Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: March 24, 2005

PRETTY CITY: Belfast is benefiting from a $1.3 billion facelift being funded by a public-private partnership. New attractions along the River Lagan waterfront, new city-center businesses, $250 million in roadway improvements and a new sewer system are all in the works. Among the projects: The $600 million, city-center Victoria Square project, due to open in two years; tourist attractions at Queens Quay; and arts projects at Custom House Square. The work is part of the citys Belfast Better Believe It campaign to attract more visitors and investment. For more, visit www.gotobelfast.com.

UP AND AWAY: Brian Moore International Tours celebrates American Airlines new service from Boston to Ireland, to start May 1, with a six-night, air-inclusive package priced from $659 per person, double. The package includes roundtrip air to Shannon, bed-and-breakfast accommodations, daily breakfast and a rental car. Additional U.S. departure gateways and accommodations upgrades are available. To book, call (800) 982-2299. For more, visit www.bmit.com.

MORE TO DO: Look for bigger and better cultural events in Ireland this year. Dublin has earmarked some $425,000 to support nine festivals and happenings. Beneficiaries include Irish folk festival Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; the Feile na Bealtaine Celtic festival in Dingle, Co. Kerry; Galway Arts Festival, Galway; Clonmel Junction Festival, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary; Irish Coffee Festival, Foynes, Co. Limerick; Writers Week in Listowel, Co. Kerry; Shannon International Music Festival, Limerick; National Country Fair, Emo, Co. Laois; and the World Sheep Dog Trials in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. For more, see www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie.

HIGH CLASS, HIGH SEAS: Irish Ferries debuted a Club Class lounge onboard its Dublin Swift ship, which connects the Irish capital to Holyhead, England, in one hour and 45 minutes, three times a day in each direction. On the upper deck, the lounge offers reserved seating; reclining leather Pullman seats; complimentary drinks and snacks; complimentary newspapers and magazines; and an exclusive lounge bar. The upgrade to Club Class costs 15 euros (about $20) per person each way. Visit www.irishferries.com.

GET ONE FREE: Sceptre Tours is partnering with Jurys Hotels to offer one free night at any Jurys property in Ireland with a purchase of two or more nights accommodations for travel starting April 1. For more, call (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptretours.com.

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