The real deal: Round-trip airfare on a major carrier, six nights' accommodations in a villa, and a six-night manual-transmission rental car, from $599 per person — plus about $130 in taxes.
When: March 1–31, 2009. Add $100 for May 1–June 15; add $200 for June 16–Sept. 30. (April dates are sold out.)
Gateways: Boston, Chicago, D.C., and New York City; add $116 for San Francisco; additional gateways available.
The fine print: Does not include about $130 per person in taxes. Based on quad occupancy. The villas hold up to six people, and per-person rates will vary depending on occupancy (double occupancy rates might be higher). No single bookings.
Don't delay — the March dates are selling out fast. Also keep in mind that St. Patrick's Day is March 17. Reservations made by phone are subject to a $25 fee. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Feb. 27, 2009.
Contact: Sceptre Tours, 800/221-0924, sceptretours.com.
Why it’s a deal: This deal is all about the accommodations: a charming villa in Limerick. Rooms typically cost about $261 per night (330 euros), or $392 per person for the six-night stay (based on quad occupancy, which is how the villas are normally booked).
In a recent Kayak search, we found a $384 round-trip flight between New York City and Shannon airport in mid-March (Air France). So, booking independently, you'd pay about $776 before you even reserved a rental car — $47 more than when booking this package that includes a rental car.
If you miss out on the March dates, don't despair; even the slightly more expensive summer dates are a good value because airfare will go up during Ireland's high season.
Lodging: The Adare Manor Villas will be your base for the six-night stay. The 46 villas — each with two or three bedrooms, a full kitchen and free Internet access — are located on Adare Manor's 840 acres of picturesque formal gardens and rolling hills. There's a championship golf course, bars and restaurants, an 18th-century castle hotel, and plenty more to explore on the grounds along the River Maigue.
Your villa is a 15-minute walk from the manor house, where you can taste haute cuisine at the Oakroom restaurant or simply lounge in the elegantly decorated drawing room. Your rental car will certainly come in handy: The cute towns of Galway, Killarney and Waterford are nearby, with traditional Irish pubs and thatched-roof houses, as are the more touristy (but still stunning) Cliffs of Moher and Blarney Castle.
More: Extend your stay from $79 per person per night. Upgrade to the Gold Package for $49 per person, which will include an automatic-transmission vehicle with GPS and a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory. The Platinum package is $599 more per person and includes those perks along with rounds of golf.
Before you go: You'll pick up your rental car at the Shannon airport; it's about a 40-minute drive to the Manor. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel; a visa is not required.