TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Storehouse soars to 1.4m visitors in 2015

westjet aug 30

Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises with Splendida, the largest cruise ship go dock in Dublin.

Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises with Splendida, the largest cruise ship go dock in Dublin.


The headlines this week:

  • Guinness Storehouse soaring to 1.4m visitors this year
  • Travel Trade Business Show moves back to City
  • Aran Islands gets a chopper service instead of fixed wing
  • Cruise calls by Silversea and MSC while Royal Caribbean launches agent campaign
  • Liam Lonergan to be interviewed at ITAA Conference
  • A pint with Harry Potter in the new Smithwicks Centre

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week Aug 30 15The chances of spotting bears in Alaska’s Denali National Park are not impossible, but pretty rare.  Video of the week, posted by David Pangborn, features a bear barrel rolling down a hill. “I think he’s drunk,” said one tourist (watch here).

Watch here Ben Vezina’s bike ride through Hawkstowe Park 20km from Melbourne when he met a Kangaroo horde that he compared with a zombie apocalypse. Scarey.

And watch here the promo for Dismaland, the family theme park which is unsuitable for small children. That’s is what opened in Weston Super Mar in Somerset southern England on Thursday. Dismaland features works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer have been installed across the 2.5-acre site by English counter-culture graffiti artist Robin Banks (Banksy).

  • Last week, we posted Aer Lingus’s video with the Irish rugby team. Now have a look behind the scenes. Watch here.
  • Footage from the IAA’s Meet The Drones showcase. Watch here.
  • Using 600,000 coins, British Airways created a huge coin art piece at Heathrow airport to launch the Big British Airways Take Off campaign. Watch here.
  • Internet sensation Grumpy Cat became the first feline waxwork at Madame Tussauds. Watch here.


Volker Lorenz, Stephen Brennan and Siobhan Bosket-McGuigan of Amadeus, Lisa Buckley of Ryanair, Maura Fahy of Fahy’s Travel in Galway and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus at the Travel Industry Business Show at Citywest, April 24 2015

The Irish Travel Industry Business Trade Show will take place in the Ballsbridge Hotel on Thursday April 7 2016 in conjunction with the AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association. It will be a one day event and will be limited to 75 exhibitors, following feedback from the industry. Picture shows Volker Lorenz, Stephen Brennan and Siobhan Bosket-McGuigan of Amadeus, Lisa Buckley of Ryanair, Maura Fahy of Fahy’s Travel in Galway and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus at the 2015 Travel Industry Business Show at Citywest.

philip airey liam lonergan copyThe Irish Travel Agents Association annual conference in Jerez will feature a tech talk by Stephen McKenna of Atlas/Gohop and a “preserve your profit margin” chat with Ireland’s most successful travel agent Liam Lonergan of Club Travel (pictured with Philip Airey of Sunway). Agents will travel by private charter to Jerez on October 1, returning on October 4. Entertainment will include the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre (Equestrian School) & Horse Show ‘Como Bailan los Caballos Andaluces’. Dinner wil be at the Carriage Museum – located in an early 19th century winery. Excursion options include the El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz, karting at the Formula 1 Circuit. The gala dinner takes place among the Cloisters of Santo Domingo, Two post-fam options take in Baelo Claudia, Bolonia, Chipiona lighthouse, Conil de la Frontera, Doñana National Park, Rota town, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Tarifa, whale watching in the Straights of Gibraltar and Vejer de la Frontera.

Paul Carty of Guinness Storehouse, Chair of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, speaking at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards with hostess Mary Kennedy in the background April 24 2015 at DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Dublin.

Some of Ireland’s attractions have seen their daily records broken more than a dozen times this year as visitor numbers across the board increased by around 12pc. Guinness Storehouse is up 16pc to q potential 1.46m (they are predicting a more cautious 1.43m), The Cliffs of Moher are up 15pc to a potential 1.24m, with daylight emerging for the first time between them and Dublin Zoo in third place on a potential 1.1m. Dublin’s roofed attractions are =having a good summer. The Book of Kells is up 15pc, closing in on the Giant’s Causeway for fifth place, the National Gallery is up 24pc taking it past the Titanic centre to seventh place, Chester Beatty Library is up 17pc and the National Library up 13pc. The National Museum’s Collins Barracks collection, normally the poor relation of the museum’s four sites, is up 25pc. Little Museum of Dublin continues to grow apace, past 100,000 for the first timeEven the National Museum in Kildare Street, boosted by the Battle of Clontarf exhibition in 2014 and down by 9.1pc, is still ahead of 2013 levels. Picture shows Paul Carty of Guinness Storehouse receiving an Irish Tourism Award in 2015.

Executive Helicopters ec120Having started serving the Aran islands in 1970, the original Aer Arann, now Aer Arann Islands may be reaching the end of the runway following the award of the tender for air services to the Aran islands to Héileacaptair Feidhmiúcháin/ Executive Helicopters. The PSO contract is worth €1.9m per annum. Executive helicopters launched scheduled services to the Aran Islands in 2102, using an EC120 B, (also known as the Colibri, Hummingbird). Services to Inis Meán, Inis Mór and Inis Thiar will move to Galway Airport from Indreabhán in Connemara, which is 45 minutes by road form Galway. The new contract runs from October 1 2015 to September 30 2019. In 2014, 10,177 people used the service. Flight times will be 15 minutes, as opposed to eight minutes on the former Aer Arann using an BN2 Islander (A and B) and will give passengers a unique transport experience and spectacular views of Galway and the islands. Check-in will be as normal for all flights out of Galway Airport. Aer Arann’s owner since 1994 Pádraig Ó Céidigh used to joke that his airline had the most trans-Atlantic frequencies of any Irish airline, up to 25 flights per day. Under the conrtract Aer Arann provided for three daily return flights to Inis Mór and two daily return flights to Inis Meáin and to Inis Oírr on weekdays with four return flights on weekends. A separate €500,000 contract was in place to manage the three aerodromes on Oileáin Árann and two airstrips at Inis Bó Finne and Clifden with Bainistíocht Aerfoirt Teo, a subsidiary of Aer Arann Islands.

Rebecca Kelly John Spollen copyCassidy Travel started with 30th anniversary celebrations by hosting the trade on MSC Splendida on a Dublin port call yesterday, Saturday. The largest cruise ship ever to dock in Dublin Port when she arrived last May,  Splendida reversed into position a few hours later than originally planned due to tidal restrictions. Staff were blown away by the amount of people lining the Liffey to wave it off, according to Giles Hawke, MSC Cruises two-country executive director for Ireland and Britain. The decision to used Dublin was taken after the ship captain tried the reversing into position manoeuvre on a simulator after a visit to Cork. Splendida will be in Cobh from 06.30 to 18.00 today Sunday, August 30. The ship was in Ireland as part of an 11-day itinerary out of Hamburg, and this weekend’s visits will be its last until May 2016. Dublin Port is working to bring in further business through a €200m redevelopment plan, which will allow larger ships to routinely visit the port, and mean ships like Slepndida would no longer have to reverse into position. Splendida was at the center of a tragedy last March 18, when 12 of its passengers were killed during a terrorist attack on Tunisia’s Bardo Museum. Picture shows John Spollen of Cassidy Travel and Rebecca Kelly of MSC in the dining room with their guests. Listen here to John Cassidy speaking at the event and listen here to Rebecca Kelly’s’ presentation on behalf of MSC cruises.. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Cassidy Travel_2436 copy

MSC hosted 147 Cassidy Travel staff and clients, as well as some clients of Centre Travel, MD travel and 30 media. Today in Cobh MSC will host some clients of Travelfox, Shandon Travel and J Barters Travel. Pictures shows the Cassidy travel team celebrating their 30th birthday on board MSC Splendida in Dublin: Katrice Canning, Brenda Ryan, Cathy Corr, Suzanne Reynolds, Vanessa O’Connor, John Spollen, Brenda Quirke, Sandra Mooney, Carla Lawlor, Ann Marie Durcan, Ann Carroll, Shirley Webster and Lisa Cunningham. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1MG_2158 copySilversea Cruise Lines brought Silver Cloud to Belfast, Dublin and Waterford this week, and hosted travel trade at both tbeir Belfast and Dublin stops. Amanda Middler said: “It was lovely to see Silver Cloud in Dublin this week and to be able to invite 25 of our Travel partners to come along and show case the ship. Silversea sales in Ireland are going from strength to strength and in the last six months we have shown over a 35% increase on sales YOY. We have had lots of interest in the smaller luxurious ships as guests now want to try something different and love our itineries. The guests love the All inclusive life style, butler service, choice of restaurants onboard and the different ports that our ships can go right into. Also our Asia programme for 2016 has Shorex and wifi included as well and is generating lots of interest.” Picture shows Amada Middler of Silversea and Martin Skelly, President of the ITAA. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Pete Mathers of Abu Dhabi Tourism, Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad and Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni of Abu Dhabi Tourism at the Abu Dhabi/Etihad event in the The Reisdence, Dublin, Aug 25 2015

Abu Dhabi two-country tourism director for Ireland and Britain, Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni, and Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad hosted media at a function to showcase Abu Dhabi’s new cultural offerings, concentrated on Sadayat Island and family offerings concentrated on Yas Island. Listen here  to Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni outlining what is happening in the Emirate. Picture shows Pete Mathers of Abu Dhabi Tourism, Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad and Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ben Bouldin Michaela Banks1 copyRoyal Caribbean set off on this week on a nationwide journey with two Hertz vehicles this week and #Jumponboard catchline and a target of 110 agency calls (listen here). Ben Bouldin said that Royal’s Irish bookings from Ireland are up 35pc this year (listen here), Royal Caribbean’s product fits perfectly with the Irish consumer (listen here),  that the cruise line is passionate about Ireland (listen here), is investing in Ireland (listen here), is doubling the size of the team (listen here) and he invited the Irish trade to meet the team (listen here). The purpose of the road trip was to reach out to agents (listen here), partly by linking the trip to social media (listen here). Today 80pc of their business comes through the trade (listen here) and the trade would be protected from the cruise line going direct to the customer, despite a surge in onboard rebookings (listen here). Royal Caribbean wants to strengthen relationships with the trade (listen here) and wants to engage with more agents (listen here) as they have only been dealing with a limited number of agents (listen here): “we are not selective” (listen here). He said Royal Caribbean met strong competition from MSC and NCL in the Irish market in 2013 (listen here) had seen some market segmentation (listen here) and that the loss of Palma and Malaga departures in 2012 had hit Royal Caribbean’s market share (listen here) but that seat availability to Barcelona had been better in recent times (listen here) and the winter sailings from Dubai had potential (listen here). Picture shows Ben Bouldin and Michaela Banks at the start of their journey. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

hangar fire2Niall Cunningham’s Eirtech was back in the news with a fire on the roof at Hangar 3 on Wednesday morning that closed the airport for 90 minutes. Operations shut down at 7.15 and resumed at 8.45. Two aircraft were in the hangar at the time, one Cityjet and one A321, but were undamaged. Last week a DR Congo aircraft undergoing painting in the Eirtech hangar was grounded by the High Court in Dublin in a dispute between the Kimbaei regime and an American mining company.

compositeTen years after Cartrawler was sold by funder Niall and Greg Turley the business moves from strength to strength under CEO Mike McGrearty and Chief Technology Officer Bobby Healy. This week it signed a deal with Ryanair that opens up a potential 103m customers.

Cityjet’s big rebrand takes place next Friday. The airline is ramping up its branding and sponsorship portfolio, and marketing manager Martina McDermott Hurley has recently been appointed to the board.

Travel Trade

Sharon Jordan and Caroline Calvert at the Insight Vacations Conference in Venice

Picture shows Sharon Jordan and Caroline Calvert, Travel Corporation friends of Travel Extra from opposite side of the globe together in Venice where they are attending the Insight Vacations global sales and marketing conference. Teams from all over the world flew in to enjoy the Venetian hospitality and watch CEO John Boulding launch their newest product Luxury Gold as Insight firmly aligns itself in the premium and luxury escorted touring marketplace for 2016.

michaela banks jennry rafter copyThere are now 525 club travel agent members of the Royal Club in Ireland and 6,000 overall, according to Royal Caribbean’s Ben Bouldin, due to rise to 8,000 at year end (listen here). Club Royal events are evolving (listen here) Ben Bouldin said there was no immediate prospect of direct services from Ireland (listen here) but the cruise line may be interested in doing so in the future and made some interesting points about the mythology that surrounds the new-to-cruise business (listen here).  Michaela Banks (pictured) talked about the potential of the Irish market (listen here). Jenny Rafter (also pictured) described current competitions are open to the Irish trade (listen here).

DSC02578Picture shows Travel Counsellors visitors to Royal Princess, also on a port visit this week: Mandy Walsh, Glenda Heery, Lorraine Costello, Jennifer O’Brien, Karen Morgan-Murphy, Sharon Tiernan-Murphy, Jeanette Coughaln, Andre Bedford and Lorraine Wynne.

Croatia Tours put on a direct flight to Split to service Hvar, Makarska Riviera and Split on September 30.

The Commission of Aviation Regulation says just three agencies  have not fully renewed their applications satisfactorily for the November licensing round out of 163 applicants but CAR expects these to be finalised shortly.

joanna cooke motorcycle copyJoanna Cooke departed Tourism Authority of Thailand‘s London office. Travel Extra wishes her well on her next adventure with Visit California. Picture is of Joanna on a motorcycle taxi in Bangkok during TTM plus.

Tony Brazil’s Limerick Travel signed up for a new Dolphin back-office system to manage its sun, ski, golf, honeymoon, over 50s, groups, corporate, conference and incentive programmes. Dolphin says it has replaced two legacy systems deployed across it various business divisions with a single technology solution, automating pricing while a robotic scheduling tool automatically generates itineraries, invoices and reports. Peter Brazil said, “as we operate a mix of business across multiple travel sectors we needed a flexible technology platform, we chose Dolphin due its modular design.”

A survey from Webloyalty showed 74pc of Irish holidaymakers who used offline sources for research, then go on a website to book their holiday.

Skal’s next lunch takes place at The National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on September 8, 12.30pm. Price for member €30, guests €35pp.

Corrie visits Irish FerriesPicture shows Coronation Street cast members Katie McGlunn, Bruno Langle, Said Khan and Mikey North on Irish Ferries’ Ulysses with chef Ronnie Crosbie . Three thousand soap fans have taken the Soaps Tour with Celtic Horizon Tours.

Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Excel Level 1, Strand Street Great, Dublin 1, September 3, 9.15am to 5pm, book here. Excel Level 2, Strand Street Great, Dublin 1, September 10, 9.15am to 5pm, book here. Time Management & Personal Effectiveness half day training, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, October 28, cost €70, book here. Delegation Skills class, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, September 22, 9.30am to 4.30pm, cost €110, book here. Consumer rights and customer care training, Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin 2, cost €160, book here.


Data from STR Global showed Ireland was the top performing country for in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the first half of 2015. Ireland had the highest average daily rate (ADR) increase in western Europe, up 13.9p in the YTD to June, with occupancy up 6.3pc. otels in Dublin mirrored this performance, with a +22.2pc increase in RevPAR. Ireland had the second highest occupancy at 74.8pc, behind Britain (75.1pc), and followed by Malta (71.3pc). ADR grew at a faster rate than occupancy across Europe. Hotels in Europe reported a +6.2pc increase to €74.03 in RevPar.

clement gaffneyClement Gaffney was named GM of the John Malone-owned 197-room InterContinental hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge. A graduate of GMIT, over 25 years Clement held senior management positions at the Westbury and Jury’s Ballsbridge, managed the opening of Jury’s Heathrow and was Director of Hotels for Lough Rynn Castle in County Leitrim and Kilronan Castle in Co Roscommon.

An Italian hotel association expressed disappointment in the number of foreign visitors to Milan Expo 2015, saying that while total visitor numbers would be 16m rather than the projected 20m at the six month event by the time it closes on Oct 31, half of Italian visitors have been day-trippers and there were very few international visitors.

desmond hatton 2015 copyDesmond Hatton from Slyguff in Wexford, and one of Travel Extra’s favourite Irish hoteliers, has been appointed General Manager of the 533-room Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. He previously managed Shangri-La resorts in Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines and the extensive Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman.

  • Hilton Worldwide is axing adult entertainment TV channels from its hotel rooms.
  • Marriott International will open an Edition property in Reykjavik in 2018.
  • Hilton Worldwide plans to open a hotel in Nairobi early next year.
  • A survey by Agoda found that hotel guests prefer free in-room WiFi to breakfast.


canada waiverCanada will require visitors from Ireland and other visa waiver countries to have Electronic Travel Authorisation in advance from March 15 2016. ETA costs Ca$7 (€4.75, less than half the ESTA charge for USA which costs US$14) and the government says most permissions will be granted within minutes. It will last for five years, three years more than the USA’s ESTA which is valid for two years. The application form and guide are already live. Documents will not be required until March 15 2016, the Canadian government said this week.

  • uberAn EU study is to determine whether Uber is a transport service or just a digital service. The number of private hire vehicles in London rose 26pc as a result of Uber.
  • The Temple of Baalshamin in the Syrian town of Palmyra was reduced to rubble by Islamic State militants, a witness said Monday in what UNESCO said was a “war crime.”
  • Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said TAT would devise a short and long term strategy to stimulate tourism with a focus on restoring Thailand’s reputation as a safe destination for tourists.
  • An elephant in Chiang Mai killed his keeper and carried two holidaymakers from China and their young child off into the jungle.
  • Benedict_Cumberbatch_2011Benedict Cumberbatch’s starring role in Hamlet at the Barbican has become the fastest selling ticket in London theatre history, selling out 100,000 tickets in a matter of minutes.
  • Analysis by Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry: The world is a dangerous place but that should not stop us travelling.
  • The website for Banksy’s Dismaland Bemusement Park crashed after it received 6m hits.
  • 1,000 companies in 35 countries are now signed up to Airbnb’s business programme.
  • Universal Orlando Resort will open the Fast & Furious: Supercharged ride in 2017.
  • Santa Claus flied for bankruptcy: Finland’s Santa Claus Office owes €200,000 in taxes. It will be business as usual though, according to Esko Lotvonen, mayor of Rovaniemi.
  • Six people were injured after a tour bus crashed in New York.
  • Nitama was sworn in as the stationmaster cat at Kishi train station in Japan, two months after the death of Tama.

Food and Wine

  • Dublin City University economist Tony Foley said Ireland’s alcohol taxes were damaging tourism.
  • Donal Skehan was in Lisbon filming an episode of Follow Donal, which premieres on the Food Network this October. See behind the scenes.


Alicante_airport_terminalSpanish unions announced eight strikes, two each day during peak hours on each Friday in September at Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga and Palma, Majorca, airports.

SkyGreece Airlines, which operates flights between North America and Europe, has announced it must temporarily cease operating.

What airport is likely to emerge al Aer Lingus‘ east coast trans-Atlantic route in 2016? Speculation has been reignited by a fresh round of meetings with a procession of airports, including Dallas and Miami, since the IAG takeover was completed a fortnight ago.

ryanairRyanair and Italian airport operator SEA are to hold a joint press conference in Milan Malpensa on Wednesday announcing plans to operate from Terminal 1.  The move could involve the transfer of the Dublin route from Milan Bergamo. Ryanair is to notify the Dutch slot co-coordinator on route allocation of nine slots from Amsterdam Schipol, four daily to Dublin and five daily to Stansted. Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary is in talks to increase the number of destinations from Hamburg from 2 to 25 including Dublin.

Beatrice Cosgrove said that Etihad‘s double daily service to Melbourne will mean a minimal impact on connections to ireland after the enforced reduction of the Dublin-Abu Dhabi service to single daily form January to June next year.

Royal Air MarocImages of meal trays and plates lying scattered on a Royal Air Maroc aircraft aisle on a flight from Casablanca to Lisbon were published after reports of an alleged dispute between two cabin crew members. The airline disputed the dispute, tweeting: “We rue news reports insinuating a fight between two members of staff on a Casablanca-Lisbon flight. The plates actually fell inadvertently.”

Skytrax list of 600 world carriers nominated North Korea’s airline Air Koryo the world’s worst airline for the fourth year in a row. London based Skytrax put Ryanair among the bottom 23 as a two-star airline and Aer Lingus among the 119 three star airlines. The agency’s ratings, controversially weighted towards Asia where it does consultancy work, placed seven airlines in the five star category, all of them in Asia or Autralia: ANA All Nippon Airways Asiana Airlines Cathay Pacific Airways Garuda Indonesia Hainan Airlines Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Michael O’Leary predicted the “mother and father” of all fare wars this winter as airlines prepare pitched battles to control Europe’s skies.

An American couple are seeking damages of $75,000 from Aer Lingus because their 10-year-old daughter was burned when a cup of tea “came out of the cup holder and came off the tray” Earlier this year, the airline successfully fought another US lawsuit, in which it was sued for $1m (€876,000) after a Dutch woman alleged her “priceless” engagement ring and other valuables were stolen on a flight from New York to Amsterdam via Dublin.

Ralph Anker’s Anna Aero listed Gothenburg as the airport with most new routes, although it admits this was helped by the virtual closure in January 2015 of nearby Gothenburg City Airport, which resulted in several carriers (notably Ryanair and Wizz Air) shifting all their flights to the bigger airport. istanbul has the most long haul routes (and is the fastest growing airport) although Frankfurt (97) and Paris CDG (95) lead the way with the most long-haul destinations served non-stop, Paris CDG has the most (108) scheduled airlines, Germania had the most new routes and the most new European destiantions.

WestJet received the first of four Boeing 767-300 extended range aircraft.

ba san jose copyBritish Airways is to fly to San Jose from next May.

A British Airways flight with 200 passengers on board was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Siberia after a passenger’s mobile phone overheated and smoke was reportedly detected inside the cabin of the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner.

  • Flight attendants at the Czech national carrier CSA went on a three-day strike over low pay.
  • Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies won approval this week to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport after weeks of debate.
  • Two women have been arrested after police say they attacked each other as their flight arrived at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Jamaica.
  • The 12 things that annoy flight attendants, from the Huffington Post.
  • Qantas Tallaght-born CEO Alan Joyce saw his pay packet triple to €8m.
  • Aer Lingus Regional reported an increase in load factor.
  • The view from the mound: Dan Griffin of the Irish Times spent a day with the plane spotters of Dublin Airport.
  • Malaysia Airlines named travel industry veteran Charles D McKee as head of marketing to begin September 14 as part of Christophe Mueller’s team to turn the airline around.

pearse compositeIn the name of God and of the dead generations, just in time for the 1916 centenary, Patrick Pierce, the new sponsorship manager at Etihad, will be over to host the travel trade at the All Ireland during final. His predecessor Aubrey Tiedt, niece of Irish Olympic medallist Fred, presided over the hospitality of three successive draws in the hurling final. The other Patrick Pearse had strong Galway connections. The allegiance of this Patrick remains to be seen.

  • India opened a solar-powered airport at Cochin International Airport.
  • London City Airport pull foie gras from restaurant menus following an appeal from PETA.
  • Avolon acquire an A321-200 on lease to Vueling and delivered a B737-800 to Aeromexico.


Irish Continental Group trebled their first-half operating profit from €5.2m to €16.4m. Passenger volumes rose 2.6pc to 701,600. Roro freight grew by 11.5pc.

danubeWhile stretches of the Danube and the Elbe are experiencing low waters once more, particularly he Danube between Regensburg and Vilshofen, companies with a prsence on the Irish market are experiencing delays.

Queen Mary 2 is set to sail a Full World Voyage in 2017 to take advantage of enhancements from a 25-day dry dock refurbishment at the Blohm+Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, in May, 2016 with 30 new balcony cabins for Britannia-class passengers, and added kennel space for tthose who sish to rbing their dogs at €700 a bark.

  • Research for Royal Caribbean shows that 53pc of Irish customers take four holidays a year or more (listen here) and 60pc of guests fly to cruise (listen here). Ireland still has the highest satisfaction ratings of any nation on Royal caribbean passenger surveys  (listen here).
  • Celebrity Cruises followed Costa Cruises by cancelling calls at Istanbul over security fears.
  • London is to build a new cruise terminal on the Thames River at Greenwich.
  • The MSC Lirica will call in Shanghai on May 1 as part of its 60-day round the world Grand Voyage from Rio de Janeiro.

Deal Watch

BarcelonaClick and Go offers: 3 nights 3* AB Vila domain Hotel, Barcelona from €279pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in September. 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguise & Spa from €449pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, wine with evening meal, taxes, charges and airport transfers, travel in November. 10 nights full board Norwegian Cruise from Barcelona to Canary Islands and Madeira from €999pp incl. flights ex Dublin, 10kg carry on bag, all meals, travel January-March 2016. 7 nights B&B 4* La Isla y el Mar Hotel, Lanzarote from €1,049pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and airport transfers, travel in November. See

Travel Department Christmas offers, prices include flights, taxes, transfers and guides.: 3 nights B&B 4* Holiday Inn Berlin City West from €329pp, depart November 25. 3 nights 4* NH Brugge Hotel, Brussels from €399pp, depart November 25. 3 nights in 4* accommodation, Budapest from €349pp, travel in select dates in November and December. 4 nights B&B 3* Hotel Chopin, Krakow from €399pp, depart November 29. 5 nights 4* Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda from €499pp, travel in select dates in November and December. 5 nights 4* Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda from €499pp, travel on select dates in November and December. 3 nights B&B 4* Hote Palazzo Zichy, Budapest from €459pp, travel on select dates in November. 3 nights B&B 4* Falkensteiner Hotel Wien Margarethen from €399pp, travel on select dates in November and December. 3 nights B&B 4* Hotel Clarion Congress, Prague from €299pp, depart November 30, December 3 or 7. 3 nights/4 nights in 3* or 4* accommodation, Iceland from €699, travel on select dates in October.

Sunway Morocco offers, depart August 29: Flight only €349pp. 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €399pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Oasis Hotel from €489pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €499pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €549pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Agadir Beach Club from €669pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Royal Atlas Hotel from €689pp. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Founty Beach Hotel from €829pp. Sorrento offers, depart August 29: Flight only €299pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Londra Hotel from €529pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Metropole Hotel from €599pp. 7 nights B&B 2* Ulisse Deluxe Hotel from €529pp.  10 nights Norwegian Epic cruise from Barcelona from €599pp incl. flights ex Dublin and drinks package, depart December 9. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Occidental Grand Punta Canta Resort, Dominican Republic from €1,199pp incl. all taxes and flights, depart October 7. See or call 01 231 1800.

Aer Lingus launched their Need Another Holiday Sale: Britain from €19.99 one way, Europe from €29.99 one way and North America from €209 on way. Sale continues until September 14, valid for travel from November 1 to April 30 2016. See

maltaLowcostbeds Malta offers, based on 7 nights, 2 sharing: 3* Blue Sea Bugibba Hotel & Apartments from €24pppn all inclusive, stay in September. 4* db Seabank Resort & Spa, Mellieha Bay from €32pppn all inclusive, stay between November 8 and December 25. 4* Hotel Qawra Palace from €32pppn half board, stay in October. 4* Hotel Santana, Qawra from €50pppn half board, stay in September. See

Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,460pps incl. flights, transfers, accommodation, depart November 28. See or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering an 8-day tour of Paris from €1,763pps incl. flights, transfers, meals and beverages and excursions. See or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki is offering a 12-day European tour from €1,625pps incl. visits to 9 countries, flights, transfers and accommodation, depart September 19. See or call 01 775 3803.

Tour America is offering a 7 night holiday to Kissimmee, Florida from €839pp during the October mid term break, departing October 26. Price includes return flights ex Dublin or Shannon and 7 days car hire.

Thomson offers: 7 nights self catering, Green World, Icmeler, Turkey from €469pp, depart September 7. 7 nights half board Fiesta Cala Nova, Es Cana, Ibiza from €649pp, depart September 16. 7 nights half board Kos Imperial, Psalidi, Kos from €769pp, depart September 5. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €559pp, depart September 14. 7 nights half board Los Gigantes, Playa De Arena, Tenerife from €669pp, depart September 25. 7 nights Mediterranean cruise from €839pp, depart September 22. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering Seaclub, Alcudia, Majorca from €469pp, depart September 1. 7 nights B&B Reis Maris, Marmaris, Turkey from €459pp, depart September 7. 7 nights all inclusive Atlantica Thalassa, Lambi, Kos from €619pp, depart September 12. DERRY Arms Hotel7 nights self catering Alykanas, Zakynthos from €529pp, depart September 1. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

The Derry Arms Hotel in Carnlough is offering one and two-night breaks from £135pps incl. a watercolour painting class with local artist Paul Holmes.

NR_CM_COURTYARDNatural Retreats Catlemartyr, Cork launched 7 nights for the price of 5 or 5 nights fro the price of 4 for stays from September 1 till October 22. Prices from €17pppn based on four sharing a two-bed Mews. See or call 01 685 3013.

Maldron Hotel Derry (1)Tourism NI offers, quote promo code Autumn Leaves when booking: 2 nights B&B Killyhevlin Hotel, Spa & Health Club from £117pps incl. one 4 course dinner and use of health club, round of golf for one and 30-minute spa treatment for one, available from September 1 to December 13, call 028 6632 3481. 2 nights B&B Maldron Hotel Derry from £99pps incl. a 4 course meal, bottle of sparkling wine and strawberries on arrival, available September 1 to December 13, call 027 7137 1000. 2 nights B&B Stormont Hotel, Belfast from £109pps, available September 1 to December 13, call 028 9065 1066.


National FestivalsThe application process for the National Festivals and Participative Events Programme 2016 will open on September 7. Fáilte Ireland granted €3.5m to 214 festivals and events in 2015. Applicants can access more information at Closing date for submission of applications is 12 noon on October 12th. Only application forms submitted via the online system will be accepted. For further information


The Smithwicks Centre in Kilkenny is twelve months old. Mark McGovern says visitors are 35pc domestic and 65pc international from 30 countries, led by USA, France, Germany, Canada and Britain. Highlights of the Smithwick experience is the talking portrait room, reminiscent of the queuing facility at Harry Potter’ Escape

Tour guide Laura Walsh conducts tourists through the Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny, August 28 2015

from Gringotts ride at Universal Studios, Orlando. Even Daniel O’Connell makes a cameo appearance. Picture shows Laura Walsh conducting a tour of the experience. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

An Taisce objected to Star Wars filming on Skellig Michael.

New York based Travel + Leisure named Galway, Dublin and Cork in first, third and fourth place in their sdlection of world’s friendliest cities. Dublin was shortlisted at London’s Conferencing and Incentive Travel Awards for best short haul destination on Friday, September 25 at the London Hilton.

Fáilte Ireland’s Paul Keeley warned against tourism being “captured by lobby groups” who x overstate the negative impact of alcohol prices. Fáilte Ireland say 16pc of foreign tourists cited high alcohol prices as a disadvantage.

Dublin was named cheapest for cultural tourism in London’s Post Office Travel Money survey of 16 cities, costing €100 for major site visits compared with €397 in London, €342 in Paris and €680 in New York. Four sites were placed on the Dublin agenda (two free-of-charge): National Museum and National Gallery with the Book of Kells exhibit and a theatre event.

GIY GROW Fest 2015 takes plae in Waterford from September 11th to 13th with Joanna Blythman, Alys Fowler and Mark Diacono.

Gates open at 12noon, today for Hooley at the House which takes place on the front lawn of Westport house this Sunday afternoon. Tickets are €28.50 (teens €15), music starts at 2pm, and organisers say travel early as delays are expected in Westport due to road closures for a National Youth Championship Cycling Race. The Mayo v Dublin match will be on the big screen, and line up includes Mike Denver, Nathan Carter, Jimmy Buckley, Patrick Feeney, Johnny Brady, Lisa McHugh, Declan Nerney, the Willoughby Brothers, Hurricane Highway and the Benn Sisters. Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park will be all day (usually €21 and €16.50  for adults!) and for the Pirates Haven on the Westport House Express Train, the Swinging Ship, Pirates Plunge Log Flume Ride and the Swan Pedalo Boats are open for families.

Venues across Kildare will offer a specific Kildare themed menu with the emphasis on local products as part of inaugural Foodscape Kildare Festival as part of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh Racecourse on Sunday, September 13th. The FoodScape Marquee will showcase A Taste of Kildare with tasting dishes and samples of Kildare sourced produce while restaurants, hotels and producers will be providing a range of their signature dishes created from locally sourced produce.

Mark Graham bikeMark Graham, winner of a Travel Extra travel writer of the year award category last year, finished his cycle of the Wild Atlantic Way.

The on-again off-again Spike Island €5m redevelopment is back on the agenda.

Former mayor of Co Cork, Alan Coleman said that schools starting in August is damaging to the tourism sector.

The Dingle/Corca Dhuibhne History Interactive Timeline was launched by former UCC historian Donnchadh ó Corráin. Dr Ó Corráin also suggested that the old Dingle hospital, which now lies idle, could become a valuable resource as a national maritime museum.

Giant granny

Limerick Craft Hub and Limerick 2020 are marking the anniversary of the Royal De Luxe Granny’s visit to Limerick City of Culture with a number of events: Community Craft Corner, September 4, 11am-1pm. Drop In Knit In, September 4, 1pm-5pm and September 5, 11am-5pm. Beginners Knitting Class, September 5, 12pm-2pm.

Dublin was shortlisted for best short haul destination at the Conferencing and Incentive Travel Awards. One Young World Summit was shortlisted for Best International Conference, The Convention Centre Dublin for Best Overseas Convention Centre and Green Light Events for best use of social media.

Titanic Belfast - OutsideTo mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the Titanic, Titanic Belfast will host a talk with oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard, who discovered the ship.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Handel’s Agrippina, September 8. Westfest, September 10-13. All Ireland Tractor Pulling Championship, September 20. Adare to Survive, September 27.

Ireland’s Ancient East featured in The West Australian newspaper. Read the piece here.

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

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