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Castles & Collections of the Celtic Isles: Dublin to Edinburgh Aboard Sea Cloud II

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Departure Dates

  • Jul 06, 2019 - Jul 17, 2019


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Castles & Collections of the Celtic Isles: Dublin to Edinburgh Aboard Sea Cloud II

Begin in Dublin with a tour of its landmarks before boarding Sea Cloud II. Sail north to call overnight in Belfast. Venture into the surrounding countryside to visit Ballywalter Park with its owners. Anchor in Londonderry for a specially arranged lunch at Baronscourt, followed by a tour of its private collections and gardens. Cross the North Channel to step ashore on tiny Iona. Explore the Inverewe Gardens, a subtropical oasis, and call at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands to discover a series of remarkable Stone Age sites. From Inverness, tour Cawdor Castle before sailing to Aberdeen to admire nearby Crathes Castle. Conclude in Edinburgh, to step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia or explore the Old Town on a guided walk.

John Meffert
, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office from and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.

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Saturday, July 6 DEPARTURE

Depart for Dublin on an overnight flight.


Arrive in the Irish capital and enjoy a tour of the city’s architectural landmarks before boarding Sea Cloud II. L,D


On a walking tour of regenerated Belfast, admire its rich Victorian and Edwardian architecture and see the city’s famous peace wall and its vivid murals. Continue to the impressive Titanic Museum before visiting 19th-century Ballywalter Park at the kind invitation of Lord and Lady Dunleath. East of Belfast, this lovely country estate is surrounded by extensive parkland. Following lunch in this magnificent setting, our host will show us his family’s collections of painting and sculpture. Sea Cloud II remains in port overnight. This evening join the captain for a festive welcome dinner. B,L,D

Tuesday, July 9 BELFAST

Today explore the rolling countryside of County Down. Visit the 19th-century National Trust property of Mount Stewart, former home of the Marquesses of Londonderry. The palatial mansion’s elaborate landscaped gardens were created in the 1920s. Continue to the exquisite Georgian estate of Grey Abbey, where we will be received by the owners, before returning to Belfast. B,L,D


This morning cruise past the spectacular scenery of Northern Ireland. The ship anchors at Londonderry for a pastoral drive to Baronscourt, seat of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn. We are invited for lunch and a tour of the paintings and decorative arts collections of this great Georgian house, followed by a relaxed stroll through the gardens. B,L,D

Thursday, July 11 AT SEA / IONA, SCOTLAND

Much of the day is spent at sea. Attend lectures, and admire the trimming of the sails on deck. In the afternoon, disembark at Iona to explore the 6th-century abbey and the burial sites of Scottish kings. This evening, sail past the island of Staffa, whose rugged beauty has inspired Keats, Turner, and Mendelssohn. B,L,D


Be on deck as Sea Cloud II enters picturesque Loch Ewe. Tour magnificent Inverewe Gardens, now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. Here the subtropical vegetation thrives and blooms year round due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. See rare flora brought from locations around the world, particularly the Southern Hemisphere. Sea Cloud II sets a course for the Orkney Islands in the early evening. B,L,D

Saturday, July 13 KIRKWALL, SCOTLAND

Step ashore this morning in the busy Orkney harbor town of Kirkwall for a visit to the remarkable Stone Age settlement of Skara Brae, buried under sand for thousands of years until its rediscovery and excavation. Continue to Maes Howe, a well-preserved burial mound dating from around 2800 B.C. Nearby are the enigmatic prehistoric sites, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. B,L,D


Discover the gracious city of Inverness and its historic surroundings, including the battlefield of Culloden. We also visit 14th-century Cawdor Castle, linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth, and still an aristocratic family home with colorful gardens. B,L,D

Monday, July 15 ABERDEEN

In lively Aberdeen, visit Crathes Castle, renowned for its turrets, dormers, gargoyles, and ornate corbelling, as well as exquisite painted ceilings. The extensive gardens are a series of interconnected “rooms” with yew hedges, some dating back 200 years. In the early afternoon, visit the Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum. Alternatively, you may wish to explore Dunnottar Castle, a cliff-top fortress overlooking the sea. B,L,D

Tuesday, July 16 EDINBURGH

Arrive in this Georgian capital city this morning. Visit the historic Royal Yacht Britannia docked nearby, or explore the Old Town on a guided walk from Edinburgh Castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the innovative Scottish Parliament Building. This evening join the captain for a festive farewell dinner. B,L,D

Wednesday, July 17 EDINBURGH / RETURN

Transfer to the airport for return flights. B

Please note: All prices are estimated based on preliminary quotes provided by hotel and service providers, prevailing fuel prices, airfares and currency exchange rates in effect as of the date of this proposal and are subject to change.

View Pre/Post Tours »

Pre or Post Tours

An optional prelude in Dublin is offered from July 4 – 7, 2019.

An optional postlude in Edinburgh is offered from July 17 – 19, 2019