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Help with itinerary going north from Dublin in early Sept.

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I tried to post this yesterday but probably did it wrong. We are arriving from the U.S. in Dublin 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday in Sept. and renting a car (automatic). Our first stop will be Newgrange for 2-3 hours, but then we'll head for a B&B in Ballycastle. Various mapping sites say it will take 4.5 hours from Dublin to Ballycastle. Is 4.5 hours a true estimate? We will probably run out of steam by mid afternoon, and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be wiser to stop in Carlingford or Portaferry for the first night. If so, are there any comments/advice about one of these towns vs. the other? We'll be in Ireland for 17 days and want to go north, then west, then south, winding up in Kinsale/Cobh before heading up to Shannon airport. Thank you and I will probably be back for more advice as I plan.

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