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Now is a good time to visit Ireland.

Even before Ireland’s bailout at the end of last year, hotel prices had become more competitive, as the country’s economy became increasingly shaky. But now, as the number of visitors last year fell by around one million, from 7.6 million in 2009, there’s a scramble to make up for lost revenue, with hotels and tour operators creating more attractive packages to draw visitors, reports the New York Times.

On the upside, the country’s troubles are offering opportunities to tourists and some of the best bargains are to be found in the hardest-hit countries of which Ireland is one. Not only are hotels and tour operators slashing rates, but the construction boom has left a wider range of accommodation for travellers to choose from. ‘There has never been a better time to get great value offers — whether you are looking to stay in a luxury castle, five-star hotel, cottage or B&B accommodations, there is something to suit every budget’ said Ruth Moran, a publicity manager for Tourism Ireland.

At the very top end of the range, you can stay in a castle and enjoy a €100 discount per night. A deluxe room in summer at fairy tale Ashford Castle in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, now costs €455, down from €550, and the five-star castle hotel is offering three nights for the price of two all year long. It may sound expensive but it's a place with kudos! President Ronald Reagan stayed here during his visit to Ireland in 1984, and in 2001 the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan held his wedding here.

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