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From hostel to hollywood...all in a day's work

THURSDAY It is eight hours door to door from Alton Towers home to Straffan. The hidden story of the revolution in ferry travel came in three phases, faster ships (1990s), bigger ships (2000s) and lower prices (past four years). And the A55 has made the drive through Wales seamless.

FRIDAY Shane Healy and Delia Burke are my hosts at Snoozles Hostel in Galway. It has been selected as number two hostel in the world. Our gaggle of fearful travel writers won't admit to ever being in a hostel before. Families are coming to hostels in growing numbers, Delia tells me. Snoozles will banish the memories of big dorms, basic facilities and boarding-school food. Prices go from €15 to €30 and include breakfast.

SATURDAY The city-centre car park in Galway has an exotic feel for something so ugly -- you enter at chimpanzee level and retrieve the car at cheetah level.

SUNDAY "How was the hostel?" one daughter asked the other.

"Hot guys from Donegal," was the reply.

"That's the main reason people stay in hostels," my daughter explained.

MONDAY The restaurateurs of Ireland have gathered for a natter in Dublin. Eddie Hobbs congratulates them on surviving, but there is not much to celebrate.

TUESDAY Tour ops from around the world came to Dublin for Meitheal. Everyone is smiling, American airline prices are the worry for summer 2012.

WEDNESDAY I am heading to the Westin in Los Angeles and a big adventure up the coast to Alaska. Hollywood awaits.


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