Weekend in Dublin, Ireland

BUDGET

Getting there: Round-trip rates beginning at $300 (add $459.10 taxes, fees) are valid on midweek travel now through Dec. 14 or Dec. 24-March 26. A one-week advance purchase notice and a Saturday night stay are required. Buy by Dec. 8 at Delta.com. Nonstop service east: Sunday-Wednesday, Friday; Monday-Thursday, Saturday (other days require a New York-JFK connection).

Stay: The elegant Wynn's Hotel is located a few minutes' walk to the Abbey Theatre, Trinity College, Temple Bar and Dublin's two premier shopping streets (O'Connell and Henry streets). Bus and rail terminals are within walking distance, and the new Luas tram stops at the front door. A Classic double room starts at 109 euro ($148); 35-39, Lwr. Abbey St., 353-1-874-5131, www.wynnshotel.ie.

Eat: Comfort dishes prepared in the Irish kitchen at Gallagher's Boxty House include lamb stew and its signature Boxty (stuffed potato dumplings). Save with a three-course Early Bird Menu, 17.75 euro per person ($24); 20-21 Temple Bar, 353-1-677-2762, www.boxtyhouse.ie. For a real Irish music experience, stop at O'Donoghues. One of Ireland's most famous bands, The Dubliners, got their start here; 15 Merrion Row, 353-660-7194, www.odonoghues.ie.

Experience: Explore the history and culture of Dublin at your leisure with a Hop On-Hop Off tour (live commentary). The day tour can be joined at any of the 23 stops on the route, and passengers can choose their stops for sightseeing and rejoin the tour later. An adult ticket of 16 euro ($22) includes a second day of use free and a selection of attraction discounts; www.dublinpass.ie.

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MODERATE

Getting there: Round-trip rates start at $422 (add $459.10 taxes, fees) are valid on midweek travel Dec. 15-23 or March 27-April 1. A one-week advance purchase notice and a Saturday night stay are required. Buy by Dec. 8 at Delta.com.

Stay: The Brooks Hotel (Small Luxury Hotels of the World member) offers a prime city center location on a quiet side street. Guest rooms feature four-star amenities (complimentary WiFi) beginning at 125 euro for a Classic double ($169) and 160 euro for a Deluxe double ($216); 59-63 Drury St., 353-1-670-4000, www.brookshotel.ie.

Eat: Stylish Francesca's Restaurant, renowned as one of the best in the city, serves international and Irish cuisine prepared with the best local produce. Starters range from 7 to 11 euro ($9.50-$15) and entrees from 15 to 25 euro ($20-$34 for Dublin Bay prawns or Roast ‘Wicklow' lamb). Francesca's is inside the Brooks Hotel (www.brookshotel.ie).

Experience: Skip the queues at the city's top attractions. A Dublin Pass offers entry to 31 spots for one price. Attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse, James Joyce Museum, Kilmainham Gaol, National Gallery of Ireland, the Old Jameson Distillery and the Shaw Birthplace are included. Also included is one-way coach shuttle service between the airport and the city center along with discounts on shopping, dining, theaters, entertainment venues, tours and more. An adult 3-Day Dublin Pass is 65 euro ($88 vs. $239 with separate entry) inclusive of an 88-page guidebook; www.dublinpass.ie.

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SPLURGE

Getting there: Round-trip Business Class rates starting at $1,800 (add $459.10 taxes, fees) are valid daily on Dec. 19-Jan. 6 departures; Dec. 25-Jan. 10 returns. Stay any three nights to a maximum of 10 days. Buy by Dec. 23 at Delta.com.

Stay: The Merrion is Dublin's five-star luxury hotel and a Leading Hotels of the World member. Elegant interiors feature antiques and Irish fabrics. Guest accommodations, individually decorated and furnished, are situated in restored 18th century townhouses or in the Garden wing. On site are two restaurants (one with two Michelin stars), a drawing room for afternoon tea fireside and two bars (one is set in 18th century wine vaults). Superior King rooms range from 239 to 295 euro ($324-$400); Upper Merrion St., 353-1-603-0600, www.merrionhotel.com

Eat: Menus at the award-winning One Pico change monthly, with modern classic cuisine selections. This romantic restaurant offers a three-course Sunday dinner (6-8 p.m.) for 38 euro per person ($52). A la carte entree selections range from 27.50 to 35 euro; 5-6 Molesworth Place, 353-1-676-0300, www.onepico.com.

Experience: Take a day trip out to Ireland's rugged midwestern coast, through Limerick on the River Shannon, to Bunratty Castle, to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Galway Bay. This motor coach tour (DH06; Mondays-Saturdays) includes a journey through three of Ireland's four provinces, including the drive from the Cliffs of Moher to the city of Galway -- regarded as one of the top 10 coastal drives in Europe. Adults 109 euro per person ($148); www.railtoursireland.com.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.

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