghold of the Chiefs
of MacLeod
for nearly 800 years and it remains their home. Built on a Rock once surrounded entirely by salt water, it is
unique in Scotland as the only house of such antiquity to have retained its family and its roof throughout the centuries.
You can find some lunch at Dunvegan before we journey round the
Trotternish Peninsula with its spectacular coastline.
We will stop at the grave site of
Flora MacDonald at Kilmuir. Flora is best known for her brave act in helping Bonnie
Prince Charlie escape after the
Battle of Culloden. We will also visit The Quiraing being one of the most exciting natural
rock formations anywhere in Scotland We will also stop to see some of the other natural rock formations on the island. Next
we visit
Portree, meaning Port of the king. You will be able to explore this delightful harbour village before dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Skye. (B,D)

Day 9 -
Leaving Skye behind today, we take the Ferry from Uig across to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris where we
will visit the
Harris Tweed Shop and Warehouse of Family Weavers. Harris is also famed for its beaches with miles
of white shell sands washed by turquoise waves more reminiscent of tropical islands than the cold waters of the
Atlantic
Ocean.
We will see several of these beaches on our way to Rodel on the south end of the Island. At the southern most point
of the island we find
St. Clements Church at Rodel. The church was built in the late 15th century for the Chiefs of the
MacLeods of Harris
and in 1528, Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief, prepared for himself a magnificent wall
tomb on the south side of the choir - possibly the finest medieval wall tomb in Scotland, being crowned by an arch and with
ornate carvings of biblical design. We then start our journey north and cross the
Land Bridge that will take us across to the
Isle of Lewis and Stornoway. Dinner and Overnight Harris. (B,D)

Day 10 -
 Before we leave Harris and Lewis behind we will the Callanish Standing Stones. Dating back over 4000
years, it ranks second in terms of importance only to
Stonehenge and is older. The main monument is an extraordinary
cross-shaped setting of stones, centred on a circle of tall stones. At its heart stands a solitary monolith 15 feet high. Lines of
smaller stones radiate from the circle to east, west and south. From the north runs an avenue 175 feet long, formed by two
lines of stones that narrow as they approach the circle. Within the circle is a chambered tomb. We will also visit the
Arnol
Blackhouse Museum
which tells the story of the original crofters native to this area of Scotland. There is also an attached
barn, byre and stackyard. Beside the Blackhouse, a furnished
1920s Whitehouse can also be seen. We then make our way
to
Stornoway where you can find some lunch before we board our afternoon ferry to Ullapool. We will explore this
delightful fishing village before making our way up the road to
Kylesku. Dinner and Overnight Kylesku. (B,D)

Day 11 -
This morning we start our long journey northward to Thurso on the north coast of Scotland. I love the drive
through the
Assynt Mountains and Loch Assynt with its spectacular viewpoint. We continue through the mountains
before we travel the Scenic Coastal Route to Thurso with some of the most spectacular scenery to be found anywhere in
Scotland. Have your cameras ready as there will be several wonderful photo ops. On this coastline  you will see some of the
most amazing
Beaches and Cliffs you have ever seen! We will find a cozy place to stop for lunch along the way. Much of
the coastline is composed of sea lochs and kyles and including
Loch Laxford, Kyle of Durness, Loch Eriboil, Loch
Hope and the Kyle of Tongue.
Our journey will eventually end up near the town of Thurso where you can find some
dinner
Overnight Thurso. (B,L)

Day 12 -
After our Ferry Across to Orkney our first stop is Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western
Europe
. Built before 2700 BC, it was raided by the Vikings in the mid-12th century and plundered of its 'treasures'.
Maeshowe is interesting because of the various runic inscriptions carved into the walls.  This is one of the best known
collections and includes the
Maeshowe Dragon - a very well known Orkney icon. Next we visit Skara Brae a neolithic
village dating from 2,500 BC which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, for thousands of years and was
only rediscovered 150 years ago.  We will also visit the
Broch of Gurness, one of the most outstanding surviving examples
of a later prehistoric settlement that is unique to northern Scotland. The Vikings who settled in Orkney from around 800
often used the mounds of earlier settlement sites as burial places, and this was the case at Gurness. Next is the
Ring of
Brodgar
, a stone ring  built in a true circle originally containing 60 megaliths. Finally we visit the Standing Stones of
Stenness
dating from 3,100BC making the stones complex one of the earliest stone circles in Britain. Dinner and
Overnight Orkney. (B,D)

Day 13 -
This morning we will take the short journey to the Isle of Hoy. Synonymous with the world famous sea stack the
Old Man of Hoy, Orkney's second largest island rises dramatically from the sea. With mountainous moorland and glacial
valleys, you will encounter a dramatic highland landscape. Hoy is unlike anywhere else in Orkney. Once on Hoy we visit
Dwarfie Stane, a huge block of sandstone in which a Neolithic Burial Chamber has been cut. It is believed to date from
around 3000 BC and the tomb was formerly sealed by the blocking stone which now lies in front of the entrance. Hoy is also
famous for its birdlife. 10,000 acres of moorland and dramatic sea cliffs form an
RSPB Nature Reserve which attracts
large numbers of migrating and resident birds, including the much loved Puffin! The viewpoint overlooking the Old Man is
said to be the best place to spot them. After thoroughly exploring the island, we return to the mainland where you can find
some dinner.
Overnight Orkney. (B,L)

Day 14 -
First thing this morning we will visit the Tomb of the Eagles on South Ronaldsay Island. Perched above
the dramatic
South Ronaldsay cliffs, the Isbister Chambered Cairn - better known today as the ‘Tomb of the
Eagles’ - is one of Orkney’s top archaeological sites. Discovered by chance by a local farmer in the 1950s, this Stone Age
Tomb revealed an amazing collection of bones and artefacts, placed here some 5,000 years ago. Next we stop at
Highland
Park Distillery.
This whisky is made with the same enduring belief and integrity, to the same exacting standards, as it has
been since 1798. We will have a tour of the distillery followed by a wee dram  and then you will have some free time in
Kirkwall before  dinner and then before boarding the overnight ferry to the Shetlands. While here you may want to visit
St. Magnus Cathedral. Begun in 1137 this cathedral built from alternating bands of local red and yellow sandstone is one
of the finest and best preserved medieval cathedrals in Scotland. After dinner we board a ferry that will take us on an
overnight voyage to
Shetland. Overnight At Sea. (B,D)

Day 15 - Shetland
, a natural world where wildlife is truly wild and where you can watch otters and seals at play and
where the air is filled with the sound of seabirds crowding extraordinary cliffs in huge, noisy colonies.  6,000 years of human
history have endowed the islands with some of the finest archaeological sites in Europe. Our journey today will take us to the
very most northerly point in the Shetlands on the
Island of Unst. Our journey will take us north on Mainland
Shetlands to Toft
where we board a wee ferry to cross the Island of Yell. We travel northward to the top of yell to
Gutcher where we board a wee ferry for the crossing to Unst. We will explore the wilds of the Shetlands and drive to the
most northerly point of Unst where we can look out to
Out Stack, and uninhabited island that is the last land mass before
the
North Pole! After a lovely days outing of exploring and amazing photo ops we make our way to our accommodation
back on Mainland Shetland for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,D)

Day 16 -
This morning we travel to Eshaness and the Eshaness Lighthouse in the area of Northmavine. Eshaness
boasts one of the highest energy coastlines in the world. Blasted by the full force of the North Atlantic it displays a stunning
array of stacks, blowholes and geos (narrow inlets). The area of Northmavine boasts a wonderful range of wildlife and
habitats. Seals, Otters, Porpoises and occasionally Dolphins and Whales can be seen from the shore. Inland expanses of peat
and heather are home to
Mountain Hares, Rabbits, Polecats and a multitude of birds, including the elegant Red-
throated Diver which can be seen on many lochs. The lighthouse, which is visible for miles, is perched on the rim of fabulous
volcanic cliffs where the full Atlantic fury has shaped some of Shetland's most dramatic cliff scenery. You can walk
along to the head of
Calder's Geo, where the sea has gouged out a deep inlet along a line of weakness in the rock. Fulmars
float on air currents above the surging waves and nest among the crannies of the vertical rock faces, which are transformed
into hanging gardens. We then return home for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,D)

Day 17 -
This morning we take in the multi-period Jarlshof Prehistoric Norse Settlement. Jarlshof lies at the most
southernly tip of Mainland Shetlands and provides an insight into the way of life of the inhabitants at particularly interesting
periods – the late
Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish era, Norse era and the Middle Ages. It includes oval-shaped
Bronze Age houses, Iron Age Broch and wheelhouses, Viking long houses, medieval farmstead and 16th
century laird’s house
. We will have a tour of the site before we make our way to Lerwick, the largest town in the
Shetlands. After you find some lunch we will visit the
Shetland Textile Museum where you can watch demonstrations of
spinning and knitting and admire the extensive collection of over 500 knitted or woven items at this one of its kind museum
dedicated to the islands’ textile heritage. You will then have some free time to wander around Lerwick where the harbour is
an excellent location to seal watch and where we will board the overnight ferry back to the mainland at
Aberdeen. After
boarding the ferry you will be able to find some dinner on board.
Overnight at Sea. (B,L)

Day 18 -
We dock this morning in Aberdeen and then make our way just a short distance to visit my Very Favourite
Stone Circle
in Scotland. It stands in a copse of trees in the middle of a farm in Aberdeenshire. Unmanicured and
untended, it remains very much as it would have looked over 4,000 years ago! We then make our way south along the coast
to
Arbroath and Arbroath Abbey. Founded by William the Lion in 1178, in memory of martyr Thomas Becket,
the abbey remained one of the nation’s grandest monasteries for almost 400 years. Much later, the
Stone of Destiny had a
starring role in Arbroath Abbey’s story! Arbroath Abbey is best known for the
Declaration of Arbroath. The most
famous document in Scottish history was a letter to
Pope John XXII sent by 39 Scottish nobles, barons and freemen in
response to the renewed excommunication of
Robert the Bruce. You will be able to find some lunch in Arbroath before we
then make our way to
Perth, where you can enjoy this lovely city before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Perth. (B,D)

Day 19 -
Before leaving Perth behind we make our way to visit Scone Palace, the home of the Earls of Mansfield.  
Once the crowning place of
Scottish Kings, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scotland’s history. A breathtakingly
beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated
Stone of Scone, Scone Palace is regarded as a
national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in Scotland’s crown. We then make our way to
Dunfermline for
Afternoon Tea
before we visit Dunfermline Abbey. Dunfermline Abbey was founded about 1070 by Queen Margaret,
wife of Malcolm Canmore.
Margaret was made a saint, and she and Malcolm were buried here. King Robert the
Bruce's
body (apart from his heart, which is at Melrose) is buried here as well. We then make our way to Edinburgh where
the evening is free for exploring
Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the many eateries to be found in the capitol city.
Overnight Edinburgh. (B,L)

Day 20 -
This morning you will take in all the sights of Edinburgh and the best way to see the city is by bus, so we will
board an
Open Top Tour Bus and enjoy all the highlights of the city. Get on and off the bus at your own pace while seeing
all the major site of this beautiful and vibrant city. The
Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 in recognition of the unique character of the Medieval Old Town and the
planned
Georgian New Town. It covers both the Old and New Towns together with the Dean Village and the Calton
Hill
areas. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. In the afternoon we will have a Private Guided Tour of
Edinburgh Castle
where we will see the Stone of Destiny and the Honours of Scotland and where our story ends!
Farewell Dinner and Overnight Edinburgh. (B,D)

Day 21 -
This morning we make our way to Edinburgh International for your journey home. (B)
Stones, Stones, Stones
In search of the Stone of Destiny!
With Stone Circles, Standing Stones, Passage Tombs, Castles, Abbeys,
Cathedrals, Kirks, Monastic Sites and Churches
August 31st - September 20th, 2020
I have long been fascinated with stones and I don't care if they come as standing stones,
stone circles, coronation stones or in castles, abbeys and churches! I have wanted to do
this tour for a long time, but logistically it was overwhelming. I decided that there was no
way that I could properly showcase the amazing amount of stones in the British Isles and
the UK, so I am doing it in two parts with the first in the fall of 2020 and the second in
the spring of 2021! The first tour will focus on Northern Ireland and Scotland and follow
in the path of the Stone of Destiny. I love all the myths and stories of the ancestors that
chart the amazing journey of this stone from Egypt, across Europe to the Iberian
Peninsula and then across the water to Ireland to the Hill of Tara, north to Dunseverick
and then across the water to Scotland in 843AD.
The stone is known by many names - Jacob's Pillow, the Tanist Stone, Lia Fáil,
Clach-na-Cinneamhain, the Stone of Scone and the Coronation Stone on which Kings
and Queens of Ireland, Scotland and England have been crowned for century after
century! The story continues with the Stone making its way to Dunadd and the Ancient
Kingdom of Dalriada. The site later became a seat of the Kings of Dál Riata. It is known
for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin
thought to have formed part of Dál Riata's coronation ritual. We follow the Stone to
Dunstaffnage and then to Scone Palace and eventually making our way to Edinburgh
Castle, which may or may not be its final resting place!
As stones are such an important part of Celtic lore, myth and stories of the ancestors I have also included some of my
very favourite stones in Ireland and Scotland. I wish that I could include them all, but that would take a full year of
touring. So instead I chose those that are dearest to me including Newgrange, Beaghmore Stone Circles, Giants
Causeway, Dunseverick, Dunadd, Callanish Standing Stones, Skara Brae, Standing Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar,
Broch of Gurness, Tomb of the Eagles, Jarlshof, Clickiman Broch, Arbroath and Scone. We have interspersed this with
other historic sites, pubs, tearooms and afternoon tea stops.
21 Days on this amazing adventure of Ireland and Scotland. Tour includes all accommodation in 4 and 5 star Scottish
Tourist Board Approved accommodations. Full Scottish breakfast each morning, all meals listed in itinerary. Porterage
of one suitcase per person. Minibus travel including tour guide. Knowledgeable guide for all tourist venues. All sightseeing
as indicated in itinerary including any entrance fees.
All taxes and service charges.
$9495US per person. $1495 single supplement. 6 Spaces Available!
$500 per person deposit to reserve your.
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terms and conditions before signing up for any tour.
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