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Road Trip Southern England and Ireland - Please help newbies!

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Hi there! Mike and I are planning our honeymoon trip July 16-30 to England and Ireland and would love some help as we have lots of questions. I've done quite a bit of research, but I would love to hear from people who've actually been in the driver's seat!

Here's our itinerary so far:
July 16 - flight leaves Detroit, MI at 10:25pm
July 17 - flight arrives at Heathrow Airport in London at 11:05am. Get to flat rented from airbnb. Head out for lunch. Shopping (Harrods and Oxford St). Dinner.
July 18 - Tower of London tour. Take picnic lunch on boat from Tower Pier to Westminster Pier. Tour Westminster Abbey and stay for evensong service. Walk by House of Parliament and Big Ben on way to dinner. Maybe some sort of walking tour (Mike wants Harry Potter).
July 19 - Take double decker bus tour and get off at Buckingham Palace for changing of the guards. Walk through St. James Park to Covent Garden for lunch. Then the British Museum or Victoria & Albert Museum. Dinner and some sort of late night entertainment (any suggestions?)
July 20 - Windsor Castle, Oxford, and Avebury
July 21 - Bath
July 22 - Cotswolds
July 23 - back to London to fly Gatwick to Cork on Ryan Air 12:50-2:15pm. Pick up rental car at Cork Airport and drive to Kilarney. Get dinner and stay at Crystal Springs B&B.
July 24 - Kilarney National Park and Ring of Kerry drive (I know this is ambitious and will take 8-10 hours, but I thought I'd attempt it anyway). Dinner on the road. Stay in The Grove Lodge in Killorglin.
July 25 - Drive Dingle Peninsula. Stay at The Pax Guest House in Dingle.
July 26 - drive to Cliffs of Moher. Stay in Limerick at The Boutique Hotel.
July 27 - Drive to Kilkenny. See Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey. and St. Canice's Cathedral. Stay at Butler House and dinner at Campagne.
July 28 - drive to Dublin. See Trinity and Book of Kells, walk through St. Stephens Green and Merrion Square, eat lunch, then National Museum and/or National Gallery. Stop by St. Patrick's Cathedral on way to dinner. Enjoy some live music?
July 29 - Chester Beatty Library, Guiness Storehouse tour, lunch, Irish Museum of Modern Art and Kilmainham Gaol, dinner, and Literary Pub Crawl.
July 30 - flight leaves 11:20am from Dublin airport. Back in good ol USA by 5:17pm.

Here are my questions/concerns:
1. Should we get a Travel card or Oyster card in London? This may depend on question 2.
2. We want to take some day trips from London, but I'm not sure of the best way to go about this. Should we take the train/bus out to each location and then come back to London each night? Should we train/bus to each location and then stay there that night? Should we rent a car to allow more freedom?
3. I'm not sure what day trips are best. Rick Steves talks up Greenwich, Canterbury, and Cambridge. He doesn't seem to think too much of Cotswolds. I want to stay away from day tours with the bus, as those seem to be quite expensive. He also suggests starting out in Bath and then going to London - do you agree?
4. What is the best place to get traditional English tea in London without breaking the bank? I looked into tea at Harrods, but it seemed overpriced. Also - is there a best place to get fish and chips, or is it the same everywhere?
5. I am trying to be realistic about driving in Ireland. Is this trip doable? Is it too much? I'd love to get some real tips from anyone who has done this about accurate drive times, road conditions, gas prices, etc.
6. We have a Garmin GPS and can buy the UK/Ireland package to use overseas. Or should we just pay extra to get the GPS in the rental car?

Any specific suggestions about sights, restaurants, and entertainment are welcome. We are in our 30s - love good food and beer (Mike brews at home). We want to really experience the culture of the places we visit and not spend all our time in museums, so we may not make it to all those on the list. We are flexible, so things can be moved if that makes more sense.

Thanks so much for all your help!

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