Bless her heart, Dilly Griffey has been touring the United States on behalf of Ireland. Giving a push to a drooping tourist season. Dilly is secretary of Irish Farm Holidays (composed of dozens of farm owners who welcome travelers into their homes). I stayed at Dilly's several years ago. By car it's less than an hour from Shannon Airport. Cheery, comfortable. Cattle graze in wet green fields surrounding the farmhouse.
"This is a relaxed and comfortable place," Dilly said. "For my guests I want it to be a home away from home."
She rents eight bedrooms. Approximately $13 per night for a room and a huge Irish breakfast. Or figure on $27 for bed, breakfast and dinner. As for Dilly, she wears the face of Ireland itself. Dilly scrubs and cooks and milks cows. Does a dozen other chores. One night as we were watching the fire, sipping sherry, I studied that lovely, tired face and I knew why, in that harsh land, the Irish have survived. Write to her c/o Lahardan House, Crusheen, County Clare, Ireland.
Note: For a free copy of the 140-page "Farm Holidays in Ireland" guide (descriptions/addresses of 360 farms, including Dilly's) write to Harry Gogarty c/o the Irish Tourist Board, 625 Market St., San Francisco 94105 or telephone (415) 957-0985. Gogarty will also send you a smashing booklet filled with color pictures, maps and information titled "Ireland, Unexpected Pleasures." It's free, too.
Week's Best Bet
This one's hard to beat: bed, breakfast and dinner for only $22 a night. Offer comes from university campuses in Dundee (Scotland), Cardiff and Aberystwyth in Wales and Manchester, Keele, Durham, Norwich and Exeter in England. A two-week escorted tour features university accommodations with bus/guide, breakfast/dinner daily for $649. Program is to be offered June 26 through Sept. 3. Contact Campus Holidays USA, 242 Bellevue Ave., Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043.
With travel to Europe on the decline, Hilton International plans to discount room rates by 25% June 15/Aug. 31 at more than a dozen hotels in Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Duesseldorf, London, Mainz, Milan, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, Strasbourg, Vienna, Zurich. (Group rates and discounted rates don't apply.) Offer is good Monday through Thursday provided guests book a room either on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as well. No charge for children (any age) who share room with parents. See your travel agent or contact any Hilton hotel.
A Room in Israel
Kibbutz Hotels of Israel is doing business out of a New York office. They'll book you into one of 28 resorts--from the mountains of Upper Galilee to Eilat below the Negev Desert. Everything from Spartan accommodations to four-star hotels. In all cases, there's the opportunity to visit with residents of Israel's kibbutzim. Ask about fly/drive programs, special interest groups featuring agriculture, social sciences, archeology, history, sports. Contact Ofra Reis c/o Kibbutz Hotels, 60 East 42nd St., Suite 620, New York 10165.
New York Liberty Guide
New York has published a 72-page magazine covering 1,000 attractions/resort communities. Center spread features a map of the state. Takes in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, Capital-Saratoga, Thousand Islands-Seaway, Adirondacks, Central-Leatherstocking, Finger Lakes, Niagara Frontier, Chautauqua-Allegheny. A helpful guide for anyone vacationing in New York this summer. Information on museums, wildlife refuges, state parks, beaches, wineries, art galleries, etc. For a free copy of the "I Love New York Liberty Centennial Travel Guide" write Tourism, Box 992, Latham, N.Y. 12110.
Ernest Shaw says B&Bs are a hot item in Connecticut. Does tours throughout the state. Books guests into homes dating from the 1600-1800s. Tells us he shows visitors "the Connecticut most people don't know." None of the usual canned sightseeing, Shaw insists. Features 15 different tours. Topics from "Mark Twain's Hartford" to "Candlelight Dinner Tours." Uses a 10-passenger mini-bus. Contact him c/o Heritage Trails, P.O. Box 138, Farmington, Conn. 06032.
For Black Americans
This note from Howard Witter of Cerritos: "Having recently returned from 'Down Under,' we would like to inform the many black Americans who consider Australia 'off-limits' due to past racial policy that there has been a complete change. My wife and I (both black) found the people to be very friendly and hospitable. We were invited to stay at homes of many people whom we met on our vacation. As a result, we are planning two tours this year (in August and December). Open to anyone. Each will visit Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. We can be contacted at (213) 402-2442." (Note: Witter is not a travel agent and at this time his tours are only in the planning stage.)