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.