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What area to stay in Dublin, and planning our itinerary

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I have been doing a lot of research and reading, but it is now time to get serious about planning our itinerary. I am doing the planning for 2 couples, and am feeling overwhelmed just trying to figure out the itinerary. We have almost 3 weeks and hope to see many of the highlights without running ourselves ragged. Any suggestions on the itinerary are welcome.

We do know our first stop is Dublin as we fly into there. I had planned on 3 nights there, the day we land and 2 full days to sightsee. We are going to rent a car, but on recommendations of others on the forum will not do that until we leave Dublin.

What is the best area to stay in Dublin to make it the easiest to see the sights? Are we best to look at a hotel, B&B or a self catered apartment? What is the best way (most economical) for the 4 of us including probably 4 large suitcases and 4 carry-ons to get to our accommodations?

Thanks in advance for your help. :)

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