--I am traveling with husband, 23 year old son and his girlfriend for graduation trip, so 4 adults.
--Like to meet the locals, stay in locally owned B&B or Airbnb type accommodations (that will accommodate 4/room) and eat good food.
--Will rent a car.
--Prefer less crowded sights and off the beaten path things to do and see, although we realize the popular sights are popular for good reason. We definitely want to see some of the beautiful countryside and do some casual hiking.
--Tentative travel dates Arrive morning of May 7 - depart morning of May 15, so 8 days total including our jet-lag day :).
Here are my TOP questions for now:
1. Realizing we can't see it all, how in the world do I narrow down on the must sees? I like the idea of drawing a line across the country as some have suggested, but can't settle on North or South since there are so many great things in each place. For first timers, the South seems to be most recommended. Is it really preferred over Northern Ireland with some stops in the Republic of Ireland as well? Some of the spots in Northern Ireland that I hate to miss are the St. George's Market in Belfast (which I just realized is only open Friday-Sunday), Giant's Causeway and the Inishowen area. Will we get to see more overall if we skip this and focus on the South?
2. I hear that there is a bank holiday the day we arrive and that Ed Sheeran will be touring Ireland and many hotels are sold out. Is this enough to cause us to reconsider our dates or should we just work around it?
3. I think we might stay in Dublin the first and last nights of the trip or the last 2 nights of the trip. That leaves 6 nights elsewhere to be broken down into 2 or 3 other stays. Looking for suggestions on these so that we can make the most of our trip and see the maximum without over doing it.
4 If we can't fly into Dublin and out of Shannon or vice versa, it seems to be just a 2 hour drive from that area back to Dublin. Is that accurate?