Ireland or Scotland

Old Aug 24th, 2014, 06:07 PM
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Ireland or Scotland

My husband and and I are planning to go to one of these countries next year. I would love to see both, but have neither the time nor the money. Any suggestions to sway one way or the other? We are neither Irish nor Scottish so that will not decide it. We like beautiful vistas, cities, museums, shopping, nice hotels, water views, hiking. It just seems both countries would give us all of that.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 06:25 PM
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How much time do you have and what time of year do you want to go? Ireland has a generally milder climate than Scotland due to the Gulf stream - and except in midsummer I think I would prefer the former.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 06:27 PM
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>> It just seems both countries would give us all of that.<<

And they would. Any recommendations would be totally subjective. Some LOVE Scotland, Some LOVE Ireland.

This is just strictly my opinion -- but I believe Scotland is a bit easier for the first timer. The driving is mostly easier. Both countries have narrow roads but IME (over MANY trips to Scotland and a few trips to Ireland) but there are fewer of stone walls and VERY narrow roads in Scotland -- it is more open road driving.

Cities - Edinburgh has it hands down over Dublin - no question.

Coastal scenery - Both countries have it in spades - might lean ever so slightly to Ireland on that one.

Castles -- Scotland is THE place for castles.

Whiskey (Ireland) or Whisky (Scotland) . . . totally a personal preference.

Either one would make a lovely trip - when ail you travel and how many days? That could make a difference.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 06:29 PM
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Didn't see nytraveler's post. Ireland <i>can</i> be warmer - or not. But it definitely IS wetter.
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 02:33 AM
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Just for the cities then Scotland. I like both
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 07:59 AM
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Edinburgh > Dublin any day of the week. This is not a contest.

Scottish castles > Irish castles - the former are usually intact, the latter are predominantly ruins. Ireland does not have an equivalent to Stirling, Edinburgh, Scone, Glamis, Dunrobin, Blair, Fraser . . .

Thinking a sunny day around Eilann Donan would hit your happy zone for a vista.

Whisky > whiskey. The Scottish variety is far more varied and the basic single malts are better than the basic Powers or Jameson.
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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II agree w/ everything you say BigRuss - especially the whisky. I was just trying to be fair and not show my extreme bias preferring Scotland


(there are a LOT of castle ruins in Scotland too)
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:14 AM
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I agree with janisj on the facts - Scotland definitely has beautiful castles, and Edinburgh is gorgeous. I love both Ireland and Scotland so much I even wrote a guide book on planning your own trip for each

I would say that Ireland, landscape-wise, is a bit gentler and softer than most of Scotland. Scotland is more rugged and rough. But on the west and north coasts of both, there are plenty of cliffs and spectacular sights.

The people and the food in both are fantastic. I find the Irish a bit more easy to understand (especially compared to Glasgow), but not bad all around if you've developed an ear. I think Scotland tends to be a bit more expensive, but again, it depends on how you travel.

Are there any particular books/shows/movies that you are interested in that might have been set or filmed in either one? That might help narrow it down. Or a period of history you are interested in.
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Yeah, there are a ton(ne) of ruins in Scotland. I prefer intact castles and palaces (to the OP: Scone is Scone Palace, Edinburgh has the eponymous castle and the Palace of Holyrood House).

Both the Irish and Scots speak some language akin to English - thinking western Irish near Galway who still speak "Irish" (aka Gaelic) would be less easy to comprehend than Dubliners.

This could help translate some Scottishisms: http://www.brookmyre.co.uk/extras/sh...-the-glossary/
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:46 PM
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I honestly have not thought far enough ahead as to when, but no more than 7 nights. I love The Quiet Man, Brigadoon, the Loch Ness Monster was a favorite childhood legend, and I love the scenery around the fabulous train in the Harry Potter films. My favorite time in history involves the American and French Revolutions, which won't help me here, but I love castles and know I would love walking some Scottish highlands. I seem to be making a decision. Thank you all for your advice. BigRuss, what is the name of your guidebook?
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:57 PM
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Brigadoon doesn't exist -- (and neither does Nessie )

But it sounds like Scotland is what you want.

However 7 days is VERY short for getting much more than a tiny glimpse. Say 2 full days (3 nights) in Edinburgh - that only leaves you 3 or 4 days for the rest of this amazing country - and you want to head to the far west/Glenfinan/the road to Skye for the Jacobite train which is on the complete opposite side of the country.

I'd get a good guidebook about Scotland and then start studying/refining your wish list.
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 09:03 PM
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Yes, 7 days is a very short time for a visit to Scotland. Do some research as janisj suggested and get a good map as well. Traveling in Scotland is at a much slower pace than most people realize.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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I think you meant me for the guidebook? The Ireland one is called Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland - the Scotland one is coming out within a month or two, and will be (likely) called Stunning, Strange and Secret: Scotland.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 08:37 AM
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I don't think I mentioned a guidebook. The one we used for Scotland was published by D------ K--------- (there goes my freebie from Fodors). And the others are right - travel in Scotland may not have large distances as the crow flies, but the roads are neither as straight as the crow's path nor as broad.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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I always use an estimate of 35 mph for any distances in Scotland or Ireland. The roads are charming, but that also means they are narrow, winding, and apt to have sheep or a tractor on it in front of you

I tend to find 3-4 hubs and do day trips from those hubs. That way I can stay in one place for several nights, avoid the hassles of switching places as often, and get to know the locals a bit better.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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Janisj, please don't tell me Brigadoon and Nessie do not exist, for I shall still look for them! Alas, it doesn't sound like I will have enough time to do so, but we just don't have more to spend. Or more money, either, for that matter. Anyway, I will certainly take everyone's advice to heart and appreciate it so much. I am learning with each posting. GreenDragon, my apologies on giving your books away. .
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 02:01 AM
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People whose first language is Gaelic often speak standard English with little accent, because they learned it at school.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 02:31 AM
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I had 14 days in Ireland and saw most of what I wanted to see. I had 14 days in Scotland and pretty much scratched the surface. Do not under-estimate the distances when driving. There is so much to see that you will keep stopping, which adds enormously to driving times.
I might be tempted to suggest that you do Ireland first because it shouldn't spoil Scotland for you. I can't guarantee that the reverse would not be true (personal opinion ). If you are only ever going to do one, I would definitely choose Scotland.
With only seven days, you have two choices: Rush around like a lunatic and try to see as much as you can or base yourself in one or two areas and explore those areas.
In my opinion, everyone should see Edinburgh at least once in their lives. It is a remarkably beautiful city. You probably need three days there; two full days at a pinch. For the rest of the time, my personal recommendation would be a base in the Trossachs (Callander or Aberfoyle) and day trips in the surrounding area. I would call this 'a sip of Scotland' because there is so much more to it but beware! you could become addicted
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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I agree - Edinburgh is fantastic. We took a 23 day trip in Scotland, and spent three nights each in Edinburgh, Grantown-on-Spey, Orkney, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull and Killin (4 nights on Skye). I could do it all again! As Yelpir said, even that only scratched the surface. Edinburgh is the most beautiful city I've seen.

I've been to Ireland 5 times, and finally feel I can move on to other countries

Plan every trip as if you'll return. There is no way to see it all. Yelpir gives good advice - concentrate on two or three places, see those, and then save the rest for the next trip.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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14 days, 21 days! How I envy you! I will take your advice to heart and keep to a limited area. I admit my heart wavered a bit today toward Ireland, but I still think the scales tip to Scotland, albeit to a smaller portion of it than I may have originally intended.
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