Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: March 31, 2005

WHAT SPORTS: Cork may be attracting the lions share of attention with its role as European Union culture capital this year, but theres also plenty afoot in nearby Killarney, County Kerry, where the towns 20-month-long 250th anniversary party, which started on St. Patricks Day 2004, continues unabated. Picturesque Killarney -- considered the birthplace of Irish tourism -- celebrates its sporting heritage in April, May, and June, with basketball tournaments, golfing weeks, cycling and fishing events, and guided walks through town and countryside. For more information, visit www.killarney250.com.

GUEST INDIES: Brian Moore International Tours (BMIT) offers independent travelers booking auto rental, accommodations and airfare two extra perks at no extra charge: hotel upgrades pre-booked for the first night in Ireland and free Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) on all rental cars. Package-wise, the firm is offering a weeklong Irelands Friendly B&B deal with air for $659 per person, double occupancy. BMIT pays agents up to 15% commission on their first booking and lets them determine their own commissions on air with mark-ups on net airfares, introduced at the beginning of this year. To book, call (800) 982-2299. For more, visit www.bmit.com.

ON TRACK: Irish Railways announced a $338 million order for 120 new carriages for its InterCity services between major towns. The new cars, to enter service from 2007, will allow the railroad to increase frequencies and offer greater passenger comfort; more than half of all InterCity trains are now more than 30 years old. New trains -- to feature air conditioning, closed-circuit security TV, and catering facilities -- will operate on routes from Dublin to Westport, Limerick, Cork and Waterford. Since 1999 Irish Railways also has upgraded more than 420 miles of track in a $390 million capital improvement program. For more on Irish Railways, visit www.irishrail.ie.

LINKS CHAMPS: The Annual Irish Links Championship from Irish Links Tours and Travel will be played April 26 to May 1. The celebration of links golf is a 72-hole, stroke play tournament, played over four of Irelands most spectacular links courses: Ballybunion -- Old Course, Lahinch -- Old Course, Dooks Golf Club and Waterville Golf Links. Local Irish teams will compete against visiting Americans. For more, call Irish Links Tours and Travel at (800) 824-6538, or visit www.irishlinkschampionship.com.

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