Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: April 28, 2005

SPRING SAVINGS: Aer Lingus is cutting the cost of spring travel from New York to Ireland and Europe, with discount airfares, free connecting flights and savings on land options. The Irish flag carrier cut fares in May and June by 20%, with roundtrips between New York (Kennedy) and Shannon or Dublin starting at $398 in May, and $466 June 1 to 15. Aer Lingus also offers free onward flights to seven cities London or Bristol, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Amsterdam; Brussels; and Dusseldorf or Frankfurt, Germany from May 1 to June 15. Travelers purchasing eligible transatlantic fares also qualify for a $75 credit toward Aer Lingus Vacations packages. The offers are available only at Aer Lingus telephone reservations line at (800) IRISH AIR or (800) 474-7424.

BREHON BOOKING: One-hundred-twenty-five-room, $34 million spa resort The Brehon in Killarney which offers guaranteed U.S. dollar rates of $270 per night, double, with breakfast and taxes, through Oct. 31, and then $250 per night Nov. 1 to March 31, 2006  is now bookable in the U.S. through Waterstone Marketing, at (800) 528-6069. Agent pay on bookings is 10%. For more information, visit www.thebrehon.com.

SCEPTRE GOES AMERICAN: Agent-only, Ireland specialist operator Sceptre Tours signed a deal with American Airlines that it said will help promote its Ireland product beyond the traditional northeastern U.S. markets served by its other airline partner, Aer Lingus. Sceptre president Chris Accomando said the new partnership expands the number of departures and net airfare rates available from key gateway markets, such as Chicago, Dallas and Miami, where American is dominant. For more information, visit www.sceptretours.com or call (800) 221-0924.

UP WITH HERITAGE: The  Dublin-based Heritage Island marketing group of Irish historical attractions has been lobbying Irish lawmakers and tourism officials since February to raise the profile of heritage product in overseas marketing and online at sites such as www.tourismireland.com and www.ireland.ie. In other news, a poll of Heritage Island member attractions found that from Jan. 1 to March 31, 90% of respondents report business growth, with an average 5% increase over the same months in 2003. And nearly two-thirds report higher advance bookings this year than last.  For more information, call (011) 353-1 236-6890; e-mail [email protected] or visit www.heritageisland.com.

SPEAKING OF HERITAGE: On this side of the Atlantic, Tourism Ireland partnered with The Smithsonian Associates and the Wales Tourist Board to offer 20 Celtic Connection seminars this June in Washington, D.C. The Irish portion of the program consists of 11 one-day events focusing on Irish music, archaeology, cooking, film, religion, literature, and of course travel. Celebrity participants include tenor Ronan Tynan and chef Kevin Dundon. For more information or to register, phone (202) 357-3030; fax to (202) 786-2034; or visit www.residentassociates.org.

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