Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: Oct. 30, 2003

FIT FOR A KING: Sheen Falls Lodge, in Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry, debuted its new Presidential Suite, a 1,350-square-foot unit that features atrium ceilings, a private terrace, a two-person Jacuzzi, a fireplace, a complimentary minibar and other amenities. Suite rates, which range from about $1,115 to $1,760 per night, include breakfast, personal valets for arrival and departure, in-room morning coffee and afternoon tea service, and welcome food baskets with wine. In other news, the 64-unit property also plans to add four new guestrooms with waterfall views, as well as upgrade all its superior deluxe rooms to junior suites. Sheen Falls Lodge pays agents 10% commission. For more information, call (888) 947-4336 or visit www.sheenfallslodge.com.

GREEN TIMES THREE: A trio of family owned and operated Irish hotel properties banded together to form the Emerald Triangle, a group that offers customized vacation tours combining stays at all three hotels with add-on touring experiences. The Emerald Triangle members are the 263-year-old Glenlo Abbey near Galway; the seaside Sandhouse Hotel, at Rossnowlagh on Donegal Bay in the northwest; and Rathsallagh House, set on 530 acres of parkland in scenic Co. Wicklow, south of Dublin. The hotels are owned by the Bourke, Britton and O'Flynn families, respectively. The group said it will not charge extra fees for planning vacation itineraries, and will not "attempt to cut out the role of the travel agent." Emerald Triangle properties pay 10% commission to retailers. For more information, visit the new Emerald Triangle Web site at www.emerald3.com.

MORE HOTELS: In other hotel news, the Prem Group became the largest hotel group--in terms of actual properties, if not bedrooms--in Ireland with the expansion of its portfolio to include the Hibernian Hotel in Dublin. and the Woodstock Hotel and Ennis and Tulfaris Hotel and Golf Club, both in Ennis, Co. Clare. The latter acquisition moves Prem, which has focused on budget and mid-market hotels, into the upper-end and golf markets for the first time. Prem Group pays agents negotiated commissions starting from base pay of 8%. Other properties include the Clarion Hotel Stephens Hall; Quality Charleville Hotel and Suites, Rathmines; Comfort Inn Talbot Street; and Quality Hotel and Suites Naas Road--all in Dublin. For more information, visit www.premgroup.com.

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

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