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please comment on ireland driving itinerary

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I have started a new thread after emailing the tourism board in ireland and would like to see if this route can be tweaked a little or whether it is fine as it is.

My husband and I and daughter (20yr) will be starting out and leaving from dublin in feb 2014- six full days and two half days, if that :(

We love scenery, wildlife and dont drink so we wont be visiting distilleries etc( although we will eat in pubs for the atmosphere and traditional music, if theres any such thing anymore LOL)
I would love to fit in a Tommy Fleming concert ( Tipperary fri 7th feb) but it wont kill me if i have to wait for his next visit to Oz
So far here's what we have planned:

Sunday: arrive midafternoon from London, pick up car from airport and drive to Malahide Castlelodge BnB (booked already), settle in and head back into Dublin for the evening on the train

Monday: drive heading north, principally to visit Newcastle where OHs relatives are from ( doubt that we will see anyone in person) then head on towards the Portstewart area via the Antrim coast road. Overnight somewhere round Portstewart, unless we are delayed back in Newcastle (in which case we will try to find something on the east coast, if possible). Suggestions for accommodation, please. Portstewart of Ballycastle?

Tuesday: explore the Portstewart area, Dunluce ,Giants causeway ( if we didnt see it on the way in) and then head southward. This is where the problem lies. ( Do we have enough time to stretch out as far as Donegal or do we make a straight route down towards County Cork?) Stay the night somewhere around Galway ( although I have read that Galway isnt necessarily a must-see)

Wednesday: explore the Connemara, the burren , cliffs of moher ( if theyre visible) then head down to Kenmare ( have read that this is nicer than Killarney) for the evening or is this too far?

Thursday: drive the ring of kerry or the beara peninsular (which is also meant to be just as scenic) - should we visit the Dingle Peninsular or would the latter be enough?

Friday : Cork, Blarney Stone and whatever else that can be fitted in; Tommy Fleming concert in tipperary that evening if we are within cooee of the place

Saturday: drive back to Dublin to stay the night somewhere either in Swords or similar proximity to the airport maybe even book into an airport hotel - go into Dublin for the evening again..need advice as to which route to take...is there time to drive to Dublin from Cork via the coast past Wicklow or do we head through Kildare ( would love to see the horse stud but not sure if we have time)...theres the Rock of Cashel, too,,might not go in but see the abbey instead

Sunday: we need to be at the airport at 6pm to catch our flight to Paris so Im guessing we need to be at the airport by 3pm..so our time in Dublin city will have to come to an end by 2pm- might try to do the HOHO bus that morning and maybe a quick trip to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College or simply do some walking, if it's fine.

OK thats my very rough itinerary.

This is what the Irish Tourism Board people suggested:
Drive to Newcastle and Portstewart along the Antrim route
then take the M1 from Dundalk to Dublin and then take the M7 to Cork.This is supposedly about a 5hr trip...including a stop at The Rock of Cashel.
Im not crazy about heading back to Dublin and Id love to swing out more to the west - how far west, Im not sure but of course would love to follow the coastal route as much as possible but lakes would be nice, too since we dont live around any at home.

It takes about 4 days to drive right round the island apparently, We have 7 and, of course, cannot hope to do anything like that. The unfortunate thing is that we DO need to be in the north for the sake of the ancestral ties but actually would prefer to be in the southwest! I am very much aware that we only have limited daylight hours in february and could be cursed with rain, as well. I think we need to plan to stay in fairly vibrant areas at night to take advantage of a convivial pub atmosphere at the very least since our actual sightseeing hours will be curtailed somewhat during this trip. We will not be doing any hikes and Im thinking that this will be very much a car trip rather than doing any real wandering along the beaches, if the weather is brutal.

Any advice re the routes to take to ensure that we are actually seeing something other than a motorway would be very much appreciated.

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