Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: Oct. 21, 2004

NEW CIE TOURS: CIE Tours International published its biggest ever Ireland & Britain 2005 brochure; at 84 pages, the guide includes 19 escorted coach tours of Ireland, ranging from five to 14 days; six escorted tours combining the Emerald Isle with Great Britain; and four types of independent Irish vacations. The line-up includes five new escorted itineraries combining airfare and deluxe, superior or first class hotels with meals, entertainment, and sightseeing. New tours include the seven-night, 13-meal Irish Interlude to lesser-traveled areas of Ireland, priced from $1,508 with departures weekly on Saturdays and most Mondays, March 19 to Oct. 29. And the four-night, 7-meal Irish Fling to the southwest and southeast coasts is bookable on a land-only basis from $698; departures are set for Fridays from April 8 to Nov. 4, and on Sunday from May 1 to Oct. 30.

AGENT FAM PERK: In other news, CIE is offering travel agents -- and companions who share a room with them -- a 40% discount off the land portion of any 2004 departure of its escorted motorcoach tours. To contact CIE -- which pays agents 10% on land and varying commissions on air -- call (800) CIE-TOUR or visit www.cietours.com.

READY, SET, GO: More than 10,000 runners will race in the 25th annual Adidas Dublin Marathon this Monday, the highest number of participants registered since 1982. The Oct. 25 race has attracted elite male and female runners from 54 countries; Irelands best hope is Gary Crossan of Donegal, who finished 6th last year. For more information about the marathon and other pending sport events in Dublin visit www.visitdublin.com/events/sport.asp online.

AER-IER LINGUS? A slimmer Aer Lingus said more than 1,500 employees have applied for early retirement under the voluntary severance scheme announced in August 2003, as part of the Irish carriers cost-cutting program. At press time, 175 staff had already left the company. Aer Lingus hailed the voluntary reductions -- along with other savings measures -- as important contributions to the quest to rework the airline into a leading low-fare/low-cost carrier both in Europe and, now, on transatlantic routes. For more, visit www.aerlingus.com.

SIMPLY ELEGANT: A sales team from Dublin-based Elegant Ireland is trolling Pennsylvania and New Jersey this week, looking to drum up agent interest in the companys short-term luxury property rentals and customized holiday and event management services in the Emerald Isle. The firm, which promotes itself as the leading upmarket rental outfit, pays around 10% commission on its short-term castle, country house and cottage rentals and also offers net rates on customized special-interest tours for groups. Tour themes offered range from Georgian homes, and guesthouse and gardens, to Celtic spirituality and St. Patrick-related itineraries. For more information, visit www.elegantireland.ie and/or www.elegant.ie.

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