Scotland and Ireland

We are flying into Edinburgh, Scotland, and out of Dublin, Ireland. We plan on staying about 3 weeks. We are staying three nights in Edinburgh and then traveling to Oban area and the Isle of Skye, then a night in Inverness and then fly to Northern Ireland. Since there is so much driving in Scotland, should we take three nights in Oban and two in Isle of Skye, or two nights in Oban and three in Isle of Skye, or just two nights in each area? Is there enough to do? Is it too cold in late August? We are planning on 4 nights in Northern Ireland and then 10 nights in the Republic of Ireland with 3 of those being in Dublin. Any suggestions? I try to follow Rick's book pretty closely.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3313 posts

It won't be cold in August, but it can be cool. So, you just need to take layers. If you don't have enough, buy one of the wonderful sweaters. I've been living in one of my Scottish sweaters in NYC the past few weeks. ; ) I would not spend 3 nights in Oban. I would spend three nights on Mull. In fact, I did. For me, Oban is ferry town that connects you to the isles. It's not a place that I would stay in. But other may disagree. You can easily spend the three days on Skye. Skye is bigger than you think and it takes a fair bit of time to drive around the island. If you had three days, you would have time to check out the different "arms" of this island. What are you interested in seeing? On Skye, you can visit Talisker, check out the old Man of Storr and interesting rock formations and visit an old cemetery of ancient leaders and kings; you can visit Dunvegan Castle, or hike into the Cuilins; you can explore a Broch; You can watch a rain shower come over from the outer Hebrides toward a lighthouse that sits on the tip of a peninsula; you can buy locally designed jewelry. You can see painted houses. Pam

Posted by Marissa
Livermore, CA, United States
7 posts

Thank you Pamela. I haven't considered staying in Mull, but now I will look into that. We mostly like to be outdoors and there seems to be a lot to see in the Isle of Skye, so I appreciate your thoughts. And I was just thinking I would probably buy a wool sweater!!!

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

Marissa, I would definitely change the schedule. I don't know about the Isle of Mull. I have been to the Isle of Skye and one day, two nights is ample. It takes a day to drive around and see everything, including at least one distillery tour. Closer to Oban, the Glencoe area is lovely and a drive east through the pass and to the moors is intriguing. But, more importantly, I would spend at least two full days in Inverness, probably more. Cawdor Castle is well worth a visit. Perhaps the most livable castle of the dozens we have seen. There are distilleries in the area. Also, there are decent places to eat. There is NOWHERE decent to eat in Portree. In three weeks in London, northern England, and Scotland, the two worst meals we had were in Portree.

Posted by Marissa
Livermore, CA, United States
7 posts

Thank you David. I will look into Inverness more closely.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

Here's another monkey wrench: There's not much in Inverness except a place to start a drive along the lochs and the Caledoninan. You can do this in a day with a stop at the dragon museum, the Fort Augustus step locks, and Fort William, then sort of double back along the 890 and still get to Ullapool for supper. The morning ferry to Stornoway leaves around ten-thirty. Places to stay are within a few blocks of the terminal. Google Callanish (all three of them) and you'll wonder why anybody goes to Stonehenge. Skip the Inner Hebs. I've hiked every bit of Skye and owned a cottage on Mull for a few years. Neither come close to matching Lewis - - or any of the other Outers. Oban has never shown me anything except maybe a distillery and all of those suckers are just alike.

Posted by Kathy
Chicagoland
113 posts

We stayed at a terrific B&B just outside of Inverness called the Pottery House last summer. Only three rooms available, two with a small view of Loch Ness, the best breakfast on our entire trip, huge bathroom, mini fridge with a bottle of milk, robes to wear, comfy beds. It was built as a B&B, not converted, so the place is very comfortable and really well-run.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3313 posts

For the advantage of the Inverness area as a base is that you can get to the west coast, or go east or south. This is an advantage when you're hiking as the weather varies greatly across the country. If you monitor the weather forecasts and have some flexibility you can can avoid a the serious rain. Inverness is not a real tourist town. It does have good music, good eating, good pubs and good b&B's. I really agree with Ed about Oban. ; ) Pam