Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: Nov. 27, 2003

THANKS, AGENTS: Celtic Tours is offering retailers--and their families and friends--reduced Agents Appreciation Sale rates on four departures of short-break and pub tours this winter. The fully escorted Jan. 15 short-break departure costs $579, net, with air on Continental from Newark, N.J.; three nights at the Killarney Towers Hotel; full Irish breakfast and dinner daily; and motorcoach sightseeing, including Killarney, the Ring of Kerry and Blarney. Similar departures on Feb. 12 and March 4 cost $530, net, but with air from New York [Kennedy] on Aer Lingus. Also, an escorted pub tour departs Feb. 19 from Kennedy on Aer Lingus, with two nights each in Dublin and Killarney. Contact Celtic Tours at (800) 833-4373 or visit www.celtictours.com.

TOP SPOTS: Not to be outdone by Ireland's Automobile Association (AA), which last week announced its hotel of the year, competing Irish and U.K. motoring association RAC named Dublin-based Jurys Doyle Hotel Group its RAC Hotel Group of the Year, out of a field of 3,000 candidate hotels in both countries. Jurys Doyle was deemed to have "the most consistent standards of service and customer care throughout all its properties." The chain is comprised of 30 properties in Ireland, Britain and the U.S.; six additional properties are under construction, to be completed by 2005, including the Jurys Inn Parnell Street, Dublin, which should open by summer. Jurys Doyle normally pays 8% commission. For more, visit www.jurysdoyle.com or call (800) 441-0521.

SHORT BUT SWEET: Sceptre Ireland is offering a four-night, air-inclusive Holiday Emerald Package, which costs $380, net, when booked by Dec. 23 for travel Jan. 9 to March 31. Clients spend their first night in a pre-booked hotel and then choose their lodging for the next three nights from more than 450 farmhouse properties Ireland-wide. The deal also includes roundtrip airfare into and out of Dublin or Shannon, a welcome Irish coffee on arrival and manual-transmission car rental. Upgrades to a choice of 2,000 "town & country" B&B accommodations and car rentals with automatic transmission are also available. Name and date changes are permitted until Jan. 5. To book, call (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptreireland.com.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Brian Moore, 40-year industry veteran and founder and former owner of Brian Moore Int'l Tours (BMIT), will join his daughter Siobhan and sister Stella at SMI Tours Ireland, in Dedham, Mass., beginning Monday. In his new role as chairman at SMI Tours, Moore will be responsible for building sales by growing trade relationships on both sides of the Atlantic, said Phil Todisco, president and CEO. Moore will also represent SMI Tours at Tourism Ireland trade seminars in January and February. Moore joins the management team of Siobhan and Stella Moore, Todisco and CFO Michael Falvey--four of the seven investors who founded SMI Tours in June 2001 and opened for business on Sept. 10, 2001. "I am so excited to be back in Ireland tourism in such an active role," said Moore. "SMI Tours has brought back the personal touch to the industry and it's a growing and promising young company that I know I can help achieve its goals." For more on SMI Tours, visit www.smireland.com or call (800) 499-1899.

U2, CAN BUILD: Irish rock group U2 will build its own skyscraper in Dublin's Docklands development, which is set to be "topped off" in 2005. The U2 Landmark Tower, designed by Dublin-based Craig Henry Architects, will be a 25-story, twisting structure that will house shops, bars, restaurants, offices and residential space, as well as a two-floor, rooftop recording studio for the Irish supergroup. For more information and renderings, visit www.craighenry.com.

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