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Ireland and Scotland (14 nights)

Hi all!

H and I are planning a two week (14 nights in countries) trip to Ireland and Scotland. We have been to Ireland before, but only Dublin, Kilkenny and Wicklow. We have never been to Scotland. Here is our current itinerary we are thinking of. I know that there is OF COURSE so much more to see, but given our time restraints I am wondering if you all would think this would make a good trip. We will have a car in both Ireland and Scotland.

Fly into Dublin - 2 nights (we loved it here and want to at least be back for a day).

Drive to Galway - 2 nights. Drive to Cliffs of Moher while there.

Drive to Belfast - 2 nights. Taking the long way so we can see Giants Causeway and make other stops along the way

Fly to Glasgow - 2 nights

Drive to Inverness - 4 nights. This is our time to explore the highlands.

Drive to Edinburgh - 2 nights. Fly home from Edinburgh.

Posted by
3122 posts

I think this will work nicely. Personally I wouldn't spend 2 nights in Glasgow, but if you are a fan of the many things the city has to offer, go for it. Instead of staying in Inverness as your base for the highlands, you might want to consider someplace more scenic. I'm partial to Inveraray, but it's way off to the west so it would not be convenient to Culloden Battlefield or Cawdor Castle or Urquhart Castle. There's also Fort William, or (smaller town) Fort Augustus. Or, nearer to the Cairngorms is Aviemore.

As you noted, you won't see everything, but I think you've made good choices and it's good to see that you're not trying to stay 1 night here, 1 night there.

Posted by
3363 posts

Agree with previous poster that you can skip Glasgow, unless you love cities. I disagree with previous poster about Inverness. I thought it was a lovely, picturesque town with the river Ness running through it. Good restaurants too! The highlands are spectacular!
Glad to read you loved Dublin....we loved it too!

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you both! Will look into Glasgow more. What would you do with the additional night? More time in the highlands, or is Edinburgh worth three nights?

Posted by
3363 posts

Edinburgh definitely worth three nights. Remember, three nights is really only two full days. Plenty there to occupy that time and more.

Posted by
27431 posts

I liked Glasgow a lot, but I'm fond of Victorian architecture and loved tracking down a lot of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings. I think it's reasonable to allow yourself more time in the highlands at Glasgow's (or Edinburgh's) expense if you're more interested in scenery and rural castles (ruined or otherwise) than in city attractions.

There is, incidentally, a huge, huge difference in the number of tourists in Edinburgh and Glasgow, at least in July (and August is obviously worse). I found Edinburgh to be mobbed in some areas; there were relatively few tourists in Glasgow.

Posted by
1343 posts

I respectfully disagree with previous posters. I liked Glasgow better than Edinburgh. In my view Glasgow is a more vibrant, modern city, while Edinburgh was more looking back to older times. YMMV.

I Glasgow I especially liked the RIverside Museum. We visited it on the HOHO trip and stayed much longer than we had planned.

Posted by
1226 posts

The question of whether to add more time to a city like Edinburgh or Glasgow, or to a rural area (the highlands) is very difficult to answer without knowing your personal interests and what you want to get out of your vacation. Do you like historical sights (Edinburgh), cities with an industrial past and a vibrant present (Glasgow), or scenic areas with mountains, lochs, distilleries, hiking and the occasional castle (Highlands). Do you want to see any of Scotlands many and varied islands?

As I say it is nigh on impossible without knowing what drives your choices. Otherwise all you will get is opinions based on what the writer themselves enjoys. For example, I live on the isle of Skye. I love rural scenery, living right next to the sea, with the mountains and endless hiking possibilities on my doorstep. My nearest town is Inverness, which for me is basically just where I go to stock up on things I can't buy locally. Yes it's fairly scenic and the drive to get there is spectacular. It could be an OK base for a few nights in which to get out and enjoy the highlands, but would I choose to lodge there? Probably not.

Edinburgh - yes wonderful city with masses to see for a few days. Glasgow - in my opinion, not somewhere I would want to explore when there is so much else to see in Scotland. But that is just my opinion.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
4476 posts

If you like museums, I would stay in Edinburgh 4 nights and skip Glasgow. Less changes in cities/hotels is always nice.

Posted by
1389 posts

Hi, pittielover23,

Are there really 22 others?

Are you flying from Belfast to Glasgow, or are you returning the car to Dublin? I ask because you'll be dropping the car off in what is basically a different country if you're flying out of Belfast. If that's the case, check with your car hire company to see what they recommend.

I'm a bit prejudiced in this matter, but I do prefer Glasgow to Edinburgh. You don't mention when you're going, but as previously posted, Edinburgh is absolutely chock-a-block with tourists in July and August. There is a lot to see and do in Glasgow (Cathedral, Necropolis, Art Galleries, Glasgow Uni, Riverside Museum, etc.) Plus the people's Palace, if it's completely open when you're there. Glasgow can be fairly busy in August during the World Pipe Band Championships, but other than that, it's a lot less crowded.

As Skyegirl pointed out, what your interests are will make a great deal of difference in where you stay in the Highlands. You can certainly lodge in Inverness and make day trips from there. There are several routes that you can take which will take you in to the heart of the Highlands, and these are circular routes, which means that you don't have to return by the same route you took going out. You can also venture east, to visit the towns along the Moray coast. However, if you wanted to visit any of the islands, Skye, for instance, you'd be better off staying closer to give yourselves more time to explore.

It doesn't look as though you have a whole lot of time outside of Dublin while you're in Ireland, but the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry are beautiful at any time of year.

Best wishes for your holiday!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
677 posts

I’d personally drop either Edinburgh or Glasgow from your itinerary. I’d add one extra night to Ireland, either Galway or Doolin. The countryside of Ireland is jam-packed with things to see and do, and I think you could benefit with some more time to explore it. Near to Galway, besides the Cliffs of Moher, you have Connemara, the Burren, Doolin (fantastic small town to stay in where you can hear traditional music), the Poulnabrone Dolmen, the Aran Islands, etc.

I’d add the other extra night to Edinburgh or Glasgow, whichever one you end up choosing. We haven’t been to Glasgow yet so no advice there. We did spend four nights in Edinburgh and absolutely loved our time there. Great city!

What are your goals for the highlands? Hiking? Scenic drives? I don’t know how great of a base Inverness will be for you; it probably depends on how you are wanting to spend your time in the highlands.