Travel Weekly's Ireland E-Letter: May 1, 2003

POT O' GOLD: The "1,000 Welcomes Passport" savings program from Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus provides discounts and perks to clients heading for the Emerald Isle on sale air fares from the Irish flag carrier this spring and summer. Many U.S. operators, including Sceptre Ireland, Celtic Tours, CIE International and Brian Moore International are offering the "1,000 Welcomes Passport" as part of standard tour packages. Visit www.irelandvacations.com or www.aerlingus.com for more. Sample discounts -- most of which are available through Aug. 31 -- include:


• Dining: In Dublin, one free bottle of wine per couple, weekdays, at the Fado Restaurant at The Mansion House, and a two-course lunch and pre-theater dinner menus priced at under $27 at the Commons Restaurant.
• Sightseeing: Discounts at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin of 40% on Millennium Wing Exhibition entrance and 15% in the gift shop; and 15% off on scheduled cruises on Killary Cruises in Galway.
• Shopping: The Royal Tara China Visitor Centre in Galway offers a 10% shopping discount, plus free factory tours; while the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin offers a 10% discount on all gift shop buys.
• Health and Beauty: Temple Country House and Spa in Westmeath, and the Rosemary Spa and Seaweed Baths in Westport, County Mayo, have discounted all midweek programs through Aug. 1 by 10%.
• Sports: Save 10% on standard rates at the Malahide Golf Club in Dublin and horseback riding holidays at Horsetrek Ireland in County Down.

E-DUCATION: Check out Tourism Ireland's Shamrock Club destination specialist Web site at www.shamrockclub.net/register. Once you've joined, you can log onto the recently upgraded site for access to online education and certification modules and other features. For more, contact Tourism Ireland's John Daly at (212) 418-0835, or visit the site.

TOUR-A-LOO-RAH: Celtic Tours guaranteed select departures on three of its most popular motorcoach tours from May through August: the 10-night Celtic Dream; the five-night Celtic Delight; and the nine-night Celtic Adventure. All departures include three- and four-star accommodations, breakfast daily, most dinners, entertainment, admissions and sightseeing. Clients save $90 to $128 on the tours as part of the "1,000 Welcomes" campaign when packages are booked and paid in full by May 15. Celtic pays travel agents 10% to 15% on the land portion. For details, call (800) 833-4373; visit www.celtictours.com; or e-mail [email protected].

SEEING GREEN: Sceptre Ireland extended the booking window for its Emerald package to July 15 for travel this fall. Rates for travel Nov. 1 to Dec. 16 start at $399 for departures from New York (Kennedy), Boston, Baltimore and Washington. The package includes roundtrip air, six nights in hotel and farmhouse bed-and-breakfasts, a weeklong car rental with unlimited mileage, breakfast daily, an Irish Coffee welcome get-together, sales tax, VAT and services of Sceptre's offices in Ireland. The package is based on two people traveling midweek sharing double occupancy accommodations. Sceptre Ireland pays 10% commission to agents. For more information, call (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptreireland.com.

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