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10 Days in Ireland & Scotland

Hello! My two girlfriends and I are planning a 10 day trip to cover as much of Ireland and Scotland as possible this August. Any advice on what to pack, where to stay, things to do (we're really looking for an authentic and scenic experience rather than a tourist-y one) would be much appreciated! We college students, so we are on a bit of a budget. Does anyone know the best and fastest way to cross from Ireland to Scotland? We won't be renting a car, so if anyone has experience with how long travel takes on buses and trains, please share!

On our list so far: Book of Kells, Cliffs of Mohor, Aran Island, Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Ness & Lomond, Highlands, Blarney Stone

Posted by
1977 posts

In my opinion, this is way too much and really not possible to see or enjoy much of anything. Does the ten days include arrival and departure, if so you are down to eight days. Even if you have ten days it is still too much. Suggest you pick one country or the other to really enjoy. Get a map and a tour book and decide what is most important to the three of you and go from there. If you only looked at the map of Ireland, you would see that you are all over the place, Dublin to the East, Blarney to the southeast, Cliffs to the far west and Belfast to the far northeast. Suggest you come back for more advice once you have really thought this out. You are young and am sure you will go back again to Europe.

Posted by
237 posts

I'm going to brutally honest and say that you're trying to do too much. I think it's a lot but adding up budget restrictions, added travel time for using public transport and traveling over water between countries makes it too much. I know you may have your heart set on this itinerary but I would urge you to choose one of these areas to explore. You effectively lose a day to travel between Ireland and Scotland even if you fly between airport travel and finding new accommodations. The ferry from Belfast to Scotland takes at least a couple of hours and has the same issues with travel from the coast into the city itself and the Dublin ones are even longer.

I would make a list of everything you want to see in each country and make a realistic itinerary for getting it done and then see if you can see what you want to in all the places you want to go. Then you'll either need to cut both lists down to fit in one trip or decide to only do one list. Five days on Ireland island and four days in Scotland just seems way too short to really get a feel for the cultures, but that decision is up to you.

My $.02,

Posted by
9110 posts

Note that you got essentially the same answer to the identical question posted in the Scotland column.

Posted by
16883 posts

See Rick's Ireland itinerary priorities and the same for Scotland to get an idea of the fastest it can be done. I would choose either Ireland or Scotland for 10 days, not both. Each chapter in Rick's guidebooks will summarize transportation time to the next destinations and give web addresses or phone numbers for the relevant bus companies. Your Ireland route will be mostly by bus.

For most train schedules, see How to Look Up Train Schedules Online. See more train tips on the Britain and Ireland pages at