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driving itinerary ireland 7days-suggestions please

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we will be flying into dublin in february and hiring a car for seven days
we do need to visit newcastle and portstewart in the north but that's about it in the lookigf-up-ancestry dept

id like to see the horse stud in kildare and the giant's causeway and our daughter would like to see dunluce castle( the one where the fiddler met his fate as the castle fell away into the sea i think)

we will be in england for two weeks before the irish leg and in france for two weeks afterwards,,we have been to norway so we have seen the atlantic but daughter hasnt

we all love nature and birds/animals-any wildlife reserves or zoos would be nice to visit
daughter and i love history but havent studied any irish history
we dont drink so will pass up the guiness
not so much into craft exhibitions but do love markets

we have been advised by friends not to take the rental car into dublin because of the traffic and one-way streets so we are thinking of heading out from dublin airport and getting our first night's accommodation elsewhere, heading north and then spending the last day and a half in dublin - maybe return the car at the airport and head into the city to use the hop on hop off bus or similar

now...
in feb..how wise is it to book every bit of accommodation before we go>?
where is a nice but inexpensive hotel in dublin...where we can step out and be in the action? we need a triple room
bed and breakfast would be ok too as long as near public transport

has anyone done a roadtrip in winter?
id like to get a motorhome but it may be very expensive and perhaps hard to zip around in ( we did it new zealand last year and loved it )

any suggestions as to stops and night stays would be very much appreciated
cheers!

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