Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: Oct. 7, 2004

UP NORTH(WEST): Tourism Ireland kicked off a U.S. promotion of Irelands five northwestern counties with a Sept. 30 reception in New York celebrating new episodes of weekly PBS series Out of Ireland that focus on travel to the region. Some 125 industry players -- including Northwest Regional Tourism Authority chief executive Paul McLoone -- enjoyed cocktails and a sneak preview of the latest episode, about County Monaghan. The new episode debuted in New York on WLIW Channel 21 on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, with rebroadcasts throughout the month; for air times in other U.S. markets, visit www.outofirelandtv.com. Irelands northwest is comprised of counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo; for more, visit www.irelandnorthwest.ie.

TALE OF TWO TOURS: Sceptre Tours announced pricing and dates for departures next year of two of its most popular Irish escorted tours. The Sights and Sounds Pub Tour, priced from $554 net, includes airfare, two nights hotel in both Galway and Dublin, daily breakfast, two dinners, and sightseeing via private coach with driver/guide. More than 50 departures have been scheduled; sample dates early in 2005 are Jan. 31; Feb. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 28; and March 2, 3 and 16. Meanwhile, the Treasures Tour, priced at $1,137, net, comes with airfare; daily breakfast and five dinners, including a gala castle banquet; sightseeing via private coach with driver and guide; and 7 nights accommodation, at venues such as Faithlegg Manor Home in Waterford, and Ashford or Dromoland Castles. Sceptre has scheduled more than 50 departures for Treasures Tours, as well, such as Feb. 16 and 23; March 2, 9 16, 23 and 30; and April 3, 10, 13, 17, 24 and 27. For more, contact Sceptre -- which went net-rate and agent only last fall -- at (800) 221-0924 or www.sceptretours.com.

CAPITAL IDEA: Dublin is a bit easier to get around now that a second Luas light-rail line has opened. This new red line, which opened to paying riders Oct. 4, runs from OConnell St. to Tallaght. The route does not connect directly to the first, green line, which began operating in May. Trams run 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Friday, with shorter hours on weekends. Luas is handy for getting to top Dublin sights. On the red line, the Connolly stop is near the National Museum of Archaeology; the Henry Street stop is adjacent to Temple Bar; Hueston Station is near Dublin Zoo and Phoenix Park; and James Street is by the Guinness Storehouse. For more, go to www.luas.ie and click on Visit Dublin on Luas.

 

SEEING GREENS: The 124-room Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links in Portmarnock, County Dublin, announced its list of upcoming golf events in 2005, as well as special 10th anniversary greens fees for next summer. Events include the Ashworth Junior Scratch Cup, March 17; Honda Open Singles Stableford, June 6; Team Event Scrambles on May 17, June 21 and July 12; and Heineken Team Event Scramble, Aug. 4. And to celebrate its anniversary, Portmarnock is offering greens fees at its 1995 opening rate of 60 euros, or $74, throughout July and August, Mondays to Thursdays, inclusive. For more, visit www.portmarnock.com or call (011) 353-1 846-0611.

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