DAY 1 | Saturday, April 23, 2022
Depart Atlanta on Lufthansa flight #445 to Frankfurt.
DAY 2 | Sunday, April 24, 2022
Arrive in Frankfurt at 7:05am, and transfer to your connecting flight. Depart Frankfurt at 9:50am on Lufthansa flight #978 to Dublin. Arrive in Dublin at 10:55am. Welcome to Ireland!
Upon arrival in Dublin, your Music Contact International tour manager will be waiting to greet you in the arrivals area. Together, board your private motor coach and enjoy first impressions of Ireland as you make your way to Shannon.
Your Irish visit begins with a drive through the beautiful landscape of County Clare, where you’ll visit Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, an open-air museum set on 26-acres with interactive exhibits. Once the lavish home of medieval nobility, Bunratty now functions as a “living” reproduction of a 19th-century village.
After visiting the park, walk to Bunratty Castle, one of the most complete and authentically restored medieval castles in Ireland. Built-in 1425 and plundered on many occasions, it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor with furnishings and tapestries capturing the times’ mood and style.
Proceed to the hotel to check in and refresh before dinner. Rehearsal can be arranged upon request.
Celebrate the kick-off of the St. Catherine’s Choir tour with a welcome dinner at Bunratty Medieval Banquet. This festive occasion includes a delicious meal and entertainment, including a selection of Irish medieval and traditional songs and instrumental music by eleven entertainers. Later, settle in for a good night’s rest at the hotel.
DAY 3 | Monday, April 25, 2022
Wake up to your first day in Ireland! Enjoy breakfast in the hotel dining room.
Today, you’ll travel through the Burren Region. This unique setting is a Karst limestone region and national park, where you will see rare flora and picturesque villages that were abandoned during the famine period.
Stop and explore the Burren’s most famous site, the spectacular and majestic Cliffs of Moher. Here you’ll have a chance to walk along the scenic paths that line the upper rim of the cliffs. Take in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean that lies, at the cliff’s highest point, 702 feet below! Tour the on-site museum and enjoy a snack at the café.
Following your visit, continue on to Galway City to enjoy free time for lunch and personal exploration.
Galway is a delight with its narrow streets, old stone and wooden shop fronts, lively restaurants, and busy pubs. The city has attracted a bohemian crowd of musicians and artists, which add much to this exciting town’s character. Stroll the quaint, narrow streets lined with stone and wooden storefronts—which carefully preserve the charming atmosphere of old-world Ireland
A group dinner accompanied by live Irish music is planned for this evening in Galway. Catchy tunes, cheerful dancing, and hearty sing-a-longs are guaranteed!
At the end of this exciting day of sightseeing, return to the hotel.
DAY 4 | Tuesday, April 26, 2022
After breakfast, check out of your Shannon hotel and depart on your motorcoach, traveling north towards Belfast.
En route, stop in Armagh, the county town of County Armagh, and a city in Northern Ireland. The city is noted primarily as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland—the seat of the Archbishops of Armagh, the Primates of All Ireland for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. Here, sing for mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before taking some time to stroll through the town.
Continue on to Belfast, transfer to your centrally-located hotel. Start your stay in Belfast with a visit to the Titanic Exhibition of Belfast, a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage located on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter, where the RMS Titanic was built. The Experience takes you through nine galleries, using innovative and interactive techniques to tell the story of the Titanic, from her conception in the early 1900s through her construction and launch to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end.
Enjoy a free evening for dinner on your own in Belfast tonight—enjoy this opportunity to experience Belfast’s rising food scene, which is being bolstered by the abundance of world-class local artisanal produce, grass-fed beef, and fresh seafood pulled from the clean, pure local waters.
This evening enjoy a spooky guided tour of Crumlin Road Gaol—colloquially referred to as the Crum—a former prison known as Europe’s Alcatraz. Built between 1843 and 1845, the Crum was one of the most advanced prisons of its day at the time of its construction. Originally built to hold between 500 and 550 prisoners, it was the first prison in Ireland to be built according to “The Separate System,” intended to separate prisoners from each other with no communication between them. The first inmates arrived in chains in 1846 and included men, women, and children.
DAY 5 | Wednesday, April 27, 2022
This morning, travel across the North Channel by ferry to Cairnryan, Scotland. After approximately two hours on the ship, arrive in Scotland, and transfer to Edinburgh, the capital city.
Your first order of business upon arrival in Edinburgh will be to tour the famous Edinburgh Castle. This historic fortress dominates the skyline of Scotland’s capital city. Archeologists have determined that the rock on which the castle is set (known as Castle Rock) was inhabited as early as 1000 BC. Over the centuries, the castle has been held by Scots and Englishmen, Catholics and Protestants, soldiers and royalty. View the Scottish crown jewels and the Stone of Scone, used to crown the Scottish kings before the Royal Families were merged in the 1600s. See the Citadel on the highest point surrounded by cannons and The National War Memorial honoring Scottish regiments who served in World War 1. The oldest surviving part of the complex is tiny St. Margaret’s Chapel; the only building spared when the castle was razed in 1313 by Scots determined not to surrender it to English foes.
Descend from Castle Rock into the city and check in to your hotel. Dinner tonight will be served to the group at the Spirit of Scotland, where you’ll enjoy a great selection of quality Scottish food and a lively presentation of traditional Scottish song and dance.
DAY 6 | Thursday, April 28, 2022
After breakfast, head to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, opposite Edinburgh Castle. Since the 16th century, Holyrood has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scotland, and it now remains the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland. Tour the Palace, where you’ll see the 16th-century apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the State Apartments, still used for official and state entertaining. As you explore the palace together, your guide will reveal details of the history of the palace itself, whose walls embrace the history of the Scottish church and state; the royal family, including Mary Queen of Scots; and Scotland’s rich military legacy.
After your morning visit, perform a lunchtime concert in beautiful St. Giles Cathedral*. St. Giles has a long history as a church of music as well as a fantastic organ. Following your performance, enjoy a final free afternoon and evening in Edinburgh.
DAY 7 | Friday, April 29, 2022
After breakfast in the hotel, check out and load your luggage onto the motor coach—travel northbound for Inverness, the Scottish Highlands’ largest city and cultural capital. Stop en route in Perth, located on the banks of the River Tay. Stretch your legs in this early capital city, where the royal Scottish court was once located.
Follow the river north until you arrive in Inverness, a compact, cosmopolitan city with a beautifully preserved Old Town. You’ll discover the 19th-century Inverness Cathedral and an indoor Victorian Market, a lovely destination to shop for food, clothing, and crafts.
Check in to your hotel before meeting with a choir to prepare for this evening’s Friendship Concert. Share the stage with these local musicians, and be sure to get their recommendations for restaurants for dinner tonight. Perhaps some of your hosts will even join you for dinner on your own.
DAY 8 | Saturday, April 30, 2022
After breakfast, depart Inverness for a full-day excursion into the wild, beautiful Scottish Highlands.
Visit Cawdor Castle, set amid gardens and built around a 15th-century tower house. Although the name of Cawdor connects the castle to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which three witches foretell that the titular lord, Thane of Glamis, would become Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter. However, Cawdor Castle didn’t exist during Macbeth or Duncan’s lifetimes, who were alive in the 11th-century.
Continue to Loch Ness, where you’ll take a cruise on this large, deep freshwater lake, located 53 feet above sea level. Most famous as the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster’s possible home, Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area but the largest by volume in the British Isles due to its great depth. Enjoy a relaxing trip amongst breath-taking vistas encompassing both the highlands’ natural beauty and the striking Fort Augustus Abbey.
Return to Inverness and enjoy dinner arranged for the group at a local pub.
DAY 9 | Sunday, May 1, 2022
After breakfast in the hotel dining room, depart Inverness traveling south on your motorcoach bound for the city of Glasgow.
En route, stop to visit Loch Lomond, located in the Trossachs National Park. The Loch’s eastern shore is crisscrossed with footpaths and cycle trails that traverse craggy Ben Lomond mountain and the smaller Conic Hill. You’ll stop on the West Bank, however, and stretch your legs on the Luss Heritage Path, a gentle trail that will afford beautiful views of the Loch and lead you to the village of Luss, with its pretty stone cottages and a lakeside pier. Enjoy some time to explore this charming village, have some lunch, and take plenty of photos before continuing on to Glasgow.
Located on the River Clyde, the city of Glasgow is famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture. Check in to your hotel upon arrival and explore the city with your tour manager prior to gathering for a festive farewell dinner, which will allow you to share favorite memories of your tour with your fellow travelers.
DAY 10 | Monday, May 2, 2022
Heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged at the airport and your group is sent off with a fond “Thank you for connecting our world through your music. Until we meet again!”
Depart Glasgow at 6:05am on Lufthansa flight #975 to Frankfurt. Arrive in Frankfurt at 9:00am, and transfer to your connecting flight. Depart Frankfurt at 10:15am on Lufthansa flight #444 to Atlanta. Arrive in Atlanta at 2:15pm. Welcome home!
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