Q: Is this something I can learn on my own or do I have to take lessons?
A: Lessons never hurt, though they are not needed. The important thing is to practice regularly. Whether taking lessons or learning on your own, you should try to practice at least 10-20 minutes per day (more is always better).
Getting started with playing the violin or fiddle is the hardest part. If you get a good video or book/CD you can learn the basics quickly. You do not need to know how to read music or have a musical background (though it does help). If you keep at it, you will be playing basic songs much sooner than you expect. Trying to learn to play without lessons or a book/video, will be frustrating and nearly impossible.