Wait no longer to plan your 2010 trip to Ireland. The long-anticipated January airfare sales have begun!

Aer Lingus has announced transatlantic airfares to Ireland as low as $239 each way from NY or from $269 from Boston or Chicago for economy class for travel to Shannon or Dublin, from April 10 to June 15.  Sale prices are slated to end on January 21st, so act fast.

Aer Lingus is also doing something not often seen – selling its Premier business class seats from $939 each way ($1,978 roundtrip) from New York, Boston or Chicago. That’s less than half of the normal Premier fare. This offer is valid for travel from now throughout the summer until August 31, but tickets must be booked by January 29. The fare provides Gold Circle lounge access, priority check-in and baggage delivery, restaurant-quality dining, and three check-in bags free of charge.

Continental has also put its BusinessFirst fares on sale for less than half the normal fare for summer travel (July 5 – September 3), from $959 ($1,918 round-trip), from Newark to Shannon or Dublin. This fare allows more lead time – you can book until July 5, based on availability, but a 60-day advance purchase is required. If last year is any indication, Continental will soon be having a fare sale on economy seats too.

Delta has launched a “New York Flights On Sale” promotion for service from JFK to Dublin.  The sale fare is $319 each way, based on a round-trip purchase.  Fares must be purchased by January 25 for travel March 19 through May 15.

For travel around Ireland, CIE Tours International has extended its $300 discount per couple ($150 per person) until February 4th for escorted tours to Ireland from May through August. To get the $300 discount, travelers must book a motorcoach tour of 9 days/7 nights or longer, together with roundtrip flights on Aer Lingus from NY, Chicago, Boston or Orlando. Use promotional code 020419EI150 when booking.

The Irish Hotels Federation has announced a “January Sale” of special offers and value breaks available at hotels all over Ireland throughout 2010. Prices start at $165 (€118) for two people for two nights. Check out the deals at their website.

Even 5-star castles are on sale – both Dromoland and Ashford Castles are offering rates from $137 (€97.50) per person per night for two nights with full breakfast each morning, and, as a bonus, stay a third night for free. This offer is only available until March. More information: www.dromoland.ie or www.ashford.ie.

Patricia Preston has written 23 travel books (15 about Ireland). Visit Pat’s web site (http://www.IrelandExpert.com) or get her latest book, Ireland Travel 101 (http://www.IrelandTravel101.com)