Travel

I start by making some calculations to soothe myself. Using the Rail & Sail combo route from London via Holyhead to Dublin takes nine or so hours; to fly between the two cities takes 50 minutes – but a few hours have to be added on for the to-ing, fro-ing and faffing at airports. A one-way rail/sail ticket costs about 30 quid all in – a flight is double that, unless you're very organised or lucky. Even if you're very disorganised, the rail/sail option can be bought just before you travel at no extra cost.

Manu Tuilagi gets to grips with Toby Flood during England training

Manu Tuilagi held back from the start England XV to make an impact against Ireland

The Leicester favourite will be used as a replacement in Dublin says Stuart Lancaster

James Haskell pictured in England training

James Haskell to start for England against Ireland in crunch Six Nations match

Stuart Lancaster reveals his squad for Sunday's match in Dublin

Dylan Hartley recalls how Ireland’s tactics cost England a Grand Slam in 2011

Dylan Hartley warns of repeating past errors in Dublin

Amid the frenzied discussion of England's midfield selection dilemma for the Six Nations trip to Ireland – there was a growing sense that the coaches might revert to the tried and tested Brad Barritt-Manu Tuilagi centre partnership, although there have been as many firm predictions as there are possible permutations and they cannot all be right – one man made the salient point that if things go wrong up front, it will not matter a jot who wears the shirts numbered 12 and 13 on Sunday.

Ireland wing Simon Zebo runs in the first try against Wales

Wales players under pressure after opening Six Nations defeat

Wales take on France in Paris this weekend

Irish government apologises to thousands of 'fallen women' it sent to so-called Magdalene laundries

It is estimated that over 10,000 women passed through the laundries between 1922 and 1996

Billy Twelvetrees is congratulated on scoring a try for England

Stuart Lancaster says England are prepared for Dublin atmosphere

England play Ireland in the Six Nations this Sunday

Garlic scam man awaits cut in sentence

A businessman jailed over a 1.6 million euro (£1.3 million) garlic import duty scam has been remanded back into custody while appeal judges decide by how much to reduce his sentence.

Billy whizz: Billy Twelvetrees crosses the line for the second of England’s four tries to cap an impressive debut

The Calvin Report: England's new formula adds up to an impressive result

By espousing the datasheet and performance analysis that powered Britain's Olympic sports to greatness, coach Stuart Lancaster can introduce debutants like Billy Twelvetrees with confidence

Billy Twelvetrees has all you want to see in a big No 12

Brian Smith: Dublin and Cardiff will be tough, but home ties make England favourites

Coach's View: England can drop a game in a tight tournament and still win the prize

When pensioners fight back

A pensioner has been banned from Tesco after allegedly ramming staff members at the supermarket with her trolley after being less than happy with the service.

Ryanair soars as fares rise to beat fuel costs

Hiking air fares around Christmas helped Ryanair to shrug off rising fuel costs in the last three months of 2012 and saw the budget carrier today raise its profit expectations for the year.

Raring to go: Hurricane Fly answers questions about his quality with a dominant victory in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle

Hurricane can really fly again

Willie Mullins' hope shows the form that could regain the Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham

Dry New Year's Eve forecast to end wettest year on record

New Year's Eve revellers have been told to expect a cool, dry evening across the UK, as the country prepares to say goodbye to one of the wettest years of record.

Lee Byrne

Wales' Lee Byrne faces lengthy lay-off after breaking back

The Wales full-back Lee Byrne could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after his club revealed he had suffered a significant back injury.

Sorrell group may pull all its ads from Channel Four in costs row

Channel 4 is facing the prospect that the world's biggest advertising group could, from January, pull all its ads in a major test of strength over the cost of TV airtime.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there