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jumping from Ireland to Scotland ideas

We are traveling to Ireland in June for a week and then thinking about visiting a friend in Inverness. A thought we had was taking a ferry/boat across to the highlands and taking a train to Inverness. Is that possible, cost effective, or is it better to fly? ....or something else?

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How much time do you have?

Where on Ireland?

Flying out of Dublin will take at least six hours with a change somewhere in England.
Ferry/train/bus out of Dublin maybe way more than twelve hours.

Ferry and train out of Belfast maybe ten hours.
Flying out of Belfast maybe five hours but the flight is only an hour plus.

It's not a casual jump.