See the Emerald Isle for a wee bit of green

Image: Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland
Want to sample the Irish heritage on an escorted tour? Lynott Tours offers an eight-day package priced at just $1,990 for spring departures. Get six nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast and dinner, all transfers, and a variety of tours and activities, including a visit to Blarney Castle.Brian Lynch / AP file
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through summer 2008

The deal
With spring around the corner, it’s time to plan your European escape. This season, we recommend a trip to Ireland. 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? We found a handful of terrific packages on the enchanted Emerald Isle for spring and summer departures, all priced for a wee bit of green. Indeed, a fly & drive fling with B&B stays starts at just $779! So why not enjoy the perfect pint in Ireland for just a few shamrocks?

Sample Irish heritage for $1,990
Want to sample the Irish heritage on an escorted tour? Lynott Tours offers an eight-day package priced at just $1,990 for spring departures. This cost covers with air from New York, first-class lodging, and a slew of other inclusions. It’s valid for three April departures; the price goes up to $2,259 for later trips. In addition to six nights’ accommodation, it comes with daily breakfast and dinner; all transfers; and a variety of tours and activities. Highlights include a medieval banquet in a 15th-century castle, jaunting horse-drawn ride in Killarney, and visits to Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and Waterford Crystal Factory.

Royal treat in Ireland for $2,299
For a veritable royal treat, we recommend a deluxe package that features sojourns at Ireland’s castles and manors along the way. Brian Moore International Tours offers an eight-night holiday now priced at just $2,299 for peak-season summer departures. The cost covers lodging at superior and deluxe manor or castle hotels with full Irish breakfast daily, eight dinners, and a variety of sightseeing tours, with entrance fees. Some of the attractions you’ll take in include Killarney National Park, Dingle Peninsula, Blarney, Kilkenny Castle, Dublin’s Trinity College, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Connemara.

Fly & drive in Ireland from $779
Prefer to savor the beauty of the Emerald Isle at your own pace? Virgin Vacations has a fantastic special. Their fly & drive deal starts at just $779 based on two people traveling, for spring departures between March 31 and April 29. Included is roundtrip airfare from New York to Dublin (or your preferred getaway at low extra cost) and a seven-day Hertz car rental with unlimited mileage and tax. Later departures, between May 16 and June 30, go up in price to $1,209. Want to depart during the summer? This will cost you a still very affordable $1,269.

The dollars
The rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy. In the case of the Lynott Tours package and the Virgin Vacations special, it’s the roundtrip airfare that makes the prices such great value. In itself, flying to Ireland could cost more than the quoted package costs. As for the castles and manors tour, the value comes from all the inclusions it features — these unique sojourns are super-pricey if you were to book them independently.

The catch
Watch those pints of Guinness!

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