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Need help deciding between Ireland and Scotland

Need help deciding between Ireland and Scotland

Nov 26th, 2012, 03:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Need help deciding between Ireland and Scotland

Hello: We are two families of 4 adults and 4 teenagers. We will be arriving into either Scotland or Ireland on the 26th of May and will have 6 days to spend there. Our interests are pubs, castles ,hiking, wineries, breweries and distilleries but most importantly amazing scenery. We will have just finished a 7 day Med cruise, so may be in need of a bit of relaxation. We are currently leaning towards Ireland as the accomodations seem to be much cheaper, however I'm concerned that there will be too much driving in order to see everything. Is there any place fairly central that we could stay for the whole 6 days or should we be moving around the island as we go. We will definitely rent a car. What about Scotland? Any suggestions on which is better for our likes? We usually like to rent a house. Thanks so much for any suggestions.
stvmic is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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No one can help you decide really --since some LOVE Ireland and some LOVE Scotland (I'm more in the 2nd camp)

Both have more beautiful bits than you can possibly see a week. In general - the driving is a little easier in rural Scotland than in rural Ireland. In Ireland you'll average about 30 mph, in Scotland a bit faster. There are any number of places that would be a nice base for a week. But no base/one spot will be convenient to see large swaths of either country.

You can't go wrong w/ either country. But basically pick a place to base and concentrate on that small-ish geographic area - or - plan a touring trip w/ 2 or 3 different stopovers.

In any case, you'll want to rent 2 mid-sized cars instead of a huge bus-type vehicle: For flexibility, to save ££/€€/$$, and to hold all the luggage for 8.
janisj is online now  
Nov 26th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Hi Stvmic,

You wrote: “We are currently leaning towards Ireland as the accommodations seem to be much cheaper, however I'm concerned that there will be too much driving in order to see everything.”

In six days, no way can you “see everything.” I would suggest flying into Shannon and choosing a place in the west of Ireland. The county is beautiful all around and the people are friendly. As others will advise you, traveling about is quite time consuming – distances seem much shorter on maps.

Enjoy Ireland…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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distances seem much shorter on maps.

It's all relative....I live in Texas and Irish distances on maps look much longer to me than they really are! But I did have to learn the Thirty-Five MPH Rule and life is easier.
jaja is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 09:35 PM
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We enjoyed both but would give the slight edge to Scotland. Part of that though was because we could drive to it and the weather was better the week we are there. We plan to return to Scotland again this year (though to different parts).

Here are our trips if that helps:


indy_dad is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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If you were to choose Ireland, I would choose flying into Shannon and finding a self-catering place to rent for the week, possibly near Kenmare, Killarney or Dingle. This would give you plenty of places for day trip explorations (Dingle is a little more out of the way in terms of non-Dingle explorations). I second janis' idea of two cars - you don't want to all have to go to the same place every day, and this offers some freedoms. And the bigger vans will be difficult in some of the roads. This is a great site to help you find the 'hidden gems' of Ireland: http://www.irelandtravelkit.com/

My choice would be Kenmare - there are lovely self-catering places all around there. I would recommend those run by Gerry and Vanessa (I stayed in their B&B, O'Donnabhain's) http://www.odonnabhain-kenmare.com/holiday-homes.php

You will have no shortage of all your interests, except perhaps wineries - neither country is very dry, and that's an important part of vineyards. The Ring of Beara, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Cobh, Killarney National Park, Gap of Dunloe, Cork - all these are lovely day trips and possibilities for scenic drives, hikes, etc.

Scotland, I would recommend either staying in the Trossachs area (and again, doing a self-catering house, 2 cars, and lots of day trips around the area) or up on the Isle of Skye. I could easily spend 6 days on Skye and not be bored, especially with the hiking possibilities. The Trossachs are nicely centered in a gorgeous area with trips to Glencoe, Stirling, Callender, Killin, Loch Lomond, Perth, etc.

This is an EXCELLENT site to help you find places via map and location http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/
GreenDragon is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:18 AM
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Another option for Ireland, in my opinion, were to spend it in Donegal - a bit more remote, off the tourist track - but spectacular. Usually first-timers concentrate on the southwest, but the northwest is equally beautiful!
GreenDragon is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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My vote would be Scotland with a general preference for coastal parts.

I loved the Orkneys (on the right at the top) when I went a few years back, they have tombs up there that are older than the pyramids and even the tombs have viking grafiti on them. The wild life is very close (were else do you see "otters crossing" signs?) and a very gentle accent which is easy to the ear.
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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You are not going to get much relaxation running around the roads of either country to see lots of places especially if a Med Cruise might wear you out!

So consider a place where you can get day tours and let others worry about the driving. So for Scotland Glasgow or Edinburgh for Ireland Belfast, Dublin, Galway or Killarney.
Tony2phones is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Get those teenagers started early with the interest in pubs and distilleries!

Edinburgh > Dublin - this is not a close contest.

Scotch whisky > Irish whiskey - this is not close either.

Scottish castles > Irish (more ruins) castles.

For 8 people, you need two cars. And beware - the petrol prices in both countries are horrific.
BigRuss is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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I'm in Scotland. We have lost and lots of pubs, castles ,hiking, wineries, breweries and distilleries and most importantly amazing scenery.(well we don't have lots of wineries- 2 I can think of and I wouldn't allow the product from either to darken my door; but the Irish don't have any either)

So come here. We'll look after you
sheila is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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Wine produced in Ireland from Irish grapes but not open to tourists http://www.llewellynsorchard.ie/Lusc...s_overview.htm
Tony2phones is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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So, you don't want to drive?

Check out this site. It's been recommended several times on the forum, and I have it bookmarked for my next trip.

Rastaguytoday is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Huggy is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 06:17 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks so much for the suggestions. We definitely will be renting two cars and prefer self drive touring rather than an organized tour. When I say relax after the cruise, I mean maybe for one or two days, the rest we will want to be touring, hiking etc. It looks like we may be able to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon. Would a day and a half in Dublin be enough, and then head over to the northwest or southwest? Any other suggestions for house rentals right on the water in either location? Suggestions for house rentals in Scotland on the water would be appreciated as well. We have a budget of approx 1500 u.s. for one week rental. (Could go to 2000 if it's got spectacular views)
stvmic is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 07:01 AM
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Where does your cruise Terminate? With only 6 days consider flying into Cork and then the Killarney, Galway, Dublin arc. Or fly into Belfast and the Causeway/Derry, Donegal, Mayo, Galway Dublin loop. For Dublin and out from Shannon and a single touring base consider the area round here in East Galway/Clare as a touring Base.
The problem with renting a house/cottage is that most rent Saturday to Saturday although Imagine Ireland have some that rent from 3 days.
Tony2phones is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 07:22 AM
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I would factor in the access to and from your landing/departure points. Assuming your cruise terminates in some Mediterranean port (Barcelona? Rome?) getting to a "start point" in Ireland or Scotland could be time consuming. Similarly, getting from your endpoint to an international airport can also be a bit time consuming; e.g. from Shannon there are very few transatlantic flights compared to Dublin, and only a few TATL flights originate in Scotland - most itineraries involve a hop to London. So if your six days includes travel time to and from the gateway airports, it limits you further.

That said, given your group size and time of year, I'd probably head to Edinburgh for a couple of nights, using the immediate post-cruise time to explore that wonderful city - full of pubs, history, the best castle (IMO) in the UK, the Palace, Old Town, New Town, Dean Village, etc...

Then get a couple of cars and spend 3 or 4 days driving a big loop - up to St Andrews via the Fife coastal villages, then over to Glen Coe and Glenfinnan (lots of Hogwarts landscapes) then back to Edinburgh via Loch Lomond. In early June daylight will be quite long.

You could then fly home from Edinburgh (a few flights) or else via a quick London connection.

It's a superb country ride, exposing you to the Highlands as well as some beautiful lowland scenery. You'll be planning to return.
Gardyloo is online now  

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