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Ireland AND Scotland … or … Ireland OR Scotland?

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Looking for some insight to help in planning a September 2015 vacation. We are 2 couples in our early 60’s, fairly fit and active, seasoned travelers who have taken many trips together over the past 25+ years.

We are talking about Scotland and/or Ireland this year, and the question is, one or the other, or both? We will have 15 – 16 full days on the ground. As a frame of reference, we spent 15 days in Germany last year – 5 days in Berlin, 5 in the Rhine Valley, and 5 in the Bavarian Alps. This proportion of 1/3 city and 2/3 countryside and small towns is pretty much how we like to do it. We like a medium but not rushed pace, a lot of walking is fine, but not serious hiking. We plan for one or two “touristic” stops most days … museums, gardens, historical sites, churches, etc … and a generous amount of lengthy lunches, dinners, and relaxation. We love to eat, but wouldn’t consider us to be serious foodies … we look for informal places serving authentic local food at reasonable prices, good beer and wine, and a casual atmosphere.

We always rent a car for the days outside of large cities, and prefer to sleep in small towns rather than out in the boondocks so we can have dinner in town without the necessity to drive back to the hotel every night – did I say we like our beer and wine? Also prefer small family-run hotels and B & B’s over large hotels, definitely no large chains with the possible exception of the last night near an airport. A minimum of 3 nights per stop would be pretty important to us … we used to do shorter stays, and aren’t interested in that anymore.

All four of us have been to England several times in the past, and my wife and I previously spent one week in and around Dublin … no other past experience in Ireland for us, none for our friends, and none for any of us in Scotland. With this little bit of information, I'm looking for recommendations on spending all our time in one or the other, or splitting our time between these two countries?

Thanks

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