A reader's letter on tipping hotel housekeepers (Travel, Aug. 12) calls attention to an important matter. However, instead of discussing gender-based bias (which, in my view, is not an issue), the writer should have shed light on the mechanics of how to tip.
As a frequent international traveler, I generally leave tips for the housekeeper in one lump sum in an envelope marked "For the maid," as I vacate the room. I often wonder whether this is appropriate, since the housekeeper who does the room on my departure day might not be the same person who did it the previous days. There might be inequity, unless the housekeeping staff pool their tips, which is unlikely. The alternative is to leave an envelope with a day's tip every morning upon leaving the room.
What is a fair tip to the housekeeper? On the assumption that a housekeeper can clean a room in an hour and is paid $8 to $10 per hour, a tip of $1 a day represents 10 to 12 percent of services rendered, which is quite adequate. Your reader's suggestion of $5 a day is way off base. David H. Li Bethesda The Queen Mary
It has always been worthwhile to read travel articles describing places my husband and I have visited. Your contributors have written intelligently and interestingly, and although my observations and experiences might differ from those of the writer, there is usually a common ground.
But the article on touring the Queen Mary (Travel, Aug. 26) struck a discordant note. While each writer offers a personal perspective, this article was more about a migraine headache than about the Queen Mary. Why not treat the visit lightheartedly for what it is, a nostalgia trip about the glamour of great ocean liners, for those of us who vicariously experienced this pre-World War II life from afar?
Phyllis Leonard Rockville Robberies Abroad
I recently returned from a trip to Europe. Our party of six Americans was always on guard against pickpockets, but while traveling from Milan to Rome on a night train, two of us were relieved of our money. In Rome, I had to defend myself against two pickpockets; I consider myself lucky that I was not robbed.
During my trip, I encountered at least four others who were robbed.
I now know how the lamb feels in a pack of wolves. A.J. Mastradine Lanham Irish Interlude
I recently discovered a delightful vacation spot in the west of Ireland. Cregg Castle was built by the Kirwan family in 1648 (about the time my own Kirwan ancestors left Ireland for America). It has been lovingly restored by owners Martin and Margaret Murray; six weeks ago it also became the home of the Irish Music Centre.
The three days I spent there were most enjoyable. In addition to the castle, stables and other fortified outbuildings, the grounds include 165 acres of pasture and wildlife preserve, with the beautiful River Cregg running through the woods. Nearby are many historical attractions, including ancient cathedrals and monasteries, as well as Galway City with its own history, culture and nightlife.
My favorite excursion was swimming in Lough Corrib, just a short drive from the castle. Boating and fishing on Lough Corrib are also popular.
In the evenings, I had a chance to learn about traditional Irish music. Pat and Ann Marie Broderick, the operators of Cregg Castle, and John Hoban, music director of the Irish Music Centre, share a refreshing vision of music. Their view is that music should not be the sole province of professionals and musical elitists. They see music as an expression of the individual -- his experience, his joys and his sorrows. Their approach is that if you can walk, they can teach you to dance. If you can talk, they can teach you to sing. If you can listen, they can teach you to play an instrument.
In this regard, they offer traditional Irish music lessons twice a day, which leaves plenty of time for excursions and just relaxing. In the evenings, traditional Irish music and dancing are available for all to enjoy.
I wholeheartedly recommend Cregg Castle and the Irish Music Centre (Corandulla, County Galway, Ireland, telephone 011-353-091-91434) for anyone who wants to relax and refresh his spirit in a beautiful setting filled with wonderful music.
John P. Kirwan Jr. Midlothian, Va.
The Travel section welcomes letters from readers. They must be signed and include the writer's home address and daytime telephone number. Space limitations may necessitate the editing of letters, which should be sent to: The Travel Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.