- IRELAND'S TOP 12 ATTRACTIONS. "Exploring Ireland," a newsletter for Americans who are interested in Ireland, compiled a list of the country's top tourist attractions. They are:

1. Cliffs of Moher - sheer cliffs jut nearly 700 feet into the pounding Atlantic in County Clare.2. Devenish Island - an ancient tower that you can climb gives you a view of monastic ruins on the County Fermanagh island in Northern Ireland.

3. Dublin Theatre - the city's stage productions will let you experience the Irish way with words.

4. Honan Chapel - Cork's impeccable, turn-of-the-century tribute to Celtic culture has stunning stained glass.

5. Giant's Causeway - a striking natural rock formation in Northern Ireland.

6. Cobh Heritage Center - the front end of the emigration pipeline that stretched to New York's Ellis Island.

7. Glendalough - a medieval monastic ghost town in a beautiful valley two hours south of Dublin.

8. Dunluce Castle - the remains of an imposing fortress on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland.

9. Celtic Crystal - small manufacturer near Galway lets you watch the production of Celtic crystal.

10. Gougane Barra - a tiny, peaceful island in a glacial lake in rural West Cork.

11. Dun Aengus - a massive, prehistoric rock fortress on an Aran Island cliff.

12. Church of St. Ann Shandon - you can climb the tower and play the bells in this small church overlooking the city of Cork.

To request a free copy of "Exploring Ireland," send a 52-cent postage stamp and your name and address to Exploring Ireland, 318 Pershing Ave., Roselle Park, NJ 07204. A year's subscription costs $39. It is published bi-monthly.

- KNOTT'S BERRY FARM WELCOMES UNIVERSITY OF UTAH FANS. If you're traveling to Southern California to see the Utes play in the Freedom Bowl, you're entitled to participate in Knott's Berry Farm's "College Bowl Week" Dec. 26-Jan 1. If you show up at the amusement park wearing or displaying the Utah school's name or logo, you'll get in for $18.50, a $10 discount off the regular admission price. Admission includes all Knott's rides, live shows and attractions. If you're only wearing the school's colors, you won't be eligible for the discount.

BACKCOUNTRY REGULATIONS IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK. Winter backcountry camping policies, in effect until May 1, 1995, include:

- Wood fires are prohibited. Use self-contained campstoves.

- The size of each party is limited to 12 people.

- You can stay in one campsite for a maximum of two nights.

- Don't camp within 100 feet of roadways, trail corridors, water courses and streams and on vegetated areas freshly emerging from snow cover.

- Use pit toilets, if they're accessible. Otherwise human waste should not be concentrated and be kept at least 100 yards from lakes, streams, roads, developed areas or designated campgrounds. Burn or pack out used toilet paper.

4 ADVICE ABOUT BUYING A CRUISE. To request a free copy of brochures called "Consumer Travel Advisory" and "How to Book the Perfect Cruise," call 1-800-882-9000. The brochures are published by World Wide Cruises, Inc., a discount cruise agency in Ft. Lauderdale. Among questions answered by the brochures:

QUESTION: You must put up a deposit to guarantee a cruise reservation. Will you get that deposit back if you cancel the trip?

ANSWER: Have your travel agent give you an invoice spelling out the conditions under which a deposit is refundable. Each cruise line has its own policy.

QUESTION: Some vacationers have been turned away at the dock when they tried to board a cruise ship because the cruise line had not been paid by the travel agency. How can travelers avoid that?

ANSWER: Get the cruise line reservation number, the name of the ship and the cabin number. If in doubt, contact the cruise line directly for verification. Use an established travel agency.

How can you avoid being taken in by a scam?

The brochure advises you to not be pressured into buying now. A good offer today will be a good offer tomorrow. The better firms will give you the information you need, answer your questions and give you time to make a decision.

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Find out exactly what the price covers and what it doesn't. Get the names of specific hotels, airports, airlines and restaurants that your package includes as well as exact times and dates. Get all the information in writing before you agree to buy and compare the written material with what you were told over the phone.

BED & BREAKFAST IN BOSTON. The Bed & Breakfast Agency of Boston offer three nights for the price of two through Feb. 28, based on availability. Guests will also receive dinner discounts at the Bay Tower Room with views of the city and the harbor. Nightly rates begin at $65 single, $70 double. The agency represents inns on Cape Cod and the islands as well as in Boston. Accommodations include waterfront lofts, Beacon Hill townhouses and Victorian apartments in Copley Square. The discount package is called Winter Wonderful. For information call 1-800-248-9262.

- WINTER DISCOUNT AT FORTE HOTELS. If you book and confirm a room with Forte Hotels between Jan. 1 and March 31, 1995, you will receive a 30 percent discount off the retail rate at participating hotels, Avis rental cars in Europe and select theater tickets in London. There is a hitch. You must stay a minimum of three consecutive nights in a Forte Hotel and book and confirm your room with a major credit card. You'll also receive 500 frequent flier miles with American Airlines and 1,000 frequent flier miles with Delta Air Lines. More than 200 hotels are participating in the "Forte 30 Winter Passport" program including the Waldorf in London, the Westbury in New York, the Balmoral in Edinburgh, and Hotel Eden in Rome, the Bristol in Warsaw and the Ritz in Madrid. For information contact your travel agent or the company at 1-800-225-5843.

- FREE KAUAI VACATION PLANNER. The Official Kauai Vacation Planner is available free by calling 1-800-AH-KAUAI. The booklet lists activities from hiking to biking, horseback riding to helicopter tours, golf, museums, historic sites, natural healing arts, quaint small towns and unusual weddings. It indexes accommodations including beachfront cottages, spacious condominiums, charming bed and breakfasts and luxury resorts. It includes a calendar of events. For a tourism update call the Kauai hotline at 1-800-262-1400.

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