TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 10m a month is the new norm for Ryanair, April figures indicate

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Event to launch the Bear Grylls adventure centre at Belle-Isle, Co Fermanagh, May 4 2017

Twelve things you need to know about travel this week

  • 10m a month and the rule of sevens for Ryanair
  • Aer Lingus passenger numbers up 26.6pc
  • The private jet that really is 2 Deer
  • Eating beetle larvae on the Bear Grylls adventure centre in Lough Erne
  • Snakes on a plane (as well as frogs and lizards) averted.
  • Bavaria braces itself for Germany Travel Market 
  • 13th finalist in Blue’s win a car competition
  • Venice plans to charge for entry to city centre
  • Irish Pub Awards to take place in November
  • Upselling car hire: the startling stats
  • More on Qatar’s launch plans
  • Dublin’s 9,075 hotel beds on the way

Travel Extra TV

  • There was some drama on this Ryanair flight. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus welcomed 200 new cabin crew. Watch here.
  • Here’s what makes Ireland special in the summer — as told by Tourism Ireland. Watch here.
  • The latest plug for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open from Tourism NI. Watch here.
  • A dolled up Emirates 777 freighter visited Barcelona for Sant Jordi, the ‘day of the rose’. Watch here.
  • Some fantastic drone footage shot in Norway of snow being cleared off a mountain. Watch here.
  • Italian government provides Alitalia with €600m loan, adding to the 7bn cost to the Italian taxpayer
  • Lufthansa begins Shannon route
  • Stena Line completes refit of seven ships.

Behind the Headlines

Just how stunning were Ryanair’s 11.3m April passenger numbers? Think of the number seven. April is normally the SEVENth strongest month for a northern hemisphere airline, outside the top half of the 12-month annual table. Just SEVEN airlines have ever carried more than 10m in a month in the history of world aviation, counting Aeroflot’s massive peromfance in the old USSR. Ryanair’s very sharp rise for April, fuelled but not entirely explained by Easter, indicate that the harp is unlikely to dip below 10m again until November or February 2018, if ever again. Ryanair figures were up 14pc and load factor now 96pc (see press release),

Another week, another airline arroganza. Delta Air Lines is offering refunds and compensation to a California family that says they were forced off a plane and threatened with jail after refusing to give up one of their seats on a crowded flight.

Deerjet showcased their private B787 Dream Jet in Dublin Airport, complete with master bedroom, oversized shower and high-living lounge. The aircraft cost €50,000 for one hour and €300,000- €350,000 for a flight from London to New York. As the reg number says, 2-Deer, the equivalent of 500,000 renmibi and the cost of this is spread over the passengers which is usual somewhere between 30-40 people. Watch here a video tour of the aircraft. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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The xtreme.ie team launched a new Bear Grylls adventure centre, the fourth in Ireland, on Killygowan island in Lough Erne beside Jamie Hamilton’s castle and private island at Belle-Isle Co Fermanagh. The Castle rooms (see Travel Extra‘s arrival video here). and self catering units already host weddings and events, and a cookery school, with the adventure courses set to bring a new dimension. Travel Extra stopped by to sample some tasty grubs and a spot of tomahawk throwing, at the end of which the 15 tour operators, DMC’s and select travel media put together a willow raft which, unbelievably, made it back to the shore. Watch here video diary of the day and watch here interview with Will Powderley, Operations Director Xtreme.ie, where he speaks abut the Bear Grylls adventure centre concept. Picture shows the Bear Grylls team of John Kirkpatrick, Matt Levell, Will Powderley, Oran Masterson and Jonathan O’Brien at the event. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook. And yes, the parting glass was sung.

Germany Travel Market is back in Bavaria this year and being hosted by Nuremberg with a lavish opening ceremony promised for tonight. Pictured at a pre-opening event in Nuremberg are Sean Mannion of Travel Extra, Petra Hedorfer, CEO of Germany Travel; Yvonne Coulin, CEO of CTZ Nuremberg and Jens Huwald, CEO of Bavaria Tourism.  Irish visits to Germany reached a record 205,504 last year. The number of overnights was up 9.3pc to 476,115.

Epic Ireland celebrated its first birthday at the CHQ in Dublin. Curator Jess Trainer said it’s getting top ratings on TripAdvisor and is a unique mix of the museums of old and newer, more.  commercially-driven centres such as the Guinness Storehouse. Watch Jess and Managing Director Mervyn Greene talk here about the centre. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Trish O’Reilly from Best4Travel is the April Finalist the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances. The final will take place on Thursday next May 11, 2017 at 7.30pm in Saba on Dublin’s Clarendon Street, where one of the 13 finalists will win a new Volkswagen Polo. She follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis Travel, Helena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel, Kristin Skinner of American Holidays and Caroline Riordan of Sol Travel.

Charlie McNally is joining the Insight Vacations and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise team from flight Centre where he has been working as Business Development Manager, after Brian Hynes departed TTC to join Brendan Breen’s newly established high end b2c tour operator Oroko.

A survey carried out by for Ciaran Mulligan’s CarHireExcess.com by Behaviour & Attitudes suggests 40pc of Irish holidaymakers are hit for car hire excess insurance cover at car rental desks abroad. Car Hire Excess claimed their €41.86 charge compares with €230.44 for Budget, €224.26 for Hertz and €203.00 for Enterprise.

Balkan Holidays is increasing its charter service from Belfast to Bourgas for summer 2018.

Thomas Cook commenced new services from Belfast International to Ibiza and Las Palmas  for the coming Summer 2017 season.

A London salary study exposed gender inequality in travel.

Royal Caribbean said it is to increase deployment and sales roles in a European realignment.

The next TIGS outing is an overnight outing to Mount Wolseley on May 18, members €45 and guests €65, tee times: 10.00-10.50 and 13.00-14.50 fourball, buggies to be booked directly with the pro-shop.

Ryanair marketing chief Kenny Jacobs gave some more details of the plans for Ryanair holidays (watch here) and the airline’s surprise move into the charter market (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference at the Waterfront, Belfast. He said a lot of OTAs will not be around in 10 years’ time (watch here).

  • Thomas Cook announced more shop closures.
  • Ryanair marketing chief Kenny Jacobs gave some more details of the plans for Ryanair holidays (watch here) and the airline’s surprise move into the charter market (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference at the Waterfront, Belfast. He said a lot of OTAs will not be around in 10 year’s time (watch here).
  • Former Star Alliance boss Mark Schwab has joined Dublin-headquartered CarTrawler as a Senior Adviser

Strange world

India’s Jet Airways has fired a pilot who had attacked a flight examiner during a training session.

  • Venice banned new kebab shops and limits the sale of pizza by the slice so the romantic city ‘doesn’t lose its identity’
  • A man was arrested attempting to board a flight with snakes, frogs and lizards in his backpack.
  • All Nippon Airways gave Londoner Martin Pavelka a banana and a fork and knife to eat it with, with a pack of salt, as a gluten free meal.
  • An American passenger was arrested in Japan after video emerged of a violent fist fight that took place Monday on an All Nippon Airways plane at Tokyo Narita before it was due to take off for Los Angeles.

International

On current trends, the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free in summer by 2040.

  • Venice announced plans to change for entry to its historic city centre.
  • Portugal airport security staff plan further strikes.
  • A fire on Jekyll Island in Georgia was contained after burning 15 acres of woods.
  • Kenny Jacobs had some advice for the Mayor of Barcelona on his anti-tourism policies (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast.

Food & Beverage

The Licensed Vintners Association and Vintners Federation Ireland launched the inaugural Irish Pub Awards at Doheny and Nesbitt’s on Baggot Street, to be announced at a ceremony in November with categories including ‘Best Food Pub’, ‘Best Tourist Pub’, ‘Innovative Pub of the Year, ‘Best Local Pub, ‘Outstanding Customer Service, ‘Best Music Pub, ‘Best Outdoor Space’ and ‘Pub Personality of the Year’. The national awards will be preceded by seven regional events to announce 56 regional winners.

Ross Mac Mathúna of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland urged the Government to engage with industry to strike a balance between tackling harmful drinking and preserving jobs and local business and said the Brexit/breat-imeacht policy was deeply flawed.

Four buildings on Merrion Row including the iconic Unicorn restaurant are on sale for €9m.

The next event in the Airfield Estate Food Series (website) on September 7 will explore Food Literacy, what we know about food, how we relate to it and how does this influence how we behave towards food and the journey from Food Consumers to being responsible Food Citizens. Speakers at the initial session ‘The Irish Foodscape, 1916 – 2016′ included journalists Micheál Ó Muireachtaigh, Paddy Woodworth, Joe McNamee, Ernie Whalley, Helena O’Connor and Regina Sexton of UCC,  Barra Casey of Central Statistics Office, David Meredith of Teagasc, Joe Hayden of The Orchard Centre, Kirstie McAdoo of Airfield and Mary Farrell of Morton’s.

Sligo Food Trail unveiled the Sligo Tapas Trail as part of the Yeats Weekend celebrations from 8-10th June 2017

  • Chef Hilary O’Hagan-Brennan criticised the Restaurants Association for using an all-male judging panel and having a team of six male chefs cook dinner for the 900 guests attending the awards for the awards ceremony tomorrow Monday.
  • Sligo Food trail released a share the secrets video.
  • Wetherspoon, which own four pubs in suburban Dublin and one in Cork, plan to open 50 further outlets in Ireland.
  • Cork based brewery Franciscan Well are teaming up with Dublin doughnut shop Aungier Danger to create beer themed doughnuts in 50 pubs throughout Leinster.
  • US Trade union SEIU claimed McDonald’s should be investigated for gouging franchisees on rents and deceiving them about how the amounts are calculated, in breach of regulations in California and Illinois.

Hotels

The Tannery in Dungarvan, Belleek Castle in Sligo, and Hilton Park in Co Monaghan are among 11 new additions to the Historic Hotels of Europe group.

  • Map Travel say the Parador at Nerja will be closed from end of October until March 2019 for renovations, therefore, becoming heavily booked.
  • Paul Smith had been appointed the General Manager of The Brehon in Killarney.
  • Preferred Hotels & Resorts has launched a new mobile app to enhance and simplify its iPrefer hotel rewards programme.
  • STR Global reported occupancy in Europe in Q1 2017 was up 4.1pc to 63.5pc, Average daily rate up 2.3pc to EUR100.94 and RevPAR up 6.5pc to EUR64.06.
  • Dublin City Council granted Brown Table Solutions planning permission to convert Loreto House on Stephen’s Green into an 87-bedroom luxury hotel with restaurant and spa.
  • Jim Murphy’s Prem Group plans a €11m redevelopment of new acquisitions, the Osprey in Kildare, Tulfarris in Blessington and Cahernane House in Killarney.
  • Michael Maye is planning a €60m 200-room hotel and Covent Garden-style covered marketplace on Market Street in Galway.
  • Plans for a 283-bedroom apart-hotel on the site of Dublin’s Tivoli Theatre will include a performance space.
  • Nama is reportedly readying the four-star Carton House hotel resort in Co Kildare for sale within the next two months. The Sunday Times reports that Nama is close to selecting an agent to market the property, which is being earmarked as potentially one of the biggest sales of 2017, adding that the hotel was once in the Project Tolka portfolio, but was stripped out of the portfolio sale last year.
  • Seven hotels with total value of €26m were sold in the first quarter of 2017.
  • CBRE say there are 9,075 hotel beds at various stages of the planning process in the Greater Dublin Area of which 5,700 are due for completion between 2017 and 2021.
  • The Westbury partnered with the Dublin International Piano Competition to host a recital by John O’Conor, and rising Irish piano stars including Antonia Huang, Tiffany Qiu, Dida Condria, Meabh Fitzgerald, Jane Brazil and Rowel Friers on Tuesday  May 16th.
  • Johnny Ronan is planning a 17-storey 110-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant and bar at Tara Street, the height of 88m compares with 59m for Liberty Hall.
  • Beannchor group plans to build a sister hotel to the Bullitt Belfast on Capel Street in Dublin.
  • The five-star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in Co Wicklow launches a one-year partnership with Jaguar Land Rover Ireland to ferry guests in two cars.

Aviation

Aer Lingus reported passengers up 26.6pc in April with load factor up 3.9 to 82.0pc. Cargo carried was up 27.3pc, a third month of good cargo growth. For IAG as a whole, passenger traffic was up 10.0pc with a 10.3pc increase on International European routes and 10.0pc on North American routes.

Bookings for the Airports Council International Europe 10th Annual Regional Airports’ Conference & Exhibition, hosted by Cork Airport, on May 15 to 17 May. Cork will host 200 delegates from 25 countries and 50 airports and airport operators.

How far will Ryanair’s changes go? Kenny Jacobs told the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast that nothing is a definite no (watch here). He said the big initiative for 2017, connection had been the number one request from Ryanair customers (watch here) in advance of its trial at Fiumicino. He said the success of the digital initiative was a surprise to the airline (watch here) and went into more details on the airline’s plan to become the (self-claimed) Amazon of air travel (watch here). He said Ryanair cannot take the eye off the ball on cost (watch here).. He warned that the implications of Brexit/breat-imeacht are serious for airlines (watch here). See here Irish Government Statement on Brexit/breat-imeacht preparations: strategy for negotiation process, see here the Government’s Approach Ireland and the negotiations on England’s withdrawal from the European Union, see here European Commission Directives for negotiation of Brexit/breat-imeacht.

Qatar will use an A350-900 for their launch flight from Dublin to Doha. Qatar  is offering free luxury stays for Irish passengers on stopovers. In partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority, the +Qatar initiative aims to encourage more visitors with free four and five-star hotel stays.

From June 4, a  Cityjet Sukhoi Superjet will replace the Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 on the route between Brussels Airport and Stockholm Bromma. Bromma, the largest Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 destination,  cannot be served by A320 family aircraft because of local regulations driven by environmental concerns. It will thus become a Sukhoi destination. The SSJ100 has only recently been approved for that aerodrome.

Rumour has it that Ray Gammell will be the new CEO of Etihad, a job ex Aer Lingus CEO Christophe Mueller was associated with. Robin Kamark was appointed CEO Etihad Equity & Partners reporting to  James Hogan. Etihad Airways plans to stand by Air Berlin until end 2018. Focus magazine reported that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is in discussions with Etihad how to finance a possible takeover of Air Berlin.  Airberlin Q1 net loss was €293m, €100m worse than last year.

Aer Lingus took delivery of EI604, an ex Aeroflot Airbus A320, registered EI-GAL. First revenue service was Dublin – Amsterdam on May 6th 2017. It was first delivered new to Russian carrier Aeroflot on 18th February 2009 and was flown to Ostrava in the Czech Republic where it was prepared for delivery to Aer Lingus and was painted in the shamrock livery. Picture is by Mike Kelly.

The Italian government, said it would provide Alitalia with a €600m bridging loan that will allow it to operate for about six months or longer. Reuters reported that repeated state bailouts have cost Italian taxpayers 7bn over a decade. The Business Post speculated that if things had been different, Aer Lingus could have been another Alitalia.

  • Cork Airport reported passenger numbers up 6pc. Cork airport launched tech competition to boost passenger experienced. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • CNN reported that American Airlines plans to reduce legroom from 31 to 29 inches on three rows, and to 30 inches across the rest of the economy class cabin on its new Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft.
  • An Aer Lingus flight was forced to turn back after hitting a flock of pigeons
  • Aer Lingus Regional commenced Cork to Newquay flights.
  • IATA said world airline capacity grew 6.1pc in March, load factor was up 0.5 to a record 80.4pc and demand grew 6.8pc in Q1.
  • Willie Walsh told the IAG investor call that he sees Paris Orly and Rome Fiumicino as the next likely bases for Level.
  • Flybe plans to relaunch the Dublin-to-Southend service in October, operated by Stobart Air.
  • Aer Lingus‘s 200 new staff show off their skills on the  emergency slide as they join airline.
  • New cricket sponsors Turkish Airlines saw off the Irish men’s team as they headed off from Dublin Airport for key games in England
  • Etihad Airways’ Irish boss, Beatrice Cosgrove, helped launch this year’s competition to find the best Irish exporters here.
  • The Australian government agreed to build a new Sydney airport
  • Avolon delivered an Airbus A321-200 to VietJet
  • FLY leasing repriced, extended and upsized 2012 term loan
  • Stobart Air agreed a lease agreement for two more aircraft
  • Isobel Patterson from Craigavon was recorded as Easyjet’s 50 millionth passenger from Belfast.
  • AerCap signed a lease agreement with new airline customer, Wamos Air and a new airline customer, Germania
  • Lufthansa began its Shannon Route and described Shannon as a key gateway to the west. Connect to the launch picture here.
  • Rachel Kouyoumdjis of Enterprise Ireland said Ireland was well positioned to take advantage of growth the in Middle East aviation sector
  • Two unions at Dublin Airport accepted WRC proposals
  • Scotland’s assembly voted 112 to 4 to abolish Air Departure Tax.
  • Air Berlin posted a record 2m a day annual loss.
  • Aperture strengthened its leasing and financing arm
  • AerCap signed a lease agreement with Austrian Airlines for 777 Aircraft
  • Belfast City Airport announced plans to grow food and drink facilities in development drive
  • Flybe moved to ease overcapacity issues with Stobart Air agreement. Flybe placed two Embraer 195s with Stobart Air
  • Airlines for Europe called for the urgent reform of Eurocontrol and leadership ahead of the election of a new Director General of Eurocontrol next month. As the election enters its final phase, A4E has urged the national authorities who cast the votes to elect a candidate committed to efficiency and reform.
  • Passenger numbers on Donegal airport routes to Dublin and Donegal with Stobart on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional were up by 14.6pc in Q1 2017.
  • Shannon Airport will be main sponsor for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017 from August 13th to 21st. Sharon Shannon stopped by to help with the launch. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Air Canada will waive baggage fees for ski snowboards and boots for winter 2017/18.
  • Finnair will add four weekly frequencies to Rovaniemi via Helsinki operating on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between January 1 and March 24 2018, bringing Helsinki Rovaniem frequencies to up to five flights a day from Helsinki. Capacity from Ireland will increase for the winter 2017 season to six weekly flights between Dublin and Helsinki, operated by a mix of Airbus A319 and Embraer E190 aircraft due to strong passenger demand. Ireland is the third biggest customer for Santa Rovaneimi packages.
  • Finnair and Finavia with Futurice are testing the use of face recognition technology for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport until May 23.
  • It keeps getting better for Alan Joyce. Qantas forecast a better-than-expected profit of $1.35bn.
  • Shannon International Airport requires flood protection investment of €40m.
  • UPS has acquired Dublin-headquartered Nightline Logistics express courier and distribution company.
  • CAPA reported British Airways delayed cancelling free meals on services from London City Airport until Oct 2017, as a result of a family’s appeal to English small claims court.
  • BA’s London City-JFK via Shannon westbound all business call service to be reduced to once daily year-round.
  • Lufthansa Group reported their best first quarter earnings since 2008.
  • Kenya Airways has appointed Sebastian Mikosz as CEO effective June 1.
  • The new twice daily Derry to Stansted route took flight
  • Air Transat extended Toronto-Dublin to November 25.to keep up with demand
  • Aviation commissioner Cathy Mannion released the decision on the Interim Review of the 2014 Determination Related to the North Runway.
  • Winter 2017/2018 coordination parameters at Dublin Airport were declared.
  • Boeing 737-800 EI-FVR was delivered to Norwegian. Boeing 737-800 EI-FZT for Ryanair took its first flight
  • Lufthansa uploaded presentations from the lessor’s get-together” in Dublin
  • Norwegian Air’s US flights face a court challenge. Norwegian has completed the financing of additional nine aircraft
  • Ping An Leasing delivered an Airbus A350-900XWB Wide-body Aircraft on Sale and Leaseback to Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Southend to Dublin flights would be a big positive for the town.
  • We’re going for the hat trick, Aer Lingus is returning to the Budapest Airport Runway Run with 12 entrants
  • The EU court ruled that bird strikes are not airlines’ fault under EU compensation directive 261/2004.

Afloat

Stena Line completed the refit of all seven ships in its Irish Sea North ferry fleet with a total investment programme of £5m. The work was carried out at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast over a four-month period, with the carefully synchronised dry dock visits being managed by Stena Line’s Clyde-based sister company Northern Marine Ferries.

Carnival Cruise Line confirmed a new cruise port to be built on Grand Bahama Island.

Cruise Ireland chairman Joe O’Neill said the island of Ireland has outperformed the European marketplace, recording average annual growth in cruise passenger numbers of 13pc against the European average across the same period of 9pc.

  • Carnival Breeze returned from two-week dry dock with new restaurants, Guy Fieri’s complimentary Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, the Alchemy Bar, Pixels photo gallery.
  • Miami is to get a new $100m Terminal B and extension to Terminal C by January 2020, offered to Norwegian if they commit to 52 calls per year.
  • New motorist fares with Stena Line to Britain from May 6 until May 22 on the Dublin to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard, Belfast to Cairnryan and Belfast to Liverpool routes, get to bring a friend for free for travel up to December 17.
  • Updates to Holland America’s Westerdam during a 12-day dry dock in Palermo, with 1,916-passenger cruise ship include Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Centre Stage, entertainment venues on the line’s newest vessel Koningsdam; both spaces host nightly musical performances. Northern Lights nightclub has been replaced by Gallery Bar, an overhauled Pinnacle Grill, the line’s signature steakhouse, new furniture, carpeting and wall coverings; designer glass tile, new bathroom vanities, USB outlets on the headboard, bedside LED reading lights and more outlets
  • Ovation of the Seas went into dry dock in China for propulsion repairs.
  • Thomson Cruises says TUI Discovery 2 will include new entertainment and dining options, including self-service beer and wine taps in Islands buffet restaurant, allowing passengers to pour their own drinks, bedside USB connection points in all cabins, an additional three Oceanview cabins taking the total to six, four new shows: “Chaplin,” “Full Monty,” “Legends Live” and “Beats.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line said it is forming ties with Alibaba as it enters the China cruise market.
  • American legislators introduced a bill to make cruise companies responsible for deaths at sea.
  • Avalon Waterways waived the single supplement on every 2017 and 2018 European river cruise and on select Southeast Asia departures on the Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers.
  • The Turkish government moved to reverse cruise line cancellations by offering $30 per person to cruise liners that make a call in the country with ships of more than 750 passengers capacity.

Ireland

Three attractions have been added to Dublin Pass sightseeing card (website), Dublin Castle (normally €7), EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum (normally €14) and The Irish Rock’n’Roll Museum Experience (normally €16), while at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin Pass holders now gain free entry to temporary exhibitions. New for summer 2017 are the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour (20pc discount), Lazy Bike Tours’ (25pc discount); and Railtours Ireland First Class,(15pc discount).

  • Minister Patrick O’Donovan opened an exhibition at Desmond Hall Castle in Newcastle West, on the Independence story in West Limerick including Donal Sheehan from Newcastle West, first rebel casualty of the 1916 Rising, James O’Brien from Kilfergus first British Forces casualty and Con Colbert the Republican leader who was executed.
  • Tourism Ireland gave an updated Brexit/breat-imeacht briefing. Watch Niall Gibbons here.
  • Kenny Jacobs told the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast, how to grow NI Tourism (watch here), emphasising access.
  • Christina Lamb will join the Immrama festival in June as a keynote speaker.
  • Bus Éireann Route 350: Galway – Cliffs of Moher – Doolin – Ennis relaunches today a week ahead of schedule.
  • Irish Tourist Industry Confederation made a submission to Government on the need for more capital investment in tourism.
  • Performances hosted by Celtic Horizons over the coming months include free University Of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble Performance in Midleton Tuesday May 16th, University Of South Carolina choir concert on Thursday May  18th in St Nicholas Church Galway at 8pm, University of Massachusetts wind ensemble concert on Monday 22nd May Christ Church Dublin at 7.30pm and University Of South Carolina Choir Concert in Maynooth University May 21st 7.30, link on eventbrite.
  • Ireland BikeFest 2017 arrives in Killarney on June Bank Holiday weekend June 2nd to 5th

Deal Watch

British Airways is offering free upgrades to first class on select Club World flights. Book by August 27, depart by September 3.

Falcon offers: 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,329pp, depart June 14. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Costa Dorada, Eurosalou, Salou from €1,079pp depart Knock July 18. 7 nights self catering 3* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €399pp, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights all inclusive 3* International II, Salou, Costa Dorada from €699pp, depart Shannon May 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,019 2+3, depart June 12. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,569pp, depart June 15. 7 nights self catering 2* Loulas Village, Psarras, Corfu from €549pp, depart June 2. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €499pp, depart June 15. 7 nights self catering 2* Emerald Studios, Rhodes from €499pp, depart June 14. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

ITAA offers: 14 nights family camping in Brittany from €2,807 2+3, depart July 20. 7 nights family camping in Lake Garda from €580pps, depart June 17. 7 nights family camping in Croatia from €1,625 2+2, depart June 1.

Riviera Travel offers: 5 days Rhine & Yuletide Markets cruise on MS Emily Bronte from €899pp, depart December 6. 15 days Gems of Eastern Europe cruise on board Thomas Hardy from €2,679pp, travel April, May, June or September 2018. Visit rivieratravel.ie.

Sunway worldwide offers: 3 nights 3* Arabian Park Hotel, Dubai from €499pp, travel June. 7 nights B&B 3* Kata Sea Breeze, Thailand from €795pp, travel October. 5 nights 3* AHA Inn on the Square, Cape Town from €829pp, travel June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* RIU Cancun Hotel, Mexico from €1,499pp, travel October. Visit sunway.ie.

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,299pp, depart June 7. 14 nights half board Belvedere Hotel, Salou, Costa Dorada from €1,089pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights all inclusive Club Hotel Riu Lanzarote, Playa De Los Pocilos, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart Cork May 25. 7 nights half board Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €599pp, depart Shannon May 19. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,749pp, depart June 15. 11 nights self catering Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €389pp, depart May 23. 7 nights half board Alkion Hotel, Sidari, Corfu from €469pp, depart May 26. 7 nights self catering Pefki Islands Resort, Pefkos, Rhodes from €559pp, depart June 14. 7 nights half board Platanista Hotel, Psalidi, Kos from €699pp, depart June 17. 7 nights full board Iconic Island cruise on board Thomson Dream from €1,119pp, depart June 16.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Madeira from €360pps, depart May 11. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Baia, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 11. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Melia Madeira Mare, Madeira from €749pps, depart May 11. 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Madeira from €399pps, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Baia, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins d’Ajuda, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 25. 7 nights B&B 5* Melia Madeira Mare, Madeira from €799pps, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Monumental, Madeira from €739pps, depart June 8. 7 nights B&B 4* Baia Azul, Madeira from €769pps, depart June 15. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 7 nights The Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando from €495, travel November. 3 nights The Beacon Hotel, New York from €549pp, depart February 2 2018. 4 nights The Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €559pp, depart February 1 2018. 3 nights Bond Place Toronto, Toronto from €629, depart October 13. 10 nights Orlando and Caribbean fly, cruise and stay on board Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas from €1,139pp, depart November 9. 11 nights Fort Lauderdale and Caribbean cruise on board Celebrity Eclipse from €1,549pp, depart November 16. 7 nights Arab Emirates fly cruise on board MSC Splendida from €1,099pp depart February 4 2018. 8 nights New York and Bahamas cruise on board Norwegian Breakaway from €1,669pp, depart October 21. Visit touramerica.ie.

What we learned

Prince Charles Windsor, heir to the English crown, said he is descended from Vlad Țepeș;  Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, according to Romanian ambassador. In Derry they will tell you the real inspiration for Dracula was the Celtic vampire droch-fhola, buried near the all-conquering GAA club Slaughtneil (watch here a Travel Extra feature) but that is a story for another day.

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