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Ireland to Scotland

I'll be going to Ireland (from US) this September. I'll be landing in Dublin, renting a car, driving down to Wexford and then up north to Co. Down. From there, I'd like to go to Scotland and I'm trying to figure out the logistics and the best way to do so. Can I take a ferry from NI to Scotland? If so, can I take the rental car to Scotland? Or do I have to return it in Ireland, take a ferry and rent another car in Scotland.

Another question, is it better to get a round trip ticket to and from Dublin (in which case, I'd need to return to Ireland from Scotland) or get 2 one way tickets - one flying into Dublin, the second departing back home from Edinburgh?

Cost considerations are an issue.

Still in the planning phase.



Posted by
2183 posts

Rarely if ever are one way flights cheaper. Suggest open jaw tickets which allow you to fly into such as into Dublin and home from Edinburgh. You could go from.Dublin, travel to Belfast.then . inexpensive plane trip to Edinburgh then home. Also book directly with the airline. Have you traveled to Europe before? How long do you have as that is very important and are you solo or with others?? Have you driven on the other side of the road?No cannot take car on ferry to Scotland. If you do rent a car the drop fee for renting in one country and leaving it in another might be steep. When are you going? Many people.on this site glad once you give more information.

Posted by
6245 posts

You won't be able to take a rental car on the ferry (or if you can find a place that will allow it, you won't want to pay for what they'll want). If you need a car in Northern Ireland and in Scotland, you'll need two cars.

Unless you have so much time you just don't know what to do with it all, it's almost always best to fly.

Fly in to Ireland, and fly home from Scotland. This is usually called "multi-city" on most airline websites. Your flight between Northern Ireland and Scotland does not need to be booked as part of your transatlantic flights. Book your tickets directly from the airlines, not some third party.

Posted by
7 posts

Ok. The question about taking the rental car on a ferry is settled. Won’t be doing that. Thank you

More info? At this point, I’ll probably be going solo, but at some point, a friend or two might decide to join me.

ETA - Time I have. It’s the cost factor that’s going to put some limits on me.

I’ve been to Scotland twice and once to Ireland. Each time I rented a car, so driving on the “other side” is an adjustment at first, of course, but not a problem afterwards.

Thanks for the info. Please keep your suggestions/advice coming. I appreciate it.

Posted by
6245 posts

Are you planning to rent a car in Ireland (the Irish Republic), drive it into Northern Ireland, County Down - which is part of the UK - and drop it there?

That may be possible, but I would expect a very high fee to drop the car in another country. If, as you say, controlling cost is an important consideration, you will probably want to adjust that plan. There's usually a surprisingly high fee to drop off a rented car in another country. It would probably be (a lot) cheaper to drive the car back into Ireland, return it there, and fly to Scotland from there.

Flights from Dublin to Edinburgh are inexpensive and plentiful.

Posted by
3204 posts

However you can take the ferry as a foot passenger, from Belfast to Glasgow.

The most convenient way to do that is to travel on the coach on either Hannons Coaches or Scottish Citylink and rent a car for Scotland in Glasgow.
Hannons coaches drive onto the ferry and check you in automatically, so is a seamless experience. Fares are £39 each way, ferry inclusive.
Citlylink is a bit cheaper, but you board as foot pax with your luggage.

Posted by
13806 posts

Be aware that in bad weather the ferry crossing can be miserable or even cancelled.

I have flown between Ireland and Scotland a few times and it couldn't be easier. It's especially nice because from Ireland to Scotland there is no immigration upon arrival in Scotland (or anywhere in the UK.) It's like a domestic flight in the US.

Posted by
384 posts

If you change your plans, I flew from Dublin to Edinburgh in 1999. The cost was $85; it would be higher today but still low. My flight took an hour. A flight from Belfast to Scotland, of course, would even be less expensive and shorter.

Posted by
3204 posts

With the advent of low cost carriers like Ryanair, easyjet, Emerald etc it's far lower now. You can often pick up fares of £20 or even less, often at quite short notice. Easyjet GLA-Belfast are often available for £20 at a few days notice.
It makes no logical sense for me over the ferry when you add in time and cost to/from the airport at either end and general aggravation of air travel- I repeat, for me.
I also take very seriously my environmental responsibility where surface travel is far better than very short haul aviation. If it takes a little bit longer but I'm being kinder to the environment that's fine with me.
Yes for long haul I have no realistic choice than to fly.

Posted by
11 posts

I'm doing a similar trip Dublin->Belfast->Edinburgh. I found that a plane from BHD to EDI (Aer Lingus) was about 90GBP while taking the express bus from Belfast to Glasgow, and then taking a train from Glasgow to Edinburgh was around 60GBP. Since the plane took ~2.5 hours including security while the other journey was nearly a full day, I opted for the flight. This may differ based on whether you would enjoy the ferry, have a ton of luggage, or if you are going to Glasgow first, but the plane is definitely a more efficient use of time.

Either way, I also found that a 2-city airfare was much cheaper, time efficient, and easier than making a trip back to Dublin. I am using Aer Lingus and was able to book a multi-city fare into Dublin, back from EDI for about the same as round trip for either of those two cities.