Hi.....totally understand being overwhelmed. Some things we've learned. First don't try to do everything. The temptation to cram stuff in leads to a hurried, rushed and unsatisfying vacation. Ireland has a virtually endless supply of wonderful things to see and do......you can't do them all.....don't try. Racing around the country is totally unproductive. There are brilliant, wonderful things to do in each section that could EASILY EASILY fill 8 days.
Ireland's notorious longer than predicted driving times and quickly fluctuating weather, not to mention herds of sheep destroy the best laid plans.
The goal should be to interact and experience Ireland to the full ....for those 8 days.......Not to confuse that with a ridiculous must see list.....especially one that has you trying to see too much. Would you rather have an intensely meaningful trip that encompasses one or two areas or a vacation where you have seen stuff, experienced little, spent a good amount or most of the time in a car and get back exhausted and unfulfilled. It's like going to the Eastern US and in 8 days trying to see everything from Acadia in Maine down to Boston, New York, Pennsylvania Dutch country, monuments in DC, the Appalachians and the Outer Banks. It's dumb to try and it is in Ireland too.
So, identify what you love and want to see. Personally I'd take that week and soak in one area but at most do two. First you say scenery and pubs. Don't worry for a second about finding great pubs. They are everywhere - excellent food, warm environment, family friendly. And during eight days you will certainly find a night or two w trad music.
So for scenery....simplify ....again you don't have to see the equivalent of Acadia, Pennsylvania Dutch country, the Appalachians and the Outer Banks. So one of many scenarios - spend 3-4 days in the east...see the beautiful Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, enjoy the lakes there, easy hikes are wonderful. If you love the mystery of time and history Newgrange is wonderful. Reasonably near are the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny. Then maybe, pick either the ROK or Dingle...Not both on limited time.
We are there right now and both are great. We spent a week in each and there are endless things to do and see. Great pubs, incredible people and scenery that is insane. On Dingle we took our time...Inch, Dingle town, Slea Head, Dunquin and Ballyferriter. Saw Dunbeg Fort, great cafe just outside of Dunquin with amazing baked goods, scenery that will refresh the soul and the best day we've ever had in Ireland a day long eco tour by boat of and landing on the Blasket islands. I found it even prettier and far more moving than even the incredible Skellig Michael.....and on the way out, dolphins, whales and giant basking sharks.
The ROK is great too. The Cliffs of Kerry (far better than Moher), horseback riding on Rossbeigh beach, hiking in the Glen and near Caherdaniel, Skellig Michael, wonderful towns like Ballinskellig, Waterville and Sneem. Killarney National Park (NOT the town itself) and many many other things.
Either is a great option, trying to see both is not needed. You could easily spend 8 days in Dublin area and the east, or in Donegal, or in the ROK, or Galway and Connemara, or Dingle. All are great options. Just pick one, maybe two and then don't sweat the rest or worry about what you won't see....and maximize what you do experience. Once youve narrowed it down let us know and we can get more specific with ideas for those areas.