All Ireland: Tour operator news

Following is a look at how a sampling of U.S.-based wholesalers have enhanced and expanded their products for the coming season. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Most commissions start at 10%, some higher.

  • Brendan Tours in Van Nuys, Calif., has introduced an escorted coach program that combines Ireland, Scotland and England and features three-night stays in most destinations. Called Ireland, Scotland & England at Leisure, the 13-night itinerary incorporates stays and touring in the Shannon region, Dublin, Edinburgh, London and York. It is priced from $2,188 land-only. Call (800) 421-8446.
  • Brian Moore International Tours in Boston has added Northern Ireland to the itinerary of its escorted seven-night Hidden Ireland tour. The Northern Ireland portion includes a tour of Belfast, a one-night stay at the Londonderry Arms in Carnlough on the Antrim Coast and visits to Giant's Causeway and Bushmills distillery. Other highlights include touring in Dublin, along the Sligo and Mayo coastline to County Galway and a day trip to the Aran Islands. The tour is priced at $989 land. Call (800) 982-2299.
  • Celtic International Tours in Albany, N.Y., has added city-stay programs in Dublin and Killarney and introduced new features to its Celtic Discovery tour. Call (800) 833-4373.
  • After introducing a five-night escorted North Meets South tour in 1998 that features Northern Ireland, Conway Hammond Tours in Albany, N.Y., plans to add departures on the tour for 1999, offering one each in February, March, April, May, June, September and October. The program incorporates stays in Belfast, Derry, Newcastle and Dublin, and touring highlights include Belfast, the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills distillery, Giant's Causeway and the Tower Museum in Derry. The air-inclusive tour is priced from $899 to $1,199, including travel from New York or Boston, first class hotel accommodations, full Irish breakfast daily and three dinners. Call (800) 684-5413.
  • Isle Inn Tours of Alexandria, Va., plans to operate nine different cycling itineraries this year. Among regions offered are County Derry in Northern Ireland, the West Cork coastline, Donegal and west Mayo. The week-long tours incorporate about 30 miles of cycling daily; luggage is transported by van. The tour is priced at $795, including cycling equipment, rain gear, lodging in guest houses or small hotels, and breakfast daily. Call (800) 237-9376.
  • Maupintour of Lawrence, Kan., now offers barge tours in Ireland aboard the newly refurbished eight-passenger Bona Spes. The six-night cruises operate between Rooskey and Lanesborough on the River Shannon and the renovated Ballinamore Canal. Among touring highlights are Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum, Ardagh Village, the 10th-century monastic churches of Quaker Island in Lough Ree and a visit to Ireland's oldest bar in Athlone. The price is $1,800. Special-interest bicycle, bird watching and golf cruises can be arranged, and art, photography and equestrian cruises are offered on the Shannon Princess. Call (800) 255-4266.
  • After the success of a similar program in 1998, Patrician Journeys in Livingston, N.J., is planning a single departure of a Celtic Spirituality Encounter for August. It will feature speakers and workshops in both Celtic spirituality and music. Call (800) 344-1443.
  • Sceptre Tours, a charter operator based in Ozone Park, N.Y., has expanded its land packages, offering motorcoach tours for the first time as well as golf and other special-interest land packages. Call (800) 221-0924.
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