Am planning an extended visit (3 to 6 mos) to Ireland and Scotland and would appreciate info on choosing a possible home base from which to set out for shorter trips. Is there a particular city or town (in either country), not too expensive (housing, food), yet within reach of train or bus lines for travel excursions elsewhere? Thanks.
Glasgow for the West coast and Dundee for the East coast of Scotland both have fairly extensive radiating communication networks of trains and buses. I say Dundee rather than Edinburgh as you can get a train to Edinburgh which is south but Dundee is situated further north so making it easier for northern travel up to Inverness the great glen etc. I say Glasgow on the west as really there isn't a particularly good town (for buses and trains)above that...possibly a couple of nights in Ullapool?
I think I would look into Perth and or Inverness. Glasgow is certainly a possibility, but Dundee and Glasgow are too far south to allow for easy exploration of the highlands. I just like Perth more than Dundee and it's a bit closer to the pretty parts that I like. :) Pam
I just spent 2 weeks in Scotland over October/November. I was on my own and spent 11 nights in Pitlochry, Perthshire. Eleven nights in a B&B for less than $500.00. I used train and local bus to explore Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, Birnam, and Blair Atholl. Also spent three nights in Edinburgh. Perthshire is fabulous, especially in the fall. I did LOTS of walking on the many paths . Edinburgh is two hours from Pitlochry by train. Inverness is also easily reached by train. I have been all over Scotland via two coach tours, so I had been to most castles, major cities, and historic sites. For this trip, I limited myself to Perthshire and really got to know the area. I also attended several concerts as part of Perthshire Amber Music Festival. I got into conversations with workmen from the forestry service while walking in Birnam Wood, along the Tay and to ladies riding the local bus. Real people, great music, walking the paths in rain or shine(mostly rain), tasting whisky, enjoying a full Scottish breakfast, roaming castle and cathedral grounds---my best trip EVER.
I'm an American living in Ireland right now. I live in Limerick - perfect spot for close proximity to all the sights in Ireland. Rent is far less expensive than Dublin, and you are just a few hours from almost everything else (Except the North, but that's far from no matter where you are staying!). Plus, Limerick is such a fun little city. It is cleaning up a lot and in 2014 will be the first Irish City of Culture. Great events in store - check out their website! http://limerickcityofculture.ie/
My sister stayed In Dunmore East in Ireland for 2 months and quite liked it. She had lots of visitors who went on trips from there.
Here are links to the major rail and bus routes in Ireland, which might be of help when selecting a home base:
Do you want one town in each country or just one town? It seems like shuttling back and forth between Scotland and Ireland regularly would be kind of expensive. But maybe it's not as bad as I envision it.