Ireland & the British Isles

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Tour Description

Enjoy the Emerald Isle like never before on a British Isles expedition which includes a comprehensive Ireland tour. Discover mysterious Dún Aengus; the cliffside monasteries and lookout towers of the Celtic monks; the Viking legacy of Waterford; and the 17th – 18th century English fortresses, mansions, and elaborate gardens gracing Cork and Killarney. Rolling green glens are studded with shimmering lakes and dramatic cliffs, busy with breeding seabirds, that reach vertically from the sea. In true Ireland adventure travel style, we explore such islands as the Saltees, Skellig Rocks, and Blasket as well as Scotland’s Inner Hebrides by Zodiac. Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site, along with a visit to Scotland's Lagavulin Whiskey Distillery make a fitting finale to our British Isles tour.

British Isles Adventure Travel Highlights:

  • Zodiac excursion to the privately owned Saltee Islands to view the resident seabirds, including puffins and peregrine falcons.
  • Embark on an iconic drive that encompasses some of the world’s finest scenery from Sneem to the market town of Kenmare, best known as the Ring of Kerry
  • Giant’s Causeway, some 40,000 closely packed hexagonal columns that descend like a staircase into the sea—a favorite stop on our Ireland tour.
  • Admire the skill and mastery of blowing, cutting, and engraving crystal ware at the renowned Waterford Crystal Gallery
  • Raise a pint with fellow travelers and locals alike at several of the many pubs that dot the country throughout our Ireland expedition

With Zegrahm Expeditions, virtually everything is included in the cost of your Ireland and British Isles expedition:

  • All gratuities, from porters and ship’s crew to tour guides
  • All accommodations, including pre-voyage hotel nights
  • Welcome dinner and orientation briefing to get to know one another and get a good sense of what’s to come
  • Daily activity options, from whiskey tasting to Zodiac cruises
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All meals onboard and with the group ashore
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • All transfers on the group arrival and departure days
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Comprehensive pre-departure packet to prepare you for your Ireland adventure travels, with everything from currency information and weather to shipboard amenities and a packing list
  • Medical and emergency evacuation insurance
  • Dedicated Zegrahm program manager and air coordinator to answer all your questions
  • Photographic journal upon returning home to relive your British Isles tour

Itinerary

Day 1

USA / London, England

Depart on your independent overnight flight to London.

Day 2

London

After checking in to our hotel, explore the city at your leisure. This evening gather for a welcome reception, followed by dinner, staff introductions, and a briefing.

Day 3

London / Plymouth / Embark Clipper Odyssey

After breakfast we depart via train for Plymouth. Enjoy lunch in town before a tour of Plymouth including a visit to an Elizabethan house built in 1631 and the City Museum and Art Gallery. Birders visit Dartmoor National Park, known for its blanket bogs and upland heath. This afternoon we board the Clipper Odysseyand begin our voyage.

Day 4

Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly, 150 or so granitic isles, are known for their lovely beaches, rocky promontories, and ideal climate. Warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, the Isles of Scilly have given their fortunate inhabitants the luxury of turning a passion for growing flowers into a major industry. This morning we board local boats and cruise to Tresco. Here we visit the ruins and exquisite subtropical gardens at the medieval Tresco Abbey.

Day 5

Saltee Islands, Ireland / Dunmore East / Waterford

This morning we anchor off the privately-owned Saltee Islands, which attract a variety of birds to their craggy masses. On Great Saltee Island we search for puffins, murres, razorbills, gannets, and more of the 47 bird species known to inhabit the island.

Later this morning, the ship docks in the charming fishing village of Dunmore East. A drive to the House of Waterford Crystal allows us to witness the creation of exquisite crystal ware—from blowing to cutting and engraving—and a visit to the local museum provides enlightenment on the history and archaeology of the area. Or, choose to tour the classical gardens of Mount Congreve, a 700-acre estate with a celebrated collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Day 6

Cork / Blarney / Kinsale

In the morning enjoy your choice of tours. A Cork city drive takes us past St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, then through lovely countryside to Blarney town. At legendary Blarney Castle, you may wish to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, reportedly guaranteeing the gift of gab. Or, explore University College Cork, with its splendid Gothic revival-style buildings and the Honan Chapel, which showcases every aspect of the Irish intellectual, arts, and crafts movements of the early 20th-century Celtic revival period. At the Crawford Gallery we discover why Cork was named the European Capital of Culture in 2005.

After lunch aboard, join a countryside journey to picturesque Kinsale. The dramatic 17th-century Charles Fort presides over the harbor entrance; the Lusitaniawas torpedoed by a German submarine in WWI within sight of the ramparts. Enjoy the superb views and take a stroll among Kinsale’s many galleries and shops before we return to the ship.

Day 7

Sneem / Killarney / Caherciveen (Ring of Kerry)

This full-day excursion encompasses some of the world’s finest scenery as we drive east from Sneem to the market town of Kenmare. The circular route then climbs through Moll’s Gap, revealing an idyllic lake and mountain panoramas. We visit Muckross House in Killarney National Park, a restored 19th-century Elizabethan-style manor house and gardens, where artisans ply their traditional trades and craftwork in the Kerry Folklife Center. After lunch in nearby Killarney, we continue along the northern route, through Killorglin with its grand land- and seascapes. We pass along the shores of Dingle Bay en route to re-embark the ship in Caherciveen.

Day 8

Skellig Rocks / Great Blasket Island

At dawn we approach the remote and precipitous Skellig Rocks. Little Skellig is home to the second-largest colony of gannets in the world; thousands upon thousands of birds greet our arrival. Permission pending, we visit nearby Skellig Michael, the craggy site of an important 9th-century Christian monastic settlement. This afternoon enjoy a nature walk to explore the Blasket Islands, an archipelago off the Dingle Peninsula populated by numerous seabirds and seals.

Day 9

Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula is Ireland’s most westerly outpost—the views from Slea Head over the seacoast and off-lying islands are dramatic. We continue to Dunquin’s Blasket Center, which offers insights into the isolated island communities. We also visit the unusual Gallarus Oratory, a very early 9th-century church, built without mortar, to resemble an upturned boat. Enjoy free time in the small fishing town of Dingle to stroll and explore craft shops, or raise a pint at one of the lively, local pubs.

Day 10

Cliffs Of Moher / Inishmore, Aran Islands

Be on deck early this morning as our ship cruises by the seabird-studded Cliffs of Moher. We arrive at Inishmore, largest of the three Aran Islands and an outpost of Gaelic culture, where Irish-speaking residents live in traditional stone cottages. Our morning tour brings us to 5th-century Dún Aengus Fort, dramatically situated at the edge of 300-foot cliffs. Stop to enjoy a pint in the pub, before re-boarding the ship.

Day 11

Donegal

Today choose a full- or half-day tour of charming Donegal Town. Both tours visit Donegal Castle and the remains of a Franciscan monastery that date to the 15th century. After lunch at Donegal Pub the full-day tour continues to Belleek Pottery for a chance to see potters at work and view the delicate, slightly iridescent final product.

Day 12

Portrush, Northern Ireland / Giant’s Causeway / Islay

This morning we pass the dramatic landscape of the North Antrim Coast. Our ship docks at Portrush and we travel overland to the World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. This three-mile section of coastline is a geological masterpiece—some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea. In the afternoon we tour the Lagavulin Whisky Distillery. Founded in 1816, whisky is still produced, matured, and bottled on-site. Learn about the colorful history of the company and enjoy a sample of the intoxicating result.

Day 13

Sanda Island, Scotland / Ailsa Craig

Sanda is a privately owned island that hosts a variety of nesting and migratory seabirds. Step ashore to explore with our naturalists and stop for refreshments at the small restaurant. After lunch on board we make an expedition stop on Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano. This uninhabited island is a bird sanctuary that provides a home for puffins and huge numbers of gannets.

Day 14

Greenock / Disembark / Glasgow / USA

After breakfast on board, disembark in Greenock and transfer to the Glasgow airport for your independent flight. Arrive in the USA on the same day and connect with homeward flights.

Departures

Pricing Information

Clipper Odyssey

One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.