In our blog today, Professor Brian Williams, University of Aberdeen, looks at what our guests booked on Aegean Odyssey’s ‘Celtic Scotland and Ireland’ sailing in July 2017 can expect from this majestic sailing. Our award-winning small-ship will take in some of the regions most impressive scenery and some of its most alluring ports of call. Far more than just an ocean cruise, this voyage will offer breathtaking scenery ashore and from the open decks of Aegean Odyssey.

Basalt Columns Isle Of Staffa

Scotland witnessed the birth of the science of Geology. The majestic landscapes of the Scottish NW Highlands and Inner Hebridean Islands owe everything to their geological foundations and recent glacial modifications.  From the ancient crustal rocks of Iona, via the “Snowball Earth” scenery of Islay & Jura, then northwards to the volcanic landforms of Mull and the Isle of Staffa with its basalt columns of Fingals Cave, Aegean Odyssey will take you on a spectacular journey back through the “deep time” of the Earth.

Thereafter, the beauty of the coastline of W. Ireland can be admired from the Ship. A coastline rich in antiquity – history, archaeology and geology  – from Donegal in the NW to Mizen Head at the SW tip of Co. Cork. We will see the stunning granite mountains of Donegal;  Mayo (with Irelands’ only fjord), and Connemara in Galway – landscapes that are a continuation of those seen in NW Scotland. The vertiginous cliffs of Achill Island and Moher will be traversed while sailing towards the mouth of the River Shannon with its wide estuary and resident school of dolphins. Southwards towards W. Kerry  mountainous terrains, the highest in Ireland, provide a backdrop to the incredibly important Islands of the Blaskets and Skelligs with their archaeological and literary significance.

River Shannon

From Bantry Bay, via the Beara Peninsular, of Daphne Du Maurier fame, to Cork City’s harbour, large coastal indentations give way to the drowned river valleys (rias) of that city’s port. Cork and Cobh have a rich maritime history some of it tragic e.g. the Titanic and Lusitania. Off S. Cork gas platforms are present which are vital to Ireland’s energy resources. Thereafter, more subdued coastal configurations are to be seen around Co.’s Waterford and Wexford en route to the vibrant city of Dublin.

Entering the third segment of the Celtic Kingdom  – Wales – on the way to Cardiff, the glorious red and white clifflines of Pembrokeshire and Gower will be visible. Finally, the granite Isles of Scilly, a SW extension of Dartmoor, will be viewed at first hand, before visiting the largest of the Channel Islands [Jersey], in essence an outpost of the Breton [French] segment of the Celtic Kingdom.

Scilly Isles

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Professor Brian Williams will be joining Aegean Odyssey on her ‘Celtic Scotland and Ireland’ sailing in July 2017 to lecture and we still have cabins available if you’d like to join us.

Aegean Odyssey’s full summer cruise collection can be viewed on our website.