November 12, 2003 -- There's nothing to warm up a winter like Irish hospitality. During their wet, mild Januaries, residents of the Emerald Isle collect in cozy pubs drinking the finest local beers and eating hearty pies and fry-ups. The last time I was in Ireland, it took me only two days to be completely welcomed into crowds from Kilkenny to Cork: these are people who take their hospitality seriously.
Ireland's pretty small, though, so we'd understand if you want to combine your Irish escape with some time in the UK as well. The latest Aer Lingus sale makes it easy to see both islands for the price of a few cases of Guinness.
Fares to Ireland include (roundtrip, before taxes of $76-$100):
- Boston-Shannon: $198
- Baltimore to Shannon or Dublin: $208
- Boston to Dublin: $228
- New York or Chicago to Shannon or Dublin: $228
- LA to Shannon or Dublin: $298
These fares are valid for travel on Mondays-Thursdays in January and Febuary; the exact dates vary depending on the city. Boston fares are valid from 1/11-2/11; Baltimore fares, from 1/6-2/29; Chicago fares, from 1/9-2/29; LA fares, from 1/11-2/29, and New York fares from 1/9-2/29. For more details or to book these fares, go to www.aerlingus.com.
That's not all, though. Forced into competition with cutthroat discount airline Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), Aer Lingus is offering tickets from Ireland to the UK for considerably cheaper than a ferry ride would cost. Flights between the isles take about an hour, so you could even do these as a day trip. Fabulous round-trip fares (before about $30 tax) include:
- Dublin to Manchester or Birmingham: €8 ($9.20)
- Dublin to Glasgow: €12 ($13.80) in Nov. and Dec.; €8 ($9.20) in Jan.
- Dublin to London-Heathrow: €28 ($32.18) in Nov. and Dec.; €20 ($22.99) in Jan.
- Dublin to Edinburgh: € 34 ($39.08) in Nov. and Dec.; €24 ($27.59) in Jan.
- Shannon to Heathrow: €40 ($45.98) in Nov. and Dec.; €28 ($32.18) in Jan.
Yes, the tax is often triple the price of the actual airfare.
These fares are available on one-way trips, and they're only for flights Mondays through Thursdays. Ryanair is actually right now selling cheaper fares on most of these routes -- Dublin to London for £1 plus tax is one of their best sellers -- but we'd pay a little more to fly Aer Lingus.
Ryanair flies into distant subsidiary airports (London's Heathrow and Glasgow airport, which Aer Lingus uses, are much more convenient than Stansted and Prestwick, which Ryanair uses), and Aer Lingus' service is generally considered to be better than Ryanair's.
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