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10 Days in Ireland - Need local tips!

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Hi, so excited to be planning a first trip to Ireland in September. My boyfriend has roots in Cork so we're sure to spend some time there (thinking maybe 4 or 5 days) and we really would like to see some of the beautiful countryside as well.

What I don't want to do is try to plan too much into a short stretch of time. I'd much rather come and visit again than feel like we spend the entire vacation rushing. That said we'll be flying in from NYC. Not sure which carrier, or if it should be to Dublin or straight to Cork or maybe Shannon? Suggestions appreciated here as well!

While there we can't wait to check out many pubs and hopefully a castle or two. We plan to rent a car, though we're also totally fine with public transportation if its a smarter way to go in the bigger cities.

Basically, we would love to see some of the less touristy stuff and maybe stay at a couple of wonderful, locally owned cottages where we'll get lots of opportunity to meet locals and feel the pulse of what it's really like there. Any suggestions would be very appreciated, thanks so much!

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