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Ireland by Rail Advice

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Hello, I'm interested in a trip to Ireland by rail the first week and a half of September. I've never been to Ireland before and I'm very excited!!

I'm choosing rail because I don't want to go on a long bus tour, and I also really don't want to rent a car- I'm scared to death of driving on the other side of the road.

Here's my tentative itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon Airport from USA
Day 2: Limerick & day trip to Cliffs of Moher
Day 3: Travel to Galway
Day 4: Galway & day trip to Connemara
Day 5: Travel to Killarney
Day 6: Killarney & day trip Ring of Kerry
Day 7: Travel to Cork & Blarney Castle
Day 8: Travel to Dublin
Day 9: Dublin
Day 10: Depart Dublin for USA

All the intercity travel to be done by rail, and the day trips by bus tour out of the cities. My questions are:

1. Is this itinerary doable? I looked at the train map online and it seemed potentially possible, but I'm not sure: http://www.irishrail.ie/travel-information/station-and-route-maps

2. Should I just buy an "Explorer Pass" for 5 days of unlimited travel (our of 15 consecutive days)? Will this take me everywhere on my itinerary? Or is there a more cost effective option? http://www.irishrail.ie/fares-and-tickets/tickets-explained#type-tourist

3. Do I need to schedule the day trips ahead of time or can we sign up when we get to the city?

4. Will one medium suitcase per person be ok for the trains?

5. How is that time of year for traveling and tourism?

Thanks very much!

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