Writing this first to thank all of the DE's and all who commented and helped with suggestions for our plan. Trip Report coming in a few weeks when we return, maybe some commentary from the road.
We are independent travelers coming back for visit #4 and focusing on western Ireland.
Bringing my wife's sister and her husband for their first visit. We are all 60's and active outdoors and healthy so far.
#1 - Planned where in Ireland to visit
#2 - After we knew where, we could book flights. In this case in and out of Shannon
#3 - Use hubs: Galway 4 Nights; Adare 2 Nights; Killarney 4 Niights, Shannon 1 Night
#4 - Contacted/Direct Booked 2 Self-Catered apartment rentals in Galway and Killarney, and
2 nights at Adare Manor, all booked online.
#5 - AVIS Car Rental on their website (as we always do, Super CDW, Automatic this time). We read maps.
#6 - Planned Daily Activities with rule that no point A to point B can be more than 90-120 minutes with a maximum number of hours inside a vehicle being 4-5 hours in a day. Still, our agenda allows us to travel north to Achill Island, Connemara, Ashford, Kylemore, Sky Road, Play time in Galway, the Cliffs, Dunguaire, Loop Head, Adare, Dingle, Connor Pass, Killarney The Rings, Skellig Islands, Mizen Head, Cahir, Cashel...and Couple of Rest Days Interspersed.
Just added the total costs and tried to find comparable packaged tours (which we will not do -- just not our cup of tea--no buses and guides is what we prefer.) Well, the closest we come makes our independent plan about 50% the cost of a packaged tour using agents instead of going direct on all accounts. SOLD!
See you next weekend.