Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: Dec. 16, 2004

PAY UP: Celtic Tours is offering up to 17% commission on land, free places and cash booking bonus for groups booked on scheduled coach tours for 2005. Groups of 16 to 19 passengers earn agents 12% pay, 20 to 35 passengers, 15%; and 36 passengers or more, 17%. Groups to Ireland also receive one free land space for 16 paying passengers and one free air for 25; and two free land for 30 passengers and two free air for 40. In addition, groups of 20 to 39 will earn agents an extra $200 in bonus pay, while groups of 40 or more net agents an extra $400.  

The commissions and incentives apply to all of Celtic's scheduled Ireland coach tour departures of six nights or more for travel April to October, 2005. 

Celtic also pays 5% commission on all air from published gateways. Call (800) 833-4373 or visit

TEMPLE OF ROOMS: There's much ado at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis, County Clare, a stone's throw from Shannon Airport. The property, though not yet 9 years old, plans enhancements including additional executive rooms, a spa and state-of-the-art meetings rooms.  Also, it installed WiFi Internet access in conference and banquet suites and all other public areas, including the Preachers Pub and JM's Bistro; guests can now enjoy coffee and pastry in the library or lobby while checking e-mail. Temple Gate also furnished some guest rooms with high-speed ISDN lines.

In other news, gift vouchers from 25 euros ($33) and up are available online at; the hotel's offering 2-night, bed-and- breakfast Murder Mystery Weekend packages from 199 euros ($266), per person, Feb. 25 and 26 and April 22 and 23; and managing director Paul Madden won an Irish Welcome Awards Certificate of Merit from tourism board Failte Ireland. For more, visit

MONEY, MONEY: Ireland's Dept. for Arts, Sport and Tourism announced up to $4.2 million in funding for several new nationwide attractions. Tourism minister John O'Donoghue said grants had been approved for among others   the Arigna Mining Experience, in Arigna, County Roscommon, for an expansion of facilities, including installation of sound effects and video screen equipment, and at Millstreet Country Park, in Millstreet, County Cork for construction of a museum/cultural centre addressing themes such as traditional Irish trades, archaelogy and Celtic spirituality.

For more, see

PEDALING IRELAND: Galway-based bike-tour operator CycleWest Ireland is "pedaling" new cycling routes in Ireland's southwest, the Connemara and along the west coast.  For example, the new four-night independent Western Spin 'n Cycle tour will be available from March through October. The tour, priced from approximately $760 per person, double, includes private accommodations at Fox Hollow, a three-bedroom, self-catering cottage in Louisburgh, near Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. Also included: a five-day self-led biking and walking tour; equipment including 21-speed hybrid bikes, helmets, water bottles and route maps; luggage transfers; and on-call back-up service. There's a $200 single supplement, and kids under 12 stay at half-price; extra days can be added from about $89 per person. CycleWest pays agents 10% commission. Contact the firm's U.S. office in Atlanta by phone at (800) 204-1452, by fax at (208) 475-8910, or via e-mail at [email protected]. Or visit


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