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First-time Trip to Ireland! Seeking helpful advice...

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My husband and I are planning a 3 week trip to Europe in March 2017. Our first stop will be in Ireland, where we will spend the first 7 days of our trip. We have never been anywhere to Ireland and are trying to plan the whole thing on our own to add to the adventure of it all! As much as we would love to see it all while we are there, we simply don't have the time and are well aware of this. We know for certain we want to go to Belfast as we have friends there that we would love to visit. Hoping to get some advice from people who are locals or have been here before. Here are some questions I have:

1)We would love to see some of the Irish countryside but are unsure if renting a car is practical. Does anyone have experience with this or recommend it? Not sure how easily or affordable it is to get around in Ireland without a car.

2)Is it best to make one city our "home base" for the duration of our stay and then go where we please from there or is it best to spend a couple days here and a couple days there and just book different accommodations for each place we intend to visit?

3)Are there any cities or sights you would recommend over others? As I mentioned before, Belfast is a must but we would also love to visit Dublin, tour the Ring of Kerry, visit the Cliffs of Moher, etc. but I realize one week may not be (and probably isn't) possible to achieve all of this unless we feel like being in a car the entire time. I need to narrow it down so I don't go crazy trying to plan it all! Any advice?

Any additional thoughts or tips are welcome so please share! We are novices when it comes to traveling overseas and would like to make this a smooth and enjoyable trip!

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