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Climb on Kitzbuehlerhorn by Irish travel trade, walking group leaders and travel media hosted by the St Johann in Tirol and Brixental Tourist Boards, July 31 2017

Things to know about travel this week.

  • Ryanair pushes load factor to record 97pc
  • 400,000 through Dublin airport
  • Where exactly are those four hour passport queues? 
  • Aercap up to 1,539 aircraft, Avolon up to 921
  • Ryanair’s biggest month ever, 12.6m
  • Seamus Conlon heads up Europe’s biggest cruise agency
  • DFA advises against all but essential travel to Venezuela

Travel Extra TV.

The €200m-plus player Neymar wasn’t on board but Emirates had a video of the other Paris St Germain stars onboard during the pre-season tour.

Etihad Manchester City LA challenge

It’s football everywhere – and Etihad had a video shoot of Manchester City players touring the sites of Hollywood and LA

How do you wash a massive passenger plane? A KLM intern finds out here.

Woman torpedoes down water slide at Mexican water park and slams into two girls who were stuck midway down

Horrifying footage shows moment deadly creature jumps onboard a fishing boat

Behind the Headlines

It is hot out there. Eleven European countries have issued a heat warning as summer temperatures in Europe reach their hottest level since 2003 in a heatwave nicknamed Lucifer (when did heatwaves get hurricane-style pet-names?). Costa del Sol and Majorca are set to reach 43C this weekend, Parts of the Balkans and Italy are set to hit 46 degrees. In Florence, the Uffizi art gallery was temporarily closed on Friday when the air-conditioning system broke down. Receding glaciers in the Alps are revealing the bodies of climbers and farmers who have been missing for decades. Temperatures are in many places as much as 10-15C higher than normal. Europe’s record-breaking 2003 heatwave resulted in more than 20,000 heat-related deaths.

Dublin airport has survived the first two days of its busiest ever bank holiday weekend, 400,000 plus without too much trauma and also without breaking the record of 107,500 passengers in a single day set in June. Paul O’Kane tweeted on Friday a thank you to Aer Lingus for urging passengers to turn up three hours in advance and posted a picture of a virtually empty check in Terminal 2.  IALPA’s letter to a Dublin newspaper blaming DAA for delays led to a pretty conclusive spat between Brendan O’Dowd and Paul O’Kane on the Sean O’Rourke Show on RTE One. Listen here.

So where exactly were the four-hour airport queues? The claim by lobby group Airlines For Europe, led the Michael O’Leary, Willie Walsh and friends, generated widespread publicity. Ryanair asked customers by email to check in two hours early, the ITAA said three. Aer Lingus advised two and a half check-in at European airports and three hours for transatlantic flights at Dublin. The DAA said 90 minutes for European flights at Dublin. The outcome was virtually no queues. Picture shows Cormac O’Connell and Barry Barker of DAA in the refurbished Terminal 1 on Friday with the new ceiling.

Compulsory scanning of Schenghen passports has been around since April (as first reported by Travel Extra), so what has changed? See here Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE One Sean O’Rourke show. Three things, more of us are travelling, regional airports in sun destinations are disproportionately affected, and there have been confusing upscaling of security requirements at affected airports to coincide with the passport requirement.  The answer, as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry proposed in the Irish Independent (read here)  is to join Schenghen, a desire once expressed by Leo Varadkar, should circumstances allow, when he was minister for Transport (over to you Leo). The response to the article was overwhelmingly positive. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Austria’s star attractions, its mountains, are as attractive for hiking in winter as for skiing in summer and this week a brave team of Irish travel trade, walking group leaders and travel media, including Travel Extra, went uphill to investigate. Watch here the story of the trip through then eyes of the participants. The Kirchberg and St Johann regions were showcasing hiking trails such as the new six-part KAT trail and the free Westendorf bus access for mountain pass holders. The rock celebrity stars were all glistening in the sunlight, the Ranggenalm Runde opposite the Wilderkaiser with Fritz Minard (watch here), the Kitzbühelerhorn (watch here), Hahnenkamm with seven-peak Mountaineer Paul Koller, the Hohe Salve with Cissi’s signature church atop and the emperor of Austrian Alpine encounters Hinterer Goinger Halt peak on the Wilderkaiser. Apart from the celebrity mountains they went mountain carting on Kitzbühelerhorn (watch here), E biking through Kitzbühel and Schwarzsee (watch here). People they met included Christoph Stöeckl of Kirchberg Tourism (watch here), Gernot Reidel (watch here), Stephan Bannach (watch here), the mountain lover Mathaeus Gartner (watch here) and hill-climbing Hibernophile Fritz Minard of Active World Holidays (watch here). In Salzburg they called to see Thomas Neckar of Stiegl Brewery (watch here), followed by some beer tasting with Thomas Neckar (watch here), and sampling of the signature Gmahde Wiesn (watch here), and a visit to Erber Schnapps Distillery (watch here). They also met some bell-dangling cows (watch here) and gallopsome goats (watch here), Picture shows Blathnait Ni Mhurchu travel writer, Frank Lynch of Independent Organised Trips, Rita de Brun travel writer, John Barrett of Ski Club of Ireland, Jim Gallagher travel writer, Sean Cotter of Bishopstown Walking Club, Aileen Eglington of AE Consulting, Jessica Keeffe of UL Outdoor Pursuits Club, Michael Oberleithner and Thomas Neckar of Stieglbrauerei, Ruth Whelan of Mountaineering Ireland, Catherine Murphy travel writer, Ailbhe Roche of Extreme Ireland, Harry Dillane of Bishopstown Walking Club, Dan King travel writer and Patricia Duffy of The Roving Soles Walking Club at the Stiegl brewery in Salsburg. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. And yes the parting glass was sung.

Travel Trade

Picture shows Andy Harmer of CLIA who joined Irish travel agents on board Holland America. Watch here interview with Andy Harmer as he notes trend in the cruise industry towards luxury and lauds the arrival of Celebrity Eclipse in Dublin next year for the first mini-season by a major cruise line out of Dublin port.

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John Galligan’s submission for the CAR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2019 points out the current regime on travel agent and tour operator regulation oversees mainly Irish based micro-enterprises (with less than 10 staff each), while ignoring much larger foreign online vendors, bed banks, airlines and other vendors. The result is that less than 15pc of the travelling public are protected by the efforts of the CAR team.

The acquisition of Eamon Flanagan’s Premair by Aviareps was officially confirmed with Jens Bachmann to become General Manager of the new operation representing Ethiopian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Royal Jordanian, as well as GSA for Japan Rail Pass.

Registration is open for members and trade partners for Worldchoice annual conference. at the 4 Star Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway on Saturday November 18th on www.ccevents.ie/worldchoice.

The Centre of Portugal is hosting a post ITAA Conference FAM trip on October 15th – 17th  participants will need to book themselves on the Aer Lingus flight EI 487 from Lisbon to Dublin on Tuesday October 17th.

Qatar Airways are running a trade offer of flights and accommodation to Doha of €109 return plus taxes, booking and travel: August 8th -September 8th.

Janette Kearns from Cassidy Travel in Swords was the final winner in Topflight’s win a holiday travel agent incentive, winning a holiday in Sicily. Abbey Travel on Abbey Street won the weekly spot prizes: picture shows Marc Lynch, Lisa Keating, Rebekah Wright and  Joanna Corrigan. A new travel agent incentive promotion will be launched on Tuesday August 8th.

The ETOA described the response to Schenghen checks by an unnamed London Government minister proposing “British-only lanes in English airports” as “self mutiliation.”

Sabre Corporation cut 900 jobs.

SKAL’s cruise ship lunch takes place on Holland America’s Prinsendam on Thursday August 10th, cost is €30 per person for both members and guests.

The average emergency medical assistance expense claim made by Irish holidaymakers is €4482   – and €19049 for claims in the US, according to Allianz Insurance.

FBD launched its own travel insurance product – with the help of Rio Olympic silver medalists Gary and Paul O’Donovan. They told Travel Extra that there’s no preferential treatment when they fly abroad, and it’s rare to see the sights of a foreign country when on rowing duty.

 

Strange world

Passengers were stuck at the apex of ‘Oblivion’ roller coaster at Alton Towers.

  • Fifty passengers were overbooked on an Air India flight after an IT glitch
  • Overbooked Virgin Atlantic removed an unaccompanied minor from a flight that had too many unaccompanied children.
  • The British Museum revealed that it lost a £750,000 diamond ring in 2011.
  • An airport employee punched a passenger in the face at Nice Airport.
  • Magaluf hoteliers said 94pc of hotel guests kicked out for drunkenness are English.

International

The Department of Foreign Affairs advised against all but essential travel to Venezuela.

  • Volcano Bay waterpark new virtual queue technology continues to cause problems. Reviewers in May said “One ride had a 410 minute wait.”
  • A survey by Enterprise Rent-A-Car showed 65pc of Irish people driving abroad this summer are likely to rent a vehicle compared to the European average of just 48pc. Irish holidaymakers abroad are twice more likely to rent a car than German (30pc), French (38pc) motorists, Spanish (55pc) and English (60pc) motorists.
  • The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge opened in the Swiss Alps
  • Four masked anti-mass tourism protestors attacked a sightseeing bus carrying English visitors outside Barcelona Football Club’s Camp Nou stadium.
  • The city of Madrid has asked Spain’s anti-trust watchdog to investigate whether Uber’s new airport transport service violates fair competition laws.
  • Officials with Montana’s Glacier National Park say a visitor who was taking photographs of the scenery fell into a creek, was swept into a culvert and plunged off a steep cliff to his death.
  • Vatican fountains were turned off during the Italian drought.
  • Second generation Donegal man and world surfing champion Mick Fanning is to retire from the sport.

Food & Beverage

Accumulated profits at the firm that operates Michelin-starred Dublin restaurant Chapter One dropped from €316,762 to €285,269 during the year to the end of February 2017.

  • Paul Kelly of The Great Irish Bake Off, Chef Kevin Dundon, Chef Margaret Roche & Mike O’Connor of DIT are to re-enact the 1963 JFK tea party at the Kennedy summer school in New Ross this September
  • The five winners of the 2017 Euro-Toques Food Awards were Stefan Griesbachof Gannet Fishmongers; Eavaun Carmody of Dundrum Dexter Irish beef, Mimi and Owen Crawford for their herd of Shorthorn heifers, Becky and Charlie Cole for their promotion of kid goat meat; and Marita and Peter Collier for Drummond House Garlic.
  • Bulmers is to open a €5m visitor centre in Clonmel with a target of 100,000 visitors each year.
  • Ireland has the highest percentage of on-trade versus off-trade beer sales (66pc) in the EU according to the Irish Brewers Association annual report. Beer production declined 1pc. Beer remains Ireland’s most popular alcoholic drink, with a 46.2pc market share. Lager market share rose slightly from 60.4pc in 2015 to 60.9pc in 2016. Craft beer rose to 3.4pc market share in 2016, up from 2.5pc in 2015. Irish beer exports are worth €280m, 40pc of beer produced and up 23pc in two years.
  • A new café specializing in coffee and toasties opened for business in a shipping container on Bull Island beside Dollymount beach.
  • Fitzers Catering opened Browne’s Bar and the Gandon Room Restaurant in Slane Castle.

Hotels

US magazine Travel & Leisure has named three Irish venues among its Top 15 Resort Hotels in Europe. Ballyfin was ranked fourth; Ashford Castle was sixth; and Sheen Falls Lodge was 11th.

  • An Bord Pleanála approved planning permission for a €35m 103 bedrooms extension to the Radisson Blu hotel on Dublin’s Golden Lane.
  • A planning appeal for Johnny Ronan’s Aqua Vetro tower in Dublin was told that the capital will see only one new hotel opening this year. Johnny Ronan suffered a fresh planning blow as his plans for a €50m sports hotel were turned down.
  • Fire officers reported no emergency at Isaac’s Hostel in Dublin’s north inner city as 200 guests were evacuated after smoke was spotted in the building.
  • Dalata announces plans to redevelop Tara Towers hotel in Dublin
  • Arrivals by Travel Extra’s hard working team of writers this week included Zieplof in Tirol (watch here) and Hotel Post in Westendorf (watch here),
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Aviation

Ryanair hit a world record 97pc load factor for the first time in July. The airline also set a monthly record of 12.6m passengers, up 11pc, with 125.1m passengers.  Ryanair says it is the first European airline to carry over 12m passengers in a single month and the first EU airline to carry over abn passengers.

Ryanair launched Alexa voice recognition under year four of its so-called always getting better programme. Ryanair celebrated carrying its one billionth passenger since its first flight took off from Waterford to London Gatwick, in July 1985.

Gus Kelly headed AerCap reported a portfolio of 1,539 aircraft, 2017 Q2 net income of US$282.9m and total revenues up 2pc to $1.26bn, with $9bn in available liquidity and. Average age of the fleet was 7.3 years and the average remaining lease term 6.4 years.

Donmhal Slattery headed Avolon reported its portfolio of owned and managed aircraft doubled to 574 (921 including orders) in Q2 2017, up from 227 a year ago. The company has 347 aircraft orders and commitments and financial liquidity of US$4.1bn. Average age is 4.9 years and average remaining lease term 6.8 years.  Avolon’s customer base has grown to 151 airlines in 64 countries. Avolon completed its $10.4bn acquisition of CIT Aviation during Q2, making it the world’s third largest aircraft lessor after GECAS and AerCap.

Ralph Anker’s  anna.aero reported Ryanair has most international passengers in the world for international travel and is also the fastest-growing of the top 10 airlines (+11.2pc). You have to go down to 13th largest, Wizz Air, to find a faster-growing airline (+21.7pc). Others growing international capacity by more than 20pc are Eurowings and Saudi Arabian Airlines. Aer Lingus ranks 33rd in international sets and shows +4.5pc in summer 17. England leads the US, Germany, Spain and China for international seat capacity in summer17 based on OAG schedules. Six of the top 10 countries for international seat capacity are in Europe with the UAE and Japan the other non-European countries alongside the US and China.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation continues to have difficulties re publishing audited accounts with its annual report. The IAA’s submission for the CAR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2019 points out a lack of aviation sector expertise within the CAR. This has led to an over-reliance on external consultants, some of whom do not understand legacy or constraining issues at Dublin airport and whose recommendations have been overly academic. It should be a key focus for the CAR to increase its aviation sector expertise in the coming years in order to improve confidence in its decision making.

  • Aer Lingus load factor in July was 88.4, passenger traffic in July was up 10.7pc.
  • Stobart Group said its aircraft leasing business, Propius Ltd, has signed an agreement to purchase three Embraer E195 jet aircraft with a special purpose company managed by German Operating Aircraft Leasing.
  • The north’s Air Ambulance completed its first mission on ahead of its official launch date.
  • Comsuisse AG successfully passed the Site Acceptance Test for its Shannon ATC Centre Voice Communication Control System Main Enroute Operational System for the IAA at Ballycasey.
  • Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh said his immediate priority is a new positive relationship with DAA to deliver on guest needs.
  • Work is to start in September on a dedicated detention centre at Dublin Airport for people due to be deported. DAA’s Dublin Airport Central building was short-listed in the Sustainable Buildings Excellence in Environment category for the 2017 Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
  • Wow Air suspended the Cork to Reykjavik route, launched in May as a year-round service which offered onward flights to the US. The airline cancelled a small number of flights from Cork in September and early October.
  • Norwegian Air said all flights on its Cork transatlantic route are sold out for the first three weeks of August, less than a month after they began.
  • Cork airport passenger numbers are up 6pc, attributed to a strong summer schedule.
  • Conor McMahon reports that Shannon Airport is looking for advice on how it can “improve overall competitiveness” and become a “challenger brand” to rival airports in Ireland
  • Waterford Airport detailed cutbacks.
  • Ryanair expanded its euro bond programme to €5bn from €3bn
  • British Airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew will strike again for two weeks beginning August 16, affecting Belfast but not Dublin.
  • Loganair is in discussion with British Airways on an expanded codeshare agreement.
  • Alitalia is to have its license renewed by ENAC when it expires in Nov 2017. Commissioners who issued a new invitation to tender that will lead to the sale of the carrier as a unit, possibly with ground handling unit separated.
  • SAS is to fly from Shannon to Stockholm between now and the end of September. Full story here.
  • Former Congressman James T Walsh – of the Walsh visa and the peace process – is lobbying for Syracuse Airport in upstate New York to get a direct connection with Ireland. The airport’s Christina Callahan says talks are ‘beyond the preliminary stage’.
  • Ireland West Airport is also aiming to join Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast as a transatlantic gateway. Airport marketing manager Donal Healy said 120,000 people from the catchment area travelled to the US last year alone.
  • British Airways apologised to passengers after an IT failure at Heathrow and Gatwick that caused ‘total chaos‘. BA said it has ‘some issues‘ at check-in.

Afloat

Cruise Co headed by Tipperary man Seamus Conlon is to create Europe’s largest cruise travel agency with the purchase of a German operator. Full story here.

  • Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic new ship Quest made its inaugural sailing.
  • Crystal Bach was delivered to Crystal River Cruises.
  • Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are to offer same-sex marriages at sea.
  • Thomson cruises revealed details on entertainment line up for new ships
  • Royal Caribbean changed the NextCruise future cruise programme.
  • Costa neoClassica is to leave the Costa Cruises’ fleet in March 2018.
  • Nick Jonas is to perform on Carnival’s Live Cruise Concert Series in the autumn.
  • Holland America Line introduced its after-dinner chocolate parade across the fleet.
  • Crystal Cruises are offering 17 shorter ocean and river sailings, Crystal Getaways, for the remainder of 2017
  • Lindblad Expeditions partnered with lifestyle brand Exhale for wellbeing cruises.
  • Grammy-nominated musician Nick Jonas will perform on two Carnival cruise ships in the Bahamas this autumn.
  • Victoria’s Secret model Petra Nemcova has been selected as the “guardian angel” for U by Uniworld, a new cruise line aimed at the 21-45 age group.
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Ireland

The first fully guided pilgrim walk was launched in Ireland.

CSO plans to use mobile phones to increase the accuracy of measurement of the number of visitors to Ireland have been opposed by data commissioner Helen Dixon.

South Dublin council submitted plans for the controversial €15m Hell Fire Club development Visitor centre and cafe under Failte Ireland’s capital grants scheme.

Failte Ireland is continuing to gear up for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast, seeing off the US women’s team in Washington DC.

Tourism Ireland has joined forces with British Airways as part of a new campaign to promote flights to Belfast and Dublin from London’s Heathrow Airport. The campaign will also highlight driving holidays for tourists here – such as those along the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route and in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Two new trails of Dublin’s Northside have been developed by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Dublin City Council and Dublin’s Northside Attractions encompassing Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, James Joyce Centre, The GPO Witness History, EPIC – The Irish Emigration Museum and Croke Park.

 

Deal Watch

Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Poseidon Apartments, Sunny Beach, from €699pp, depart August 28. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Apts Costa Volcan, from €559, depart August 28. Dublin to Algarve, 7 nights B&B 4* Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura, from €689pp, depart August 27. Dublin to Gran Canaria, Jardin Atlantico, 7 nights self-catering 2* Playa Del Ingles, from €489pp, depart August 31. Dublin to Ibiza, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sirenis Hotel Club Siesta, Santa Eulalia, from €699pp, depart August 31. Cork to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, from €679pp, depart August 29. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights B&B 3* Hyde Park Lane, Puerto Del Carmen, from €559pp, depart September 4. Dublin to Portugal, 7 nights self-catering 3* Vilabranca, Lagos, from €559pp, depart September 17. Visit www.falconholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4*, Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €479pp, depart September 22. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Puerto Plata, Puerto Rico, from €599pp, depart August 24. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Morromar Apartments,Matagorda, from €439pp, depart September 25. Dublin to Zakynthos, 7 all inclusive 3* Hotel Roseland, Kalamaki, from €769pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Costa Dorada, 7 nights self-catering 3* Sunclub Apts,Cap De Salou from €639pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Rhodes, 7 nights self-catering 4* Lindia Thalassa Studios & Apartments, Pefkos, from €699pp, depart August 30. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* Protur Bahaia Azul Apartments, Cala Bona, from €419pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Croatia, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Mediteran, Porec, from €699pp, depart September 12. Visit www.thomsonholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights self-catering 3* Esat Hotel, from €599, depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights self-catering 2* Carmen Miosotis Apts, from €499, depart August 12. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Mocanes Apts, from €659, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 B&B 3* Londra Hotel, from €699, depart August 12. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Lentiscos Apts, from €649, depart August 13. Dublin to Canada with Rocky Mountaineer train, 1 night in Calgary and Banff, 2 days/one night on the Rocky Mountaineer Silverleaf overnight in Kamloops and 3 Nights Vancouver, from €1999, April 2018 departures. Book online at www.sunway.ie

Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia, was €739 now €549pps, depart August 26. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Splendid Palace, was €929 now €799pps, depart September 30. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Villa Maria, was €1201 now €949pps, depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Villa Esperia, was €1205 now €899pps, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* plus Hotel Bristol, was €1429 now €1149pp, depart August 13. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights B&B 4*Hotel Conca Park, was €1129 now €949pp, depart August 20. Dublin to Tuscany, 7 nights B&B 4* Grand Hotel Croce di Malta, was €1049 now €749pps, depart August 11. Dublin to Venetian Riviera, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Bolivar, was €902 now €699pp, depart August 19. Dublin to Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel de France, was €969 now €799pps, depart August 19. Dublin to Madeira, 7 nights B&B 4* Jardin D’Ajuda Suite Hotel, was €799 now €599pp, depart August 17. Call Topflight on 01 240 1700, or visit www.topflight.ie

ITAA offers: Portugal Atlantic cycling tour, 7 nights hotel accommodation and 8-day guided bike tour with Lee Travel, from €879pp. www.itaa.ie/2017/07/25/cycling-tour/

Camino di Santiago, 7 nights accommodation in private hotels / pensions, daily baggage transfers, Walking Notes Pilgrim Passport and emergency support in the event of a problem, with Travalue.ie, from €495pps. For more information on this deal available from Travalue.ie: www.itaa.ie/2015/11/16/cam

Uniworld offers: Castles along the Rhine, early booking offer if booked by September 30. Departures April 30. All inclusive voyage was €2977, now €2519. Bordeaux, vineyards and chateaux, all inclusive cruise, was €2499, now €2249. Book with Uniworld on 01-7753803

What we learned.

Portmarnock is the only links course within a city boundary.

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