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HELP with transportation & accommodation!

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Hello! My husband and I are leaving soon on a 7 day trip to Germany and then Ireland after. We already have our Ireland trip planned and we are renting a car. For Germany, we land in Frankfurt and fly out of Dublin. We keep going back and forth over the train vs car situation and can NOT decide what to do! We are hitting the big cities (Frankfurt, Cologne, Heidelberg, Freiburg im Bresigau (Black Forrest), Munich, Dresden, Berlin). I know it seems like a lot but who knows if we will be back and we are the kind of people that need a vacation after our vacation :) plus our Ireland trip is pretty laid back.

We love the flexibility of having our own vehicle plus we can stop at places on the way to our next city but everyone suggests trains for the larger cities because of parking. Is it possible to stay just out of the city and bus into the cities so we don't have to pay for parking? We are worried what we will do with our luggage when we are at attractions (ie going from Cologne to the Black Forrest but stopping at Heidelberg first).

What do you suggest?
Jess

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