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Ireland / Scotland --Back to back 2020

Ciphering on doing these two -- 14 day Ireland, and 10 Scotland. Seems pretty straight forward and doable. Am curious if there is any practical reason why one should be done before the other. The Ireland tour begins in Dublin and ends in Belfast. Scotland begins and ends in Edinburgh. As far as transportation between and at the end, for what I know (little) choices should be many at all. Have not decided yet where I will go when finished -- maybe London or Frankfurt. Also curious if the Northern Lights are ever visable on these tours. Yes, I know very unpredictable and town lights a real hindrance -- just curious. And yes, I know to some Brexit is a concern -- not major to me. Any suggestions / comments appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
758 posts

As to which one first, you might look into flights/connects available to you. For me, it's easier to get from my home airport to Dublin as a first stop than Edinburgh. Most of my options for Edinburgh involved flying to Amsterdam or Paris first, the back tracking to Scotland. But may be different for you.

Getting between Belfast and Edinburgh, you can fly or take a ferry/train. If you want to go to London from Edinburgh, both trains or fights available. The train is about 4.5 hours but you skip all the airport security delays and hassles. Plus the seats are way more comfortable. Also in both cases the train stations are in the heart of the city vs the airports which are further out.

Best of luck.

Posted by
3054 posts

You don't mention when you plan to travel, but Scotland and Ireland are too far south for reliable northern lights sightings. They might show up, but don't count on it.

Posted by
792 posts

this is what I heard from other folks who were on my RS Scotland trip earlier this year: Ireland, England, and Scotland are similar cultural and geographical experiences. Unless you have a compelling reason to stitch UK trips together, say, deep family roots, you may wish to consider connecting two more diverse options, more exposure to the enormously varied experiences Europe has to offer the RS traveler.

Posted by
20855 posts

My first thought, as is often the case, was "weather". Since Ireland and Scotland are not contiguous, thus requiring a flight or a ferry, I don't think there's a great advantage to combining those two tours rather than one from that area and one from an area likely to offer more sunshine. However, I am unusually fond of sunshine.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks for the replies / information. Still thinking and considering. May get off the dime about the end of the year for travel in September - October. Lots of choices / possibilities.

Posted by
126 posts

Not sure where you fly from. We start in San Francisco. One year flew Air Lingus to Dublin, then Amsterdam for Best of Europe. After that we took a week off then flew to Edinburgh from Brussels. We looked at trains but decided flying was cheaper and you gained a day. We then did the Scotland tour and flew back on Air Lingus via Dublin. It was easy to book the SF to Amsterdam and Edinburgh to SF. The Brussels to Edinburgh we did separately.
Long trip but celebrating our retirement.

Posted by
1239 posts

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Scotland is January and February which will probably not work out for your RS tours timeframe. But you can see the Milky Way in some of the Dark Skies areas. A friend on a Photography Workshop tour of Scotland in September/October last year got some beautiful shots of the Milky Way arching in stop motion over an inn on Skye. She is doing a Photography trip right now in Ireland this year. If it was me I might do one countryside tour with a city stay on the beginning or the end. London is worth a week, a little more expensive to stay, but you can do and see a lot of things for free, or at a discount. There may be a RS tour in London that could work.