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Ireland's Warm Cold Season

For Details on winter in Ireland, see Page P7.

Ambrose Clancy last wrote for Travel about Florence, Italy.


The grave of Irish son W.B. Yeats in Drumcliff, County Sligo, bears the poet's own words. () Peter Matthews)

Details: Ireland in Winter

GETTING THERE: A number of airlines offer connecting service from Washington to Dublin, such as Aer Lingus, United and KLM. Round-trip fares in the winter start at about $375, more than half the going summer rate. Flights to Shannon are slightly higher, from about $400.

WINTER DEALS: Winter bargains to Ireland abound. Among the deals available at press time:

Virgin Vacations' Dublin packages start at $650 per person double and include round-trip air from BWI or Dulles, six nights at the Days Inn Talbot Street Hotel and breakfast. Book by Jan. 27; travel by March 13. The company also has fly-and-drive packages from $399. Up to $200 in taxes extra; accommodations not included in the fly/drive deal. Info: 888-937-8474, www.virgin-vacations.com.

AffordableTours.com's specials include a four-night "Irish Jaunt" by Brennan Vacations, with three departures in March, starting from $1,196, and a nine-day, seven-night "Real Ireland -- Winter" trip by Trafalgar Tours, from $1,250 per person double, with two February departures and nine in March. Both include airfare from New York, hotel and transportation. Info: 800-935-2620.

GoIreland.com (888-827-3028, www.goireland.com) has various deals and discounts, including more than 75 percent off accommodations, such as $45 per night for a room at the Travelodge Castleknock in Dublin.

Tourism Ireland's Web site (www.shamrock.org) has many "Hot Offers" and packages with discounts if booked before select March dates.

WHERE TO STAY:

In Dublin: Waterloo Lodge (23 Waterloo Rd., 011-353-1-668-5380, www.waterloolodge.com) is an inexpensive, clean and comfortable guest house in the capital's fashionable Ballsbridge district. A double room in the winter is about $118 per night. Stauntons on the Green (83 St. Stephen's Green, 011-353-1-478- 2300, www.stauntonsonthegreen.ie) is an elegant guesthouse with rear rooms overlooking private gardens. Rooms go for about $165 per night double. The Westbury Hotel (Balfe Street, just off Grafton Street, 011-353-1-679-1122, www.jurys-dublin-hotels.com), in the heart of Dublin's chic shopping district, is a full-service city hotel. Rooms start at about $210 per night double, through March.

In Liscannor, County Clare: Logues Liscannor (Liscannor, County Clare, 011-353-65-708-6000) sits in a West Coast fishing village above a rise overlooking the tiny harbor. The rate of $130 per person includes two nights of bed and breakfast and one evening meal. In the cold months, if you're lucky, an Atlantic gale will give you the comfortable sense of being in a sturdy ship. A good base to explore the otherworldly Burren, Yeats Tower or Lady Gregory's Coole Park in Galway.


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