Getting from Ireland to Scotland

by Ian Rose  

For many travelers from outside the British Isles, it makes sense to combine trips to Ireland and Scotland. The two are so close together that traveling between them is quick and easy, and allows visitors to combine the charms of both in one amazing trip. Because of that pesky Irish Sea getting in the way, there are no train or driving routes between the two countries, and so your options are limited to flying or taking a ferry. Here are some tips for finding the fastest, cheapest and most convenient ways to travel from Ireland to Scotland.

Flights

Flying such short distances may seem a little unusual, but with the rise of the discount airlines like RyanAir, it has become commonplace and is often the best way to go, especially if you have limited time and want to spend as little of it as possible en route. The following is a list of airlines making regularly scheduled flights between Irish and Scottish cities:

  • Aer Lingus: Dublin to Edinburgh; Dublin to Glasgow (GLA)
  • RyanAir: Dublin to Edinburgh; Dublin to Glasgow (PIK); Dublin to Aberdeen
  • Aer Arran: Dublin to Inverness (seasonal); Cork to Edinburgh; Galway to Edinburgh

As you can see, Edinburgh is the only destination in Scotland available from all three airlines, and from all three major airports in Ireland. In fact, if you want to fly out of anywhere other than Dublin, you’re going to have to fly to Edinburgh. To search for the best rates on airfare between these cities, use the search form on the right or bottom of this page.

Ferries

Crossing the Irish Sea by ferry can be a beautiful (if not particularly fast) way of making the trip. Naturally, destinations are limited to the west coast of Scotland, so there will be no sailing to Edinburgh or Inverness. The following routes are available:

  • Belfast to Stranraer (8 ferries/day; 1hr 45min travel time)
  • Larne to Cairnryan (9 ferries/day; 1hr 45 min travel time)
  • Larne to Troon (2 ferries/day; 2hr 15min travel time)

Because each of these destinations is well outside of Glasgow (Troon is the closest), you’ll need to rent a car or get other transportation from there. Ferry booking is available online at http://www.directferries.ie/

Search here for ferries:

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