Ireland/Scotland Trip; Please help...

Jun 4th, 2005, 10:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 7
Ireland/Scotland Trip; Please help...

2 questions, please, for all of you helpful & experienced Fodorites:

1) is the itinerary, below, insane?
2) what are the best castles to see along this route? (Aside from Edinburgh Castle, which I know is a must)

Dublin, arrive 7:45 am.
--public transport to Howth--
3 nights, Howth.
Rent car in Dublin, drive to Dingle.
3 nights, Dingle.
Drive to Rossaveal (parking, I hope?); 6:30pm ferry to Inishmore.
2 nts, Inishmore.
4pm ferry back to Rossaveal; drive to Ennis (Is This an Insane Part?)
1 nt Ennis
9am flight from Shannon to Glasgow
Drive Glasgow to Ft. William;
2 nts, Ft. William
Drive bridge to Skye;
2 nts, Skye
2 nts, Inverness
Return car to Edinburgh; 3 nts Edinburgh...

Does anything here sound unmanageable? Any red flags?

Great castles not to miss?

Thanks so much for your help...I've been a lurker a long time, but now I'm finally going on a dream trip! -Holly

valerie05 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 253
I don't have an answer to your Ireland part of your trip but it's a small island you in a week you could surely cover almost all corners.

But I do have a few suggestions. We took the train from Dublin to Belfast (were there are tours of the Troubles areas if your interested) and then caught the ferry to Stranraer.

Watching Ireland disappear in the mist had me in tears but as quickly as we looked forward Scotland was coming into view and we were excited again.

The ferry was very modern and fast but very beautiful and a relaxing time to enjoy. We had a car rented and waiting for us in Stranraer.

We drove then to see Douglas Castle and on to Melrose Abbey where we walked a 5000 year old trail between the Abbey and Newstead (the oldest continually occupied village in Scotland) and the drove toward Edinburgh (40km) stopping to tour the 700 year old church in Ashkirk.

The Lowland should not be missed on your trip. IT's not far to drive and they are NOT Lowlands as you'd expect. They are wonderfully green and huge hills and very beautiful for walking and enjoying yourself.

We drove north of Edinburgh stopping at an Aquarium which is the most wonderful aquarium I've ever seen. Well worth a visit.

It's tricky and we missed the turn off and had to turn to go back but it's a divided highway so you have to go back right to the tolls on the other side of the bridge (don't go through the tolls. When you reach that side of the bridge take a left turn and a small road will take you under the bridge and back up on the other side of the road where you can retrace your steps back to the aquarium)

We continued north through Perth and up the West shore which is very pretty farm country till we stopped and walked about in Farfor (?) and then turned back south stopping at Glamis Castle the childhood home of the Queen Mother. I love it!!!

I would also recommend Blair Castle if your still interested in Castles. This one is very rich and impressively laid out. I'd tour it again and take a lunch or just sit about in the yards for a bit watching the birds.

We continued cross country to Fort William and the back through Stirling (great castles and monuments in Stirling also great restaurants we enjoyed)

We ended back up in Edinburgh where we stopped at a B&B on the main road leading in. The lady told us to park our car in the back and she told us what buses to ride so our time in Edinburgh was simple and relaxed and we loved it.

We took the open bus tour (hop on and off) and took an entire day stopping whereever something caught our eye. (you'd want to see where the horrid fires burnt last year)

It really is a trip to lavish and enjoy. I'd do it again in a heartbeat but I need to see Italy and London now.... I wish you the trip of a lifetime. enjoy.......
Timlin is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:42 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 78
Sounds a great trip Holly. I would probably spend an extra day in Enis: take the chance to see the magnificent Cliffs of Mohar. Do the Durty Nellies Pub thing at Bunratty. Limerick Castle is frequently overlooked but is worth a visit. Have a great time.
derrinraw is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Posts: 253
In case the ferry does interest you...walk on is very cheap and they take care of your luggage for you.
Timlin is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:49 AM
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I'll only comment on the Scottish bit. Any particular reason you have chosen Ft William and Inverness for stops?

Neither is very charming, nor attractive. Now, outside of Inverness are a TON of things to see and do - but the town itself is just a very busy commercial center for the northern part of Scotland.

And Ft William has even less going for it. It is mainly a crossroads with more B&Bs than residents (only a SLIGHT exaggeration). There is really no reason to stay in Ft William.

With a morning flight you could easily drive from GLA to Skye with enough time to visit Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Glenfinnan enroute. But if you did want to stop along the way - outside of Oban for one night, then on to Skye on day 2.

2 nights on Skye, then 1 night somwhere north like Gairloch or Poolewe for 1 night.

Then on to someplace outside of Inverness for 1 or 2 nights. Either to the west like Beauly or Muir of Ord, or to the east near Nairn.

Then I would stay 2 nights somewhere down near Stirling for 2 nights - Callander, Doune, Dunblane are all good choices. This would be a base to see Stirling, the Trossachs, several lovely lochs and castles. Plus you could visit Blair Atholl and Scone Palace enroute south.

Then a short easy drive into Edinburgh.

1 nt near Oban
2 nts Skye
1 nt in the NW
1 nt near Inverness
2 nts near Stirling
3 nts Edinburgh

You could cut Edinburgh to 2 days/nights and add 1 night to the Inverness area. Or if the diversion north from Skye doesn't appeal - then you would have 2 nights near I'ness and 3 nights in Edinburgh.
janis is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Red Flag? Don't stay in Fort William. Stay somewhere outside. Anywhere outside.

castles on your Scottish route?

Drive Glasgow to Ft. William- Inverary, Kilchurn, Carnasserie, Dunstaffnage, barcaldine, Stalker, Inverlochy

2 nts, Ft. William-
basically- none

Drive bridge to Skye;
2 nts, Skye
2 nts, Inverness
Return car to Edinburgh; 3 nts Edinburgh...
sheila is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Oops! posted too soon.

to finishbr /> Drive bridge to Skye;

Eilean Donan
2 nts, Skye

2 nts, Inverness

Urquhart, Cawdor and Brodie

Return car to Edinburgh;

Blair, Huntingtower, Elcho,

3 nts Edinburgh...

Linlithgow, Dirlton and Tantallon

have a great trip
sheila is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
I will comment on Ireland.

You will have an extremely long drive from Dublin to Dingle. I don't recommend it in one day. It would make more sense to do the whole thing backwards. Drive to Rossaveal (yes parking) first.

9am flight out of Shannon: consider you must fill car with petrol, return car, check in. It all takes time. You will need to be at the airport at least 1 1/2 hours early. Stay closer to the airport in Bunratty or Shannon. Ennis can be a real traffic nightmare during rush hour. Bunratty is only about 10-15 minutes from the airport.

IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 09:14 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks so much for all of this very specific help! You guys are great...
valerie05 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 10:17 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 296
I spent two nights in the Glengarry Castle Hotel in Invergarry (25 miles from Ft. William) its not a real castle, but location is excellent, pleasant loch view, food was delicious, beautiful art works everywhere and burning fireplace at night, price reasonable:
Drive from Invergarry to Skye was spectacular, we loved scenery better then Skye itself.
By many recommendations from this board we added 1 night in Oban, its high on my list on the places to revisit with the best seafood restaurant Ee-usk - The Fish Cafét: 01631 565666

When are you planning your trip?
travfirst is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 63
Three nights in Dingle? What are you planning on doing there? It's a cute place, but if it rains constantly (like it did while we were there last week), there is nothing to do. You could do the ring of Kerry from Dingle, but it's a long trip back. Perhaps on night in Dingle and two in Kilarney or even Kilorglin in order to see the southwest coast. Don't miss the Gap of Dunloe.
insight is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,090
I agree with the poster who said don't try to drive from Dublin to Dingle in one day. For one thing you will bypass a LOT to see.

We drove via Powerscourt and the Wicklow Gap past Kilkenny to Mallow (Longuiville House) and were so disappointed to arrive so late that it was hard to enjoy our beautiful room and lovely dinner.

You actually could almost use 2 nights on the way to Dingle.
hopingtotravel is offline  

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