From LAX to Dublin, nonstop flights are available on Aer Lingus; connecting flights (change of planes) are on Air Canada, US Airways, Continental and Delta. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $842.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 353 (country code for Ireland), 65 (area code) and the number.
Where to stay
Carrigann Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare; 707-4036, fax 707-4567, http://www.gateway-to-the-burren.com . Renovated hotel has a bar, library/reading room and dining room and is set in a large garden. Irish hospitality in a comfortable setting. A double room is $120, including breakfast and taxes.
Sheedy's Country House Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare; 707-4026, fax 707-4555, http://www.sheedys.com . Sheedy's Country House overlooks an ample garden as well as the mineral wells that made the town famous. The hotel's 11 rooms recently were refurbished in classic Irish country-house style. Double rooms $139, including breakfast and taxes.
Gregan's Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, County Clare; 707-7005, fax 707-7111, http://www.gregans.com . Staying at Gregan's Castle is like reliving the days of manor houses and servants. The house, built in 1750, became a hotel in 1967. It has 22 rooms and overlooks Galway Bay. Double rooms start at $230, including breakfast and taxes.
Where to eat
Carrigann Hotel (see above). Dinner choices include local seafood, rack of lamb and guinea fowl, all served with local produce. Smoked fish is a specialty, as are traditional Irish desserts such as sticky toffee pudding. Entrees start at $18.50.
Monks Pub, Old Pier, Ballyvaughan, County Clare; 707-7059, http://www.monkspub.com . A bright yellow pub overlooking Galway Bay. Seafood is the mainstay: chowder, smoked salmon, crabs, mussels and the catch of the day. Entrees start at $4.50.
Gus O'Connor's Pub, Fisher Street, Doolin, County Clare; 707-4168, http://www.irishmusicbars.com and http://www.diningpubs.com . The menu emphasizes local produce and seafood, with all food either caught or grown locally. Entrees include seafood chowder, fish of the day, Guinness beef stew and lamb. Entrees start at $9.45. The food competes with the music for attention: O'Connor's won the Traditional Music Pub of the Year Awards for 2002 and 2003.
To learn more
Irish Tourist Board, (800) 223-6470, http://www.ireland.travel.ie and http://www.shamrock.org .
Burren Centre, Kilfenora, County Clare; 708-8030, fax 708-8102, http://www.theburrencentre.ie .