Travel books, Ireland and Scotland

rosefollyMarch 2, 2014

I have a trip coming up this summer, a few days each in England, Ireland, and Scotland. I have been to England several times before and will be visiting old friends there, but I have never previously been to either Ireland or Scotland. I intend to take day tours from Dublin by bus while my DH Tom is on a bike tour based from Cork. In Scotland we will be together, and plan to restrict our visit to Edinburgh with no car to venture outwards.

Of course, over the years I have read many novels based in Ireland or Scotland. However, if you think there is a particular book that I really must read before I go, please do share!


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I hope you have a lovely trip! I have been to both Ireland and Scotland a number of times when I lived in the UK.
I went to Glendalough by train when I was in Dublin. I had tried to get a day trip on a minibus but it was booked up although the operator said to take an empty seat in case the person at the next stop didn't get on. She did and I was so pleased as there was a very loud mouthed man who annoyed me even during the short ride!
The train was better, I think and the excursion only took a half day.
I can't help with books. I rely on tourist brochures for up to date suggestions for trips.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Ann, I'm glad you were spared an unpleasant traveling companion on your train.

I do have travel guides - Rick Steves's books and the lavishly illustrated Eyewitness Travel ones. I should have been clear that I was thinking more of books that give you a feel for a place, whether narrative travel books or novels set in a place that convey the atmosphere and experience of being there. Reading a book like that can give you a sense of recognition when you are finally there yourself.

This post was edited by rosefolly on Fri, Mar 7, 14 at 0:34

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I hope you have a wonderful time!
I dug out my little diary of my last trip to Ireland-had to laugh at notes I had made. In Dublin I just wrote " a great Comedy night & dinner at Jury's".
At Limerick I wrote we had a wonderful time at a medieval Banquet at a 14th century Castle-then didn't write the name of the Castle!-I remember that was an organized bus trip and noted "we were greeted with cups of Mead by young people dressed in costumes of the period"!

I loved my 2 trips to Ireland from my visits to the Blarney Woollen Mills & shops and Waterford factory watching how they made the wonderful glass pieces, not to mention their shop where I could have spent every penny I ever hoped to earn LOL!

I never did get to Scotland, never got further north than York and the Lake district.

I don't have any book recommendations, if I am going somewhere new I just go on line these days and ck the places out and look for suggestions of places of interest to visit.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Rosefolly, the first book of Diana Gabaldon's series, The Outlander, begins in 1743 and tells a lot of Bonnie Prince Charlie history. You have probably read it, but if not, it does give a lot of background.

I also like the Ian Rankin books featuring detective John Rebus, set in Edinburgh and best read in sequence. John Buchan's books are old (I got them from the library) and spoofy but lots of fun.

For Ireland, Edward Ruthurfurd has two books, The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland for history. And then there are all of Maeve Binchy's novels.

What a good trip you are planning. My daughter, sister, and I are going to London for a few days, York overnight, and Edinburgh for a week the last of September. We are looking at day trips from Edinburgh, and friends have given me the names of some tour companies offering them: Rabbie Burns Tours, Timberbush Tours, Haggis Adventures, Highland Experience, and Real Scottish Journeys. You can look at them online and become as confused as to which to take as we are!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:28PM
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Folly, I enjoyed Pete McCarthy's McCarthy's Bar. He spent six month travelling around western Ireland and visiting every McCarthy's Bar he could find, along with other places of interest, both touristy and off the beaten track.

Here is a link that might be useful: About thebook

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:31AM
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Rosefolly, what a great trip you're planning! We were in Scotland last July, and my son so loved Edinburgh that he's applied to the University there. He has a conditional acceptance, though whether he can meet the condition is another story, lets just say he's not able to blow off his entire senior year of high school like he'd planned.

My daughter and I were fascinated by Mary King's Close, so I recommend the tour if you get a chance.

As for books, The Guynd by Belinda Rathbone is a very interesting memoir of her life with her Scottish "Laird" husband. Alas, it doesn't end well, but it's a good read about Scotland's culture and what it takes to keep the ancient estate going.

Alexander McCall Smith has a series set in Edinburgh, and Neil Oliver has a BBC series on the history of Scotland along with a book. Of course, you could also read Sir Walter Scott and then go visit his memorial.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll be headed for the library next week. I did read The Outlander and a couple of Maeve Binchy's books, but some of the others are new to me.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 12:36AM
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