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A_Thur Nov 11th, 2003 02:55 PM

England vs. Ireland
My family and I will be in the UK from May 22-June 7. I was planning on spending a few days in London, then driving up to Edinburgh and exploring Scotland for a few days before driving back down the other oast. However, we'd really love to see Ireland as well. Is is feasible to spend a few days in London, take the train up to Edinburgh, spend 5 days seeing Scotland, and then take the ferry over to Belfast, drive down through Ireland over 5 days or so, and take the ferry back to England for the last 2 days? We would miss almost of all England's sites, but I'd really rather see some of Ireland than the bulk of England. Also, we are used to road trip vacations here in the states with 6 or seven hours of driving a day, though I know we certainly cover more miles in that time here. Any thoughts, suggestions, or must sees?

panhandle Nov 11th, 2003 04:18 PM

I think you should save Ireland for another trip. That really is just too much moving about to enjoy. Touring in Ireland is alot slower than you would think and is best experienced with time to really explore those "wrong turns"
I would take the five days and spend more time in Scotland or skip Scotland and spend the time in Ireland.
It sounds like a great trip no matter what you decide!

happytourist Nov 11th, 2003 05:06 PM

Definitely save Ireland for another trip.

flanneruk Nov 11th, 2003 10:46 PM

It's sort of feasible. You'd probably miss getting sucked into rural Ireland, but that's a decision for you.

The practical problems are around car hire and the length of the Irish Sea crossings.

The simplest car hire solution is to hire and return in the London area: the four ports you're envisaging aren't too convenient for car hire pickup and collection. Pickup in Glasgow and return in London might involve you in dropoff charges, though these can be negotiated.

The sea crossing complications are first that it's a few hours from, say, Glasgow to Stranraer (or wherever) for Ulster, though it's a relatively short journey then.

To get an "Irish" - as opposed to just a Dublin - experience, you then need to drive to Ireland's south, returning via Rosslare to South West Wales. This crossing takes between 2 and 4 hours, depending on ship, but I've never managed the ongoing drive to London in less than 6-7 hours. You can finesse this by travelling overnight, or by sailing Cork-Swansea overnight. But it's tough to drive Ireland-London in less than a touring day, most spent on dull British motorways or hanging round docks. There are lots of nice detours on the way - but they're mostly a fair slog off the main road. And the ferry timetables aren't always that convenient.

The alternative ferry from the Dublin area to N Wales takes as long, though the British bit of the drive starts off more scenic, and your insight into Ireland would then be limited to the stretch between Belfast and Dublin.

Don't dismiss the idea. But remember how slow driving can be throughout the British Isles, and allow enough time for any side trips you might be thinking of. Properly planned (and your timing might actually be too tight), it wouod be very enjoyable.

marcus Nov 12th, 2003 02:42 AM

As flanneruk said, you'd probably miss out on the rural Ireland unless you're into the "green blur". I'd make more time or else another trip someday. By the way, when in Ireland, don't refer to it as part of the British Isles. It wouldn't go down too well with most people.

Tries2PakLite Nov 12th, 2003 07:17 PM

Oh my, "The Troubles" have found their way to the Forum. Ach, 'tis a sad day. %%-

Bigchiefally Nov 13th, 2003 04:35 AM

Heh :-)

Well some will indeed be annoyed, others will buy you a pint!

Wouldnt get hung up on it whatever.

marcus Nov 13th, 2003 05:08 AM


Under no circumstances was this a reference to "The Troubles". The majority of Brits and Irish have moved on from that mentality (I hope). I would compare it to Canadians being mistaken for Americans when abroad. It's just something people don't like. I also hate to see politics take over any travel chat sites.
By the way, I'll be shouting for England when they play France this weekend. How things change.

Tries2PakLite Nov 13th, 2003 10:07 AM

%%- Ah, the subtle humor of the Irish can be misread. "Tis a fine thing to be sure, but not recognized by all.

MikeTravels Nov 13th, 2003 02:18 PM

Although I'd probably not try to do all of these destinations in one trip, I'd consider a cheapo ryan air flight from edinburgh to dublin to save time. Or perhaps fly into Shannon in order to see the west of Ireland (Dingle being a particular fave of ours).

Dr_DoGood Nov 13th, 2003 03:37 PM

I think some homework is required on the difference between The British Isles and The United Kingdom Of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland is absolutely to be found in part of the British Isles and no Irishman would attempt to say otherwise.

Of course the point being that the British Isles is not a politically demarcated entity rather a geographical one - ie the archipelego off the NW coast of Europe.

Don't try and stir up contention where none exists!

Dr D.

kristen_hoffmann Nov 17th, 2003 11:20 AM

Ok, let's skip the history lessons. I've been to London twice now (and am currently planning a trip in Ireland). The first time I was in England we did London only and I really wanted to see the countryside too. Last year we went back and did the English countryside and Scotland and it was amazing. I would say stick with the UK this time and then do Ireland another time. Have fun!

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