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Splurge-worthy five-star art-immersion weekends in Ireland

Save your pennies—or rather, your dollars—and splurge an art-centric weekend in Ireland. Two of the country’s finest properties, the five-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin and the ultra-haute Ballyfin, in County Laois, have teamed to offer Inspiring Irish Art Weekends that showcase each property’s museum-quality art collection.

I haven’t stayed at The Merrion, but I have had the pleasure of one hosted night at Ballyfin — trust me, it’s well worth the splurge to experience this masterpiece.

The themed weekends, available Oct. 11-13, 2-13, and Apr. 4-6 and 11-13, 2014, include one night at each property:

Merrion Hotel, DublinAt The Merrion, a magnificently restored Georgian property located within walking distance of most of Dublin’s top sights, guests will receive:

• breakfast

• a private tour of The Merrion’s 19th- and 20th-century Irish art collection by expert from the National Gallery of Ireland

• an afternoon “Art Tea” with pastries inspired by The Merrion’s in-house artwork

• dinner for two at The Merrion’s Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant.

BallyfinThe second night at Ballyfin, a five-star, 15-room country house hotel set on a private 600-acre estate complete with pond, gardens, follies, and trails, includes:

• breakfast

• a private tour of Ballyfin’s 17th-century art collection by Irish art expert William Laffan

• a cocktail reception and five-course dinner for two in the Ballyfin’s State Dining Room.

The package also includes transfers to and from airport and between The Merrion and Ballyfin. The cost for the two-night package is  €2,727 (approximately $3,570) for two people sharing a room.

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