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Perfect pint in Ireland for pennies!

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate all things Irish! While you can certainly indulge in plenty of Guinness this side of the Atlantic, why not zip across the pond for a taste of the real thing this year?
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: March 31, 2006
Travel by: Various through August 2006

The Deal
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate all things Irish! While you can certainly indulge in plenty of Guinness this side of the Atlantic, why not zip across the pond for a taste of the real thing this year? We’ve found a handful of terrific packages and even a castle stay on the enchanted Emerald Isle, good for spring and summer departures, all priced for just a wee bit of green. Indeed, a fly & drive fling with B&B stays starts at just $659! So why not enjoy the perfect pint in Ireland this year for just a few shamrocks?

Sample the famous Irish spirit this spring from only $1192
To sample the laid-back feel of Irish cities and the rugged charm of its countryside, you can’t beat the CIE Tours special we found. Starting at just $1192 for early spring departures, the Irish Spirit escorted tour covers a wealth of inclusions including round-trip air from New York; three-star hotel accommodation for six nights; full Irish breakfast daily, and five dinners; sightseeing by luxury coach; plus a slew of exciting excursions. The itinerary features many highlights, such as a catamaran cruise of Killary Fjord; visits and admissions to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher and Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory; a sightseeing tour of Dublin; and a tour and a pint at Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s highest pub.

Two-night stays in each of the following properties are part of this package: in Dublin, at contemporary Mespil Hotel in a quiet Georgian neighborhood; the midrange Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Center in County Kerry’s charming town of Killarney; and the cozy Salthill Hotel in Salthill, County Galway, situated on the promenade overlooking the famous Galway Bay. Note that the first (and last) departure at this price is March 31. After that date, the package goes up to $1239 for April departures, $1498 for May flings, and a hefty $1726 for summer trips.

Ireland fly & drive with B&B stays now on sale from $659
If you want to savor the beauty of the Emerald Isle at your own pace, we recommend the marvelous spring special we found on EuropeASAP. Their fly & drive spring deal costs only $659, for departures between April 1 and May 24. The price includes air from New York (or your preferred departure city at low additional cost); a seven-day car rental with unlimited mileage and insurance; and six nights’ accommodation at your choice of cozy B&Bs, with daily Irish breakfast thrown in.

This lodging scheme works on a voucher system that allows you to choose between over 2,200 quaint Irish homes, where each unit comes equipped with an en-suite bathroom. Also provided when you book this package is an Ireland road map, to help you get the most of your road trip. Airfare and car rental only would easily top the price of this accommodation-inclusive package. If you prefer to wait for warmer weather and don’t mind the hi-season crowds, book EuropeASAP’s well-priced summer jaunt for $959, good for trips between June 1 and August 31.

Royal treat at stunning Dromoland Castle: overnights from just $246
For a veritable royal treat in Ireland, why not spend a couple of nights at one of Europe’s top castle hotels? Now you can, with the excellent offer we found on CIE Tours, for overnights at the stunning Dromoland Castle. Frommer’s writes, “this vision of turrets and towers (and every 20th-century luxury) makes for a fairy-tale. . . night in Ireland. As befits its royal exterior, the castle's drawing rooms and stately halls are full of splendid wood and stone carvings. . . The guest rooms are individually and lavishly decorated with designer fabrics and reproduction furniture; many look out onto the water or the romantic walled gardens.”

Regular rates here run up to $478/night in a double room, but book through CIE Tours and a night will cost you just $246. Note that this low rate is only valid for April stays; it goes up to $322/night for later arrivals.

The Dollars
See above for details. Note that the hotel deal listed doesn’t include taxes and gratuities, while package specials exclude air taxes and fees.

The Catch
Watch those pints of Guinness!

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