IRELAND Vs SCOTLAND
Short answer is no they are not very similar at all. Scottish dancing has arm movements, linking of arms, joining hands to make arches for other dancers to pass under. Where Irish dancers are somewhere between Scottish dancing and clog dancing, with lots of very fast footwork, the classic straight back, and arm held by the side with no touching between partners.
The main difference to someone unfamiliar with the styles would be in the footwear. As Irish dancers wear heavy shoes with heels and tips made from traditionally wood with nails, but modern day dancers have nylon and fiberglass heels and tips on the shoes. These are intended to make noise.
In Irish dance the footwork is the most important element, with especially quick and accurate clicks of heels together. With legs often being crossed and then flicked out in front to give the now classic click on the floor that has been developed into modern tap dancing.
With Scottish dance the legs are rarely crossed, and they tend to be more on the toes of the foot set at a slight angle outward. The other main difference is there is no distinct tapping sounds as Scottish dancers wear a softer leather slipper to dance in.
Unlike their Irish Dancer counterparts in Scottish Dance the arms are often raised above the head and the arm work is just as important and the footwork as its all part of the style of dance.
The main two style of Scottish dance are Highland and Country dancing. With Highland being more like a solo ballet performance with the idea to remain in the air for as long as possible, the example being the Highland Fling. Where in Country dancing is a group event more seen at Scottish weddings or at a ceilidh.