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What order 4 countries starting and ending in London?

My 19 year old son and his friend are planning a 4 week backpacking/hostel trip, flying in and out of London (staying London 3 days at the beginning, 1-2 days at the end). I am helping them make basic arrangements with their permission :). They definitely want to see Ireland (7-8 days), France (5-6 days, mainly Paris) and The Netherlands (5-6 days, mainly Amsterdam), and might try for Belgium or Germany if they have time. Since they plan on starting and ending in London, what order makes the most sense for travel? I am thinking they should fly to and from Dublin vs. ferry/train, and take trains elsewhere, but you may have a better idea...