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One week in Ireland - Itinerary Help??

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I am traveling to Ireland with my boyfriend this May (first time for both of us) and I am looking for some itinerary help! The first part of our trip is set - we are heading up to Giant's Causeway to meet some friends for a running relay the first weekend we are there. I am looking for some advice for the following 4-5 days. Should we stay in Dublin and do day trips, or should we rent a car and explore the countryside? Which would be more economical?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Our tentative itinerary:

Thursday - Arrive in Dublin; spend the day in Dublin, meet up with friends in the evening; stay overnight in Dublin

Friday - Head up to Belfast via train and take complimentary car service to race area OR rent a car and drive directly to race area

Saturday - Race at Giant's Causeway!

Sunday - Must return to Dublin by the evening because my sister has an early flight out on Monday morning; either train from Belfast to Dublin OR drive back in rental car (possibly stop at Newgrange if there's time?)

Monday through Thursday - ???? (stay in Dublin and take day trips OR rent a car and travel west to Galway / Connemara / Cliffs of Moher or southwest to Killkenny / Ring of Kerry)

Friday - Return to Dublin (if we left in the first place) and spend the day there

Saturday - Afternoon flight home from Dublin

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