Travel Weeklys Ireland E-letter: Sept. 30, 2004

FAIRER AER FARES: Aiming to become the first low-fare/low-cost transatlantic carrier, Aer Lingus simplified its fare rules structure on Sept. 27, slashing business-class fares and instituting cheaper one-way economy fares. In addition, roundtrip purchase requirements and Saturday night stays have been eliminated. Premier business class fares have been reduced by 50% -- with front-cabin New York to Dublin fares at $2,600, for example, down from $4,899 -- while lead-in economy fares have been cut 20% to 30%. Alas, the reinstitution of travel agent commissions is not in the cards. For more, visit www.aerlingus.com.

LAST (MINUTE) CHANCE: Brendan Worldwide Vacations is paying agents $100 bonus commission per booking on October departures of two tours, if booked and paid by Oct. 8. Eligible tours are the Oct. 9 departures of the Grand Tour of Ireland and the Oct. 9, 16 and 23 departures of Sights and Sounds of Ireland. Both the 11-night Grand Tour, priced from $1,767 per person, and the 12-night Sights and Sounds itinerary -- which starts at $1,867 -- include first-class accommodations; sightseeing; full Irish breakfast daily, one lunch and seven three-course dinners; Jurys Cabaret; and all hotel taxes. To book, call (800) 421-8446 or visit www.brendanvacations.com/tvlagents.html.

TOURISM EUROS AT WORK: The Irish government pledged some $2.8 million toward new tourism projects. Recipients of grants from the Dept. for Arts, Sport and Tourism include Waterpoint, in Enniscrone, County Sligo for development of a water leisure center; the Connemara Heritage and History Centre, in Lettershea, Clifden, County Galway, for expansion of existing facilities, including the Dan OHara Homestead; and Rural Cork Cycling Routes Consortium, for development of about 120 miles of new cycling trails in the Cork area.

AMENITY ABOUT-FACE?: No-frills Dublin-based carrier Ryanair -- famed, or infamous, for removing window shades and seat pockets from its planes to save on maintenance and cleaning costs -- said it is considering actually adding one onboard amenity, inflight entertainment, to all jets by next March. The new APS portable entertainment system, to be tested on five planes starting Nov. 1, will offer movies, television programs, music videos and audio  -- for a price, of course. During the trial run, Ryanair plans to charge interested passengers an introductory fee of about $8.50 per flight to use the system. See www.ryanair.com.

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