My husband and I are planning our first trip to Ireland. We have 6 or 7 nights and I need help deciding where to stay and what should be on our definite list. We plan on flying into Dublin, and out of Cork. The only definite is that we are leaving Europe from Heathrow, but where we end up in Ireland, as long as it has an airport, is up in the air. I realize there are TONS of things to do in Ireland, and 6 nights is not enough time to go see everything. I have read up a bit about the different areas and We are thinking of driving west from Dublin to Galway and then working our way south and east to end up in Cork. I know the big ticket items are Ring of Kerry (is this really worth it? I know there is the ring of dingle which is shorter and less busy), Cliffs of Moher, Killarny, and a number of great towns in between. I would like to spend 2 nights in Dublin, and at least one in Cork. Where should we spend the other three? We will have a car, but I really don't want to spend my time driving the entire trip. I would like one day for a long day hike (10+km). Other than that we are a young couple who are foodies, love beer, a good music scene, and a lively pub. While I know its hard to stay away from the "touristy" areas being that a lot of the best bits are popular, we do like quaint towns that don't have leprechaun and four leaf clover type shops everywhere.
Any suggestions would be helpful! sorry for the longwinded question.