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Ireland Travel tips for August 2014 (Dublin)

Dear all,
I am traveling solo to Ireland for 7 days trip and would like some tips on how to get around the main areas and also tips on interacting more with the locals.
1. I am trying to avoid the big coach tour companies that take group of travelers from one city to another. In most cases such tours do not allow travelers to interact more with the locals.
2. The use of personal tour guide and driver might cost a little dear?
3. the option of self-drive is there but feel it will be stressful trying to locate places. If I was traveling with someone this would be ideal.
4. Use of public transport is an option to get to main cities, then use main cities as a base to do day tours to various locations especially in Killarney area.
5. Any recommendations is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
Ethel

Dublin Forum