My family had long wanted to visit Ireland. We knew our relatives had immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland and that some of their relatives still lived in Donegal, Ireland. In 2015, with grandparents and middle/high school aged children of our own, we were determined to finally make the trek to The Homeland.
As most family vacations start, we each did our own research and made lists of what places and towns we would like to visit and what price levels we could afford. Even utilizing my experience and years in the travel and tourism industry (and like so many other family’s vacation planning sessions), we ended up with 7-10 vastly different versions of “vacation”. We needed help. …and we got it.
We contacted various tour companies in Ireland and finally found one that specializes is large and small group tours, formerly Claddagh Tours(see them onTripAdvisor!). The owners and operators, William and his business partner/wife, Margaret, conferenced with us via calls and emails, took note of all of our wants and needs, ages and activity levels, and planned everything with us and for us!
The Dream Comes Alive!
From arranging our family reunion in Donegal to all of our lodging, sights, shopping and pub, distillery, and restaurant visits, William and Margaret made our vacation work! We were treated to all the big and well-known sights as well as hidden treasures of Ireland that are not on maps or advertised in popular travel brochures. From holding baby lambs to pub-night crawls, William chauffeured us personally and safely in one of their luxury 15-person mini-buses while providing Irish lore and history, legends, and at times, regaling us with Irish songs and teaching us Irish words and phrases.
To this day, my family vacation to Ireland remains our very favorite.
What made it great, we all agreed, was the involvement of William and Margaret and their company’s philosophy – to build tours for you to your specifications. It truly made all the difference in the world for us! Together we were able to build in sights and activities for all of us – 3 generations of people with vastly different activity levels and “free time” likes. In William and Margaret, we had dedicated, born and raised Irish locals that knew their country, its peoples and places, and confidently shared their expertise in the planning of our family’s vacation.
We did not have to rent multiple cars to accommodate the size of our group nor did we need to join a larger bus tour and sit through a pre-planned itinerary. We did not have to “learn” (and remember!) to drive on the left side of the road or wonder if we were “going the right way”. William took care of all the driving and the routes, and we got to sit back and relax, all together in the same vehicle, knowing that we could visit, nap, listen to music, and view the wonderful topography of Ireland as we rode along the roadways in comfort. We did not need to be concerned about “this night’s accommodations” either; instead we were booked into sweet and comfortable Irish-owned hotels – almost always in the city and town centers within walking distance of local pubs and restaurants and shopping.
Ireland Will Change You
“A visit to Ireland changes everyone”, is the saying.
And it’s true. You cannot go to Ireland and socialize among the Irish people without leaving there with a piece of Ireland firmly implanted in your heart forever. …but, that wasn’t the only change in us.
My own family’s vacation to Ireland in 2015 lit a spark in me that could not be ignored. Sharing travel tips and hints we had each learned over the years in the tourism industry, and enjoying the occasional deep meaningful conversation of ‘what travelers to Ireland really want…”, all the while laughing and truly engaging with all – and each – of our family members, led William, Margaret, and I to realize not only are we becoming great friends, but wouldn’t it be unreal if this chance Family Vacation led to something more formal??
…And those conversations DID develop into what is now Irish Group Travel !- atour company based in the U.S. and in partnership with Claddagh Tours in Ireland! William, Margaret, and I have joined our companies so you and your group – be that family or golfing buddies, marching band, garden club, or simply lifelong friends – can enjoy the best tour of Ireland you could ever imagine!
What We Can Do for You
As a single tour company, Irish Group Travel(see us now onTripAdvisor!) will build and chauffeur a visit of Ireland for your group of 2 – 50+ that is professionally chartered and planned to your specifications, within your timelines, and created with your activity likes and budget at the forefront.
Call or email me anytime to discuss your group’s dream travel to Ireland!
…Let Irish Group Travel bring Ireland alive for you.