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Please help with Ireland Itinerary

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We're planning a trip to Ireland this year and haven't nailed down the date, but are thinking the end of September or beginning of October for 7-8 days. We know the hours will be shorter at some of the sights that time of year, but we want to avoid as much of the crowds as we can. The four of us will be picked up from the airport in Dublin by a friend of ours from Wales who will be bringing her car across on the ferry. She is purchasing a car-top carrier for the luggage.

Anyway, we know in that amount of time we can't do the whole country, so we've narrowed it to northern Ireland (geographically, not necessarily just the country). We don't want to spend all of our time packing and unpacking, so we'd like to stay at 3 or 4 bed and breakfasts for more than one night apiece. We enjoy history (that narrows it down, huh?), nature, and scenery. The things we know we want to see are the Book of Kells, the Giant's Causeway, Newgrange, stone circles, and would like to go to an island (Antrim coast?). Slieve League, Letterkenny, and Carrickfergus look interesting. We don't care about shopping, clubbing, or sports.

Could someone give us an idea of the best areas to use as home bases, a route, and a sample itinerary? We want to leave Dublin as soon as we arrive. We will spend our day or two sightseeing there before we fly back home.

Thanks!

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