Friday, February 8, 2013

Greetings from Ireland,
This week we have had a sample of almost every season & climate! We went from wind and rain, to snow yesterday, and the sun is shining this morning!
There are many things Ireland is famous for, St. Patrick's Day, Guinness; but there are some things you may not know about our Emerald Isle.
Here are some interesting & fun facts about many do you already know?
Happy reading!
Ireland is a lot more than the "Island of Saints and Scholars." Today, this little island is associated with A-list Hollywood actors, world-class pop rock musicians, top authors, Guinness, some of the world's most stunning scenery. We've even staked a claim to the White House! Read on for more...
Famous symbols of Ireland...
The harp, also known as the national symbol of Ireland, the Celtic cross, the shamrock and the Irish wolfhound are all well known Irish symbols.
According to Census 2011, most of the Irish population identifies themselves as Roman Catholic (84%).
National language...
Ireland's national language is Irish, but it is spoken as the everyday language only in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) regions - chiefly in Galway, Kerry, Cork, Mayo, Donegal, and Waterford. In all other parts of Ireland, English is the spoken language.
Ireland's most famous musical export is U2. Other acts that have achieved international success include The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy and more recently Boyzone, Westlife and Damien Rice.
Hollywood factor...
The cream of the crop includes Michael Fassbender, Pierce Brosnan, Cillian Murphy and Colin Farrell.
The world of literature...
The list of Irish writers goes on and on, with each generation producing several new word wizards. A sample includes James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, William Trevor, John McGahern, and Emma Donohue.
Patron Saint...
Saint Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland in around 430. St Patrick's Day is celebrated in Ireland, and indeed all over the world, on March 17th.
Our capital - Dublin...
Dublin was founded by the Vikings in 988 and was originally called Dubh Linn (which means Black Pool in Irish).
First Saint Patrick's Day parade...
Boston was the proud host with an event organised by the Charitable Irish Society in 1737.
The White House...
James Hoban, a Kilkenny born architect, won a competition to design the original White House.
Famous outlaws...
Grace O'Malley (Queen of the Pirates) operated off the west coast of Ireland and Ned Kelly (son of an Irish convict) was an infamous Australian outlaw.
Highest mountain...
Killarney, County Kerry is home to the highest mountain - Carrantouhill, part of the mountain range the McGillycuddy Reeks.
Longest river...
The river Shannon rises in County Cavan and is approximately 240 miles long. It contains 3 lakes, Lough Allen, Lough Ree and Lough Derg.
Irish delicacies...
Drisheen is a type of pudding made from cow's, pigs or sheeps blood. White pudding is a mixture of pork, cereal, bread, fat and suet. Periwinkles are sea snails boiled in salted water.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without sampling a pint of the black stuff! It's said that no matter where you go in the world, only in Ireland will you be served the most velvety, and creamiest pint of Guinness.
Bailey's Irish Cream...
Invented in the 1970s, this hugely popular liquor, composed of is added to everything from coffee to cheesecake.
Irish pubs...
Stumble upon a "trad night", throw in the customary singsong, a bit of Irish dancing and you're in for an evening of craic!
A sporting nation...
Irish people are very passionate about Gaelic games - football, hurling, handball and camogie. Rugby and soccer are also very well supported in Ireland. Golfing stars from the island include former World Number One Rory McIlroy and U.S. PGA champion Padraig Harrington. Among Ireland's athletic stars are Dervla O'Rourke, and Katie Taylor is an international boxing champion.
The great outdoors...
The Cavan Way, The Dingle Way and the Kerry Way are just some of the country's scenic walking routes that offer a great opportunity to sample Ireland's breathtaking countryside.
Sense of humour...
There's nothing like the Irish sense of humour, wit and play with words. Have a look at the below examples:
"not backwards in coming forwards" - means a person is not shy.
"no flies on him" - means a person is not easily deceived.
"she has a tongue that would clip a hedge" - means a person who gossips.
"come for a day and stay for a week" - means someone outstaying their welcome.
Just a few facts to ponder over - for a small island we certainly have a lot going for us!

Your friend in Ireland,
Alitalia's update for the winter storm!
February 8, 2013

Winter Storm Nemo – Update #2

Dear Travel Partners,

With nearly 4,000 cancelled flights thus far and thousands of our mutual clients impacted, I am sure you are experiencing challenges, as are we, to manage the volume of calls and questions. First, let me express my thanks for your patience as we work to accommodate our guests trying to get to their holiday, as well as work to get guests home who are currently vacationing in a Club Med resort but without a return flight home. The updates below are as of 11am eastern time and are based on the best available information we have from our airline partners.

Guests scheduled to travel to Ixtapa tomorrow on our charter
Aeromexico continues to work with the team at JFK, including the local Port Authority, to determine the status of flight operations tomorrow afternoon. At this time we have been advised of a delay of 4 hours and 40 minutes to the scheduled 8am flight operation. The weather forecasts in the New York are have been the most variable creating the most uncertainty. Further delays are possible and we expect to have more definitive information this afternoon. In the meantime, if your clients would prefer to reschedule their holiday and depart on our February 16th or March 30th charter, we are happy to make that change for them with no added cost. Space is limited, so we recommend contacting our reservation team right away to make this change.

Currently most airlines are allowing revisions to commence travel by February 12th. We are working within the airline policies to revise any guests whose flight has been cancelled. If a flight is cancelled due to winter storm Nemo, our guests are covered under our basic travel insurance policy, which is included as a benefit of their membership. Should they be unable to travel, we would advise them to contact CSA Travel Insurance for details on their policy and coverage.

We will continue to work with guests impacted by travel interruptions. We understand that this is sometimes time consuming and frustrating, so we thank you in advance for your patience and assistance. Please know we are making every effort to accommodate our mutual customers. As we are approaching the peak Presidents' Week travel period, our resorts are near full capacity and we will do our very best to offer any available options to your clients.

Guests currently traveling
Should guests be unable to depart our resort as scheduled due to flight cancellations, we are pleased to provide the following options for our guests to ensure their comfort during these travel delays:
- Guests who booked an air inclusive package with us may remain at the resort free of charge. During this time, guests will have access to all of our inclusive services and amenities.
- Guests who booked only their land stay with us will be able to remain at the resort for a nightly rate equivalent to 50% of our local nightly rate to be paid directly at the resort.

We will continue to closely monitor winter storm Nemo over the coming days and will provide you with the most up-to-date information as we have.

Thank you for your continued support of Club Med.

Best regards,

Patrick J. Mitchell
Vice President of Sales
Club Med Sales, US