driver vs.tour? Need destination recommendations, too!

Going with a group to Ireland the end of August. We'll be based in Kinsale and going to Blarney Castle, Killarny National Park, Cobh and city Cork. I'm thinking about arriving a few days early and seeing more of Ireland. I've read Rick's book, but still don't know what to do.
Can you please help? Is it better to hire a driver, or take day tours (from Dublin, perhaps?). And what should I see, if I arrived an extra 4 days early, say? Or do I need more or less? I'd appreciate any help you can give!

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