Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: May 6, 2004

FORE CLIENTS: Sceptre Tours is hoping for a hole-in-one with its six-night, self-drive Legends Golf Package, which combines rounds at some of Ireland's top fairways--including Ballybunion Old Course, Lanhinch, Killeen Course in Killarney and Dooks Golf Club--with cozy bed-and-breakfast accommodations. Rates include roundtrip air, six nights at B&Bs with a private bath, four rounds of championship golf at Ballybunion, Lahinch, Killarney Golfing & Fishing Club and Dooks; a week-long car rental; breakfast daily; and the assistance of a local representative and golf staff members. Net pricing is $1,229 for travel in May; $1,399 in June; $1,499 in July and August; $1,339 in September; $1,209 in October; and $999, November or December. For more information, call (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptretours.com.

FAIR FARES: Clients might take advantage of new, inexpensive options for onward travel from Ireland by air now that low-fare carrier Ryanair launched new routes from the Emerald Isle to Britain and Spain. Ryanair claimed some 50,000 travelers already booked themselves on its three new routes from Dublin: once daily each to Murcia and Reus/Salou, in Spain, and three times a day to Nottingham East Midlands. For more information, visit www.ryanair.com.

CROP'S CREAM: Failte Ireland bestowed its Ireland's Best Award on more than 50 tourism players that achieved "top standards in service excellence." Joining dozens of second- and third-time recipients were first-ever winners such as the Arbutus Hotel, Killarney; the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Dublin Airport; Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel; Fitzpatricks Castle Hotel, Dublin; Lanperry Restaurant, Tallaght, Dublin; Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny; and the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare. For more, see www.failteireland.ie.

ONLINE ONSLAUGHT: According to the Irish Hotels Federation in Dublin, the portion of travelers booking accommodations via the Internet will increase to 11% by next year, a considerable boost when compared with 3% in 2001. Hotelier delegates to the IHF's recent annual conference were told that, with one in five hotel reservations to be made via the Web by 2005 and global online hotel bookings to be valued at around $14.8 billion by 2007, they should strive to get more than half of such bookings coming through their own Web sites.

IN OTHER NEWS, Dick Bourke, general manager of Jurys Ballsbridge and The Towers Hotel in Dublin, was elected IHF president. For more, go to www.ihf.ie.

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