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Irish staysIf you’re part of a group of four wanting to visit Ireland and are interested in staying in one place for a week, then you might want to contact Brian Moore International Tours. The company offers a package that includes car rental and self-catering accommodation in over 60 locations.

Prices begin at $219 per person in low season and peak at $459 in high season (electricity costs not included). The price includes seven nights’ accommodation and car rental with unlimited mileage.

The company also offers other tours. Find details at www.bmit.com.

Montmartre am MainHigh on Paris’ only hill, the village of Montmartre is well- known for its bohemian atmosphere and the artists who line the Place du Tertre. Wanting to create the same ambience in Germany, Kathy Schaefer, a local artist, is organizing the first “Montmartre am Main” to take place May 18 along the Main River in Frankfurt-Höchst. She’s inviting all artists to paint from 1-5 p.m. in this very picturesque spot on the river and to meet other artists.

She notes that it isn’t a selling event, but those who attend can contact the artist privately to buy.

For those too self-conscious to paint in public, she suggests starting work on a canvas at home and continuing it at the river.

For those who would like to check out the site, Schaefer will be at the Hotelschiff Peter Schlott on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The event also is scheduled for June 1 and 15.

For more information, call (+49) (0) 6196-21685 or e-mail ksgermany@yahoo.com.

Pottery holidayThrow pots and enjoy a foreign country on one of several pottery trips organized by Ceram-Tours, a German agency.

The classes are held in 12 countries. Generally they run about four hours and allow time for sightseeing. Accommodation is not included, but the schools can suggest inexpensive places to stay nearby.

A trip to Barcelona, Spain, for example, offers one-week classes in wheel-throwing (210 euros) and introductory pottery (190 euros). The classes run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The location in Prague, Czech Republic, offers several five- or seven-day courses, running from 170 to 220 euros. It also has organized a summer ceramic school for 395 euros.

Other countries include France, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Hungary and Italy. Go to www.ceram-tours.com for details on the languages in which the classes are offered.

Hike MadeiraThe Portuguese island of Madeira off Africa is known for its countryside, which includes a rugged interior, lush greenery and year-round mild weather. It’s also an ideal place for hikers.

Manor Houses offers a moderate-level eight-day walking tour from March to November. It covers about 7½ miles per day, with ascents up to 2,626 feet and descents up to 3,935 feet. Daily walking time is about four to seven hours.

The route takes you along the levadas (irrigation canals) that traverse the country, along the coast, through hills and forests and into high mountains.

Accommodation is in four-star hotels and pensions.

The cost is 513 pounds (about $1,000) and includes seven nights’ bed and breakfast, four dinners, each day’s walking itinerary, walkers map, baggage transfers for accommodation changes and other specified transfers.

Details at www.manorhouses.com/active/walks/walksmad.html.

Best BetsBELGIUM: Escape to the sensual environment of exotic plants at Brussels’ Royal Greenhouses in Laeken, which will be open to the public from Saturday until May 12. Built in the 19th century on orders from King Leopold II, the glass-and-metal buildings house many rare and valuable plants, including some from the original royal collection. The greenhouses are open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission costs 2.50 euros for adults and is free for those younger than 18. Find details at: www.monarchie.be/en/visit/greenhouse.

ENGLAND: This country’s patron saint is St. George, best known for the medieval story in which he slew a dragon, a tale of good triumphing over evil. April 23 is St. George’s Day, which this year falls on Wednesday, but London will start celebrating early, with events on Saturday. The Royal Society of St. George, a patriotic society, will sponsor a musical program from 10:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Covent Garden. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, the Globe celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday with workshops and music. On Wednesday, the action is on Trafalgar Square from noon to 7:30 p.m. The Festival of English Food features the best of the country’s cuisine and stage and street theater entertainment. The Globe continues its celebrations with a floating theater on the Thames. Find more at www.london.gov.uk/mayor/culture/stgeorge.jsp#festival.

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