Celtic Connections 2020

Northern Explorer Tour 2020

Ireland & Scotland

October  8th – 18th

9 Nights

$2886 Land, $1089 Air*


  Highlights Included in package price:

Roundtrip transportation from Portland to Boston.

2 nights Galway, 2 Nights Donegal, 1 Night Ballycastle, 1 night  Belfast, 1 night Glasgow and two nights Edinburgh

2 Group Dinners, other nights are free to allow you to explore and connect.

Day trip to the Burren region and Cliffs of Moher.

Visit Host city of 2020 European Capital of Culture

Visit Spiddal, a charming village where many Mainers began their journey.

Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, and Cong

Foxford Woolen Mill and WB Yeats Grave

 Explore one of the most pristine regions of Ireland in Donegal

Walking tour on walls of Derry

Visit The Giants Causeway and Antrim Coast

Tour of Belfast, including Titanic Museum 

Exclusive Scotch Whiskey Tasting

Glasgow City Tour

Loch Lomand and the Scottish Highlands, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle

St Andrews – the home of golf

 And many other priceless experiences

Package Price

$2886.00 Land

$210.00 Insurance

$1089 Air * Airfare estimate only

(Total air rate will be finalized Dec 1st)


  A $300 non-refundable deposit per person will secure your space. Don’t delay!

I couldn’t have wished for a better group; exciting, informative, historical and full of good times. Evan and Seamus worked tirelessly to make everyday magically unique. 

Kathy Dyer


Having traveled with Evan and Seamus & the IAC many times, I’ve seen more than I could ever have imagined. They seek out especially interesting and gorgeous places and it’s so nice to chat with the local folk. Anyone who takes a trip with Evan is guaranteed a good time and Seamus is a very skilled driver/guide and teller of tales.

Bertha Gardiner



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Oct 8th : Depart Portland

Depart Cabella’s Park and Ride in Scarborough @1:30pm and head for Boston.

October 9th: Arrival in Ireland - Shannon to Galway

Arrival in Shannon and let the games begin! We’ll hit the ground running and begin our adventure. Traveling through Ennis we head to the Cliffs of Moher where we will take in all the fresh air we can as we look out over the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way. From there, we travel through the Burren and learn about the ecology of this unique region. The Burren is a very special landscape and my hope is to explore it slowly and purposely. After filling your lungs with the freshest Atlantic air, we’ll move onto Galway, our home for the first two nights and host city to 2020 European city of culture.  You may be jet-lagged, but that won’t stop you! Trust me.

Accommodation: Galway Bay Hotel, Galway

October 10th: Connemara Full day

A full day to explore the West, with many of Maine’s ancestors coming from this region, it promises to be a very special day. We start off traveling along the beautiful coast towards Spiddeal, and then it’s all you dreamed off… Stone walls, sheep… lots of sheep, rolling hills. I’ll encourage a good pair of walking shoes, because we are going to spend as much time as we can in the great outdoors. This is not your typical tour and Connemara National Park rewards the adventurous. Kylemore Abbey, Patrick Pearse’s cottage and Cong village are all places that reward the curious mind. In the evening we return to Galway just intone to go explore the shops, restaurants, pubs.. The evening is yours to do what you wish.

Accommodation: Galway Bay Hotel, Galway

October 11th: Galway to Donegal

The trip from Galway to Donegal, is a fascinating one and has many tales to tell. With a stop in the fantastic Museum of Country life, which gives a great idea of early rural life in the Ireland of yesteryear. Foxford is our next stop, to the Woolen mills and one of the best spots to learn about how important places like this where, we also get  pick up a few gifts for yourself (and maybe loved ones). Then we motor onto Sligo, not forgetting to pop in and tip your cap to one of the literary greats, Mr WB Yeats lies under the view of the mighty Ben Bulben. Donegal is our base for the next two nights and I think you’re going to like it!

Accommodation:  Lough Eske Castle, Donegal

October 12th: Donegal

Oh, Donegal… One of Irelands true gems. This is truly one of the most visually stunning regions in the country, but don’t go telling everyone! It boasts cliffs that would make the Cliffs of Moher blush, a coastline that Kerry wishes it had, and then they’re the people, not only voted the sexiest accent, but just some of the most entertaining people you’ll meet! After you catch your breath at Slieve League Cliffs, we head further out the coast to Glencolmcille and then we get active again as I show you one of Irelands most stunning beaches. After that… Well, a pub, of course! And not just any pub. One of my personal favorites.

Accommodation: Lough Eske Castle, Donegal

October 13th: Antrim Coastline

This morning we leave Donegal and travel across to Northern Ireland into one of the islands most fascinating cities. The walled city of Derry, has many stories to tell, and I’ve got the best guy in the business to tell the story. After, it’s onto the geographical wonder that is The Giants Causeway, a place with as many stories of myth and legend that would satisfy even the wildest of imaginations. Dunluce Castle has also inspired many a tale, and it will become easy to see why, perched out on a cliff edge this castle has to be one of the most perfect settings imaginable. We may have another trick or two up our sleeve also along the way. This evening we spend a night in the charming coastal town of Ballycastle, one of my personal favorite overnight stops in the region. One thing is for sure… you’ll sleep the sleeps of the giants tonight!

Accommodation : Marine Hotel, Ballycastle.

October 14th: Belfast

After an early morning walk along the beach at Ballycastle, we make our way down along the coast towards Belfast. Getting into Belfast in the early afternoon with plenty time to explore this city for yourself. Maybe visit the Titanic Museum or take a black cab taxi ride a hear from the very people that lived in the city at  the times of the troubles. Crumlin Gaol has become a highly recommended stop in the city in recent years, and it’s well worth a visit.  Keep a little energy for the evening though. Belfast has made a big name for itself in the culinary world and it’s well worth diving into this world for an evening. Got a bit of energy spare… The pubs on a Saturday night won’t disappoint!

Accommodation: Titanic Hotel, Belfast 

October 15th: Belfast - Glasgow

Our time in Ireland comes to and end and we make the short trip across the water, into bonnie Scotland. While the two destinations often get pooled together, Scotland and Ireland are more different that you night expect. While this is subtle at first, the gap quickly widens and you’ll be in awe at what Scotland has to offer, and it’s not just because the men in wear skirts!

The journey from Belfast to Cairnryan is a short 2+ hours and this give us plenty time to take in the home of the famous Robert Burns, but maybe an in-depth Scotch tasting before arrive into Scotlands true character, a city that’s as true to itself as any I’ve seen. The locals are proud and wear their city with great pride. After a brief city tour, the rest of the evening will be yours to enjoy. I’d encourage you to go explore, meet the locals, try the Haggis, tell a tale or two and take in the wonder that is Scotland.


October 16th: Loch Lomand, Edinburgh

Departing Glasgow, we venture into Loch Lomand, and The Trossachs National Park. Straddling both the Scottish Highlands and the Lowlands, this island-studded loch boasts the largest surface area of any of Scotland’s lakes. After we continue to Stirling Castle for a guided tour, Perched above the city of Stirling on a chunk of volcanic rock, this mighty Scottish fortress has a dramatic story to tell, the castle also offers superb views over Stirling and Scotland’s green hills and valleys.

We head back towards Edinburgh but the drive is anything but ordinary as we pass Linlithgow Palace and the Kelpies monument, the largest equine sculptures in the world.

Edinburgh will soon be with our sights, we spend the next two nights in this majestic city.


October 17th: St Andrews

Today is built with a lot of flexibility in mind and the idea is to take it nice an slow, wander the narrow streets of Edinburgh, explore the castle and for those of you that would like to explore St Andrews and visit the home of Golf, we have a course tour that will focus on 2/3 of the finest holes in golf. If golf isn’t your thing you may prefer to visit The Scotish Fisheries Museum. Perhaps you haven’t had your fill of castles just yet… fear not, we could offer you another castle visit. the St Andrews Castle offers a different visitor experience as it’s not as heavily restored yet remains a dominant structure looking out over the coast it once protected.

We return to Edinburgh with plenty time to enjoy a final group dinner.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel, Malahide

October 18th: Departure Day

Group shuttle will be offered to Airport with plenty time to do a little last minute shopping or to dive into one last plate of Haggis to prepare for your onward journey.

Leaving DUB at 11:30am – arriving BOS 1:35pm, estimated into Portland 4:45pm


  Land – $2886.00 Land only per personal based on twin/double sharing
Limited number of Single rooms available for additional $350

Insurance – $210 our person*
Total Package cost $3096.00 per person, based twin / double sharing.

Airfare – Boston- Shannon, Edinburgh-Boston (exact fare TBD estimations $1089.00)

*Insurance : $210.00 per person is included – If not being purchased, proof of alternate insurance is require
Trip Cancellation – Trip Cost*
Trip Interruption -150% of Trip Cost
Travel Delay  (6 hours) $750 ($150/day)
Missed Connection (3 hours) – $500
Baggage/Personal Effects – $1,500
Baggage Delay (24 hours) – $400
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation – $150,000
Accident & Sickness Medical Expense – $50,000
Emergency Medical Evacuation, Medical Repatriation & Return of Remains – $250,000
Non-Insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services  – Include