Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: The Bloody Mary Effect & Rouge Takes Off


This is what happened in travel this week:

  • Air Canadian Rouge paints the town red
  • Cityjet broke its ties with Air France.
  • Abbey Travel sold FCm.
  • Ex-Ryanair Cawley is new Failte chairman.
  • It’s official: Bloody Mary is the best in-flight tipple

IMG_9155 copyAir Canada Rouge launched their Dublin to Toronto service, the only wide bodied service to Canada this summer on a route that has three competitors. Alex Pittman senior director of Air Canada Rouge said the bookings out of Dublin were the strongest non-Canadian bookings in the route network. Innovation of the route, as Robert Atkinson of Air Canada points out (listen here) is Rouge’s pioneering entertainment streaming technology  to personal electronic devices (which, he did not add, has the added advantage of saving the airline fitting seat back video on demand). Passengers without their own tablets will be supplied with a device on board. The Rouge service replaces parent airline Air Canada’s seasonal Dublin-Toronto service and continues year round for the first time, using a Boeing 767-300ER in two-cabin configuration, with 18 recliner seats with 37 inch pitch in premium, and 232 standard seats with 30-inch pitch in economy. Picture shows Alex Pittman and Eamon Flanagan of Premair, Air Canada Rouge’s GSA in Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Peter Oncken Christine Ourmières Hans Rudolf WöhrlChristine Ourmières and Hans Rudolf Wöhrl declared Cityjet‘s ‘independence as a European regional carrier’ in Dublin. The airline no longer has any ties with Air France but will continue to operate the Dublin to CDG service. Christine Ourmières said Cityjet will be starting debt-free and fleet renewal for Avro RJ 85’s will begin as soon as possible. Christine Ourmières commented on the arrival of Flybe on the Dublin to London City route: we have to fight for this route (Dublin-LCY) as this route is key for us. She anticipated a complete rebrand for the Irish based airline to create their own unique identify with centre of activity from London City Airport. Journalists at the question and answer session after the announcement were told that investment in the fleet would begin immediately (listen here). Christine Ourmières said the two aircraft types in the Cityjet fleet (95 seat and 56-seat) offered flexibility. Hans Wöhrl said the AVRO is still the best airplane performance-wise for London City. “It is a fuel burning machine and it is difficult to get spare parts, but there is no right airplane for the time being to replace it.” Christine Ourmières described the move as a fresh start for the airline (listen here) and Hans Wöhrl outlined Intro Aviation’s history of investment in airlines (listen here). Picture shows Peter Oncken, MD of INTRO Aviation, Christine Ourmières CEO of Cityjet and Hans Rudolf Wöhrl, Founder of the INTRO Group at the Cityjet-Intro Aviation announcement. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry spoke about developments on Newstalk radio (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Suzanne Halil speaking with agents

Oman Tourism hosted a trade evening in Dublin with two film shows and a prize won by Susan Kiernan of Asksusan. Picture shows Suzanne Halil of the Oman Ministry of Tourism speaking with agents at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Michael Cawley, formerly of Ryanair, was named as the new chairman designate of Fáilte Ireland by Minister Leo Varadkar, a move that is surely designed to shake up Ireland’s tourism product. Fáilte Ireland launched #ThisIsLiving, the first major Discover Ireland advertising campaign in three years, targeted at “connected families”, “footloose socialisers” and “indulgent romantics”.

Seamus Ó hUltacháin wedge tomb_9488 copyTravel Extra’s Eoghan Corry donned boots to join a This is Cavan Walking Festival (see brochure here) keynote event, the Cavan Way hill and valley walk between Dowra and Blacklion following closely the course of the young River Shannon to its source at the mystical Shannon Pot. The upland section between the Pot and Blacklion includes Cavan Burren Park landscapes of megalithic tombs. Grainne O’Connor of Cavan County Council described the five trails to open in the hinterland of Blacklion next Friday May 9 (listen here) and went into more detail in an interview with Travel Extra (listen here) while historian Seamus Ó hUltacháin talked about the wealth of history in the area with talks at the Giant’s Grave passage tomb (listen here) and Calf’s House portal tomb (listen here). The Burren Trail hike was one of 30 events featured in the fourth This is Cavan Walking Festival which continues until May 11. He was hosted at the Slieve Russell hotel in Ballinamore which fortified him with its revamped dinner menu (the sirloin in garlic butter needs an entire festival to walk off in itself). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Internationalireland champ

Video of the week is from European Space Agency’s Proba-2 spacecraft which captured an amazing video of Earth from space (watch here). Check out the most popular drunk foods from around the world (watch here),

  • Golf tour operators group IAGTO said worldwide golf holiday sales have grown by more than 20pc over the past two years and listed their top ten destinations: Spain, 2 Portugal, 3 Ireland, 4 Scotland, 5 Turkey, 6 USA, 7 Thailand, 8 France, 9 Morocco, 10 Italy.
  • The Cato Institute, a US think tank based in Washington DC, named the ten most miserable countries in the world, led by Venezuela (79.4), Iran (61.6), Serbia (44.8) and Argentina (43.1) with Spain (37.6) and Greece (36.4) also in the top ten.
  • A new traveling Slow Bike Tour will be launched in the Hautes-Alpes on Tuesday.
  • The First Tenerife Walking Festival will take place from March 10th to 14th 2015. The Festival is aimed at professional hikers who are members of the European Ramblers Association or its national affiliates such as Ramblers, the Long Distance Walkers Association and Mountaineering Ireland. Registration will be available online on from 8th May 2014.
  • Tourists in Majorca face fines for leaving the beach dressed only in swimwear.
  • Egypt raised its visa-on-arrival fee from $15 to $25.
  • A new web app was launched that follows the herds of Africa’s wildebeest.
  • Ireland is showing the highest rise in overnight stays to Germany in five years, the latest figures released by the German National Tourist Office showed Irish overnights are up 7.5pc in January-February 2014, compared to the same period for 2013.
  • Prices fell in two-thirds of Europe’s beach resorts, according to the English Post Office’s annual Holiday Costs Barometer with Paphos in Cyprus (-21.4pc), Menorca (-21pc) and Sorrento (-17pc) in Italy seeing the biggest year-on-year drops. Prices were up in Palma in Majorca (up 24.6pc), the Algarve (up 6.1pc), Corfu (up 4.4pc) and Orlando (up 12pc).
  • Alsace, a new travel trade event created by the European tourism association ETOA and Tourism Alsace sold out within two weeks of its launch.
  • The body of a tourist was found dumped in a plastic bag in New Delhi with his arms and feet tied.
  • WTM Africa opened in Cape Town with 350 exhibitors and buyers from 40 countries, in opposition to next week’s long-standing larger but somewhat jaded Indaba trade show in Durban. To add to the fun a third exhibition dedicated to the luxury travel industry, We Are Africa says 200 high-end exhibitors have committed for its launch edition in Cape Town from May 5-8.
  • Declan Hughes’ Limerick based Flycruisestay plans to launch ist offers website next month offering deals with 20 partners.

Bluffers Guide to Food

Neil Davey author of The Bluffer’s Guide to Food named his top five places to dine before you die: Noma in Copenhagen, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Martinez’s in Lima, Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town and The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine. Rene Redzepi of Noma will be among the speakers at The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary FestivalMay 16-18

  • The Travel Corporation’s youth (age 18-35) tour operator Contiki is expanding their Latin Ameircan programme for 2015 to include 21 itineraries and introduce Belize, Guatemala, and Colombia.
  • Disneyland Paris launched a free half board meals offer and savings of up to 20pc for bookings before June 30th. Tropical Sky offered free dining at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015 with 100 dining locations.
  • Boltholes holiday group report a 242pc increase in summer season bookings since January to high-end villas and resorts in Greece and the Greek Islands.
  • Dubai Tourism offered agents a chance to win 2 nights for 2 people on a B&B basis at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
  • Canada is to install Wi-Fi hotspots at 20 remote locations in its national parks. The London Telegraph listed the world’s weirdest wi-fi hotspots. The Telegraph also asked if tourism has spoiled Barcelona and listed their favourite loos with views.
  • Celtic Horizons added dates to its Manchester soap tours before the Coronation Street set is demolished for redevelopment later this year, also visiting the Emmerdale set and the Cheshire Oaks Shopping Outlet.
  • Tobago launches a new brand awareness campaign: Live the Culture Tobago style.
  • Pier A Harbour House opened in New York.
  • ClubstoHire won its first HSBC golf innovation award.
  • Research from Travel Insurance found one in five people still hides goods from customs officials and men are twice as likely to smuggle than women.


  • The Bella Sky Comwell Hotel in Copenhagen was forced to let men stay in its women-only bedrooms after a court ruling.
  • Newmark Hotels, Reserves & Lodges added Drostdy Hotel in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa to their portfolio.
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts rebranded Traders Hotel, Yangon in Myanmar is to operate as Sule Shangri-La, Yangon following a two-and-a-half year extensive renovation.

Manor House Hotels-00006

Delphi Lodge, Connemara and Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry joined Manor House Hotels of Ireland and Irish Country Hotels. The group is anticipating marketing and capital investment of more than €10m in 2014, adding 150 jobs new jobs and revenue growth. Picture shows Lester McNamara, Raheen Woods Hotel, Mary Fitzgerald Chair of Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels, Paul Gallagher Brand Chair of Irish Country Hotels, Michael Wade of Delphi Lodge and in front, Maria McNamara of Athenry’s Raheen Woods Hotel and Hazel Wade of Connemara’s Delphi Lodge.

  • Faxhill builder Jack Tierney sought emergency High Court protection from creditors for Killashee House and Lawlor’s hotels in Naas.
  • Lowcostbeds rates in Mojacar and Roquestas de Mar opened up by Ryanair’s new Almeria route include the Oasis Tropical Mojacar RO from €23pppn and the Playasol Roquetas de Mar RO from €15pppn.
  • Quadriga launched a box called SmartQubeTV which it says “makes any hotel TV smart.”
  • HRS said that London has become Europe’s most expensive capital to stay in at an average of €140.14 per night, up 13pc compared to Q1 2013, ahead of Moscow and Zurich (both €134.84). Dublin average prices were €77.50, up 14.21pc.
  • Jurys Inn offered free wifi across its hotels but only for customers who book on the group’s website, including free premium wifi for heavier internet use such as streaming films, gaming and large file downloading. Those who don’t book directly online will pay €4 per hour, €6 for 24 hours or €10 for 48 hours use of premium wifi.
  • Tune Hotel klia2 will open on May 9th.
  • Andy Murray’s Cromlix hotel was Scotland’s best luxury hotel just weeks after opening.
  • English hotels were named as among the worst in Europe for offering free Wi-Fi.

Travel Trade

topflgiht group lake garda copyPicture shows group of travel agents who were hosted by Topflight in the Lake Garda region, visiting Desenzano to the south of the lake for one night, Riva to the north of lake for two nights and visiting Sirmione, Peschiera, Malcesine, Garda and Verona for the opera and the Romeo and Juliet balcony: Erica Archer of, Aoife O’Donovan of Douglas Travel, Sarah Brady of Barters Travel, Graham Hennessy of Topflight, Antoinette O’Connor of Travel Counsellors, Lorna Gannon of Topflight, Sharon McEvoy of Travel Solutions, Michelle Redmond of Cassidy Travel, Lisa Sheehan of Falcon Travel and Christine Mullane of Creation Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Flight Centre Travel Group acquired Abbey Travel’s business travel division FCm Travel Solutions with the reassurance that there would be no change in Dublin management and staff.

Denise CWT

CWT appointed Denise Harman as country director, Ireland from early June.

  • April’s Dubai Update offers a chance to win 2 nights for 2 people on a B&B basis at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
  • Lesley Kane of Ryanair told Statesman Travel that the airline has chosen Travelport over Amadeus and Sabre because of the launch of the Travelport Merchandising Platform last year. Virgin Atlantic renewed its full content agreement with Travelport.
  • Travel Centres started distributing copies of the second edition of their preferred supplier manual to its 74 member agents. The publication has grown to 132 pages.
  • royal caribbean april 25 2014-001

Picture shows Jenny Rafter of Royal Caribbean International, Emma Barry of Falcon Travel Shop Savoy, Ciara Murphy of Falcon Travel Shop Savoy and Ben Bouldin of Royal Caribbean International during the agent visit to Legend of the Seas in Cobh last week.

  • The Worldchoice consortium have moved their awards ceremony and conference from the weekend of November 28-29. Two other travel award ceremonies are scheduled for Friday November 28. Northern Ireland Travel News awards take place on October 17 and Travel Centres awards night takes place on November 15 before the famously overcrowded calendar of Irish travel awards comes to a climax for the Irish Travel Industry Awards at the Mansion House on January 22nd next.
  • launched local tourism offers in 6,000 free accommodations all over the world.
  • Irish Company e-travel launched, a price comparison system which compares 154 world-wide airlines.
  • Trailfinders launched a new Round the World mini-site on their website.

Easter Bunny and Kids 2Turkish Airlines hosted travel trade and their families on an Easter Egg Hunt in the Rathwood woodlands.

  • Peter McMinn’s Travel Solutions is introducing a ski programme from Belfast to Bulgaria for winter 2013/14 to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of Radka Lynn’s Balkan Tours. It will be the only ski programme from Ireland to Bulgaria next winter
  • Charlie Sheil and his staff at the Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square will host Skål Dublin club on Tuesday 13th May 12.30 €30 for members and guests.
  • Alan Lynch’s Travel Escapes have cancelled five Introduction to Ukraine and the Crimea tours. Cruises that were going to the Black Sea have been diverted to Bulgaria. Conditions imposed by cruise companies allow them to alter the itineraries without any compensation to the client, in the interest of safety. The DFA has been advising Irish citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Crimea and suggesting those already there should leave, and that anyone planning to stay in Ukraine, should register their details with them.Another regional tour by Travel Escapes, to Armenia has been boosted by the change.


Oasis travel hosted a luxury travel event at which presentations were made by Silverseas, AMA Waterways, Starclippers, Caribtours, Kirker Holidays, Travel2, and Great Railway Journeys. Picture shows Carly-Ann Moore of AMA Waterways, Jennifer Ford of Oasis Travel and Danielle Dudley from Starclippers. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookOasis Travel and Co-operative Travel won the Best Small Agency and Large Agency Awards in the North of Ireland Region at the Travel Agent Achievement Awards in London

arizona trip press group April 27 2014

Arizona hosted an Irish press group pictured here at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix: Aiden Ellis of the Irish Sun: David Coleman of the Irish Daily Mirror: Constance Harris of the Sunday Independent,  Jillian Bolger of Irish Brides, Jim Gallagher, of the Sunday World, Warren Swords of the Irish Mail on Sunday and Billy Scanlan of the Irish Daily Star.

gerry O'Hare copyThe Irish press trip to Basel to mark the launch of the renewed Ryanair route to the city was full of surprises (including a bill for a hosted meal). Ryanair flies twice weekly toBasel, which sits neatly on the borders of three countries. Sarah Mooney of the Irish Star, Gerry O’Hare of Travel Extra and Rudolf Suter of Basel Tourism at the Badischer Bahnhof railway station on the Irish press trip to Basel.

  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts appointed Lynn Clark as vice president of travel agency sales and national accounts.
  • Falcon Holidays created an interactive quiz to help holidaymakers choose their destination.


  • Dublin Airport say 245,000 passengers are expected to travel through from Friday May 2nd until Monday 5th, up 8pc on the same weekend last year.
  • Aer Lingus reported flat revenues and higher losses in its first quarter and said it expects 2014 operating profits to be ‘broadly in line with levels achieved in 2013’ despite a €48.5m loss in the first months, up 6.6pc. Retail spend per passenger was up 10.1pc to €21.09 for the quarter.  Average fare yield was €84 in short haul (down 3.1pc) and €327.47 in long haul (down 1.7pc). Donal Moriarty said in a conference call the airline is looking at more B757s and incremental possibilities 2015 and beyond: “both B757 and A330 are very cost-efficient. We have to ask ourselves if we can keep adding significant capacity growth.” he said Toronto connections for Britain “are good, in line with the JFK and Boston connections.”

bob schumacher chirstian schindler

Heathrow‘s Terminal 2 will offer personal shoppers for fliers. At last week’s launch event Bob Schumacher of United spoke about the airline’s plans ahead of becoming the launch customer for the terminal on June 4 (listen here). Christian Hein spoke of his fears from Ryanair’s incursions into Germany and said Germanwings would not be expanding their Irish services (listen here). Christian Schindler of Lufthansa spoke about the new Star Alliance lounge at the terminal (listen here). Bob Schumacher of United and Christian Schindler of Lufthansa at the launch event for Heathrow Terminal 2,. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.IMG_8954

Picture shows Designer of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 Luis Vidal with Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra in the new baggage hall at the launch event. Speaking to Travel Extra Luis Vidal (listen here), said that his greatest achievement was designing a terminal that was lit by natural light. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Cambridge is the latest destination to be announced by Cityjet to launch twice daily on May 12 using a Fokker 50, with capacity of 50, from €59 one way & €119 return.
  • Ryanair confirmed an order for 5 more Boeing 737-800 aircraft increasing its new order from 175 to 180 units, with 4 in 2015 & 1 in 2016.
  • Scientists argued that the Bloody Mary vodka and tomato juice cocktail is the best tasting beverage at 38,000 feet because tomatoes are rich in ‘umami’, the fifth taste, which is meaty and savoury when the drone of an aircraft diminishes our ability to taste some flavours
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Bjoern Kjos told Leo Varadkar he may quit Ireland and rebase his long-haul fleet in Norway. Norwegian suspended talks on buying 20 Dreamliner aircraft from Boeing because of a delay in receiving US. backing for its long-haul plans, Irish Aviation Authority CEO Eamonn Brennan complained to US FAA Administrator Michael P Huerta that “there has been an exceptional delay in the issue of appropriate approvals .”  According to a US industry official familiar with the Transportation Department’s processes, the agency could opt to not make a final ruling and ask a joint committee of US and European officials to examine the case.
  • BA flights from Heathrow T5 will start to Mykonos from May 3 (BA650) and Santorini from May 4 (the BA652).
  • The English Guardian reported that airlines are resisting regulators and court rulings as they refuse to pay compensation for passenger delays.
  • US federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the November settlement between the US government and merger partners American Airlines and US Airways.
  • Air France will increase services to Miami with an additional flight (AF090/AF099) to operate on Tuesdays during the 2014-15 Winter schedule meaning Miami will be served daily from CDG during this period, operated by Boeing 777-300. Air France will increase services to Bangkok (BKK) from CDG during the 2014-15 Winter schedule, offering 6 flights a week as of 26 Oct (daily except on Tuesdays). From 8 Dec 14 until 8 Mar 15, an additional flight on Tuesdays will be scheduled, resulting in daily services.
  • Flights in and out of East Midlands Airport were suspended after problems with a cargo plane during landing. Air passengers reported problems at English passport control desks.
  • The first flight landed at the vast new Qatar airport, boosting aviation ambitions.
  • Airbus’ initial A320neo reached an advanced stage in its final assembly.
  • Spirit Airline’s staff were voted the rudest in the air among 14 airlines surveyed by (26pc) ahead of Air Canada and Frontier.
  • Emirates will launch a Dubai daily service to Brussels from September 5th 2014.
  • KLM celebrated the first anniversary of its Wild on Wednesday fares.
  • Frontier Airlines cut fares by an average 12pc but increased a number of add-on fees.
  • Iberia launched its own scent Mediterráneo de Iberia on aircraft and in VIP lounges.
  • Dubai overtook Heathrow as the busiest airport for international passengers.
  • Air France pilots union SNPL called on its members to walk-out for set periods of each day from May 3 to 30 in a strike over right to strike.
  • Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board embarked on a strategic partnership aiming to attract more visitors from key source markets to Singapore.
  • Single EU-wide safety authorisation was introduced for foreign airlines flying to the EU.
  • A passenger died of a heart attack on a flight diverted to Shannon.
  • Icelandair pilots called a strikeLufthansa CEO Christoph Franz said pilot strikes cost the airline US$62m.

dubloin dithced dc4Dem was the days: when a DC4 aircraft crashed at Dublin airport in 1961 and blocked the Dublin-Belfast road for a few days, as recalled by @OldDublinTown.

  • London Telegraph readers continued recalling terrifying – and amusing announcements made by pilots.
  • A male passenger was caught groping a woman’s breast for five minutes while she slept on a British Airways flight from London to San Francisco.
  • An Air France executive and his wife were charged with running a £2m prostitution ring in Paris through the airline. The manager bought discounted tickets to shuttle young women between Brazil and France for work in the sex trade.
  •  Ryanair kept its lead over European low-cost rivals. Ryanair got a stern (but funny) talking to in a customer’s Facebook rant.

AfloatUniworld on the Po

The Uniworld 2015 programme is launching next week. Sharon Jordan says she has already seen significant pre registration. She says 2014 saw a shift in consumer demand from the traditional 8-day river cruising itinerary to 10 days or longer. Picture shows Pamela Brownlee of Flyaway Travel, Jean Cusack of Icon Travel, Isabel Russell of Freedom Travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy Travel, Sharon Jordan of Uniworld who hosted the trip. Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel, Paula Dalton of Platinum Travel, Natalie Creaven of Cassidy Travel and Bernie Fenton of Heffernan’s Travel on board the River Countess on the Po River in Italy.

  • MSC Divina will return from the Caribbean to operate the Mediterranean from Rome for summer 2015.
  • Celebrity Cruises will offer wine master classes with Tom Doorley onboard 12-night  France & Iberian Discovery Cruises onboard Celebrity Infinity departs from Harwich (September 19 or October 1 to call at Le Havre, La Rochelle for an overnight stay, overnight in Bilbao (Spain), Vigo (Spain) and Porto (Leixoes, Portugal) before returning to Harwich.  The wine immersive cruise starts from €1627 per person based on two people sharing a balcony stateroom.
  • Irish Ferries services to Britain and France this Summer allow fare paying motorists who book by May 26th to bring an additional adult free, fares from €79 single for a car and driver to Britain. Stena Line launched a “Thelma and Louise” best friend free offer and similar €79 single fare to Britain.
  • Norwegian Coastal Voyage is to allow children under 15 years old travel on full board basis, free of charge when sharing a cabin with their parents on voyages booked before May 31 for travel during July, August and September 2014.
  • Aufschwimmen_AIDAprima_1 copy
  • AIDAprima touched water at the Tategami Shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan. The 3,300 passenger cruise ship will depart on its maiden voyage from Yokohama on October 1, 2015.
  • Luxury boutique resort, The Sarojin, has introduced a website facility enabling holidaymakers to book charters aboard its private yacht.
  • Adventure Canada revealed its new expedition ship the Ocean Endeavour for the upcoming 2015 season.


Kilkenny shop & café have launched a tourist breakfast. The café in Nassau Street is open from 6.30 am for early arrivals on the various US flights with music, award winning food and 10pc vouchers for purchases in the craft shop. Picture shows Eoghan O’Mara Walsh and Denise Sheridan of Kilkenny Craft and design at a briefing to announce the product.SALES BLITZ TO BOOST AMERICAN TOURISTS

TripAdvisor users listed Ireland among the top three dream destinations for American travellers.    Picture shows Minister Michael Ring (centre) with participants at Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’ event in Houston, Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland, Debby Summerlin of Debby does Destinations, Houston, Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla and Paula Carroll of Ashford Castle. A delegation of 15 tourism companies and five American tour operator partners participated in the roadshow. See more pictures here of the Tourism Ireland mission to Fort Worth, Houston and Austin or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in County Clare recorded a 6pc increase in visitor numbers during the first four months of 2014 despite one of the stormiest periods on record in the West of Ireland, Visitor figures at the Cliffs were up 57pc during the 4-day Easter Bank Holiday Weekend compared to the same period in 2013. Visitor numbers grow from 167,605 in 2013 to 177,878 between January 1st and April 30th.
  • CSO figures suggested a 7pc increase in overseas visitor numbers to Ireland in first 3 months of 2014 with growth from all market areas: Britain +11pc, N America +6pc, Germany +13pc, Italy (+13pc, Spain +16pc, Australia and developing markets +17pc.
  • The lowest number ever, four of the 135 Irish beaches monitored failed to reach the minimum EU standard on water quality: Clifden in Galway (which failed because of a problem with a nearby waste water treatment plant), Dugort on Achill in Co Mayo, Ballyloughane in Galway city and Lilliput on Lough Ennell in Co Westmeath.
  • Visa Europe reported that overseas visitors spent over €903m on Visa cards (debit, credit and prepaid) in Ireland during 2013, up 20pc on 2012. There were some surprises among the top countries for average spend: 1. Indonesia €170.71, 2 Singapore €136.07, 3 Kuwait €135.30, 4 Hong Kong €126.21, 5 Oman €121.57, 6 Malaysia €120.26, 7 China €112.98, 8 Switzerland €112.42, 9 Saudi Arabia €104.67, 10 United Arab Emirates €101.56.

City Sightseeing 04

The Dualway Hop-On-Hop-Off Citysightseeing Tour has been extended into Dublin’s Northside, including Croke Park and Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum, now linked with the Botanic Gardens. The blue route will be a new route extension to the hop-on, hop-off tours. Picture shows John Green of Glasnevin Trust, Matthew Jebb of National Botanic Gardens, David McConn of Dualway Group, Minister Leo Varadkar and Liam O’Neill president of the GAA.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland, in association with announced the ten finalists in the search for the Foodie Town of Ireland: Cork, Dingle, Galway, Howth, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Lisdoonvarna, Lop Head (is Loop head a town?), Sligo and Westport.

Travel Department is planning a guided walking tour of Glendalough with Teena Gates on Sunday 22nd June.Pic 2 - Stephen Roche at Titanic Belfast

Ireland hosts the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia, from May 9-11, through Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Glens, Armagh, Louth, Meath and Dublin, bringing with it 200 of the world’s elite cyclists, 300 domestic and international media, 300 team staff, 200 event organising staff and thousands of supporters. Many landmarks, buildings, and businesses have been given a pink makeover. Picture shows Stephen Roche at the Titanic Centre in Belfast.  The Veneto Region is reminding people that the Giro d’Italia continues trough some of its most scenic regions, in particular the mountain time trial between Bassano del Grappa and Cima Grappa.

bikefest launch00023

Over 40,000 people are expected in Killarney for the eighth Ireland Bike Fest this weekend. Highlights include daily ride-outs around famous touring routes including the Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way marshalled by Celtic Thunder Chapter Ireland and Gaelic Chapter Ireland, free Harley-Davidson® demo rides, Waterford and Dublin Harley-Davidson Dealers, HOG & Rider Services, Jumpstart, Technical Area and the Custom Bike Show. Festival headquarters is located at the Gleneagle Hotel. Picture shows Aine Connell, Mike Connell and Alan Collins from the Celtic Thunder Motor Cycle Club.

Minister of State Michael Ring announced funding of just over €537,000 for 175 regional festivals and events taking place this year, supported by Fáilte Ireland under the Regional Programme of the Festivals and Events Initiative.

Eamonn O Cuiv, Albert Smyth, Eddie Dowling, Robert Dowds were among the contributors to a programme on RTE’s Prime Time on the proposed Right to Roam act (watch here).

Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau hosts a showcase event for Clare tourism, Be Captured by Clare in the CHQ Building at Dublin’s IFSC on Thursday next in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Airport and Clare County Council “to capitalise on recent successes for the local sector, including the naming of Loop Head as Ireland’s Best Place to Holiday, the Brian Ború millennial celebrations and the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way.”

Good Food Ireland will be promoting the Irish food experience at the World Sheep Shearing Championships in Gorey from May 22-25, Some 6,000 international visitors from over 30 countries will come to Ireland to experience our farming traditions and our food, making it the biggest global participation in the history of the event. NO FEE 880 Airfield Launch copy

Airfield Estate are celebrating their €11m refurb with May bank holiday weekend activities such as shearing, sheep dog trials, farmyard adventures and Woolapalooza Sheep Festival.

  • Irish Water Safety sent out a Bank Holiday weekend reminder that there are 140 drownings in Ireland every year – that’s more than five per fortnight.
  • The third annual International Bread Festival takes place on Bank Holiday Monday May 5th at Castle Ward, Co Down.
  • The World Chip Championships will take place in Limerick on Saturday, May 31st.
  • Contracts were signed for the M17/M18 Gort-Tuam PPP motorway to be completed in 2018.
  • Sam Field Corbett has proposed the Naomh Éanna, formerly the CIÉ ferry to the Aran Islands, for a €1.86m conversion into a floating hostel/brewery berthed in Galway.
  • The Game of Thrones Exhibition returns to Belfast from June 11-15. Tickets go on release on May 8.

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