Ireland typically has a moderate climate, so it means that off-season travel isn't entirely out of the picture if you want to avoid crowds, save a bundle, and cozy up next to a peat fire in a pub with a pint of Guinness. Sceptre Tours (tel. 800/221-0924; www.sceptretours.com) which specializes in travel to Ireland, Scotland, and, lately, Italy as well, is offering a package for early 2010 for six nights that starts from $499 for departures from New York-JFK. Taxes are not included and can add about $150-$210 per person, approximately.
Included in this package are weekly car rental, roundtrip airfare to Shannon (that's in the west of Ireland), a coupon booklet worth $500 in savings for the Shannon region and entrance to the Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre. Oh, and those six nights of accommodations are in a private, three-bedroom villa. This part of the resort is separated from the main house, but accessible to it by foot. The price is all the more remarkable considering that it's not for bed and breakfasts -- which are charming in their own right -- but for Adare Manor, a lovely, stately place in the west of Ireland. From Adare you're close to the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, the Connemara region, Killarney, Blarney Castle, Limerick, and Bunratty.
The exact travel dates that reflect this price are January 7-March 10; departures from Boston start from $519 and Chicago from $549. For travel March 11-April 30, the price jumps just $100 for all three departure gates, and almost $200 for spring and summer departures. More than 100 other departure cities are available, too, and the package can also be booked for November or December, based on availability. There's a bit of fine print associated with this trip; the price is based on four people sharing the villa, and a handful of dates are not available of this trip.
Talk with fellow travelers on our Ireland Message Boards.