Ireland & Scotland with McGuffin

By Nell McCombs
This item appears on page 25 of the March 2015 issue.
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Ireland and Scotland were on the list of places my husband, Ed, and I wanted to go. Early in 2014, David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe (Middleburg, FL; 800/570-1351, www.davidmcguffin.com) ran ads in ITN for small-group tours (12 people or fewer), including an “Ireland & Scotland” tour. A small group sounded good, so we signed up.

The tour, May 11-24, 2014, cost us $3,479 (with a $100 discount, since we paid by check), including the flight from Ireland to Scotland, hotels, breakfasts, many lunches and dinners, transport, entrance fees and tips. 

Our group included two other couples and a single woman. We started in Dublin with a city bus tour and a stop at the Guinness Brewery. The top floor of the brewery had floor-to-ceiling windows all around with great views, plus free samples. The next day we toured Trinity College and viewed the illuminated Book of Kells, done by monks at Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona around AD 800.

We then headed off around the island in a comfortable van with David driving, stopping first at the early-medieval monastic site of Glendalough. In the town of Kil­kenny, the university had a beautiful library.

We did a walking tour in Dingle, then explored the Dingle Peninsula with its beautiful green pastoral scenery, many sheep and, at that time of year, lots of lambs. A ferry took us across the River Shannon and we went to the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher.

Continuing our scenic drive, we went around Galway Bay and through the Burren, a treeless plateau with huge, erratic rocks deposited during the Ice Age. After a tour of Galway City’s highlights, we left Ireland, flying across the Irish Sea to Edinburgh.

I especially enjoyed our visit in Edinburgh, a beautiful city. We walked the Royal Mile, had a city bus tour and visited Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. At the castle, a kilted band of bagpipers played for us.

After two nights, David drove us in another van across the Firth of Forth and through the Kingdom of Fife. In the Highlands, we stayed in Kenmore, experiencing what it would be like to live in a small community in rural Scotland.

Continuing through the rugged Highlands, we ended up at the coastal town of Oban for two nights, then took a ferry to the isles of Mull and Iona. 

Our tour ended in Glasgow, where we had a great farewell dinner at David’s favorite restaurant, the Ubiquitous Chip (12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow; www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk).

Throughout our trip, local people were friendly and outgoing, whether we were shopping or asking directions. At the university in Kilkenny, students approached us to see if we needed directions. They also were interested in learning where we were from.

The tour was a good one. David did a good job and we were glad we went.

NELL McCOMBS

Ventura, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Ireland and Scotland were on the list of places my husband, Ed, and I wanted to go. Early in 2014, David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe (Middleburg, FL; 800/570-1351, www.davidmcguffin.com) ran ads in ITN for small-group tours (12 people or fewer), including an “Ireland & Scotland” tour. A small group sounded good, so we signed up.

The tour, May 11-24, 2014, cost us $3,479 (with a $100 discount, since we paid by check), including the flight from Ireland to Scotland, hotels, breakfasts, many lunches and dinners, transport, entrance fees and tips. 

Our group included two other couples and a single woman. We started in Dublin with a city bus tour and a stop at the Guinness Brewery. The top floor of the brewery had floor-to-ceiling windows all around with great views, plus free samples. The next day we toured Trinity College and viewed the illuminated Book of Kells, done by monks at Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona around AD 800.

We then headed off around the island in a comfortable van with David driving, stopping first at the early-medieval monastic site of Glendalough. In the town of Kil­kenny, the university had a beautiful library.

We did a walking tour in Dingle, then explored the Dingle Peninsula with its beautiful green pastoral scenery, many sheep and, at that time of year, lots of lambs. A ferry took us across the River Shannon and we went to the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher.

Continuing our scenic drive, we went around Galway Bay and through the Burren, a treeless plateau with huge, erratic rocks deposited during the Ice Age. After a tour of Galway City’s highlights, we left Ireland, flying across the Irish Sea to Edinburgh.

I especially enjoyed our visit in Edinburgh, a beautiful city. We walked the Royal Mile, had a city bus tour and visited Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. At the castle, a kilted band of bagpipers played for us.

After two nights, David drove us in another van across the Firth of Forth and through the Kingdom of Fife. In the Highlands, we stayed in Kenmore, experiencing what it would be like to live in a small community in rural Scotland.

Continuing through the rugged Highlands, we ended up at the coastal town of Oban for two nights, then took a ferry to the isles of Mull and Iona. 

Our tour ended in Glasgow, where we had a great farewell dinner at David’s favorite restaurant, the Ubiquitous Chip (12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow; www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk).

Throughout our trip, local people were friendly and outgoing, whether we were shopping or asking directions. At the university in Kilkenny, students approached us to see if we needed directions. They also were interested in learning where we were from.

The tour was a good one. David did a good job and we were glad we went.

NELL McCOMBS

Ventura, CA