Hello! I will be traveling to Ireland for the first time in late September in a group of 4 adults between the ages of 29-55, all physically fit. We prefer nature and small towns over cities and museums. We are looking for places where we can have peaceful walks in nature enjoying the beauty, but then also walk from our lodging to restaurants, shops, and pubs (ok if there are just a handful of options). We don't like big crowds and are hoping that they will be light based on the timing of our trip.
One member of our group really wants to visit Giant's Causeway, Glens of Antrim, and Carrick a Rede Bridge, so that is a non-negotiable. I am trying to figure out how to connect Northern Ireland with Republic of Ireland in a relatively short trip. We want to be able to relax and enjoy our trip and not rush around too much, but are also excited to see so many things!
Here is an itinerary that I am contemplating:
Day 1: Arrive in Belfast in the evening. Sleep in Belfast
Day 2: Drive to Antrim area. Explore Antrim. Sleep in Antrim area.
Day 3: Explore Antrim. Sleep in Antrim area.
Day 4: Drive to Dublin. Visit Guinness Storehouse (my husband's one request). Sleep in Dublin or outside of Dublin
Day 5: Drive to Dingle. Possibly stop at Rock of Cashel on the way (Worried this will be too long of a driving day. Perhaps stay the night somewhere along the way?). Sleep in Dingle.
Day 6: Explore Dingle. Sleep in Dingle.
Day 7: Explore Dingle and surrounding areas. Sleep in Dingle.
Day 8: Explore Dingle and surrounding areas. Sleep in Dingle.
Day 9: Drive to Shannon. Fly out of Shannon airport
The alternative is to stay in the north west. Fly into Dublin, then drive to Antrim, then drive to Donegal. If you think this is the better options, what are the small villages that are the best home base on County Donegal?
Thanks for the help and any other suggestions!