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Drink to Your Health: Budget Tours of Ireland, Pubs Included

January 9, 2004 -- Fancy a pint? Tap into this frothy deal: a six-day/four-night pub crawl through Ireland starting from $499.

Prices are per person, based on two people traveling together, and include your airfare out of east coast destinations, four nights' accommodations (two nights each in Galway and Dublin), daily full Irish breakfasts, couple dinners, transportation on a fully-escorted tour bus and admission to tourist attractions along the way.

You'll see the majestic Cliffs of Moher rising 700 feet above the crashing Atlantic, the Benedictine Kylemore Abbey, and you'll visit Dublin's Trinity College, home of the must-see and marvelous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels created around 800 AD. If you have free time, consider visiting also the National Museum, the National Gallery, the Dublin Writers Museum and Dublin Castle.

During your Dublin stay, you'll get a chance to pull your own pint of Guinness at their Storehouse; an brewery guide will be on hand to teach you the specifics. You'll earn a certificate when you achieve the perfect pull. (Possible hint: When I first encountered the brew, the Dublin bartender used a straight-edged ruler to scrape the foam off the top, laboriously and slowly filling and refilling the glass until the ale reached the top, with practically no head remaining.) There will be daily stops for pints in villages, towns and cities along the way between Galway and Dublin.

The $499 is for departures from New York (JFK), Boston or Baltimore. From Chicago's O'Hare add $90; from Los Angeles add $200, and other cities are available as well. There are multiple departure dates, but not all start from this low price (some actually come in slightly lower, and they've been fluctuating daily as we've checked). The lowest-priced dates are for mid-week departures through March. You'll have to play a little cat-and-mouse to find those that qualify online at (click on "Pub Tour" at the bottom of the page). You can start your hunt there or simply call 800/896-4600 for more information and to make reservations.

Among valuable websites for more information on Ireland, consider or Of course there's always our own free online coverage starting at

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