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Dublin to Dublin loop in 13 nights

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Hello, after years of having the idea simmering on the back burner, we have excitedly booked our trip to UK and Ireland this summer ( huge YAY!!) and would love some input and advice if anyone is willing to share and doesn't mind repeating themselves.

We will be two adults and two teens, (this is a big trip for us! ) we will have 13 nights total in Ireland (coming from London via rail/sail - thank you Tony2phones) arriving late afternoon on let's call it Day 1. I figure two nights in Dublin, and then off to tour around. We will rent a car once we leave Dublin, our route must include Sligo, all else is open, with the final night close to, or in Dublin to catch late morning flight back across the Atlantic. I would love some advice and ideas as I am undecided about a couple of things.
Looks like the west coast with Sligo to the north will be the predominant route.
1) suggested route with highlights?
2) in B&Bs all nights or find a central location and rent a house for a week with additional nights in B&BS ? Is this a good idea, or will it limit us too much?
3) include Northern Ireland or leave it for another visit.
thank you!

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