this was the rough Itinerary I'd compiled for my travel throughout Isles
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Day 1) London-Cardiff. Travel via Hampton Court to Salisbury Plain to visit Stonehenge. Later, view beautiful Salisbury Cathedral before continuing to Bath for an afternoon city tour and chance to visit the Roman Baths. Tonight, then spanning the Bristol channel on to drive across the Severn bridge to Cardiff.
2) Cardiff-Pembroke. View Cardiff's magnificent castle and Cardiff Arms Park before driving across South Wales via Carmarthen, the birthplace of Merlin the Wizard. Next, head to Pembroke to board ferry to Rosslare Harbor/Europort in Ireland.
3) Rosslare-Waterford. See the ninth-century Reginald's Tower before visiting the Waterford Crystal showroom. take the coastal road heading through Tramore, the fishing village of Dungarvan, passing ruined castles and ancient abbeys and along the scenic coast to Youghal and on to Cork.
4) Cork-Tralee. First see St. Finbar's Cathedral, and then stop at 15th-century Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone and acquire the "gift of the gab." Then visit Blarney Mills with their beautiful display of Waterford Crystal. Tour Ring of Kerry for superb seascapes, towering cliffs, charming villages, and spectacular mountains. View the three peaceful Lakes of Killarney (see Dingle Bay, the South Kerry Mountains, and Ladies View). Here take a memorable highlight ride with the locals on one of the famous Jaunting Cars. Now drive through the rugged Derrynasaggart Mountains into County Kerry and to charming Tralee.
5) Tralee-Limerick-Galway Bay. Travel north to County Limerick, through Adare with its thatched cottages, set in some of Ireland's richest farmland. Perhaps visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park en route to Limerick on the River Shannon to see 12th-century St. Mary's Cathedral, King John's Castle, and the Treaty Stone. There is time to perhaps take an excursion to the famous Bunratty Folk Park. North via Ennis.
6) Galway-Donegal. This morning visit Galway to see the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Spanish Arch, and get car in from Budget, 2 Eyre Square, August 19 (confirmation #: 18551050 US 0). After driving along the shores of Lough Corrib see Kylemore Abbey and drive out into Connemara, a wonderland of rivers, lakes, and silent hills, travel through Yeats country before journey takes us via Sligo to Donegal.
7) Dongal-Enniskillen-Londonderry-Ballycastle. Take a morning tour of the ruins of O'Donnells Castle and the Friary. Drive along Lough Erne's shore to visit the famous Belleek Pottery Factory, stopping to visit the Ulster-American Folk Park. Travel via Omagh and pass the beautiful Blue Stack Mountains on way to the north. Now drive to Londonderry and see Derry's Walls, built around the city in 1614, some of the most well preserved in Europe. Stop at the ruins of Dunluce Castle. From here head to the 17th-century St. Columb's Cathedral with its tower. Next, make way to Derry Craft Village and on to the quay to Irish emigrants sailed to the New World. This afternoon drive through the coastal towns of Portstewart and Portrush, to reach the world famous Giant's Causeway and hear the legends that surround this geological masterpiece of 37,000 hexagonal basalt columns. See the stunning views of Ballycastle Bay and Rathlin Island.
8) Ballycastle-Belfast. En route to Bushmills to visit the oldest whiskey distillery in the world. On through the scenic Glens of Antrim and along the coast seeing the castles at Glenarm and Ballygalley. Continue via Larne and Ballyclare to Belfast. Here an orientation shows us the City Hall, Queens University, and the University quarter.
9) Belfast-Dublin. Downpatrick before a scenic drive through the Mountains of Mourne to Newry. Enjoy views of Carlingford Lough and head to Ulster cross the border into Drogheda and via the Boyne Valley. Find Windmill Lane Studios before returning car to Budget at Dublin Airport on August 18.
10) Dublin sightseeing. See famous O'Connell or Henry Streets, and the historic Customs House, which is one of the masterpieces of James Gandon who is considered the greatest architect of 18th century Dublin. Later there is time for shopping or perhaps an Irish cabaret show. Trinity College, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Dublin's Georgian squares and Dublin Castle, which visit today, are equally elegant. also see the Irish President's home in Phoenix Park. Sightseeing concludes with a visit to the courtyard at Trinity College.
11) (Day trip, if time avails) Dublin-Kilkenny. Take a train to the County of Kildare, home of the Irish horse Derby tour the National Stud, and visit the adjoining Japanese Gardens. In medieval Kilkenny, known as the Marble City and dominated by the 13th-century Norman castle and cathedral. Now view one of the great sights of Ireland, the Rock of Cashel. Now return to Dublin.
12) Dublin-Chester. From Dublin Bay, cross the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh island of Anglesey, with a glimpse of Conwy Castle. Next, travel across the Britannia Bridge (across the Menai Straits), reach the mainland, and continue through North Wales and past Snowdonia National Park. Pass through the world famous village with the very Welsh and unpronounceable name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrn- drobwllllantysiliogogogoch! Then make way to Roman Chester to see its Tudor architecture and galleried shops known as The Rows. see the ancient encircling walls and view the remarkable 13th-century black and white galleried rows, now shopping arcades.
13) Chester-Lakes-Glasgow. Traveling north through Liverpool, today's highlight is a drive through the beautiful English Lake District to visit Dave Cottage in Grasmere. Stroll around the beautiful town of Windermere and take in the lakeside scenery. Tonight, experience the local hospitality in Carlisle. From here, cross the Scottish border to Moffat Woollens and head north past Gretna Green. Through the heart of the Southern Uplands of Scotland, continue to Glasgow, city of culture and architecture.
14) Glasgow-Oban/Glencoe/Fort William-Highlands. A short drive from Glasgow takes us to Sterling Castle to see William Wallace memorials and on to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond to enjoy a guided cruise on this beautiful loch. Now journey across Rannoch Moor, scene of R.L. Stevenson's Kidnapped. Take a short ferry ride across to Mull with its stunning scenery and historic forts and castles. See Duart Castle, ancient seat of the clan MacLean. Later, head back to Oban, to you'll have a chance to relax in this harbor-side village. Then to infamous Glencoe's Valley of the Weeping before reaching Fort William. Pass Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and drive along the shores of Loch Ness with a chance to stop for some monster spotting! Drive along the Whisky Trail or visit Balmoral Castle close to Dee Valley in the Grampion Mountains. Continue through the Highland capital city of Inverness before visiting Culloden Moor where Bonnie Prince Charlie's and his Jacobite army were defeated, then view the prehistoric Calva Stone Circle. Tonight enjoy a lively ceilidh, with traditional Scottish dancing and singing with haggis and bagpipes!
15) Newtonmore-Edinburgh. Drive south past the ski area of Glenshee into the farmlands of Perthshire. Then to Perth, to visit the famous Caithness Glass Factory and cross the River Tay at the city of Dundee. Visit St. Andrews, historic university town and the famous home of golf. Now cross the Forth Road Bridge to enter Edinburgh, proud capital of Scotland.
16) Edinburgh sightseeing. First visit is Edinburgh Castle. The impressive silhouette of the castle and its rock is probably the best-known feature of Edinburgh and the fortifications afford splendid views across Princes Street to the 18th-century New Town. also see the Queen's Holyroodhouse Palace, St. Giles Cathedral, and the Royal Mile. Later, there's time to explore the elegant shops. After dinner, explore the lively nightlife.
17) Edinburgh-York. This morning drive through the Scottish Borderlands, stopping to see the ruined Jedburgh Abbey. On into England, travel through the rugged landscape of Northumberland National Park for a photo stop at Hadrian's Wall. Next, visit the beautiful city of Durham to see the castle and the fine Romanesque cathedral and continue to Viking York. On arrival, a walking tour takes us through historic streets to Britain's largest medieval cathedral York Minster. Tonight, enjoy typical Yorkshire hospitality at dinner in a local pub before reaching a hostel.
18) York-Coventry. Head to The Potteries to visit the famous Wedgwood Pottery Centre. Later, continue to Coventry to see its two cathedrals before traveling to Stratford-upon-Avon, home of Shakespeare for a tour of the Elizabethan town. See Anne Hathaway's cottage before leaving for Warwick Castle, to there's a chance to explore and perhaps duel with the Red Knight! This evening, why not go back in time and revel at a romping Medieval Banquet?
19) Coventry-Stratford-London. Today take a scenic drive through the Cotswolds en route to the little churchyard at Bladon to see Sir Winston Churchill's grave. Later, at Oxford visit one of the famous Colleges (or the Sheldonian theatre when the Colleges are closed). Finally, return to London.
20) London. View Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey. If time permits, visit William Wallace's grave and place of execution: Between Newgate and Long Lane Streets - Smithfield, London England.
21) London (Heathrow)-home. Arrive at Heathrow for return flight home.