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
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?