10 days in Ireland/Scotland with 18mo. old

Hello Fellow RS Travelers, My wife and I are thinking of heading to Ireland and perhaps Scotland for 10 days in September. We generally just take the train everywhere on these trips, but now we will have an 18 month old child to tote along. It seems Ireland is best seen via automobile, but would this be the same for Scotland? Are these two countries too ambitious for only 10 days plus one day of travel on each end?
For those who have traveled with little ones in these countries, what are your thoughts? Are we crazy for bringing her along? We want her to share in our travel experiences and come along with us as much as possible even when she's young. Thanks for the help! Andrew

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

Dear Andrew: We haven't been to Ireland but have driven extensively thruout Scotland. If you take the ferry from N. Ireland to Galway in Scotland you can easily get to the Borders and Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are plently of Farm B & B's with lots of Animals that would be fun for a wee one. Most of the major sites have stroller access. Probably one of 3 bike wheeled stroller would be best because of gravel and cobblestones. A car is the only way to go in Scotland since trains run only to the big towns. Remember the weather can start to be damp that time of year.

Posted by Cynthia
USA
44 posts

Andrew, Although we did not see Ireland with a wee one as you have, we have traveled with our three boys everywhere stateside and abroad from the time they were babies. Start them young and make them part of the fun! Kids who grow up traveling, do much better than trying to convince them later that it is fun. We did go to Ireland with older kids. Traveling by car is by far the best way. With the car you are in charge of your own schedule and not following the schedule set for you by a third party, so to speak. You can keep things in the trunk that you don't want to carry around with you. Just like you drive a car in the US to sight-see, having a car to work from is much better that navigating with everything in tow. But as others have mentioned, I think it would be very hard to see Ireland on public transportation, especially with little ones. Rent a car, the countryside and villages are charming and friendly. I might add that when we flew into Dublin, we immediately drove north, counter clockwise around Ireland and N. Ireland. When we returned to Dublin in ten days or so, we turned the car in making a hostel our base and using buses to see the city. Traveling with babies, people used to make comments to us, how can you do that? We replied, how can we not do it? Our kids are mostly grown now and repeatedly they have thanked us for giving them a life of travel. They learned a lot from seeing the world during their years growing up. That is something they couldn't have gotten anywhere else!

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1177 posts

With 10 days of time to move around between two countries you will only get a small taste of what each has to offer (and each certainly has enough to keep you occupied for the full trip). With an 18 month old, I don't know that I'd be wanting to rely mostly on trains or buses to get around so I do think in your case a rental car would be better unless you want to base yourself out of one of the cities or large towns and join up with guided day tours to see the countryside. Will this be the 1st time your baby takes an airplane trip? I say go ahead and bring your child if you want, but if they have never flown before, I would suggest you take a weekend trip in advance here in the US and fly someplace just to see how your baby will react to the plane ride. Some will sleep through just about anything and others will be kicking and screaming. The plane ride to/from is often the hardest part of travelling with a baby or toddler depending how they react to being confined to a small area for many hours.

Posted by Andrew
Washington, DC
35 posts

Thanks everyone. Our daughter is a great traveler already having flown about 6 times since she was born. She sleeps for most of the flight and is not a screamer (knock on wood!). When we fly overseas, we generally have enough mileage points to bump us up to business class so that will provide more room for all of us. It appears renting a car is the way to go. From this site, it would seem that AutoEurope is the best place for renting a car. Any pitfalls or scams to avoid in Ireland? I will get the full insurance and bring my own GPS. Thanks, Andrew