Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: April 7, 2005

ITS EASY BEING GREEN: Boston-based operator TNT Vacations -- to date solely a Mexico and Caribbean specialist -- begins offering Ireland product with the debut of two land-only, eight-night escorted tours, as well as charter airfares, to the Emerald Isle from June 30 through Sept. 3. Both the Old Country Charmer (at $1,249 per person), which starts in Shannon, and the Old Country Splendor ($1,239) from Dublin, take in Galway, Killarney, Kinvara, the Rock of Cashel and more. Rates include hotel, transportation, admissions, and breakfast and dinner daily. Non-stop charter air to Shannon and Dublin from Boston via Ryan International Airways also is available from $229 one-way. Agent pay is 15% on land until June 30, negotiable afterwards, and 10% on air. Call (888) GO-TNT-GO or visit www.tntvacations.com.

FLYING MORE, FOR LESS: Low-fare Irish airline Ryanair reported 20% growth in passenger figures in March, compared to the same month in 2004. Ryanair carried 2,565,706 people this March, compared to 2,137,187 the year before. Load factors also rose for the month, to 80%, up from 78% the year before, and Internet accounted of 98% of all sales, up from 97%. Ryanair has 17 hubs and 180 routes that cover 91 destinations across 16 European countries. For more information, visit www.ryanair.com.

BEST IN THE NORTH: On April 27, Ulster tourism players will gather at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast to honor winners in the 12 categories of this years annual Northern Ireland Tourism Awards. Category sponsors include Belfast International Airport; Tourism Ireland; Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau; Tourism Training Trust; and VisitBritain. Contestants, drawn from across Northern Ireland, include five entrants from Belfast, four from County Antrim; two each from Counties Armagh and Derry; six from County Down; one from County Fermanagh, and two more from County Tyrone, including the Ulster American Folk Park and the Bluegrass Music Festival, both in Omagh. For more, visit www.nitb.com.

MAY I? Brendan Worldwide Vacations put air-inclusive trips to Ireland on sale this May, when tickets are issued by April 15. The May 21 departure of the seven-night At Home with the Irish is priced from $1,593 per person, double occupancy, and the seven-night Glimpse of Ireland, departing May 7, 14 and 21, starts at $1,603. The nine-night Ireland at Leisure, leaving May 5 and 12, starts at $2,210, while the nine-night Deluxe Ireland -- May 13 -- is priced from $4,110. Call (800) 421-8446 or visit www.brendanvacations.com.

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