Yearning to visit the Emerald Isle and rediscover your Irish heritage? Here's what you need to know:
It's never truly hot or truly cold in Ireland, but winter days can be short and dreary. Summers are more reliably pleasant, with the sun setting around 10 p.m. in June. No matter when you visit Ireland, though, bring an umbrella, raincoat and light wool sweater.
Hotels and rental-car companies offer lower, off-season rates for fall and winter. You don't have crowds to contend with, but the weather can be unpredictable. Also consider travel in early fall or late spring, to get lower rates and reasonably good weather.
Touring Ireland is definitely cheaper than touring England, but the Irish Tourist Board says you should figure on spending 20 Irish pounds per person, per day for eating, drinking and sleeping. If you want the best hotels, shows, etc., you'll pay more. Dublin is probably the most pricey place in Ireland. So if you limit your time in the big city and explore more of the countryside, you'll spend less.
Bed-and-breakfasts are everywhere in Ireland, and they're much more economical and homey than hotels. Plus, you get a breakfast that will keep you satisfied most of a day. Directories available through the Irish Tourist Board.
Eurail passes and the Irish version called the Rambler Pass offer unlimited train travel for a specified amount of time. (Some types of Ramblers also allow bus travel.) You have to buy the Eurail pass before arriving in Ireland, but the Rambler is available at train stations there.
For more information about traveling in Ireland, besides the Irish Tourist Board, you can contact the Irish Embassy in the United States (2234 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20008; (202) 462-3939.