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Two Weeks Starting in Dublin

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Hey there fellow travelers!
My name is Forrest, and I am a native Tennesseean. My girlfriend and I are looking to travel this summer for roughly two weeks. I have traveled overseas before- in fact, I lived in Dublin for around six months during 2012. As such, I would like to take my girlfriend to Dublin at some point during our trip. Given it's location, I was planning on making that either the starting or ending location of the trip (assuming an Open-Jaw flight plan will work out). We will probably spend three days there.

Following, we plan on heading to Wales via ferry, but after that, we don't have a clue what to do. We want to see a mixture of large city and small village, we'd like to get over to the mainland for a bit, and we'd like to avoid tourist traps. I've spent time in Swansea, Cardiff, London, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Glasgow, and while I wouldn't mind revisiting one or two of these places, I would like to see new things myself.

We both enjoy science and technology related attractions, as well as art museums and scenic views. We both have a great love of food and drink- especially beer and whiskey. We're both young (first half of our 20's) so we've got plenty of energy. We plan on using night trains for places to sleep as frequently as possible and for all other evenings staying in hostels.

What we need now are suggestions for destinations. These places ideally would be train accessible and have at least one hostel (or other low-cost housing solution). Understandably, we will not be able to do larger cities justice, and we understand that- we're not trying to 'do it all' in a single trip.

Also, if anyone can suggest a better plan for entrance/exit from Europe, I'm all ears. What is the least expensive way to enter Europe from the US? I understand that we'll be traveling during peak times, so it may not be as cheap as other periods, but as we are both students, we only really have an opportunity to travel during the summer. The trip can begin anytime between June 25th and July 17th.

Thanks in advance!

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