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10-day Itinerary Shannon to Southwest and West Ireland

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Yes, I've waited until the last minute to book my (solo, female, mid-30's) vacation, and now the pressure is on to find hotels/B&B's for my 10 day trip to Ireland (Aug 10 - morning August 21). Fellow travelers - I need your help!

I'll be arriving in Shannon on Monday August 10th in the late afternoon (from London, no jetlag) and was considering driving south and west first, towards Kinsale, but thought it might be a bit much of a drive if I don't get on the road until 5pm (especially since I'm not used to driving on the other side of the road - though I did rent an automatic). Is there a town nearby that might make a good overnight stopping point, so I can get a fresh start in the morning? I've read that Adare and Bunratty are terribly overclogged with tourists this time of year? Is Cahir worth the drive?

Overall, I'd like to take some time to enjoy the ride and stop along the way - to me, there's nothing worse than overscheduling myself. I'm always on the lookout for great food, a quaint town to walk around, a nice pub with live music, etc.

As for the rest of my itinerary, I'm wondering if it is better to "home-base" someplace like Kinsale or Kenmare or Dingle (or Killarney) for 3 or 4 days (or Galway further North), or to pop from town to town each day, with the understand that it takes much longer to get from place to place than expected in high season? Is starting south west and then heading north better than vice versa?

Things I'd like to see and do along the way - scenic routes preferable, if I'm not in a rush. Please let me know if you think any of these are "over-rated" or if you have better alternatives?
Cahir Castle?
Muckross House
Ring of Beara vs Ring of Kerry?
Gap of Dunloe
Dingle Peninsula
Cliffs of Moher
The Burren
Aran Islands
Galway

Small hotels and B&B's are great, trying to stay under $125 Euro/night.
Was thinking of staying in Ennis on my final night (Aug 20th) to be closer to the Airport - though my flight back to NYC isn't until 1140am.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can provide!

Michelle

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