self drive tour through northern ireland

Tour Ireland and Scotland Your Way

Have you been dreaming of a Celtic adventure? Put your plans in good hands by tapping into a network of locals. Dublin-based Brendan Vacations specializes in fully customizable Ireland and Scotland trips. You pick your travel style – drive yourself, hire a driver or go by train. However you choose to go, you can expect a thoughtfully handcrafted and customized itinerary.

Self-Drive Road Trips Through Ireland or Scotland

A self-drive vacation might seem like the epitome of self-reliance, but it pays to tap into the local experts for advice on the best places to stay, eat and play in Ireland and Scotland.

The beauty of self-drive itineraries is that they’re so customizable. Do you dream of cycling the trails of Ireland’s Great Western Greenway? Or maybe you fancy a journey that covers Scottish icons like Edinburgh Castle and Loch Ness? You can do all that and more. Your guides will tailor your road trip to you interests, budget and timetable. There is no one-size-fits-all itinerary. These are just a few examples of popular routes you can take.

BV Self Drive Collection-Skye Bridge - Getty
Skye Bridge connects the Isle of Skye to the Scottish mainland.

Ireland’s Hidden Gems

A road trip hugging Ireland’s rugged coast is a feast for the imagination. Kick off the journey in Dublin. Between tales from your local guide and exciting tidbits from the city’s hop-on, hop-off tour, you’ll get a solid grasp of the history and culture of Ireland’s vibrant capital. After that, it’s off to Cork, Dingle, Galway and more. Highlights of this 13-day road trip include a day spent wandering the coast of Westport with a local expert, a jaw-dropping stretch of road through The Burren National Park and a stop at Burren Perfumery.

Scotland Explorer

This nine-day self-drive tour of Scotland begins at the boundary of Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns. Spend two days and nights exploring the narrow cobblestone streets with a local guide before hopping in the car for your great adventure. Though this road trip itinerary is infinitely customizable, the standard plan includes stops in St. Andrews – the so-called home of golf, Inverness, the Highlands around Loch Ness and the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.

The Isle Awakens

Fans of Star Wars, this Celtic road trip is for you! Did you know scenes from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” were filmed at Malin Head, the northernmost point in Ireland? Explore that and more on this fun self-drive. The 11-day trip begins in Dublin, through Belfast, then along the winding roads of the Antrim Coast and north to Malin Head. Each stop includes opportunities to connect with local guides and rest your head in boutique hotels steeped in Irish history and culture. Toward the end of the trip, you’ll take in the atmosphere of a galaxy far, far away as you visit the fishing village of Portmagee, where Luke Skywalker and Rey collide in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Explore Ireland and Scotland Your Way

Your fully customizable vacation features unique accommodations and exclusive sightseeing.

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Hosted Rail Journeys Through Ireland or Scotland

Whether you’re relaxing in the dining car with a wee dram of whiskey or simply watching the rolling emerald hills of Ireland glide past your compartment’s window, traveling by rail means relishing the journey.

Of course, train travel is perfect for a few hours, but not everyone enjoys sleeper trains. That’s why the Celtic travel experts at Brendan Vacations dreamed up locally hosted rail trips – a balanced blend of romantic train travel and on-the-ground excursions with experienced local hosts.

Here are a few ways you can explore Ireland or Scotland by rail.

Iranrod Eireann. Rosslare to Dublin line. Woodenbridge golf course

Ireland’s Sparkling Gems

On an eight-day adventure through Ireland, you might spend one day riding the rails from Dublin to Killarney, where a local host will meet you at the lively Killarney Towers Hotel. Bond over an evening of live music or a hearty supper of corned beef and cabbage before heading out the next morning toward rugged landscapes and charming villages. A few culture-rich days later, it’s “All aboard!” at Galway Train Station for your journey back to Dublin.

Scotland’s Cities & Natural Landscapes

A week-long exploration of Scotland’s cities and natural landscapes wouldn’t be complete without Edinburgh’s The Johnnie Walker Experience, followed by a scenic train ride into the Scottish Highlands. There will be a guide to greet you in Inverness, where you’ll see beloved icons like Eilean Donan Castle and the coastlines of the Isle of Skye together.

Ireland’s Local Charm & Ancient Culture

A six-night whirlwind Irish holiday wouldn’t be complete without a local guide leading you through the highlights of Dublin and a rail journey through Ireland’s Golden Vale. Enjoy the perfect combination — the freedom to enjoy the journeys with your family and friends paired with the comfort and security of knowing there’s always a local guide to meet you at your next destination.

Book a locally hosted rail tour of Ireland and Scotland with AAA and Bredan Vacations.

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