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Help with Sept. itinerary going north from Dublin

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We will arrive at Dublin airport 7:30ish on Sat. Aug. 31 from USA for a 15-day trip not including flight days. Will pick up car (automatic) and head north. Ideally we'd like to stop in Newgrange for a couple of hours and then spend our first night in the Ballycastle area. Checking various sites, though, it appears that it will take about 4 hours from Dublin airport to Ballycastle (we will bypass Belfast). Is that reasonable? (I'm thinking we could run out of steam by mid afternoon.) Would it make more sense if we spent our first night in Newgrange, Carlingford or Portaferry? If so, which town would you suggest? Thank you, and I will be back with more questions as I develop our itinerary (which will probably wind up in the SW and then hopefully up to Shannon airport).

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