"Ireland vacations
can be ideally combined with a trip to Scotland"

Scotland without Ireland is unthinkable, and many combine Ireland vacations with their Scottish trip.

In a way, Scots have also been taking "Ireland vacations" for centuries. The original Scots, the Scoti, who established the kingdom of Dalriada and ultimately "absorbed" the Picts, came from Ireland, and frequently went back.

Ireland and Scotland have an awful lot in common. They share the Gaelic language. And there has always been a constant stream of "traffic" between the two. Ferries to Ireland, or ferries to Scotland, depending on how you look at it, still busily ply the waters between the two lands to this day, whether carrying freight, people visiting friends and relatives or passengers embarking on or completing Ireland vacations.

Not all "Ireland vacations" in history were voluntary!

Seven hundred years ago King Robert the Bruce, at the beginning of his struggle for Scottish independence, temporarily fled to an island off the northern coast of Ireland. Later he in fact conquered Ireland and installed his brother as king, which turned out to be a short-lived venture, however.

Even further back, Ireland and (in particular the west of) Scotland were both part of a Viking realm that spanned several hundred years.

The links between Ireland and Scotland are of course closest where the two are physically nearest together. Thus the local dialect in the Southwest of Scotland, where I live, is known as Galloway Irish.

The greatest links between the two, however, can be found in the common Celtic culture. This is especially reflected in music and in handcrafts in particular, such as Celtic jewellery, and this common Celtic thread is also what leads many lovers of that culture to combine Irish vacations with a Scotland vacation.

In many cases too, people’s names underline the shared heritage. There are lots of Scottish names in Ireland, and numerous names in Scotland can trace their origins to the Emerald Isle.

Over the centuries people moved quite freely between the two. There are also many, many cases where American family history researchers can trace their origins through migrants from Ireland back to Scotland, and large numbers of these "roots tourism" travellers embark on trips to Scotland that also include Ireland vacations, or on visits to Ireland that also take them across to Scotland. My own Grierson roots go back from England (my grandmother) via Ireland to Scotland.

Scotland and Ireland share the "water of life" - and agree to differ over the spelling...

Another element both Scotland and Ireland are known for is the "water of life", although they cannot agree on the spelling.

What the Scots call whisky is known in Ireland as whiskey, and interestingly this is the word that is used in American English, reflecting the strong Irish influence in the United States.

Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey vie with each other for the world’s markets. It would be fair to say, however, that the version from Scotland definitely has the leading edge when it comes to "brand awareness".

By combining Ireland vacations with a Scotland tour, connoisseurs can compare the two at the source and come to their own conclusions!

By the way, to find a wealth of information about Ireland that's fun and interesting to read, take a look at Fun facts and stories about Ireland's culture, a really nice website I came across recently.

Another one you may find useful, with actual tour suggestions, is the Ireland vacations page at the Fantasy Ireland website, so go and have a look at that one too, and let me know what you think of it - in fact, tell me how you find both of them if you like - you can drop me a line on the Contacts page.

Well, this page has hopefully made you aware – if you weren’t already – that visits to Scotland can be ideally combined with Ireland vacations, and as the Scotland Secrets website gradually grows, you will find additional pages with information, such as on ferries to Ireland and other Ireland tips (did somebody say "Ireland golf vacations"?), to help you plan your Ireland vacations.

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