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Thanks to Garreth Cooke for these insider tips on visiting Ireland and Scotland:

Visiting Ireland & Scotland

“Epic landscapes and breathtaking scenery – Ireland and Scotland are not to be missed. April to October is the main tourist season. September is a popular month as the kids are back at school. Temperatures in June and July range from the mid 70’s to 80’s, with a cool breeze near the coast and in Ireland and Scotland you are never more than 90 minutes from the coast.”

“Our best advice would be not to underestimate travel times. Ireland and Scotland look small and it might appear you can stay in one place and see the whole island but there’s a lot to see.

  • For Ireland, setup your itinerary with moves every 3rd day at least and work your itinerary clockwise if starting and finishing in Dublin.
  • Don’t create an endurance test of an itinerary. Trust us to make sure your time in Ireland and Scotland is well spent.
  • Scotland is a rugged landscape with pockets of beauty the length and breadth of the country. To experience places like The Highlands, The Isle of Skye and Glasgow or Edinburgh you really need to allow at least 8 nights. A comprehensive Scotland tour should allow 14 nights plus.
  • If you simply want a taste of Scotland then you could do a shorter trip with emphasis on Edinburgh and day trips from the city. Allowing 2-3 nights near Glasgow perhaps in Loch Lomond or Ayrshire along with 2-3 nights in Edinburgh will give a nice introduction tour to Scotland.”Jacobite Steam Train

Spectacular Scotland and the Jacobite Steam Train.
Photo: Garreth Cooke

“Private touring is certainly growing in popularity and there are many advantages to this type of travel. For those looking to get the most out of their trip, a private tour has the following perks:

  • A charming driver who is an accredited guide by the Irish Tourist Board. He knows his way around Ireland naturally and will be your host, showing you the best of Irish hospitality. Your driver acts as concierge making dinner reservations and paying attention to all the details seamlessly.
  • Superior vehicles are provided for private tours. An elevated tour van gives panoramic viewing over the hedges and stone walls to ensure you can see plenty along the way. Fuel is expensive in Ireland so a private tour offers savings that justify the decision of a private rather than a self-drive tour.
  • The ultimate perk of private touring is the flexibility of being able to change the itinerary on the fly, stop where you want to take a picture and start the day when you prefer to. It’s easy to relax and not stress over a schedule.”

“Scotland is catching up with Ireland in relation to private touring. Having a driver guide really takes the tour to a whole new dimension. You must be specific about requesting an experienced driver guide as there are some operators who will simply provide a man behind the wheel.”

“Combinations of Ireland and Scotland have become popular and with this option we typically have 6-8 nights in Ireland and 6-7 nights in Scotland.”

My Vacation Lady’s clients just returned from 8 nights in Ireland with a combination of private drivers and tours.  They didn’t want to rent a car and drive on the wrong side of the road so this was the best way for them to see Ireland.  Whether your style is more of an explore on your own or an escorted tour or a combination of both, My Vacation Lady can help you plan a great itinerary.