Northern cruise along the Atlantic coast of Ireland and Scotland.
Dublin/Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Dún Laoghaire is a town on the east coast of Ireland, about seven miles south of the capital Dublin. Its focal point is a splendid harbor and the town is surrounded by spectacular rolling hills.
Historically Dún Laoghaire has always been a 'Gateway to Ireland'.
Isle of Man, Irish Sea
Though the Isle of Man was never incorporated into the Roman Empire, the island was noted in Greek and Roman accounts under various names.
Rising water levels cut off the island from the surrounding islands around 8000 BC. Evidence suggests that colonization of the Isle took place by sea sometime before 6500 BC. The first residents lived in small natural shelters, hunting, fishing and gathering their food. They used small tools made of flint or bone, examples of which have been found near the coast.
The Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, approximately equidistant from the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The closest land is southern Scotland. It is 32 miles long and, at its widest point, 14 miles wide. It has an area of around 221 sq miles. Besides the island of Mann itself, the political unit of the Isle of Man includes some nearby small islands: the seasonally inhabited Calf of Man, Chicken Rock on which stands an unmanned lighthouse, St Patrick's Isle and St Michael's Isle. Both of the latter are connected to the mainland by permanent roads/causeways.
Portrush is a small seaside resort town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The population is approximately 6,500 people.
Portrush is a dormitory town for the nearby campus of the University of Ulster at Coleraine. The town is well known for its three sandy beaches, the West Strand, East Strand and White Rocks. The nearby Royal Portrush Gold Club is the only club outside of mainland Great Britain which hosted the Open Championship.
Portree (Isle of Skye), Scotland
Portree is the largest town on Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Portree is a bustling port and a thriving cultural center. The port is used by fishing boats as well as pleasure craft. As the cultural center Skye has many attractions including the award winning Aros Center which runs regular theater, concerts and film screenings. There are exhibits which incorporate the drama of Skye's history and sundry other exhibits.
Kirkwall Island (visit & bird watch)
The Royal Burgh of Kirkwall is the capital of the amazing Orkney archipelago, standing at the dividing point between East and West Mainland.
Just north of Scotland lay the Orkney Islands. Washed by the furthest reach of the Gulf Stream, this chain of over 70 islands offers dramatic landscapes that range from sea cliffs rearing 1,000 feet above the waves to sweeping white sand beaches. Bird watchers flock to the Orkney Islands, drawn by the multitudes of sea birds. Divers explore the wrecks lying in the clear waters of Scapa Flow, the Royal Navy's fleet anchorage in two world wars. And most fascinating of all, the Orkney Islands boast the greatest concentration of prehistoric sites in all Europe, including the mysterious Ring of Brodgar and 5,000-year-old Skara Brae.
The town of Kirkwall was founded around 1035 by Earl Rognvald Brusason and quickly became the administrative center of Orkney. With its harbor and airport, it is the arrival point for ferries from Shetland and Aberdeen, cruise ships, and flights from the UK, and departure point for ferries to the other islands in Orkney. It is the best place to stock up on supplies for heading on.
Kirkwall's best feature is perhaps its sandstone St Magnus Cathedral, widely considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland. The original town is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Norse town. Other sites of historical interest in the town include including the Bishop’s Palace and Earl’s Palace.
The small town of Invergordon has a naval base and port, and is increasingly used as a stop for cruise ships.
Invergordon is a town with a tremendous history stretching back through two World Wars and is now a center for oil rig and wind turbine refurbishment and maintenance. It is also a major port of call for cruise liners bringing in excess of 70,000 passengers to the area.
Owing to its rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture, including numerous stone tenements, it is often considered one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.
Edinburgh is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August.
In addition to its famous festivals, there are museums, zoos, theaters and, of course, nightlife entertainment.