All Ireland: Hotels, Attractions and More

Following is a look at recent and upcoming developments throughout Ireland. Contact numbers are below.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo

  • All guest rooms have been refurbished, each in a distinctive style.
  • Recently opened Ireland's first falconry (hunting with birds of prey).
  • Chief O'Neill's Hotel, Dublin

  • 73-room hotel is part of Smithfield Village.
  • 4-star property opened April 1999.
  • Located north side of Dublin.
  • Da Vinci's Hotel, Derry

  • 70-room independent hotel under construction.
  • Opening scheduled for May.
  • Located within a half-mile of Derry's city center.
  • Dromoland Castle Hotel, Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare

  • Opened 24 new luxury Club Suites in October, all with fireplaces, deluxe appointments, business support peripherals.
  • Recently completed a new swimming pool, an expanded business center, refurbishment of all guest rooms, and a half-million dollars in improvements to the gardens.
  • Added a Castle Keep Cottage last April.
  • Faithlegg House Hotel, Waterford

  • Luxury hotel occupies 1782 manor house and newly constructed extension; opened May 1999.
  • 14 rooms in main house, 68 in the extension.
  • Facilities include oak-paneled billiard room, large Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gym, treatment rooms.
  • Forte Posthouse Belfast

  • 170-room flagship property under construction.
  • Opening later this year.
  • Four Seasons Hotel Dublin

  • New 254-room deluxe hotel to open in late spring.
  • Located on 3.5 acres of the historic Royal Dublin Society's 42-acre show-grounds.
  • Georgian-style exterior and the use of old stone create a traditional Irish atmosphere.
  • Hastings Hotel Group, Northern Ireland

  • Fall opening is planned for an 11-story, 56-room addition under construction at the Europa Hotel in Belfast; total room count when complete will be 240.
  • A $5.6 million expansion at the Culloden Hotel in Hollywood includes the addition of 28 guest rooms and an extended kitchen; completion in 2001.
  • A new glass front to the reception and meeting area at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast was completed in November.
  • Holiday Inn, Belfast

  • Construction under way on a new four-star Holiday Inn at Shaw's Bridge.
  • Completion slated for February 2001.
  • Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast

  • Refurbishment and expansion project nearing completion.
  • Adding 18 rooms for a total of 51; also new function facilities, larger dining room and mini-gym.
  • Three-star hotel due to reopen in February.
  • The Morrison, Dublin

  • 95-room contemporary Irish boutique hotel opened June 1999.
  • Created by Irish designer John Rocha.
  • Located on Ormond Quay overlooking the River Liffey.
  • Stakis Park Hotel, Templepatrick

  • New 18-hole golf course opened in September.
  • Championship 7,000-yard course on the outskirts of Belfast.
  • 130-room Stakis Park Hotel debuted in June 1998.
  • The Westin Dublin

  • 164-room property under construction.
  • Located in downtown Dublin opposite Trinity College.
  • February 2001 opening planned.
  • ATTRACTIONS

    Hot Press Irish Music Hall of Fame, Dublin

  • Contains memorabilia, exclusive interviews, footage and mementos of Ireland's top stars.
  • Featured acts include: U2, Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, the Cranberries, the Corrs, Riverdance and others.
  • Opened May 1999.
  • Millennium Theatre Complex, Derry

  • Millennium Square, a covered piazza with shops, cafes and spaces for performing arts, and a 1,000-seat auditorium.
  • Due to open in November 2000.
  • Complex occupies last remaining site within Derry's 17th century walls.
  • Oscar Wilde House, Dublin

  • Newly restored Georgian-style house opened in July 1999.
  • Residence of Oscar Wilde from 1855 to 1876.
  • Built in 1762.
  • St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick

  • July opening planned for visitors center in heart of Downpatrick.
  • Interprets the story of Ireland's patron saint and the early Christian church.
  • Interactive multimedia exhibition.
  • Smithfield Village, Dublin

  • Multifaceted facility located on the site of the Old Irish Whiskey Distillery opened April 1999.
  • Includes Ceol -- The Irish Traditional Music Centre, an interactive center that explores the evolution of traditional Irish music and dance.
  • Features Chief O'Neill's Cafe/Bar, a venue for live traditional music that serves traditional food.
  • TOUR OPERATOR PRODUCT NEWS

    River Shannon Barge Cruises

  • In April both Abercrombie & Kent and Maupintour will launch six-night sailings on the 12-passenger Shannon Princess.
  • Vessel travels from Athlone to Killaloe in the west of Ireland.
  • Visits to 6th century monastery, riverside villages, "singing pubs," manor houses.
  • Departures: Weekly through September.
  • Abercrombie & Kent Country House Walking Tours

  • Abercrombie & Kent six-night program debuts this year.
  • Accommodations in two private Georgian homes.
  • Intermediate-level walking (six miles daily) in counties Monaghan and Cavan and coastal Sligo.
  • Departures: June 18, July 16.
  • Aer Lingus Vacations

  • Expanded fly-drive brochure for 2000, including a larger selection of pre-book lodgings in Northern Ireland.
  • Minimum stay reduced to three nights for "Go As You Please" fly-drive program.
  • Extended grace period on car rentals for up to eight hours on day of return.
  • Promoting a deluxe four-night Culinary Seminars package at Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, in conjunction with a two-for-one special on Aer Lingus' Premier Business Class service; available through March.
  • Brian Moore International Tours: Castles and Manors

  • New seven-night escorted itinerary; promoted as a luxury tour at affordable prices.
  • Lodgings: Two nights at Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin, one at Faithlegg House Hotel in County Waterford, two at Rangles Court Clarion Hotel in Killarney (County Kerry), and two nights at Dromoland Castle Hotel.
  • Departures: Every two weeks starting in May.
  • Celtic Tours: London -- The English Countryside and Ireland

  • Celtic Tours' combination tour is new for 2000.
  • 10-night air-inclusive package includes five-night escorted coach tour in Ireland and five-night independent stay in London.
  • In Ireland: Kilkenny Castle, Waterford Crystal Factory, Blarney Castle, Cobh Heritage Center, Blarney Woolen Mills, knitwear and woolen outlets and a castle banquet.
  • Departures: Saturdays, April 22 to Sept. 30.
  • CIE Tours International

  • Additional departures for its more popular escorted coach tours, including 11-day Irish Supreme Deluxe and 14-day Irish Classic Tour.
  • Conway Hammond Tours: Irish Postcards

  • New four-night escorted package focuses on the west coast of Ireland.
  • Highlights: Limerick, Adare, Blarney, the Dingle Peninsula, Kinsale.
  • Package dovetails with self-drive or chauffeur-driven add-ons.
  • Departures: Every two weeks.
  • ETM Travel Group: City Packages in Derry

  • Derry city packages new for 2000.
  • Three-nights include city walking tour, admission to Tower Museum.
  • ETM city packages also available in Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Killarney and Belfast
  • Maupintrek: Gaelic Hiking Expedition

  • New seven-night hiking and walking program by Maupintrek, a division of Maupintour.
  • Highlights: County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park, Tory Island, Rossnowlagh, Wicklow Way in County Wicklow.
  • Easy to moderate activity level; group size limited to 20.
  • Departures: July 7 and 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 1.
  • Sceptre Tours

  • An expanded land program will include value-priced chauffeur-driven programs.
  • Additional departures planned for escorted air-inclusive six- and seven-night motorcoach tours.
  • First introduced in 1999; air travel is via Aer Lingus scheduled service.
  • AIR TRANSPORTATION NEWS

    Aer Lingus

  • Launched service from Los Angeles to Dublin and Shannon gateways last May.
  • In late spring, service out of Los Angeles will increase to five weekly, daily during peak summer season.
  • Service out of Boston increases to 11 flights weekly in February and twice daily in the summer.
  • From Chicago, schedule increases to nine flights weekly in the summer and six times weekly during off-peak.
  • New alliance agreements with American Airlines and British Airways in November include frequent flyer program reciprocity and code-sharing.
  • Agent pay maintained at 8% with no caps for tickets plated on Aer Lingus.
  • Delta Air Lines

  • Launched service from New York to Ireland in July 1999.
  • Daily flights from Kennedy to Shannon and Dublin.
  • Contact Numbers

    ACCOMMODATIONS
    Adare Manor: (800) 462-3273
    Ashford Castle: (800) 346-7007
    Ballynahinch Castle Hotel: (011) 353 95 31006
    Belle Isle Estate: (011) 44 28 6638 7231
    Castle Leslie: (011) 353 47 88109
    Chief O'Neill's Hotel: (011) 353 817 3838
    Dromoland Castle Hotel: (800) 346-7007
    Faithlegg House Hotel: (011) 353 51 382000
    Forte Hotels: (800) 225-5843
    Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts: (800) 332-3442
    Galway Great Southern Hotel: (011) 353 91 564041
    Green Book of Ireland: (011) 800-1-676-2555
    Hastings Hotels: (011) 44 28 9074 5251
    Hidden Ireland: (800) 688-0299
    Holiday Inns: (800) 465-4329
    Kilkea Castle: (011) 353 503 45156
    Killyleagh Castle Towers: (011) 44 28 4482 8261
    Kinnitty Castle: (011) 353 509 37318
    Malone Lodge Hotel: (011) 44 28 9038 8000
    The Merrion Hotel: (011) 353 1 603 0600
    The Morrison (011) 353 1 878 2999
    Park Hotel Kenmare: (011) 353 64 41200
    Prima Hotels: (800) 447-7462
    Shelbourne Dublin: (011) 353 1 676 6471
    Stakis: (800) STAKIS-1
    Utell: (800) 448-8355
    Waterford Castle: (011) 353 51 878203
    Westin Hotels & Resorts: (800) 228-3000

    AIRLINES
    Aer Lingus: (800) 223-6537
    Continental: (800) 231-0856
    Delta (800) 221-1212

    EVENTS
    Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival: (011) 28 8224 3292
    Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival: (011) 44 28 7126 7284
    Belfast Festival at Queen's: (011) 44 28 9066 7687
    Belfast Summerfest 2000: (011) 44 28 9027 0466
    Bloomsday: (011) 353 280 9625
    Dublin Film Festival: (011) 353 67 92937
    Fleadh Cheoil: (011) 353 54 37950
    Fleadh Nua 2000: (011) 353 65 6842988
    Galway Arts Festival: (011) 353 91 562594
    Guinness Cork Jazz Festival: (011) 353 21 278979
    Kilkenny Arts Festival: (011) 353 56 63663
    Leopardstown Christmas Festival: (011) 353 8351965
    Northern Ireland Festival of Racing: (011) 44 28 9262 1256
    Opera Week: (011) 44 28 9024 1919
    Sligo Arts Festival: (011) 353 71 69802
    St. Patrick's Festival: (011) 353 676 3205
    Walled City Festival: (011) 44 28 7126 7284
    Wexford Festival Opera: (011) 353 53 22144
    World Irish Dancing Championships: (011) 44 28 9027 0466

    FERRY SERVICES
    Norse Irish Sea Ferries: (011) 44 28 9077 9090
    P&O European Ferries: (561) 563-2856 (Scots-American Travel Advisors)
    Sea Cat: (011) 44 232 313 543; (800) 432-7245
    Stena Line: (011) 44 990 707070

    Comments
    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI