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Ireland itinerary help needed, please... Sept 2012

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My DH and I are planning a trip to Ireland with our best friends to celebrate our 20th anniversary of friendship. Mark and I have been to Ireland twice before but S&D have never been. They are going to use FF miles so they must fly into Dublin. We have always flown into Shannon because our interests are on the West coast. We have 10-12 days of travel in country. Donegal and Slieve League are "must see" for us this trip. We also want to revisit Clifden, Doolin and Dingle.

The options we have considered so far are:1) fly into Dublin with them and drive to Donegal on the first day (3 1/2 hrs). Pros are that we travel together, biggest con is a long day driving on our first day. 2) Fly into Dublin and spend that day in Dublin. Pros- easy day of sightseeing and acclimating. Con- none of us really have any interest in starting our trip in a big, busy city. 3). Fly into Dublin and drive to Doolin. Same pros and cons as the first option. 4). We fly into Shannon. They fly into Dublin and take the train to Galway where we pick them up. They actually like the idea of riding the train.

Any comments or suggestions? I appreciate any help you can give us.

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