Skip to main content

Italy Tour

Grande Canal in Venice Italy

  • Italy Sorrento Amalfi Coast Marina Harbor
  • Italy Venice Dinner Restuarant Small Group Tours
  • Italy Sorrento Amalfi Coast Wine Cellar
  • Italy Venice Doges Palace
  • Italy Venice Doges Palace Buckingham Group Tour
  • San Marco Church in Venice
  • Italy Venice Gondola Grand Canal
  • San Marco Church in Venice
  • Italy Venice Gondola Ride our Tour Group
  • Umbria Italy
  • Venice Italy Gondolier

View Dates & Rates:

May 6, 2018
thru
May 15, 2018
May 20, 2018
thru
June 29, 2018
June 3, 2018
thru
June 12, 2018
June 17, 2018
thru
June 26, 2018
September 30, 2018
thru
October 9, 2018
October 14, 2018
thru
October 23, 2018


Price

$5,598 (Optional Amalfi Coast 3 Day Extension - $1,035)

$400 PP Discount will be Deducted at Checkout


Enjoy and explore Italy's most famous and unique cities on this spectacular vacation! We begin our Italian adventure with romantic Venice which is undoubtedly the most special and unique city in the world. Your welcome dinner on our first night together will be at an authentic local Italian restaurant.

Our tour day will include sightseeing visits to St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), the Venetian gothic Doge’s Palace with its "Bridge of Sighs" (Ponte dei Sospiri) and a glassblower demonstration on the Island of Murano.

Our adventure continues our second day and highlighting the second evening is a romantic, fun-filled gondola ride while being serenaded as we explore the canals of Venice. Then off to Florence as we are whisked away on the luxury high-speed rail reaching speeds of 150 mph!

While in Florence, learn all there is to know about quality leather from an expert and admire Michelangelo's David, and the sculpture-studded Signoria Square (Piazza del Signoria).

In San Gimignano, visit what is regarded as one of the finest and most well-preserved medieval towns in all of Europe.

Then back to Florence for a relaxing evening. The next morning, we continue to Rome via high-speed rail, where guided sightseeing includes a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Square and Basilica, the Coliseum and the Roman Forum.

Next, is an optional, highly recommended portion of this tour, the amazing Amalfi Coast. Awaiting you is the ancient city of Pompeii. Embark on a guided, walking tour through the excavations of the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.

End your vacation in the charming resort of Sorrento, where you'll enjoy an exciting day trip to the Isle of Capri.

Here at Buckingham Tours, our approach to dining is truly unique. Our "favorites" dishes represent the region and season we are traveling to. We call this, parla come mangia or "speak the language of your food". From our unique, oftentimes "off-the-beaten path" restaurants we visit includes a variety of handcrafted dishes with a local traditional touch — it's truly an immersion into authentic local Italian food and wine.

To make sure things go smoothly, your Tour Director will be available to make sure you interpret any menu item and offer suggestions.

For the five total included dinners, your Tour Director will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional seasonal cuisine, and will select your wine for the evening. There's a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling.

BB = Breakfast    L = Lunch    D = Dinner

Day 1: Depart USA

Boarding your overnight flight, you're off to Italy on the adventure of a lifetime!

Monday

Day 2: Arrive In Venice, Afternoon Free, Dinner with Group

Benvenuti a Venezia! We are pleased to offer complimentary motorboat transfers from the Venice airport to your hotel at scheduled times. Your Buckingham Tour's Tour Director will be at the airport to greet you.

After you settle in at your hotel, take a stroll through Venice, relax and get ready for a fun-filled evening of introductions and laughter. Get lost in the traffic free streets and alleyways. There are so many wonderful things to see! Tonight we'll enjoy our first dinner together as a group at our favorite restaurant in Venice just steps from St. Mark's Square. BB, D

Tuesday

Day 3: Venice, City Sightseeing, Murano Glass Factory, Dinner On Your Own

This morning we'll meet our expert local guide for a walking tour of St. Mark's Square, the great Byzantine Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and an inside visit to the amazing Doge's Palace. Next we'll board our motoscafi to visit one of the world's oldest glass blowing factories on the island of Murano.

This afternoon, you'll have a chance to "get lost" in the city's labyrinth of canals, bridges and tiny piazzas. Being a small island, it's impossible to stray very far. But it won't hurt to master the phrase "Dov'e' Piazza San Marco?"

Most have waited a life time for this…an early evening gondola ride through the romantic back canals of Venice, being personally serenaded by a professional singer and violin or guitar player. Dinner is on your own tonight and there are lots of great choices around your hotel. Even Hemingway's famous "Harry's Bar" is just around the corner. Your guide will be happy to make suggestions. Just ask. Dinner on your own. BB

Wednesday

Day 4: Venice, On To Florence, Dinner with The Group

This morning, it's back to the mainland where we'll meet our dependable water taxi to the high-speed rail station where we are off to Florence. Tonight, please be our guest at a fine local Florentine restaurant with flowing wines and great friends.

We will visit another "off-the-beaten path" restaurant and as usual, your Tour Director will be available to make sure you interpret any menu item and offer suggestions.

Your Tour director will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional seasonal cuisine, and will select your wine for the evening. There's a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling. BB

Thursday

Day 5: Florence, Sightseeing Including 'The David', Dinner on Your Own

Florence, the fountainhead of the Renaissance-city of Dante, Boccaccio, Botticelli and Da Vinci! Enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city atop Piazzale Michelangelo, followed by our tour of the Academy of Fine Arts where Michelangelo's proud David stands, the majestic Cathedral built in 1296, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery with its 'Gates of Paradise' doors.

We follow the medieval streets to the most striking square in Florence, Piazza della Signoria and then to Florence's most compelling Franciscan church built in 1294 - Santa Croce. It's not only an artistic shrine with frescoes by Giotto, but also the burial place of 270 of the city's most eminent inhabitants - among them Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Rossini.

In the cloister next door, we see the Pazzi Chapel - widely regarded as one of the most perfect early Renaissance creations. Afternoon is FREE time. BB

Friday

Day 6: Florence, San Gimignano, Wine Tasting in Tuscany, Lunch & Dinner With Group

While the ambitious city of Florence was launching the Renaissance, just 40 miles away from Florence, San Gimmy as we refer to her, is considered one of the best preserved medieval city in Italy.

This afternoon, we'll visit a Tuscan winery for a lunch you'll never forget and learn about the grape, the "nose", food pairings and more importantly, which glass to use! We'll enjoy a wine tasting with these special wines. Cin-Cin!

We will visit another "off-the-beaten path" restaurant and as usual, your Tour Director will be available to make sure you interpret any menu item and offer suggestions.

Your Tour director will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional seasonal cuisine, and will select your wine for the evening. There's a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling. BB, L, D

Saturday

Day 7: Morning High Speed Rail to Rome, Imperial Rome & The Coliseum, Dinner With The Group

This morning we enjoy our relaxing train ride south to Rome through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio - the "green heart" of Italy.

This afternoon, we enjoy a panoramic tour of "Imperial Rome" including Castel Sant'Angelo, the Roman Forum, Largo Argentina, the Jewish Ghetto and the Circus Maximus. Then we'll enter the Coliseum, reliving the brutal entertainment of the gladiators and the lions, refereed by the Emperor himself.

Tonight, we rejoin the 21st century with a typical Roman dinner with the group at a fabulous local favorite of mine, a 5-minute walk from the hotel.

As usual, your Tour Director will be available to make sure you interpret any menu item and offer suggestions. Your Tour director will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional seasonal cuisine, and will select your wine for the evening. There's a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling. BB, D

Sunday

Day 8: Rome, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Dinner on Your Own

This morning, it's a 10-minute drive to another country – Vatican City! With our expert local guide, we'll tour the Vatican Museums, a treasure trove of ancient Greek sculptures, medieval tapestries, and Renaissance paintings.

Our visit culminates in the Sistine Chapel, the room where the Pope is elected. Next we visit St. Peter's Basilica, by far the largest church in Christendom. We'll see Michelangelo's Pieta, sculpted when he was just 24, as well as Bernini's seven-story bronze canopy located above the main altar. BB

Monday

Day 9: Rome, Day of Leisure, Farewell Dinner

A free day in Rome! But don't sleep in too late - there's much to see and do! Ask your Tour Director for suggestions.

Why not start with an espresso in Piazza Navona, toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return and stroll across the Tiber for a look at the Vatican. Rome is a great city for walking, shopping and people watching.

Tonight, you're free to enjoy a night in Rome on your own with your new friends. Be sure to join up with us for our "Farewell Dinner" with your tour group. What an adventure we have had together. Thank you! Sleep well because tomorrow you will be returning on flights back home unless you have chosen "The Amalfi Coast Extension". BB, D

Tuesday

Day 10: Rome, Flight Home or Off The Amalfi Coast Extension

This morning, you board your flight home, arriving in the USA the same day. While we say "arrivederci" to Italy, we realize we're taking a little piece of it back home with us. Or for those lucky to stay, we are off to the amazing beautiful and stunning Amalfi Coast. From Rome, we charter a motor coach bus to take us to the seaside town of Amalfi, then on to Sorrento that afternoon. BB, D

Wednesday

Day 11: Rome to The Amalfi Coast, Isle Of Capri

Speed across the glittering bay by Jetfoil to the world-famous Isle of Capri. Ride the funicular to Capri village for a guided visit of this beautiful town. Free time to explore the little shops on the pretty piazzetta before returning to Sorrento. The remainder of the day is at leisure. BB

Thursday

Day 12: Amalfi Coast, FREE Day or Pompeii, Dinner On Your Own

A scenic drive southwards along the Highway of the Sun. Arrive in fascinating Pompeii, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Your Local Guide will walk you past Patrician homes, public baths, and commercial districts that strikingly recall day-to-day life when Rome was at the apex of her power. BB, D

Friday

Day 13: Fly Home Out Of Naples, Italy

We will have a bus waiting for you to take you to the Naples airport. BB



Your 5 Star Hotel Accommodations at Venice

Hotel Monaco

Venice: 2 Nights Hotel Monaco

Enter the Hotel and you'll think you are following in the steps of Giacomo Casanova, in a mansion once owned by the aristocratic Dandolo family and which, from 1638, accommodated the first public "Ridotto", a place where the aristocracy and all sorts of people (noble and royale people, adventurers, prostitutes, card sharps, travellers, traders, etc.) "Retreated" for various reasons – gambling, the pleasures of the courtesans, social and political relations.

As you can well imagine, Giacomo Casanova considered this place the ideal backdrop for his conquests and the goliardic way of life which made him famous in every corner of the globe.

The Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal is easy to reach by various means of transport. The vaporetto landing stage is in front of the hotel. If you prefer, our private dock for taxis is at your disposal: you will enter directly in the heart of the hotel and if you want the romance, the gondolas have their Statius right outside our terrace restaurant.

Imagine the panorama you can see from the rooms looking out over the Grand Canal – you dominate the whole of St. Mark's Basin and you're right opposite the islands of San Giorgio and Giudecca, practically inside Punta della Dogana, the Baroque Basilica of Madonna della Salute, the only place of worship with an octagonal plan, and just a stone's throw from the church of San Moisè.

St. Mark's Square has ancient origins going back to 828 A.D. and has always had a troubled history, loaded with historical and civil significance. Centre of Venetian commercial life, right from the start the square was constantly enlarged with new buildings and structures until it became the square we know today.

Hotel Helvetia

Florence: 3 Nights, Hotel Helvetia & Bristol (A Leading Hotel Member), or Similar

Niquesa's Hotel Helvetia & Bristol is undoubtedly the only place to stay when in Florence. Providing cosmopolitan travelers with a superior home in our city since the latter half of the 19th century. From the very beginning, the Helvetia & Bristol's exquisite elegance and magnificent location attracted the international elite and high profile visitors.

The most prominent guests included noble prize winners Enrico Fermi and Eugenio Montale, writers Gabriele D'Annunzio and Luigi Pirandello as well as Eleonora Duse who chose the Hotel as her long-term residence. Throughout the years the hotel remained a fashionable destination frequented by artists, writers and aristocracy including Igor Stravinsky, Giorgio De Chirico and Bertrand Russell.

Our rooms and suites are a great source of pride for us; Tasteful color palettes, carefully chosen antique furniture, objets d'art, paintings and rich furnishings are our hallmark in design. Every room has a character as distinct as the celebrated individuals whose names have graced them. With the iconic Florentine skyline as a backdrop, the timeless beauty of the cupola of the Brunelleschi duomo in the distance, the Helvetia & Bristol is a fitting testament to the city known as the birthplace of the Renaissance.

The enduring magic of Florence is distilled in the treasured historic center of this living, breathing UNESCO World Heritage site. World famous galleries, museums, and churches line the streets of the city. Stumble upon the Uffizi, the Accademia or Medici Chapels whilst taking in the Florentine highlights. Our front door opens onto the Palazzo Strozzi, a masterpiece of Florentine Renaissance architecture.

From here, you can head to Via Tornabuoni, Florence's most exclusive shopping street. Lose hours discovering hidden squares, cobbled alleyways and artisan boutiques. Cross the Arno over one of Firenze's ancient bridges and discover historical highlights or invest time in savoring Tuscany's delicious culinary heritage.

Dining out is part of the Italian lifestyle and has to be embraced wholeheartedly. Favored ingredients are invariably locally sourced from the rich, fertile Tuscan soil surrounding the city. Dishes are likely to embrace, in one form or another, four key elements: meat, olive oil, homemade bread and wine. History, art and food are the cornerstones of our city, and gastronomic aficionados will not be disappointed.

Hotel Splendide

Rome

A luxury hotel in the heart of one of the most romantic cities in the World

Welcome to the Hotel Splendide Royal Roma!.

The Hotel Splendide Royal in Rome is a luxury five star hotel, designed to be royal and luxurious.

The Hotel is located in the noble centre of Rome, a city which historically was and is once again an intersection of cultures and communication.

After more than one year of re-structuring, this 19th century palace once headquarters of the Roman Maronite community - only a stroll away from Via Veneto – today it is a luxury hotel and, in its own way, a symbol of the changes taking place within the Capital City's fine tradition of hospitality.

The hotel is "toutcourt", full of that warmth and familiarity found usually only among friends. Guests appreciate the richness in style and the wide spaces – in distinct contrast with the typical present-day minimalism governing most new hotels' interior decor and design.

​ The Mirabelle is considered to be among the very best restaurants in the city, directed with the class and undisputed professionalism of Bruno Borghesi. It is an an exclusive meeting point among the Italian and International "bel mondo" and boasts one of the most beautiful and elegant "gourmet terraces" in Rome, on the 7th floor of the hotel.

Its huge glass terrace doors open out onto a view of breathtaking beauty: a panorama which sweeps across the city from the palaces of Pinciano, Villa Medici, Trinità dei Monti all the way to Saint Peter's and to the Gianicolo. Eyes but also taste buds are rewarded by the haute cuisine.

Hilton Sorrento

Sorrento

Hilton Sorrento Palace is a 55-km drive from Naples Airport and a 10-minute walk from the beach and historical town center of Sorrento. Choose from a guest room, suite or executive room featuring a mountain or sea view with private balcony. Guests in suites or executive rooms have access to the Settimo Club Lounge, offering a continental breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day, and access to the private rooftop pool with views of the Bay of Naples.

Tone up with the latest cardiovascular equipment in the hotel's modern fitness room. Work on your backhand on the floodlit all-weather tennis court, which also converts into a five-a-side football pitch.

Take a refreshing dip in the pool or find shade beneath the citrus trees. Unwind with a cocktail at Pagoda Bar while gazing at Mount Vesuvius in the distance.

Boasting superb views of the Bay of Naples, Sorrento Restaurant comes alive with warm yellow tones, serving delicious seafood specialties. Relax over a cappuccino or cocktail in the Sorrento Lounge, a spacious bar with live music every evening.


Scotland & Ireland Tour

Scotland and Ireland

  • Dublin Ireland Bridge
  • Edinburg Castle Scotland
  • Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
  • Edinburgh Skylines Building and Castle Scotland
  • Guinness Academy Dubland Ireland
  • Ireland Dublin Book of Kells
  • Ireland Dublin Irish Pub
  • Ireland Dublin Temple Bar Area
  • Malahide Castle Dublin Ireland
  • Old Jailhouse Outside Stirling Castle in Scotland
  • Scotland Edinburgh Government Centre Buckingham Tour Group
  • Street View of Edinburgh Scotland

View Dates & Rates:

July 7, 2018
thru
July 20, 2018
July 21, 2018
thru
August 3, 2018
September 1, 2018
thru
September 14, 2018
September 15, 2018
thru
September 28, 2018


Price

$5,568

$400 PP Discount will be Deducted at Checkout


Scotland & Ireland are beloved worldwide as enchanting lands where legend and reality mingle. Scotland & Ireland have it all, from the haunting beauty of the pure, unspoiled landscapes and the drama of the coastline, to the urban buzz of each country's dynamic cities mixed with the magic of thousands of years' worth of culture and history. Both Scotland & Ireland will never fail to surprise you.

Wild and beautiful, inspiring and exciting, describe the energy and romance of Scotland & Ireland. They will win you over in an instant, and with some of the friendliest people in the world, these perfectly-sized and surprisingly-diverse destinations will keep you coming back for more.

From the fire of the festival to the lure of the literature, both Scotland & Ireland boast a rich tapestry of arts and cultural activities including world renowned museums, art galleries and castles…lots and lots of Castles.

With a culinary landscape boasting exquisite home-grown ingredients from the sea to the land, top chefs and world-class restaurants will delight the food lover.

Day 1: Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh population is 834,648. The Edinburgh city region has a population of 1,330,480. Recognized as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. The city has long been known as a center of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, the sciences and engineering.

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583 and now one of four in the city. The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the largest annual international arts festival in the world. The city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999.s

Monday

Day 2: Arrive In Venice, Afternoon Free, Dinner with Group

EDINBURGH CASTLE

Edinburgh Castle dominates Scotland's capital city from its great rock. Its story has helped shape the nation's story. Battles and sieges were fought over it, royalty lived and died within its walls, and countless generations have been inspired by it. Fierce Iron Age warriors defended a hill fort here, and the nation's oldest poetry tells of a war band feasting here for a year before riding to their deaths in battle.

The Scots and English struggled for control of the castle during the Wars of Independence. In 1314 it was recaptured from the English in a daring night raid led by Thomas Randolph, nephew of King Robert the Bruce. The castle has sheltered many Scottish monarchs. They include Queen Margaret (later St Margaret), who died here in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, who gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566.

Her great-great-great grandson Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - captured Edinburgh but was unable to take the castle during the 1745-6 Jacobite Rising. In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland.

It is now displayed in the Crown Room. In the 1600s, the castle became a military base. Some buildings were rebuilt and new ones were raised to house a huge garrison - and provide a secure jail for prisoners of war. The military presence remains unbroken, but over the last 200 years the castle has become a national icon. It is now Scotland's leading tourist attraction, and a key element of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

EDINBURGH

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh population is 834,648.

The Edinburgh city region has a population of 1,330,480. Recognized as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland.

The city has long been known as a center of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, the sciences and engineering. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583 and now one of four in the city. The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the largest annual international arts festival in the world. The city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999.

BAGPIPE DEMO & INSTRUCTION (TRY YOUR HAND AT IT)

The quintessential iconic symbol of Scotland is the Bagpipe.

With 15 years of playing and teaching experience, we are a fantastic source of knowledge and know how. All of the instructors we use are qualified to level 6 of the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board examination syllabus. Whether you are an adult learner, a complete beginner or a seasoned veteran our tuition can help you take the next steps with your playing and can help you to enjoy the art of playing the Great Highland Bagpipe even more.

Tuesday

Day 3: ST. ANDREWS

Despite its nickname and long history, there is nothing grey about St Andrews. The town center today is a vibrant, bustling hub of color with an eclectic mix of independent shops, restaurants and galleries all set against the stunning background of this medieval Royal Burgh. As well as the birthplace of the modern game, St Andrews is also home to the oldest University in Scotland, the meeting place of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge - The University of St Andrews.

Famous for the opening scene in the film, "Chariots of Fire" West Sands offers nearly two miles of uninterrupted beach. Running parallel to the Jubilee Course, it's the perfect place for a romantic, moonlit stroll or early morning run depending how active you feel.

Join us as we walk the world's most famous golf course. Your tour will take place around the 1st, and 18th holes of the Old Course where you will be able to walk in the footsteps of icons of the game and experience a player's eye view of the fabled links. Historic records show that golf has been played in St Andrews for more than 600 years although many believe the game's origins here date back to the 12th Century.

As well as being the birthplace of the game of golf, our tour of the world's most famous Links will give you an insight into the iconic landmarks and a history that is both unique and unparalleled.

* HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE

Flying in a hot air balloon is an amazing experience, which you'll remember forever. Ballooning is both serene and thrilling, offering breathtaking views and a feeling of freedom which is totally unique. You'll have a real-life airborne adventure too, because hot air balloons travel with the wind so you never know exactly where you'll fly or what you'll see. Will it be busy towns, rolling hills, ancient forests, or even your home?

Your adventure will begin when you arrive at the launch site to be welcomed by your experienced pilot and crew. The pilot will introduce you to hot air ballooning and give you a full safety briefing. You'll then be invited to help with the inflation of the balloon, if you wish to. Before long you'll be climbing into the balloon basket. We have lift-off. Rising smoothly towards the clouds, you'll be surprised by how still it feels in a hot air balloon. It's an almost motionless experience. Within minutes, you'll be cruising at several thousand feet and able to see for miles around.

Have your camera ready for amazing views of the patchwork landscape and possible wildlife sightings. You'll find there's no noise from the wind as the balloon is traveling with it. The only thing breaking the silence will be the occasional roar of the burners.

INFO:* In Scotland the weather is notoriously unstable and unpredictable. Like any hot air balloon ride, everything depends on calm air.

Wednesday

Day 4: STERLING CASTLE

At the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, an army led by William Wallace and Andrew Murray overwhelmed a much larger English force, trapping them on the bridge across the River Forth. The old timber bridge was rebuilt in stone a short distance downstream in the 1500s. The most important victory in Scotland's military history was fought within sight of Stirling Castle. The Battle of Bannockburn took place on Midsummer's Day 1314.

The castle had been held by the English for 10 years and was under siege by the Scots. King Edward II of England led a 17,000-strong army to relieve the siege. King Robert the Bruce's army of 8,000 men drove the English army into boggy ground by the Bannock Burn and inflicted a massacre. The aftermath of Bannockburn changed Stirling Castle forever. After King Robert's victory, the castle was surrendered to the Scots. Bruce ordered his men to smash its defences, in a bid to prevent the castle from being held against him again. A brutal royal murder took place at Stirling Castle.

In February 1452. William, 8th Earl of Douglas was assassinated at Stirling Castle by James II and his courtiers. Legend says that he was stabbed 26 times. His corpse is said to have been thrown from a window down into the area now known as the Douglas Gardens.

Mary Queen of Scots was crowned at Stirling Castle. The ceremony took place in September 1543 in the old Chapel Royal (no longer standing). The queen was only nine months old and cried throughout the ceremony. Mel Gibson visited Stirling Castle in 1995. The Hollywood actor, who starred in and directed the film Braveheart, was here to attend the film's premiere party.

WALLACE MONUMENT

The National Wallace Monument was designed by the Edinburgh-born architect J. T. Rochead, and built between 1861 and 1869. It is one of more than 20 Wallace Monuments which are located throughout Scotland. There were discussions around the idea of a Monument as far back as 1818 when the original plan had been to build it in Glasgow – an idea which was not well received by the residents of Edinburgh! Eventually it was decided to settle on a compromise – and the location in Stirling was agreed. The National Wallace Monument is one of Scotland's most celebrated landmarks. The stunning 67 metre tower is instantly recognizable, and attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year.

PHOENIX FALCONRY

Famed for its stunning views and landscape we are fortunate to be based in this wonderful part of the world which abounds with Scotland's magnificent wildlife and majestic scenery! Their custom designed facility offers luxury accommodation for their cherished collection of birds, with heated, state of the art aviaries and accommodations for their comfort, Incubator and rearing rooms, and an indoor interactive artificial insemination project.

They manage and house in the highest of standards a collection of approximately 60 Hawks, Falcons, Eagles Owls and Buzzards from around the world including some of the rarest or unusual species found in the country. The head falconer "Adrian Hallgarth" is a recognised expert and author on falconry, and has accumulated our collection over a lifetime allowing us unrivalled experienced species from around the world.

Thursday

Day 5: BUNRATTY CASTLE & MEDIEVAL BANQUET

Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet tradition of hospitality is fifty years old, a testament its enjoyment and success. From the moment you cross the drawbridge you will be enthralled by an extraordinary experience. You will really enjoy the beautiful harp and violin music performed by period costumed musicians as you sip your glass of "mead".

Join the Earl of Thomond for a glorious banquet at this majestic 15th century Bunratty Castle. The Earl's Butler welcomes us with a toast of great Irish taste with excellent food, fine wine and honey mead. When you arrive at Bunratty Medieval Castle Banquet, a kilted piper plays a tune of welcome. You ascend the Castle steps crossing over the drawbridge to the 'Bite of Friendship' offered by one of the Hostesses.

BUNRATTY FOLK PARK

When you visit Bunratty Folk Park you experience a living reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland of over a century ago. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a 'living' village and rural setting. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House a fine example of a Georgian residence for the gentry built 1804 home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle.

Prepare to experience village life in 19th century Ireland! The village houses and shops in the Folk Park have been chosen from many different areas, to form a collection of typical 19th century urban Irish buildings including the School, Doctor's house, Pawnbrokers, Pub, Drapery, Printworks, Grocery, Hardware shop, Pottery and a Post Office. Costumed characters recreate the traditions and lifestyle of a bygone age and animate the Folk Park.

Among these well known and loved characters are the Bean a Ti (woman of the house), RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) policeman, Schoolteacher. Traditional jobs and crafts are also represented, milling, the forge, pottery, printing, baking, farming etc.

DURTY NELLY'S TAVERN

Who was Ms. Durty Nelly?

Many, many moons ago, in the misty past of Cratloe's rolling countryside, there lived a buxom lady, tall in stature, but shapely and appealing to all. She was known simply as Durty Nelly, a name that puzzled all who had the good fortune to meet her – but soon became apparent Times were hard in Ireland but the wily Nelly always found a way to make ends meet.

She was keeper of the toll-bridge over the river Owengarney, which flowed outside her window on its way to join the Shannon. All visitors who sought to cross the bridge had to pay their dues to Nelly – those who could not pay in cash paid in kind with the presentation of a chicken, a few eggs, a piece of home-cured bacon or even, legend has it, a bit of 'comfort' for the lady herself.

Durty Nelly was a woman of considerable charm, known to the virile men of the day from Galway to Cork, Dublin to Limerick. Nelly's hospitality to the many travelers coming across the bridge gained her a place in many a man's fond memories, and the legend of Nelly has been handed down through the centuries. Durty Nelly was also renowned for her little shebeen – a special corner of the house overlooking the river where she kept a jar of whiskey, to warm the bellies of the tired and exhausted journeymen.

There came an unfortunate night when one of those travelers, a rogue from Kilrush, crept in during the night and stole poor Nelly's savings, all the gold coins she had collected at the bridge. The following evening, she went to bed broken-hearted and after a night of fitful sleep, awoke with a start. Occupying her mind was a clear impression of a new recipe for whiskey. She set to work straight away, filling four of her best earthen jars from her distillery in the woods. As she labored over the concoction, she became more and more convinced that there was magic to this brew.

Only a short time later, she came across an old Irish Wolfhound, on his last legs outside her front door. He was weak and feeble and was not long for this world. Nelly poured a drop of the poteen (her home-made whiskey) from one of the urns and carefully rubbed it into the dog's muscles. She left the dog to rest and took her place on the curved wall where she waited daily for the tolls. In the heat of the midday sun, she started to drop off.

Two or three hours later, she was disturbed from her slumber by a warm wet feeling in her palm: with a shock, she realised it was the Wolfhound, licking her hand. He raced across the bridge exuberantly, showing no sign of his previous malaise. This extraordinary occurrence had not gone unnoticed by Nelly's neighbors in Bunratty, and news quickly spread that she had a special potion, one which would bring the gift of new life.

And so they came in droves from all over the country seeking "the cure" for that lame horse, the sick piglet, the slowing greyhound or the muscle-bound athlete. Each visitor left with a renewed vigour, cured of all ills. The Little House by the bridge grew with the increased trade and became a landmark in Munster for the high quality of its refreshment – both food and drink.

Nelly's Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your field sand until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.e of the most perfect early Renaissance creations. Afternoon is FREE time. BB

Friday

Day 6: Ashford Castle

Each of the 82 rooms and suites at Ashford Castle represent traditional elegance and finesse. Following extensive refurbishment, many of the rooms and suites have been individually and lovingly designed, combining the castle's original features with the latest modern luxuries. Meticulous attention to detail can be found in the unique works of art, carefully sourced antique furniture and sumptuous fabrics with custom designed carpets, bespoke beds, feature lighting, exquisite towelling and Egyptian cotton bed linen.

Awards & Accolades

Ashford Castle is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. We are very proud to have been presented with the following awards and accolades:

  • Voted Best Hotel of the Year Virtuoso Awards 2015
  • Voted number 3 Best Hotel in the World in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2015
  • Voted Number 2 in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2015
  • Entered in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for achieving the Certificate of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year 2015
  • TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards voted Number 9 in the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland - 2015
  • Travel + Leisure: World's Best 500 Hotels - 2015
  • IGTOA: Large Golf Resort Hotel of the Year - 2015
  • Blue Insurance Travel Media Awards: Best Irish Hotel - 2015
  • Condé Nast Traveler: 2nd Most Romantic Destination in the World to get Engaged - 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards: Top 10 Resorts in Europe: Number 2 – 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards: Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World: Number 97 – 2014
  • Travel + Leisure: World's Best 500 Hotels – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 9th Best Hotel in Ireland – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 10th Best Luxury Hotel in Ireland – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 13th Best Hotel for romance in Ireland – 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: Platinum Circle Hotel and Resort readers favourite for five years running – 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: One of the Best Hotels and Resorts in Ireland – 2014
  • Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards: Ranked No.3 Top Resort in Europe – 2013
  • World's Best Awards: Ranked No.4 Top Family Hotels in Europe – 2013
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards: Ranked No.9 Top 20 Resorts in Europe – 2013
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: Voted No.1 Irish Hotel – 2013
  • Travel & Leisure Awards: Only Resort Hotel in Ireland & UK in the Top 100 Resort Hotels in the World – 2013
  • TripAdvisor: Certificate of Excellence – 2013
  • Green Hospitality Awards: Gold Award – 2010,2011,2012,2013
  • Ireland Food Guide: Recommended – 2011,2012,2013
  • Condé Nast Traveler Reader Choice Awards: Voted No.1 Best Resort Hotel In Ireland – 2012
  • Condé Nast Traveler Reader Choice Awards: Voted No.3 Best Resort Hotel in Europe – 2012
  • Fodor's Hotel Awards: Voted Top 100 Luxurious Retreats – 2011
  • Member of The Leading Hotels of the World

Saturday

Day 7: ARAN ISLAND...INIS OÍRR ISLAND (INISHEER)

Inis O'irr Island, the smallest of the islands is characterized by its distinctive charm. This island is close to the Burren with its unusual eclectic mix of color and the Cliffs of Mohr clearly visible in all its panoramic splendor. The Island itself also has the true feel of a classical isolated fishing village. From the pier you are greeted with a pristine carpeted white sandy beach facing clear crystal turquoise water and plenty of fishing boats, their nets, and fisherman returning at the end of the day with their catch.

Inside the village you will find a strong local community still adhering to the traditional Irish way of life. The island features a traditional music bar which is has a nationwide reputation for the finest music and great night out. The island also has an arts center, Aras Eanias and features the best in traditional music and art courses. Hotel and Bed and Breakfast accommodation is available on the island. When travelling to Inis Oirr it is recommended that you would organize accommodation prior to arriving. Ferries to the Aran Islands are available from Rossaveal (leaving Galway city) all year and from Doolin (Cliffs of Moher) from April to October.

THE CLIFFS OF MOHR

The Cliffs of Moher are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region. They rise 702 ft just north of O'Brien's Tower eight kilometres to the north. A round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs, the tower was built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien. From the cliffs and from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south. The cliffs rank among the top visited tourist sites in Ireland, and receive almost one million visitors a year.

The cliffs take their name from an old fort called Moher that once stood on Hag's Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Uí Ruis or Moher Uí Ruidhin. The fort still stood in 1780 and is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd's a Short Tour Of Clare (1780). It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a new telegraph tower. The present tower near the site of the old Moher Uí Ruidhin was built as a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.

Sunday

Day 8: TORC WATERFALLS

Torc Waterfall is well worth visiting and like all waterfalls it is best seen after heavy rains (no problem in Kerry!). Torc waterfall is a 5 minute walk off road through scenic woodland. The waterfall is 80 feet high and the Owengarriff River which feeds it rises in "The Devil's Punch bowl" on nearby Mangerton mountain. If you want a good viewing point of the lakes then push yourself a little further and climb the 100 or so steps immediately to the left of the waterfall to get some excellent views of the lakes. Torc waterfall is one of Killarney's most well known tourist attractions and is a wonderful point to take a picture of yourself with the waterfall as this magical back drop.

BORDER COLLIE SHOW

The sheep-dog demonstration at Caitins is one of the most unusual – and popular – sights on the Ring of Kerry. Local farmer Brendan Ferris will introduce you to his sheep dogs. In the distance, a flock of sheep can be seen widely dispersed on the side of the mountain behind him. Brendan then gives a fascinating demonstration of how sheep dogs are used to bring in the sheep on real farms. Responding to Brendan's whistled commands, the dogs guide the sheep downwards. Miraculously, by the end of the demonstration all the sheep are calmly gathered in a pen beside you. A lively question-and-answer session follows the dogs are the real stars of the show. They obviously love their work and listen in to Brendan, panting happily after another successful demonstration. There's usually at least one person asking whether they're for sale. Answer: no. Finally, you can pat and examine the sheep. The flock includes a number of rare breeds and Brendan will answer any questions you have about them.

Monday

Day 9:

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence (the gift of gab). Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate. Not long ago, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.

Some say it was Jacob's Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Here it became the Lia Fail or 'Fatal Stone', used as an oracular throne of Irish kings – a kind of Harry Potter-like 'sorting hat' for kings. It was also said to be the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona. Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny. When Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude – and returned to Ireland. Others say it may be a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades – the 'Stone of Ezel' behind which David hid on Jonathan's advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses. Whatever the truth of its origin, we believe a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys.

​KILKENNY

Kilkenny voted Irelands Top Tourism Town for 2013 by Failte Ireland who are Ireland's main tourism body Kilkenny voted 9th friendliest city in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, and most friendliest city in Europe, Kilkenny was also voted Cleanest Town in Ireland at end of 2013, Ireland's Tidiest Town for 2014, beating competition from 849 towns and villages (September 2014) and topped the ranking of Ireland's cleanest towns and cities for the third year in a row in 2015. Two restaurants in Kilkenny have been awarded a Michelin Star. Off the 9 Michelin Star restaurants in Ireland, 2 are in County Kilkenny! Kilkenny's reputation as a culinary destination is growing.

KILKENNY CASTLE

Kilkenny Castle has been an important site since Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, commonly known as Strongbow constructed the first castle, probably a wooden structure, in the 12th century. The Anglo-Normans had established a castle in 1173, possibly on the site of an earlier residence of the Mac Giolla Phádraig kings of Osraighe. Kilkenny formed part of the lordship of Leinster, which was granted to Strongbow. Strongbow's daughter and heiress, Isabel married William Marshall in 1189. The Earl Marshall owned large estates in Ireland, England, Wales and France and managed them effectively. He appointed Geoffrey Fitz Robert as seneschal of Leinster and so began a major phase of development in Kilkenny, including the construction of Kilkenny Castle and the agreement of rents and privileges with burgesses or citizens of the borough. The first stone castle on the site, was completed in 1213. This was a square-shaped castle with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day

Tuesday

Day 10:

Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the 'Monastic City'. The 'City' consists of a number of monastic remains, and the most impressive being the Round Tower which stands 30m high. The main group of monastic buildings lies downstream near the Round Tower. The grounds were entered through the Gateway, which has two round headed granite arches. Beyond St. Mary's Church is the Priest's House, a 12th Century building in Romanesque style, with an interesting carving of a much earlier date on the lintel of the doorway. Just beyond the Priest's House is a large granite cross (sixth or seventh century) and the "Cathedral", the largest church on the site, with a nave, chancel and sacristy (11th and 12th C), and St Kevin's Church. St Kevin's Church is commonly known as St Kevin's Kitchen. This is a barrel-vaulted oratory of hard mica schist with a steeply pitched roof and a round tower belfry (12th C). Approx 200m east of the Church of the Rock is a cavity in the cliff which is known as St Kevin's Bed or Hermitage. At the Glendalough site on the road to Laragh, to the right, stands Trinity Church (11th-12th C). Beyond the river about 1.5km to the east of the Cathedral is St. Saviour's Priory a church with fine Romanesque carvings on the chancel arch and windows. The remains of an old stone fort and three stone crosses can be found between the Upper and Lower Lake, and beside the Lower Lake another cross; all four are stations on the pilgrimage route at Glendalough. Near a small bridge by St Kevin's Bed stands Reefert Church (11th C.) with a nave and chancel.

POWERSCOURT ESTATE & GARDENS

Voted the 3rd best Garden in the World by National Gepgraphic 800 Years of history at Powerscourt

The 1st Viscount Powerscourt was keen to make his mark and assert his position as one of importance in society, so he set about transforming the medieval castle at Powerscourt into a grand mansion. In 1730 he commissioned the German-born architect Richard Castle to build Powerscourt House, a 68 room mansion which was completed in 1741. The mansion was designed around the medieval castle in the style of Palladian architecture and featured baroque dome-roofed towers on either side, giving it in the words of one architectural historian, "The massive dignity of a great Italian Renaissance villa." The North front was adapted to present a grand entrance in the Palladian manner, while the South front faced the gardens and was initially only two stories in height. An extra story was added in 1787 and further major alterations were made in the late 19th century. The house contained some of the finest 18th century interiors in Ireland and was one of the country's most beautiful mansions. In 1961, the Slazenger family purchased the Estate from the 9th Viscount Powerscourt.

In 1974 a major refurbishment of the house was completed in preparation for it joining the gardens as a visitor attraction. Tragically, in the early hours of November 4th a fire broke out on the top floor of Powerscourt House and by the morning the main part of the house was a roofless shell. No-one was injured, but all of the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were destroyed. The walls of the main house, revealing stonework dating back to the 13th century, stood as a stark reminder of the fire for over twenty years. In 1996 the house was re-roofed and it was opened to the public by President Mary Robinson in 1997.

Wednesday

Day 11:

Welcome to the Old Library and the Book of Kells - a "must see" on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. Inside is housed the Book of Kells - a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world. Visitors are welcomed by our friendly staff seven days a week. Visitors enter through the Library Shop and proceed to the Book of Kells "Turning Darkness into Light" exhibition; then to the Treasury where the book of Kells and other related manuscripts are on view; then proceed upstairs to the magnificent Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library's oldest books in its oak bookcases.

The Library's history dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592 and it is the largest library in Ireland. Today it has over 6 million printed volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflecting over 400 years of academic development. The most famous of its manuscripts, the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, were presented by Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath and former vice-chancellor of the University, in the 1660s. Other special collections include the Ussher Collection acquired in 1661 and the Fagel Collection of 1802. The Library was endowed with Legal Deposit privilege in 1801 and continues to receive copies of material published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Library supports the learning and research needs across all disciplines of the College; it is a major research library of international repute; it provides services to a wide range of external users and institutions; it contributes to the development of creative initiatives in information provision and its exhibitions of manuscripts and other treasures attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to visit the Old Library each year.

BOOK OF KELLS

It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. Welcome to the Old Library and the Book of Kells - a "must see" on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. Inside is housed the Book of Kells - a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world. Visitors enter through the Library Shop and proceed to the Book of Kells "Turning Darkness into Light" exhibition; then to the Treasury where the Book of Kells and other related manuscripts are on view; then proceed upstairs to the magnificent Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library's oldest books in its oak bookcases.

The Book of Kells is one of the finest and most famous of a group of manuscripts in what is known as the Insular style, produced from the late 6th through the early 9th centuries in monasteries in Ireland, Scotland and England and in continental monasteries with Hiberno-Scottish or Anglo-Saxon foundations. These manuscripts include the Cathach of St. Columba, the Ambrosiana Orosius, fragmentary Gospel in the Durham Dean and Chapter Library (all from the early 7th century), and the Book of Durrow (from the second half of the 7th century). From the early 8th century come the Durham Gospels, the Echternach Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels (see illustration at right), and the Lichfield Gospels.

Among others, the St. Gall Gospel Book belongs to the late 8th century and the Book of Armagh (dated to 807–809) to the early 9th century.[2] Scholars place these manuscripts together based on similarities in artistic style, script, and textual traditions. The fully developed style of the ornamentation of the Book of Kells places it late in this series, either from the late 8th or early 9th century. The Book of Kells follows many of the iconographic and stylistic traditions found in these earlier manuscripts. For example, the form of the decorated letters found in the incipit pages for the Gospels is surprisingly consistent in Insular Gospels. Compare, for example, the incipit pages of the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels and in the Book of Kells, both of which feature intricate decorative knot work patterns inside the outlines formed by the enlarged initial letters of the text. (For a more complete list of related manuscripts, see: List of Hiberno-Saxon illustrated manuscripts).

The name Book of Kells is derived from the Abbey of Kells in Kells, County Meath, which was its home for much of the medieval period. The manuscript's date and place of production have been the subject of considerable debate. Traditionally, the book was thought to have been created in the time of Columba, possibly even as the work of his own hands. This tradition has long been discredited on paleographic and stylistic grounds: most evidence points to a composition date ca. 800, long after St. Columba's death in 597. The proposed dating in the 9th century coincides with Viking raids on Iona, which began in 794 and eventually dispersed the monks and their holy relics into Ireland and Scotland. There is another tradition, with some traction among Irish scholars that suggests the manuscript was created for the 200th anniversary of the saint's death.

Thursday

Day 12: Saint James

TEMPLE BAR​ AREA

Think Bourbon Street in New Orleans, think Deval Street in Key West, think Beale Street in Memphis...think one FUN FUN Place, plus, steep in history.

SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin was founded in 1191, is the largest church in Ireland and one of Dublin's two Church of Ireland cathedrals. It has a 43-metre (140 feet) spire. Christ Church, the other cathedral, is the diocesan cathedral of the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Unusually, St Patrick's is not the seat of a bishop, as the Archbishop of Dublin has his seat in Christ Church Cathedral. Since 1870, the church has designated St Patrick's as the national cathedral for the whole island, drawing chapter members from each of the twelve dioceses of the Church of Ireland. The dean is the ordinary for the cathedral; this office has existed since 1219. The most famous office holder was Jonathan Swift.

There is almost no precedent for a two-cathedral city, and some believe it was intended that St Patrick's, a secular (diocesan clergy who are not members of a religious order, i.e. under a rule and, therefore, "regular") cathedral, would replace Christ Church, a cathedral managed by an order. A confrontational situation persisted, with considerable tension, over the decades after the establishment of St. Patrick's, and was eventually settled, more-or-less, by the signing of a six-point agreement of 1300, Pacis Compositio. Still extant, and in force until 1870, it provided that: The consecration and enthronement of the Archbishop of Dublin was to take place at Christ Church – records show that this provision was not always followed, with many archbishops enthroned in both, and at least two in Saint Patrick's only Christ Church had formal precedence, as the mother and senior cathedral of the diocese Christ Church was to retain the cross, mitre and ring of each deceased Archbishop of Dublin Deceased Archbishops of Dublin were to be buried alternately in each of the two cathedrals, unless they personally willed otherwise The annual consecration of chrism oil for the diocese was to take place at Christ Church The two cathedrals were to act as one, and shared equally in their freedoms.

GUINNESS BREWERY TOUR

St. James's Gate Brewery (Irish: Grúdlann Gheata Naomh Séamuis) is a brewery founded in 1759 in Dublin Ireland, by Arthur Guinness. The company is now a part of Diageo, a company formed from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997. The main product of the brewery is Guinness Draught.

Originally leased in 1759 to Arthur Guinness at £45 per year for 9,000 years, St. James's Gate has been the home of Guinness ever since. It became the largest brewery in Ireland in 1838, and the largest in the world by 1886, with an annual output of 1.2 million barrels. Although no longer the largest brewery in the world, it is still the largest brewer of stout in the world. The company has since bought out the originally leased property, and during the 19th and early 20th centuries the brewery owned most of the buildings in the surrounding area, including many streets of housing for brewery employees, and offices associated with the brewery. The brewery also made all of its own power using its own power plant.

There is an attached exhibition on the 250-year-old history of Guinness, called the Guinness Storehouse. Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in Leixlip, County Kildare, and then from 1759 at the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin. On 31 December he signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. However, the lease is not valid in the modern day, because the brewery has expanded beyond the original 4-acre site, and consequently bought out the property.

Ten years after establishment, on 19 May 1769 Guinness exported his beer (he had ceased ale brewing by then) for the first time, when six and a half barrels were shipped to England. The business expanded by adopting steam power and further exporting to the English market. On the death of Benjamin Guinness in 1868 the business was worth over £1m., and the brewery site had grown from about 1 acre to over 64 acres. In 1886 his son Edward sold 65% of the business by a public offering on the London Stock Exchange for £6m.

The company pioneered several quality control efforts. The brewery hired the statistician William Sealy Gosset in 1899, who achieved lasting fame under the pseudonym "Student" for techniques developed for Guinness, particularly Student's t-distribution and the even more commonly known Student's t-test. Because of the Irish Free State's "Control of Manufactures Act" in 1932, the company moved its headquarters to London later that year. Guinness brewed its last porter in 1974.

JAMESON WHISKEY DISTILLERY

The Old Jameson Distillery (informally the Jameson Distillery) is an Irish whiskey tourist attraction located just off Smithfield Square in Dublin, Ireland. Since opening as an attraction in 1997, it receives between 300,000 and 350,000 guests per year.

The Old Jameson Distillery is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. It is now a visitor's centre that provides guided tours, tutored whiskey tastings, bars, a restaurant, and a gift shop. The distillery is laid out over two floors and sits above the foundations of the original fermentation vats, which can be seen through the glass floor in the atrium. From the first floor atrium you can access JJ's bar, the distillery gift shop and purchase tour tickets. As of May 2014, adult ticket prices are €14 and include a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey or the signature serve, Jameson Ginger & Lime, at the Jameson Bar. Tours take 1 hour and continue throughout the day, operating every 20 minutes. The second floor houses amenities such as the 3rd Still Restaurant, the Reserve bar and the Sine Metu suite.

The original distillery on this site was called the Bow Street Distillery and was established in 1780. In 1810, John Jameson took full ownership (he was previously the general manager) and expanded the distillery in 1805. By 1810, the operation was officially renamed to John Jameson & Son's Bow Street Distillery. The distillery grew to an upwards of 5 acres by 1886.

Friday

Day 13: Fly Home

Edinburgh

Warm and welcoming, with a charming turret highlighting its 16th-century style facade, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh invites guests to relax in modern comfort. Located in the heart of the capital on the Royal Mile, the hotel offers the perfect home base near such must-see sites as Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Parliament. The National Museum of Scotland, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre and excellent shopping destinations lie within walking distance.

After a full day out on the town, relax in a comfortable, elegant guest room and enjoy top amenities, including free high-speed, wireless Internet. Enjoy the convenience of on-site dining, and take advantage of the hotel's modern fitness centre, which includes a swimming pool and sauna. Well-equipped, spacious event space and on-site car parking combine to make an ideal venue for business meetings.

This Edinburgh hotel's location on the Royal Mile places guests in the heart of the vibrant historic district on the renowned Royal Mile.

A total of 238 guest rooms and suites welcome guests with superb amenities, including free high-speed, wireless Internet and individual climate control.

Begin the day with the hearty Super Breakfast Buffet, and experience a fresh taste of Scotland at Itchycoo Bar & Kitchen.

Keep your energy high and your stress low in the on-site fitness centre, including gym, pool and sauna.

Plan a productive meeting for up to 240 guests in the well-appointed event space.

Guests and delegates appreciate the convenience of car parking for 131 vehicles as well as 2 electric-vehicle charging stations (additional fee for parking service).

Bunratty

Welcome to Bunratty Castle Hotel and Luxury Spa, Bunratty, Co. Clare. Sophistication and classic style are the hallmarks of the renowned Bunratty Castle Hotel, which is part of the Blarney Group. The Hotel has been restored to its rightful position as one of the most intimate and charming hotels in the west of Ireland. It embodies the highest of traditional values, with spacious rooms, glorious dining and a spa of exquisite indulgence.

Nestle in the heart of the historic countryside of Bunratty and within easy access to Shannon Airport, our Hotel is but a short stroll away from the famous 15th century Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Bunratty is an ideal base for visiting and touring the unspoiled, cultural West of Ireland with Galway and Connemara, the world renowned Cliffs of Moher and the Burren all within an easy day trip.

Ashford Castle

The magnificent five star Ashford Castle is set in 350 acres, on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib. Dating back to 1228, the castle now enters a new chapter in its history, as part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection. With 82 guest rooms, a wealth of activities and thoughtful touches, enjoy acclaimed Irish hospitality on a grand scale.

Each of the 82 rooms and suites at Ashford Castle represent traditional elegance and finesse. Following extensive refurbishment, many of the rooms and suites have been individually and lovingly designed, combining the castle's original features with the latest modern luxuries. Meticulous attention to detail can be found in the unique works of art, carefully sourced antique furniture and sumptuous fabrics with custom designed carpets, bespoke beds, feature lighting, exquisite towelling and Egyptian cotton bed linen.

Killarney

From its distinctive architecture to its effortless service and genuine hospitality, The Malton has been a favourite retreat for over 160 years. Originally opened as The Railway Hotel in 1854 & later to become The Great Southern Hotel in the early 1900's & now The Malton since 2006 it has indeed a long history & retains the original features & wonderful architecture of those Victorian times.

With 6 acres of beautiful private gardens in the centre of bustling Killarney town centre as well its favourable location adjacent to Killarney Railway Station The Malton has without doubt a superb and unrivalled location. Be it for a pleasure break to explore Co. Kerry, a family gathering, a Wedding or for Business, The Malton is sure to impress both guests & delegates alike.

Car Parking is available for all ours guests & complimentary WIFI is available throughout the hotel. After a restful night, you'll be treated to our sumptuous breakfast where everything from healthy options to the positively sinful is on offer.

With adventure on The Maltons' doorstep set off & explore the iconic Ring of Kerry, taking you on a breath-taking tour of wild seas and rugged landscapes. Enjoy a day in nearby Killarney National Park, with its stunning woodlands, historic buildings, lakes and mountains or enjoy a game of Golf with half a dozen championship golf courses to choose room a mere 'Putt' away. Or simply ramble to your hearts content around quaint Killarney town centre full of boutiques, cafés, shops and art galleries or enjoy some 'you' time in our Innisfallen Health & Beauty rooms.

As the day comes to an end, choose to dine in one of our Restaurants from The Award Winning Garden Room Restaurant The Award Winning Wine Experience Restaurant; The Killarney Wine Room or enjoy delicious bar food in our Punchbowl bar. Later relax and unwind with your favourite cocktail in The Punchbowl Bar where drinks have been served in style for more than a century. This bar also includes a Whiskey Tasting Corner that proudly stocks an exquisite selection to tempt our whiskey connoisseur guests.

Awards & Accolades

Ashford Castle is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. We are very proud to have been presented with the following awards and accolades:

  • Voted Best Hotel of the Year Virtuoso Awards 2015
  • Voted number 3 Best Hotel in the World in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2015
  • Voted Number 2 in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2015
  • Entered in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for achieving the Certificate of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year 2015
  • TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards voted Number 17 in the Top 25 Hotels for Service in Ireland - 2015
  • TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards voted Number 9 in the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland - 2015
  • Travel + Leisure: World's Best 500 Hotels - 2015
  • IGTOA: Large Golf Resort Hotel of the Year - 2015
  • Blue Insurance Travel Media Awards: Best Irish Hotel - 2015
  • Condé Nast Traveler: 2nd Most Romantic Destination in the World to get Engaged - 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards: Top 10 Resorts in Europe: Number 2 – 2014
  • Travel + Leisure: World's Best 500 Hotels – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 9th Best Hotel in Ireland – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 10th Best Luxury Hotel in Ireland – 2014
  • TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards: Voted 13th Best Hotel for romance in Ireland – 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: Platinum Circle Hotel and Resort readers favourite for five years running – 2014
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: One of the Best Hotels and Resorts in Ireland – 2014
  • Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards: Ranked No.3 Top Resort in Europe – 2013
  • World's Best Awards: Ranked No.4 Top Family Hotels in Europe – 2013
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List: Voted No.1 Irish Hotel – 2013
  • Travel & Leisure Awards: Only Resort Hotel in Ireland & UK in the Top 100 Resort Hotels in the World – 2013
  • TripAdvisor: Certificate of Excellence – 2013
  • Green Hospitality Awards: Gold Award – 2010,2011,2012,2013
  • Ireland Food Guide: Recommended – 2011,2012,2013
  • Condé Nast Traveler Reader Choice Awards: Voted No.1 Best Resort Hotel In Ireland – 2012
  • Condé Nast Traveler Reader Choice Awards: Voted No.3 Best Resort Hotel in Europe – 2012
  • Fodor's Hotel Awards: Voted Top 100 Luxurious Retreats – 2011
  • Member of The Leading Hotels of the World

Dublin

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin is an ideal choice for guests who appreciate easy access to an array of attractions like Dublin Castle, the Gaiety Theatre, the Convention Centre Dublin and the Old Jameson Distillery. Just 12 kilometres from the Dublin International Airport, the hotel also offers 150 spacious rooms and suites with upscale amenities like free high-speed, wireless Internet access, room-darkening curtains and access to the delectable Super Breakfast Buffet.

The V'n V Restaurant hosts the Super Breakfast Buffet each morning and features a dinner menu with the finest, freshest ingredients. Enjoy a cocktail at SURE Bar or choose a whiskey, spirit or wine at The Vintage Room. Additional services include secure, underground parking, a nearby fitness centre and 15 state-of-the-art meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 400 guests.

Just 12 kilometres from Dublin International Airport and near a variety of popular attractions

Premier amenities like 24-hour room service, coffee and tea provisions, and mini bar included in each of the 150 rooms and suites

Super Breakfast Buffet and delicious dinner with Irish specialities served daily at V'n V Restaurant.

A selection of cocktails, whiskeys, wines and more at SURE Bar and The Vintage Room

Secure, underground car parking available for 60 vehicles

Complimentary access to énergie Fitness Club, with gym and swimming pool, just a short walk from our hotel in Dublin.

A total of 15 upscale meeting rooms with catering for up to 400 delegates

Kilkenny

You have discovered the Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny's favourite boutique hotel, a relaxed oasis in the heart of the old city quarter. The 4 Star Pembroke Hotel in Kilkenny is situated on Patrick Street, Kilkenny's most exclusive street right in the centre of a city that is rich with medieval heritage and alive with a vibrant arts culture.

With 74 comfortable, spacious, airy bedrooms, Stathams Bar and Stathams Restaurant and a dedicated business centre 11 Patrick Street, the Pembroke Hotel offers a peaceful welcoming charm with quiet luxury and comfort at its core.

You will feel truly comfortable in this warm and friendly hotel where you are assured of a restful sleep in the heart of the city. Surrounded by Kilkenny's most famous landmarks including Kilkenny Castle, Butler House and Gardens and the National Craft Gallery it is fitting that we take our name from the Earl of Pembroke for whom Kilkenny castle was built.

Creativity flows through everything we do at the Pembroke Hotel in Kilkenny City, from our modern interior to our fresh imaginative food, so it is natural for us as a patron of the Butler Gallery to showcase a selection from their permanent collection. Whether your visit is for business, pleasure or celebration, we look forward to warmly welcoming you and to providing you with our thoughtful, naturally attentive and caring 4 Star hotel service in a relaxed atmosphere where you will feel safe and cared for. Quite simply – At the Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny City we are committed to looking after our guests.


New York City & Washington DC Tour

NYC and Washington DC

  • Central Park in the Fall New Work
  • Freedom Tower Seen from Hudson River
  • Landmark World War II Memorial Fountains at the National Mall in Washington DC
  • Lincoln Memorial Washington DC
  • National Gallery of Art Washington DC
  • New York City Manhattan Statue of Libert
  • Rockefeller Center Fountain on Fifth Avenue NYC
  • Staten Island Ferry New York City
  • St Patricks Cathedral New York
  • The White House Washington DC
  • Washington Monument Washington DC

Contact Us for Current Tour Dates

Sending...
 
spinner
 


Imagine having the perfect student tour, corporate event, family reunion or destination wedding without the worry and stress. Buckingham Tours specializes in creating your individualized dream tour, vacation or getaway.

We will personally work with you to produce the perfect venue for hands on educational practices, or corporate trainings which enable your students or employees to be both educated and relaxed.

Along with romantic destination weddings or exhilarating family reunions are awaiting you in the most exciting city in the world, New York City or Washington DC, Florida or the magic and beauty of Italy or the mystery of Scotland/Ireland. Whatever your vision or dream, Buckingham Tours with work with you to make it come true.

Florida Tour

Orlando Florida Skyline

  • Miama
  • Florida
  • Magic Kingdom Disney
  • Air Boat Ride Everglades Florida
  • Alligator in the Florida Everglades
  • Snorkeling in Florida Keys
  • Keys

Contact Us for Current Tour Dates

Sending...
 
spinner
 


Take advantage of all education, excitement and wonder that the Sunshine State can offer you. From Walt Disney World Theme Parks, behind the scenes at either SeaWorld or the Miami Seaquarium, Key West, Key Largo, snorkel on a real coral reef, swim with dolphins, witness breathtaking marine shows, discover the magic behind the movies, Everglades alligator encounter and show on a wild air boat ride and lunch with an astronaut as you spend some quality time in the Sunshine State. Florida is a state that must be experienced to believe!

Our educational programs to the state of Florida immerse you and your students into this iconic destination. Join Buckingham Tours for a once in a lifetime adventure with your students! What amazing and hard to believe, I left off 100's and 100's of places and destinations and fun spots to see and enjoy. There is a real reason Florida is the official Number #1 Vacation and FUN Capital of the World. From the below photos tell me where you want to go and what you want your students to see and experience.

Washington DC Tours

Washington DC

  • Lincoln Memorial Washington DC
  • US Capital
  • Washington DC Historical Bartholdi Fountain and US Botanic Garden
  • Washington Monument DC
  • White House Washington DC

Contact Us for Current Tour Dates

Sending...
 
spinner
 


Traveling to Washington, D.C. with Buckingham Tours, your students will get to experience our nation's capital first hand. From the iconic monuments and memorials, to Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Museums and so much more, your student's education will be enhanced beyond the classroom walls. Our educational programs bring history to life.

In addition, your students will gain a better understanding of the political capitol of the world that is Washington, DC. Join Buckingham Tours for a once in a lifetime adventure with your students! From the below photos tell me where you want to go and what you want your students to see and experience.

Imagine having the perfect student tour, corporate event, family reunion or destination wedding without the worry and stress. Buckingham Tours specializes in creating your individualized dream tour, vacation or getaway.

We will personally work with you to produce the perfect venue for hands on educational practices, or corporate trainings which enable your students or employees to be both educated and relaxed. Along with romantic destination weddings or exhilarating family reunions are awaiting you in the most exciting city in the world, New York City or Washington DC, Florida or the magic and beauty of Italy or the mystery of Scotland/Ireland. Whatever your vision or dream, Buckingham Tours with work with you to make it come true.

New York City Tours

New York City Skyline

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Central Park
  • Empire State Building
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
  • Rockefeller Center New York
  • Statue of Liberty

Contact Us for Current Tour Dates

Sending...
 
spinner
 


Imagine having the perfect student tour, corporate event, family reunion or destination wedding without the worry and stress. Buckingham Tours specializes in creating your individualized dream tour, vacation or getaway.

We will personally work with you to produce the perfect venue for hands on educational practices, or corporate trainings which enable your students or employees to be both educated and relaxed. Along with romantic destination weddings or exhilarating family reunions are awaiting you in the most exciting city in the world, New York City or Washington DC, Florida or the magic and beauty of Italy or the mystery of Scotland/Ireland. Whatever your vision or dream, Buckingham Tours with work with you to make it come true.