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Travel Tips for Scotland and Ireland | gaelicseattle.com

Travel Tips for Scotland and Ireland

For the best travel experiences, I always recommend that travelers do research in advance while building an itinerary. Research is essential because some venues might be closed, have different hours, etc., during your travels and you will want to know that in advance. What I hope to do is help travelers know of the range of opportunities one can see and experience in these lands and then it is up to you to research sites that best suit your travel interests, style, and needs.

If a link does not work, please do let me know.

General Travel Tips
Guide Books

  • If you are able to, read a paper copy before buying either a paper or digital book. This will allow you to get a feel for the style and feel of the presentation and if it will work for you.
  • Rick Steves' books for Scotland and Ireland are updated frequently and have good, current, information. Check out his TV programs online or on PBS stations.
  • In addition, take a look at Lonely Planet or Rough Guide books.
  • An Ireland book will do a reasonably good job covering the west of Ireland.
  • A Scotland book will do a good job covering the central belt (Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, and Edinburgh) and Loch Ness/Inverness.
  • For the Highlands and Islands, get a regional book for more detailed information. These are not updated as often. There are two that I know of: Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands & Islands (2017, $15 on Amazon) OR Lonely Planet, Scotland's Highlands & Islands (2015, $15 on Amazon).
  • I also recommend books along the lines of A Traveller's History of (Scotland/Ireland). They are not generally very large books, so you won't have to spend too long reading them. They are also small enough to bring with you, if you choose. Knowing a little something about the land you are traveling through adds so much to the travel experience. There is a lot of history in places as old as Scotland and Ireland. For example, people driving through the Highlands might be impressed by the dramatic hills and remote glens of the Highlands - but they weren't always this way. There used to be many more people living in those glens - enough to raise armies! What happened to them? Know before you go, and you will have an entirely different experience. AND, knowing a bit about the history might determine some must-see destinations on your itinerary.
  • Get paper maps of sufficient detail for your needs. Maps on devices are not accessible when the batteries die, one drops their device down an 800 year old well, or one leaves it sitting on the table at a cafe. There are maps available at many different scales. Ordnance Survey paper maps may come with digital downloads for the best of both worlds and many can be found on Amazon.
  • Paper maps can be used to keep a record of your route for future reference.
  • Digital Maps will not download in mountainous areas where there is no signal.
  • If you begin route guidance on a device while you have reception, it will usually download the whole route. However, if you deviate from the route, while not having reception, you may be out of luck.
  • Google Maps does allow for downloading map areas for offline use (unlike Apple Maps), as do some other apps. I do not provide tech support.
  • Many smaller sites of interest are not on the digital maps.
  • One can get led astray! Double check that you have selected the correct site if using route guidance. Double check that the device thinks that the location you have selected is actually in the correct location! If you successfully arrive at a site that is not on the digital map, you can add it for future travelers to find.
  • Car rental companies want to sell you the use of a "Sat-Nav" system. I'm sure this is fabulous once you can figure out how to operate it. I usually can't figure them out. With a paper map, you don't need one.

More links and tips coming soon!

Scotland Links
25 Places In Scotland That Are Straight Out Of A Fantasy Novel (buzzfeed.com)
Places to stay in the Scottish Highlands: four of the best

(Updated 12/12/2018)