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How to do Ireland?

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MDH and I are retired and want to spend 10-14 days in Ireland. No interest in Northern Ireland this time.

We are not sure about the driving....is it better to take a private tour vs self-drive? Does anyone have an opinion about a group tour (very small group)? MDH is wary of all the scary stories about insurance troubles, going off the road, etc., so we are really open to positive experiences!

We are looking for scenic places, encounters with locals, good pubs, nice accommodations, and a leisurely pace. We can skip the shopping stops at the famous retailers.

Thanks for any help!

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