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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
9110 posts

Without thinking very hard, it looks like you need a week on Ireland if you sprint and about the same for Scotland at the same rate. That's with a car, public transportation will take a longer. As it is, you have as much transit time as sleeping time -- and much more transit time than looking around time.

Pack as little as you can since you're going to be moving it twice a day. Leave room for a rain jacket.

You say you don't want a touristy experience but you've picked touristy places. Live with it or regroup. If you regroup, you'll lengthen transit times.

Budget airlines are the best way to move between Ireland and Great Britain.

You've a minor place name screw up: Arran island is one place the Aran Islands is another. Scotland or the RoI?

Posted by
4841 posts

We visited Western Ireland by bike in 2011 and are seeing Scotland by car this summer - 2 weeks each time. On bikes, we weren't traveling super fast, so didn't even try to see southern, eastern, or northern Ireland (or Northern Ireland) that trip. Buses with Bus Eireann (with an Irish setter on the side instead of a greyhound!) can get you around western Ireland (and take a ferry or pricier airplane to see Inishmore in the Aran Islands), but there are few trains in the West. With just 10 days, maybe you can see as much as possible in a region (rather than the whole country) this time, and hopefully can see other places on your next trip(s).

August is Festival Time in Edinburgh (several festivals all at once), so it's full of Scots and tourists, and lodging prices (if you can find a place) are at their highest. We're flying from the USA to London, then taking a Virgin Air flight to Edinburgh - cheaper and faster than the train. As noted by Ed, you may find Ryanair or other budget airlines can best get you from Ireland to Scotland. Once again, trains and buses are available in Scotland, but trains don't go everywhere, and with buses you're on their timetable and they don't go everywhere, either. On the plus side, if your up for driving on The Left, renting in Scotland appears to be cheaper than in many European countries where we've rented a car. On the minus side, the rental companies seem to have a minimum age (it varies with the company), so that may not be an option for you. You'll have a GREAT time, even if you don't see everything in both countries in your 10-day timeframe.

Posted by
16847 posts

On the other thread, I advised to choose just one country for 10 days. If you can extend the trip to fit both, then that would actually be my first choice. Stretch your budget by staying in hostels and dining on supermarket picnics.