It is hard to believe we have been to Ireland and back 3 weeks all ready! We so wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you did in setting up our trip. We loved your country and enjoyed the friendly people and the beautiful scenery. The hotels were wonderful; all located so convenient to everything we needed or wanted to do. The driving was fine although your skinny, narrow countryside roads can be a challenge.
We definitely would consider a return trip to Ireland in the future. And we most definitely would [and have all ready ] recommend you and Exploring Vacations to arrange a trip!
Happy Holidays to you!
Cindy Wilson Maine (October 31st 2013)
First Of All, I Want To Thank Christine O’Keefe For Her Great Professionalism, Support, Guidance, And Incredible Suggestions. Without Her, We Would Have Never Completed Our Incredible Tour And Really Experienced Ireland With Local People.
We Were So Pleased With The Full Irish Tour, That It Exceeded Our Expectation Since Day One Until We Said Goodbye To The Great Tour Guide, Driver And Friend Matt
Matt Was Not Only The Perfect Guide, He Really Understood The Needs And Wants Of All Of The People On The Tour.
When We Began Planning Our Visit To Ireland, We Did Not Know Where To Start, So The Most Logical Way Was To Go To The Commercial Sites Such As Orbits, Expedia, Etc. Needles To Say, We Did Not Get To Far.
It Took Us A Long Time To Decide Because We Wanted To Do A Tour On Our Own, Maybe By Car Or Train Or Buses, Etc But It Started To Be Very Complicated And Expensive.
Therefore, We Went Back To The Original Planning Of Looking Into The Perfect Tour. It Was Small With Very Good Choices Of Places To Visit, The Timing Was Excellent, And It Fitted Our Budget.
So Finally, We Decided. Christine Was Always So Patient With Us. She Kept Sending Us All The Information On Car Tours, Train Tours, Etc .
We Were Lucky; We Were The Last Two To Get On The List For The Tour. Ten Had Already Signed Up, So We Barely Made It And We Were So Glad We Did.
If We Would Have Done It On Our Own, We Would Have Never Been Able To Visit The Places We Did, We Would Have Never Found The Tour Guides We Ha. We Would Have Had Problems Getting The Excellent Hotels We Were In And Mostly Of All We Would Have Gotten Lost Every Day And Never Enjoyed It As We Did
Matt Was Great All The Way. He Never Pushed Us To Hurry Up From Dinners, Lunches, And Museums, Etc. His Timing Was Perfect. We All Got On The Bus On Tome Without Rushing Around And His Explanations, With Many Jokes Made The Tour Even Better.
The Other Ten People On The Bus Were So Nice, Funny, And Easy Going. That Made The Tour Seem Like A Breeze
We All Had A Great Time And All Thanks To Christine And Mat And The Organization They Work For.
Thanks Again To Exploring Vacations
Michael And Gabby Soups
Michael Sours Florida (October 25th FULL IRISH 2013)
I just wanted to write and thank you for a wonderful Ireland itinerary, we just returned a few days ago and are already missing Ireland. What a beautiful country…we wish we had more time but are already planning to return someday (for a longer trip)!
We especially enjoyed our accommodation in Blarney and Killarney…and even took a few hours to visit Cobh on our way out of Cork.
Triona, the Innkeeper at Rossarney House in Killarney was most helpful, and we took the Cliffs of Moher cruise on Saturday as it was suggested we travel around the Dingle peninsula on Friday. Gorgeous! The self-drive is really the way to go (after Tom mastered all the roundabouts!)
Thanks again and we will recommend Exploring Vacations to our friends.
Linda Griffiths & Tom Eliopoulos
Linda Griffiths California (October 8th 2013)
Jaye and I returned from our trip to Ireland which you helped me plan, and we just wanted to tell you how smoothly everything went. The hotels were fabulous. Each one had amazing rooms and friendly staff. We loved the locations, easy walking to downtown Dublin and Kilkenny and close to the airport.
The rental car was also very good and the GPS system worked flawlessly.
The weather, as you know, was sunny and beautiful. All in all, we had a wonderful trip at a great price and will recommend you to all of our friends.
Thanks for making things so easy for us.
Cat Moleski NORTH CAROLINA (October 10th 2013)
I have meant to e-mail you many times……My husband and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED our Ireland trip. The Bed and Breakfasts that you chose were unbelievable….they were the best. We enjoyed our trip, our accommodations were fabulous.
Noel Szostak AZ (September 8th 2013)
I just wanted to send you a very BIG THANK YOU. Peter and I enjoyed our trip to Ireland. We had a wonderful time and your arrangements of hotels were perfect. Thanks again for all the information sent during our planning. By the way, the GPS system worked absolutely perfect in our rental car. Ireland is gorgeous and the local’s were very kind and helpful.
Take care and have a blessed holiday.
Mary and Peter Terranova
Mary Terranova Pennsylvania (October 19th 2013)
Marcia and I had a wonderful time in Ireland. The hotels and B & B’s were great. The Maranatha House in Blarney was like a palace! The hosts were all hospitable and we were able to do all the things we had hoped and more. The church architecture was one of the highlights of the trip. We ate local fare every day and enjoyed it very much. We also visited pubs in every city (including Matt Molloy’s in Westport) and enjoyed traditional music and dancing in several. I visited Shanbally Townland (near Newport), Ballinahinch Parish in Co.
Tipperary, the ancestral home of my mother’s family and even met a distant relative. We did all the tourist things like kissing the Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange and Knowth, Powerscourt, Rock of Cashel, Castles, Guinness Storehouse, and even took a rail-coach tour to the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway.
Everything went very well and thank you for the job you did in helping us have the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’. I will certainly recommend Exploring Vacations without reservation to my friends planning a trip to Ireland. Your work prior to our departure along with your patience when we made itinerary changes made our trip an absolute pleasure.
Thank you again.
David Davies North Carolina( September 3rd 2013)
Just wanted to say THANK YOU. Our trip was awesome. The places you picked for us to stay at, were really great. People were very friendly and helpful. My niece, that is there for student teaching doesn’t want to come home, now I know why. The country is just beautiful. The weather even cooperated with us. Only rained when we were in the car or inside buildings for the most part. Visited many pubs and saw places that you only see in movies. It was very very nice and we all had a great time. The castle we stayed at on Halloween was just great. We looked it up and found out that one of the bridges on the grounds is haunted so that was interesting to be there on Halloween.
Thank you for the great memories, we will cherish them forever
Jean Overesch WI ( October 26th 2013)
My wife and I want to send our sincere appreciation for the wonderful journey you planned and executed for us through your lovely country. We began our journey on September 21 and spend the next three week following the route your staff set for us. Every aspect of your planning unfolded seamlessly from car rental upon arrival in Dublin through our 20 overnight accommodations to our departure on October 10th. All the lodging was very nice but three locations were very special, Rossarney House in Killarny, great location and wonderful hosts, Lough Inagh Lodge in Connemara,WOW what scenery and great hosts, and the Beech Hill Country House in Derry, a real treat.
Everyone we met in Ireland in lodgings, pubs, historic sites and folks we asked for directions, were gracious and friendly. We have traveled widely in Europe over the past 15 year and our Irish experience is right at the top.
Thanks for your help in planning this wonderful set of experiences for us.
Dave and Becky Skeen
David Skeen Ohio (September 21st 2013)
We’ve been home for a week now so I thought I’d share some observations about our adventure with you.
We loved all of the accommodations.
EVERTHING you did for us was top notch.
The hotels were excellent.
The weather was wonderful.
Thank you again.
Thomas Redding Ohio (October 9th 2013)
Overall, I give the tour very high marks. Our accommodations were all first rate. We always had a clean room and very comfortable beds. Matt was an exceptional driver and guide. Bartle, Justin, Matt and John get the very highest marks. John took several of us to mass at the cathedral in Mullingar on Saturday evening. I thought that was above and beyond his duties! The depth of Bartle and Justin’s knowledge and the passion for their work were impressive and contagious. We learned so much and delighted in seeing the midlands. The weather was less than ideal on our day at the Cliffs of Moher, but of course, it was still great. Another big factor for selecting your tour company were the small groups of 12 on a smaller coach. I think that was a huge advantage over the bigger coach tours and Matt was able to get us places I am sure the bigger coaches could not navigate.
Matt gave us a wonderful tour of the Dingle Peninsula.
So those are my thoughts Peggy
Peggy Kojima Illinois (October 25th 2013)
Our absolute favorite spot was Killarney. We were able to go horse back riding thru Killarney National Park and it was breathtaking! The people at the stables were so nice and made our experience so great. We also drove the Coast Road from Clare to Galway and that was amazing! We would recommend that drive to anyone! The self drive tour was perfect for us. We really wanted to expericne Ireland as a “local”. We did very few tourist attractions and more in the areas where local life was lived. It left us wanting more and we are already talking about our return visit!
Thanks so much for all your help.
Kim Richards CO (October 15th 2013)
I wanted to let you know that my family and I had a wonderful time in Ireland. You have a truly beautiful country. All of our accommodations, were outstanding. You did a very fine job in arranging our trip details.
Our stay in Doolin was great. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and the rooms were nice and clean.
And, the breakfast buffet was very good. The pubs were fun, and we’d stay in Doolin again. The names of staff members that I remember were Emma and Kaitlin. Very, very nice.
The Brook Lodge Hotel in Killarney was great, as well. I loved the atmosphere here. Very pretty inside and out, and clean. Good food and helpful, welcoming staff. Loved Killarney. We’d stay here again. The Brook Lodge had a warm, cozy feeling.
Dublin is so interesting to visit. And, our stay at the Ashling was very nice. Clean, and the breakfast buffet was very good. Since the Ashling is so big, we didn’t get that homie feel that we got in our other stays, but that’s to be expected. Having the bus station within walking distance was a plus.
Ballyseede Castle was out of this world wonderful. The people are the best. Esther, who served us breakfast, was so friendly. This was my favorite place to stay. It is beautiful, and the family atmosphere can’t be beat. Loved the family dogs. Of course, we’d stay here again.
Thanks so much for all of your help and advice in planning our family vacation. We couldn’t have done it without you, and all of the staff there.
I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to return to Ireland, but if we do, I would never hesitate to contact Exploring Vacations to make our arrangements. Thanks so very much.
Cheryl Bayer Califonia (September 18th 2013)
I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our tour in Ireland—thank you for all of your assistance!!
I would also like to share some feedback from our experience.
The Rivermont House in Kinsale was very nice–Claire was wonderful—accommodations excellent. Highly recommend it.
The Dingle Skellig Hotel was top notch; however, views of water breath taking; The breakfasts were superb and service excellent. We had a wonderful dinner in town at the Half Door, which I would highly recommend to travelers!!
The Station House Hotel in Clifden was excellent—-definitely what we expected. Wonderful friendly and accommodating woman at the front desk.Highly recommend this hotel, and wish we had two nights there. Town was lovely, and the walking so easy and great views!
I wanted you to know how much we appreciated your arranging the accommodations and the locations were exactly what we wanted—made it easy to see the sights and towns we had hoped to experience on our trip. I hope we’ll be able to get back for another visit some day!!!!
Thank you again!!!
Mary Quinn VA (September 23rd 2013)
We are back in Texas and settled into our regular routine.
We can’t thank you enough for a wonderful trip.
Everything was perfect including the weather. We did have a bit of rain and fog at the Cliffs of Moher, but we did get to take the cruise and got some exciting video of the rough sea experience. The captain got us right up against the cliffs and we could film through the fog.
We give extremely high marks to the people at Maranatha Country House in Blarney, Cork and Lochlein Country House Hotel in Fossa, Killarney, Kerry. They were exceptional! The accommodations were outstanding and the people made us feel like family. We highly recommend them.
Again, thank you and everyone at Exploring Vacations for making this a vacation we will always treasure.
Paula and David Duke
David Duke Texas (September 4th 2013)
Well I can’t believe that our trip has come and gone and that we have been home for 10 days now.
Jim and I had a fabulous time. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Your country is amazing!! The scenery is spectacular, the history intriguing and so interesting. But it is the people who make Ireland so special. They are so warm and welcoming. Every where we went everyone was so helpful and friendly.
We had some great pub nights. In Dublin we enjoyed Trinity College and the Book of Kells the best of what we saw.The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren peninsula were just jaw dropping beautiful. The Famine Museum and the McMahon estate at Strokestown Park gave such a clear picture of life for both the poor peasant farmers and the wealthy land owners.
Everything you planned for us worked well. The accommodations were top notch. The castle was fabulous but we enjoyed the bed & breakfasts the most. The only thing we would change would be the locations of the B&Bs. We would have preferred to be closer to the town centers.
Thanks for all you arranged for Jim and I. We tell everyone who asks about our trip about you and your company.
All the best,
Mary Baglole Canada (September 10th 2013)
I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how our trip turned out. We had THE most wonderful time of our lives. All of the accommodations were perfect. We had great food and met a lot of wonderful people. Ireland is the most beautiful country I have ever visited. We will definitely recommend Exploring Vacations to all of our friends who know we visited your country. Thanks again for all of your help leading up to our trip.
Grant Manley Texas (September 25th 2013)
Forgive me for taking so long to tell you how wonderful our trip was!!!! We had a great time. Every-thing was just great! We will forever cherish our memories. Thank you for all your help. We hope to come back someday.
Rhonda Labor Texas (September 5th 2013)
Cannot tell you how wonderful our trip to Ireland was. Your country was absolutely beautiful and somehow the weather turned out to be almost miraculous. ( 70 degrees and sunny all along the west coast). The Irish people were so warm and welcoming everywhere we went. We built on your recommendations and saw nearly everything on our itinerary. We had to beat it out but did so. The driving got a little stressful at times but we kept to bigger roads toward the end and managed to work it out. We loved the B and Bs you set up. The Arlington Celtic music and dance show was excellent so highly recommend that. The dinner that went with it was amazing , as we did not expect that quality of a meal. Bunratty Medieval Dinner Show was nice the entertainment was exceptional.
The real treat was touring the Medieval castle in the morning and the medieval folk village. That was really interesting.
Certainly we will and have recommended Exploring Vacations to all we know.
Thank you for helping make our vacation a trip of a lifetime.
Jonathan and Luann Reise
Jonathan Reise Ohio (September 12th 2013)
We had a great time and we learned so much about Ireland during our week. Everything was such fun and I’m so glad we did it the way we did. I’m still recuperating and getting laundry done.
West Cork Hotel was beautiful and they were extremely helpful we loved Skibbereen. Had a great dinner at The Church and found a fun beer garden for Ted to have his nightly cigar in. There was a family party going on and they adopted us. From there we stayed at Kenmare Bay Hotel, very nice. The town was adorable and we had a rough time trying to decide where to eat. We decided on Italian, for a change of pace. Did lots of shopping.
We loved Doolin, great town, wonderful music at the pub and had a ball seeing the Cliffs and Doolin cave.
The last place, Barberstown Castle was beyond gorgeous. We stayed in at the hotel. We had a lovely dinner and early to bed. Such a shame we couldn’t enjoy the included breakfast, since we had to leave by 6:30 to make the airport, but they kindly brought us coffee and scones to the room while we were dressing and packing.
All in all, I feel great about the trip.
Thank you again for all you did, it was a great job and we’re very appreciative. If you have any questions or need further feedback, please let me know anytime.
You’re the best!
Harriet Harvey New Jersey (October 1st 2013)
I am back in Oregon, and we had a GREAT time!
We had all the kinds of weather (except snow!) and loved every minute of it all!
Each of the places we stayed had it’s good points but I think both Virginia and I liked O’Hara’s the best.
Both of us REALLY want to come back….I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I hope so!
Carrol Hyde Oregon (October 1st 2013)
I was on the Full Irish Tour on September 12, 2013. I would like to share some thoughts about the tours.
Our driver, John Walsh, was excellent. He was a very skillful driver. He was very knowledgeable about Ireland. He was concerned with his passengers. Every time John saw us he would check on how we were doing.
All in all we had a great time. I would highly recommend your tour company to any one planning to come to Ireland.
With heartfelt thanks
Charles Pfeifer and Patricia Devine
Patricia Devine Stratford, CT (September 12th 2013)
Thank you so much for all your organization in planning for our recent trip to Ireland. We had a wonderful time! The places you chose for us were brilliant. The hosts in the smaller B&B’s were all delightful, sharing their knowledge of the area and providing us with delicious breakfasts.And the castle hotels….oh my! Especially Belleek Castle. It was like staying in someone’s personal estate home.
The highlight for me was getting to Studio Donegal and having a personalized tour with the man carding the wool downstairs and then talking to the weavers. I was able to ask knowledgeable questions, based on my experience as a spinner and weaver. Of course we had to buy some yarn and a lap rug!
As far as scenery, we really were awe struck by the Dingle Peninsula and then the mountains of Connemara as we approached Clifden.
We even managed to make a day trip to Inishmore, albeit in a rough crossing.
On the second last day we drove from Donegal up to the north, stopped at the Giant’s Causeway, drove the Antrim Coast Road, stopped at Newgrange and made it to the Roganstown Hotel by 6:30!
Thanks so much for your help….you certainly knew the right places to pick for our tastes. We’ll certainly recommend your company to others.
Arthur Needles (September 10th 2013)
WHAT A FANTASTIC TRIP…COUNTRY !!!
To say we LOVED it would be an understatement. It was much more than we expected…in a very positive way.
All the arrangements were very good…a couple were FANTASTIC.
While we may, or may not receive a “survey/evaluation form”, we wanted to give you some feedback on a couple of specific things.
Staying at Kilbrack with Caroline and Larry Larkin was one
of our best experiences. We strongly recommend that be the “go to” House for that area and kind of
facility. We do not believe it’s possible for hosts to have been more friendly, personable or helpful.
In KiIlarney at the Guest House Hotel on Loch Lein, the “Titanium” room was SUPERB as was the host Annette Corrigan. She was, perhaps, the most outwardly friendly, jovial person we met. She seemed keenly aware of our needs and recommended excellent places to eat and sites to see. Kate Kearney’s Restaurant at Dunloe Gap is NOT to be missed!
Dromoland Castle was… well…a Castle! Magnificent in every respect. Highly recommended!
Ann and Marc O’Regan’s Crannmor Guest House near Trim was the Perfect ending! Ann is the model B&B owner/hostess. From our first seeing her working in the yard gathering apples and directing the construction of a dog house and assisting the fellow remove dead plants we liked her! She has lots of personality and was more than accommodating. Even though we had to leave early, before breakfast, to get to the airport, she made sure we knew where the breakfast buffet items were so we could get something before we left.
suffice to say we could not have done this trip without your help …and the GPS. Your regular, timely emails reflected, from the start, you were interested in helping us create the trip WE wanted to take and, for that, we thank you very much! The weather wasn’t ideal everyday but, it never was a problem and never slowed us down.
Thank you for putting together our “dream holiday” to Ireland. We enjoyed a wonderful, never to be forgotten tour of a beautiful country. Quite truthfully, we did not meet a single person who was not eager to help us and all made us feel welcomed and we felt like we had just seen an “old friend”.
Ron and Glenda Jones
Ron Jones AL (September 11th 2013)
Thanks for the excellent job you did in booking our trip to Ireland. We had a wonderful trip and have many fond memories. The country is beautiful, the people warm and friendly and the adult beverages are fantastic.
We only experienced one problem, which was in the states. Our first flight out of Orlando was cancelled so we arrived in Ireland a day late.
Terry Turner FL (September 4th 2013)
I just wanted to let you know that our Ireland trip was ‘over the top’ fabulous. Keith Brogan is a wonderful driver, I can’t say enough good things about him. His knowledge of Irish history really brought a depth to our experience that I wasn’t expecting. And we had so much fun with him at the same time. I will be recommending your agency and Keith as a driver to anyone who will listen. I will probably compare all future travels to this one, it will be difficult to measure up. Thanks again.
Elizabeth Kachel Indiana (September 7th 2013)
Just a brief note to say that we are home tired but happy from our trip to Ireland. We thoroughly enjoyed the Irish House Party evening! The food was excellent and the show was so great. We bought their cd and dvd. Brilliant!
We really appreciated all the details that were covered by Exploring Vacations.
We found many things “O’Doherty” in Donegal, including a very nice woman, Rosaleen O’Doherty Hegarty, from whom we purchased beautiful hand-knit sweaters.
Thank you for helping us along the way. We really appreciate everything you did to make our trip full of wonderful memories.
Connie Dougherty Oregon ( September 4th 2013)
We have just returned home from our Ireland trip, we had so much fun and the bed and breakfast homes you put us in where excellent i cant thank you enough. please use me as a reference if u like. Our trip could have not been better thank you so much i will recommend you to everyone i know.
Sharon Speer Texas (September 9th 2013)
Home again and wanted to thank you for all of your help and support before and during our wonderful trip to Ireland. Ireland is everything I hoped it would be and surely a beautiful landscape. Our driver/guide, was perfect. He was witty, courteous, and so knowledgeable. He could tell us about history, the plants and geography. I highly recommend him.
Accommodations were absolutely perfect. I especially loved the Manor House. It was like being in a Jane Eyre movie and the manager could have not been nicer.
Exploring Vacations was wonderful to work with and I would certainly recommend and use your services again.
JoAnne Simmerman Ohio (September 2nd 2013)
The tour was WONDERFUL!!!our driver/guide was full of facts and good humour, he was so fast with the funny comments.
I did spend an extra week and a bit in Dublin! went on a few day tours – one to Wicklow county, one to Belfast and one to Connemara. I also went to a couple of music and Irish dancers shows which was a bit of a treat! I would reccomend your tour to anyone!! I really didn’t want to come back to Canada! Thanks so much for all your help.
Beverley Dockrill Canada (August 16th 2013)
I found your Tour company on the net when searching for our upcoming trip. I usually book everything myself but decided to give them a try; well…to my surprise, they came back with a very reasonably priced itinerary that over the course of a few months together we fine tuned it. The 4 of us (all adults) had a brand new 7 seater SUV (standard) vehicle from Hertz that was a lot cheaper than renting separately.
I had asked for B&B’s with ground floor rooms with private bath and they did not disappoint.
All B&B’s had free parking and the breakfasts were big and hearty and all hosts were pleasant and some had a great sense of humour which made our stays a lot of fun. All hosts/hostesses would answer all questions and gave recommendations for sites and restaurants that were right on!
I can’t say enough of your Tour Company and would highly recommend them, so give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Russ & Jean Hollamby
Jean Hollamby Canada (August 2013)
I have been meaning to drop you a note to say that our trip went very well and we were very pleased with the accommodations. The service was greatly appreciated and we will be pleased to recommend Exploring Vacations if we have the chance in the future. Thanks very much.
Stewart Todd AR (August 7th 2013)
Seeing Ireland with “Exploring Vacations” is without doubt the very best way to see it.
The full Irish small group tour. Not only did we pack a lot of sightseeing into the trip, but we gained a lot of friends. Had we gone on another tour I think we would have missed a great deal of fun which came to us by way of sharing a bus with 8 other people….and Matthew!
Matt brought forth an enormous amount of information that (undoubtedly) would never have been absorbed by each of us if we had to read about it in a travel book by ourselves. His information was always “spot on” and we all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Our trip would not have been as memorable if we were left to our own devices.
All that being said, Ireland speaks for herself. I’ve traveled the world and never have I seen as much natural beauty and met as many wonderful, happy people as I did in Ireland.
Don’t know when, but I sure would like to find my way back to the Emerald Isle one day.
Thank you for your part in making sure we had an amazing experience in the wonderful place you call home…………………………..Pat
Patricia Casey New Jersey (August 16th 2013)
Our trip to Ireland was FANTASTIC!! My favorite place to visit everytime I go is the Cliffs of Moher; there’s just something about that place that draws me back time and time again. I’m fairly certain my friend also loved it. We hiked a bit of the trail that leads to Doolin and then backtracked and went a ways toward Hags Head. We want to hike the whole thing next time! I don’t recall doing or seeing anything that I was disappointed in and all of our B&B’s were very nice and run by very friendly people. The B&B’s in Kilkenny and Killarney stand out in my mind. The owners were very helpful, very friendly and I feel like we got to know them and felt very comfortable and at home while we stayed there. Thank you for including a SatNav in the package. We would have eventually found our way around, but the SatNav came in very handy when driving through towns…especially Dublin!! We both appreciate the time and effort that was put into our itinerary. The towns we stayed were ideally located and within easy access to great sites and the B&B’s were always within a 10 minute walk to the city center.
All in all, this was an amazing trip, filled with amazing sites, sounds, tastes and experiences! I will recommend you to ALL my friends who wish to visit Ireland!!!
Wow!! What a warm summer for Ireland!!! I actually got a tan during out stay, if you can believe it!!
Dallas Mathews Texas (June 2013)
first of all let me tell you what a wonderful vacation we had in Ireland. Your travel itinerary was just perfect for our group. We hope to return as soon as we can. There’s so much to do and never enough time.
Thank you again for everything! Our trip to Ireland was a dream come true. The bed and breakfast accommodations were wonderful and our hosts were charming and welcoming. The castle was unbelievable! A real luxury at the end of our vacation.
The Irish people are so funny and the country is diverse, Beautiful, and interesting.
Lynne Argast New Jersey (August 12th 2013)
We had a wonderful time. I loved each place we stayed, but especially the Mount Juliet house. It was one of the most comfortable and relaxing places I have ever been, and was perfect for the last leg of the trip.
I don’t know of anything I would change about the trip. I really loved Sligo and would like to return there sometime. Of course my favorite–Killarney–is STILL my favorite. I fell in love with Kilkenny also, and if I get to return, would love to also spend some time in Kenmare as well. We met another Gillen family while in Westport, which was neat.
Seems like we covered the gamut: seeing large cities, seeing small towns, a castle hotel, luxury hotels, downtown hotel, mountain climbing, swimming in indoor pools, touring large estates, hearing authentic music, eating in pubs, eating in nice restaurants, going to beaches, and going through at least one thousand roundabouts! I would have to say that the two best things in Ireland are the scenery, which is breathtaking, and the people. Everywhere we went, the people were so kind and helpful, talkative and friendly, warm and open. We had the GPS, but if we were lost, people would drop everything to help us. We met some really great people that were fun to talk to.
Such a wonderful trip.
It was great getting to meet you and it was so sweet of you to make the cake for us, and to give us the souvenirs. I am using my coffee mugs often. Thanks for all you did to make this such a wonderful trip.
Janice Gillen Georgia (August 2013)
I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am with all you do at Exploring Vacations. Each accommodation has been ridiculously easy to find, and has been very nice with wonderful owners. It has made my trip a breeze to entrust you with these details.
Jennifer Creer Kirksville, MO ( July 29th 2013)
A huge thank you for organizing an amazing trip. Everything went smoothly and we have a wonderful time. You picked some interesting places for us to stay – no two the same and I appreciated the variety and the selection.
Barbara Beane Texas ( August 11th 2013)
Just to let you know that we are back from Ireland and had a wonderful time. The accommodations were all very nice.We loved Mount Juliet. I had seen that place before on TV watching golf. Forest Haven was so very nice. It was nice looking out over the valley from our room and checking out the animals from our window. The bed was the most confortable and the breakfest was the best.
We did the following: Dublin – Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Christ Church, walked to see the river Liffey, St. Stephens greens, and Kilmainham Gaol, Mount Usher Gardens, Avoca Handweaver, Dunbrody Famine Ship, Kilkenny (loved the town), spent time at the castle, Rock of Cashel, Jamison whiskey tour, Blarney castle, walked some of the trails at the Muckross House, Rings of Kerry (did a beautiful hike up the Bray Head Trail where we saw the cliffs and ocean, very lovey day), Cliffs of Mohr, and the Bunratty Castle (had reservations for the medieval banquet). The weather was very good. Rained of and on when we were at the Blarney castle.The GPS took us through very beautiful country. I cannot tell you what I liked best.
I am so glad you sent us the tour information. We did receive it 7 days before we left.
Thanks for helping to make our vacation a memorable delight that we will always remember. You live in a beautiful country.
Martha Adams PA (August 5TH 2013)
We’re home safe/sound with some GREAT memories in Ireland. We really enjoyed each place we stayed. ALL of them were clean and tidy with great breakfasts and good service.
Thank you. Best to you and the Exploring Vacations staff. We’ll certainly recommend you when we have opportunity.
Ben McGraw Texas( August 10th 2013)
Thanks for a very special week with your tour, the Full Irish. Traveling with such a small group was so rewarding in many ways. It was almost like going by private car except we didn’t get lost or have to stop to ask for directions. And the other people in the group felt like “family” and made the trip much more interesting and stimulating.Our driver was delightful. I realize we got to see and do a lot that the usual tourists don’t. We are ready to go again!
P.S. You were so much help on all our Ireland plans before we left the U.S. Thanks a lot.
Marilyn & Phil
USA, Texas, the Dallas area
Marilyn Mays Texas (July 2013)
I am back from Ireland. We had a wonderful trip. All the accomadations worked out great. We loved both Ballyseedy castle and Ballynahinch castle. We loved the bed and breakfasts, especially Cloneen. I will highly recommed you to anyone that I know that plans to travel to Ireland. Thanks for everything.
Brenda Scanlon MD (June 30th 2013)
All at Exploring Vacations, Just a short word to say thanks for a lovely trip,; the hotels were all great, the car worked out well and ,of course, the Irish were wonderful as was the beer and the food.
Joseph and Maureen Blumenthal.
Joseph Blumenthal California (June25th 2013)
Thanks again for the varied itinerary and excellent choices. My family had a wonderful time in Ireland and was able to experience a breadth of aspects of its culture, beauty and charm. The people are amazing and the food was far better than I expected.
Ardtara House – food was excellent and the people were lovely. The twin room was the best, with great semicircular views of the grounds. Bright and airy. .
Harveys Point – spectacular natural beauty and views, HUGE rooms (great for family gatherings) good service and amenities. Perfect location to explore all of Donegal County. In addition to the Town, we visited Dungloe where my ‘people’ (O’Donnells) are from. Amazing, dramatic scenery. We commented that this was where Lord of the Rings SHOULD have been filmed.
Coopershill House – Can’t say enough about this stay and the proprietors. Wasn’t a fan of venison before this, but this was the best meal I had in Ireland. Simon and Christine (Christina?) were warm and helpful. Simon gave us a great history of the house and family and recommended a great side trip to Carrowkeel and Carrick on Shannon. The grounds were magnificent. these folks really have the locally sourced culture down pat. If you look “bucolic” up in the dictionary, I suspect you’d see a picture of Coopershill. Would definitely return.
Castle Leslie – Amazing grounds and exterior. Food decent and Sir Jack (96) and the service team were very pleasant.
Fitzwilliam Hotel – Very modern, New York City style hotel. we had to stay 2 extra nights here and all 3 concierges were INCREDIBLY helpful. They do everything from porter to valet to more typical concierge services. Got us reservations at Mourne Seafood, which are almost impossible to get (2nd best meal in Ireland – delicious seafood), and recommended a great tour guide to take a ‘political’ tour of Belfast and the walls and murals. They truly went above and beyond at a time when we really needed assistance.
Thank you and thank your team again for making this a memorable, stress free trip to Ireland. Warm regards, Maureen
Maureen Helmer New York (June 28th 2013)
I just wanted to write and thank you for all your assistance in planning our trip to Ireland. Me, my niece and my cousin had a fabulous time. The driver of our motor coach was wonderful. There was a great variety of things to see and do. For me, it was such a pleasure to not have to make any major decisions for nine straight days. The toughest situation I faced during the whole trip was whether to have dessert with dinner or not! Ireland was absolutely beautiful and the people were exceptionally nice — everything and more that we expected. It was truly a wonderful vacation and the memories of our time there will be treasured for a lifetime.
Thanks again for the great trip and all the help in setting it up for us.
Cindy Paavola (July 2013)
We are safely back home in Cincinnati, and I just wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful trip. We truly appreciate all of your help. We found each of the accommodations to be extremely nice, and we appreciate your help in figuring out a reasonable itinerary.
The big surprise was the weather as it was much warmer than expected, but we came to understand that what we experienced the last couple weeks is not typical weather in Ireland. But far better hot than raining all the time! Again, thank you for the help in planning our trip. We are very pleased with how it all worked out.
Henry Alexander OH (June 30th 2013)
We are all safely back in “the old country” after ten marvellous days on Erin’s green Island, much thanks to Edel and not least to the two wonderful drivers, Matt and Roger, that were introduced to us. Those guys really made the trip a memorable one. All of us are fully satisfied with all the events, accomodations and, as mentioned, with engaged and enthusiastic drivers. These are persons you can be proud of and as “your window” to customers they act perfectly.
This being said, I would also give roses to you and your staff for professional and personal assistance – without you and all others involved this trip could never have taken place. We are deeply indebted and would not hesitate to recommend Exploring Vacations to anyone.
As promised, Mona will enclose some pictures that may be of interest to you.
Once again, on behalf of all in Bowlinglaget KULA, Mona and myself – many thanks for a perfectly arranged trip.
In trust we will meet again
Cato Brekke Norway (June 13th 2013)
Dear Ann Marie and the entire Exploring Vacations team, We’re back home following our Full Irish Tour that started on June 21, 2013.
What a wonderful experience it was for both of us! It was everything we hoped it would be, and more. While the scenery was as spectacular as we expected, there were so many surprises that we were almost constantly in awe. The accommodations were all first class and the food was fantastic. The sites chosen for our tour were an excellent blend of scenery and Irish history as well.
Many of our friends and family have asked us what our “favorite” part of the trip was. We’ve both had to reply that it was all so wonderful that we can’t really name a favorite place or event.
One thing I do have to tell you however, is how much our driver/guide, Matt Ward, added to our enjoyment and education on this trip. His knowledge of Irish history, Irish geography, and basically everything Irish just made this trip for us! He was so personable and informative that we ended the tour feeling like we’d made a wonderful new friend. I’d say he was the consummate professional.
We both feel like this tour was such a perfect blend of Irish scenery and Irish history that we came away with a much better understanding of what Ireland was and is. We’d recommend this tour to anyone who’s planning to visit Ireland.
Thank you so much for providing us with this great vacation experience.
Rich & Sharon Winkler from Wisconsin, USA.
Richard Winkler WI (June 21st 2013)
I am back from our trip to Ireland
You live in a beautiful country. It was an absolute joy to spend six days there.
It was so easy to fly into Shannon and pick up the hire car there. It gave me a chance to get used to driving on the left without very much traffic to contend with.
Nellie Dees B&B in Doolin was wonderful. Neat, clean, great breakfast and an easy walk to the pubs.
When we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was a beautiful afternoon.
Crotty’s Pub and B&B in Kilrush was great. My wife thought it was the best breakfast she had in Ireland. She also thought the dinner she had there was the best in Ireland..
The owner of the Rockhouse B&B in Cashel was a hoot. A wonderful chap. And his B&B was very nice as well.
The Elm House B & B in Adare was very nice. Pauline treated us like royalty.
The Limerick Milk Market was fun to walk through.
I am going to send my brother to you to plan his trip to Ireland next summer.
Thank you again for helping make our Irish holiday the best.
Donald Seitz NC (June 24th 2013)
FANTASTIC FUN IN Ireland”
A group of 16 seniors from Canada, travelled to Ireland for 12 days and 11 nights. Our experiences in Ireland were beyond belief. I worked with Gary Gorman to plan this trip starting out with 4 people. That group eventually grew to 16. This of course meant that Gary had to change many things as our planning progressed over the course of a year. I must say the end result was terrific. We travelled the entire perimeter of Ireland seeing Dublin, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Derry, Letterkenny, Galway, Donegal, Killarney, Dingle, Ring of Kerry. Dingle Peninsula, Kinsale and Kilkenny. From these various places we toured around to see the various sights that Gary had outlined for us. Without exception they were all worth seeing. Our group chose to Have our own driver/tour guide who picked us up at the airport and looked after all of our needs throughout the trip including bringing us back to the airport to catch our flight home. His name was Robert Glynn and he was a font of knowledge and a fantastic tour guide. He help me make adjustments to our schedule and add a few things that we wanted to see. He became a good friend to all of us. The hotels that Gary booked for us were all very clean and centrally located for walking around in the various towns. Most nights we ate at the hotels and without exception the meals were great and reasonably priced. Everyone on the tour raved about the places we saw and how smooth everything went. I would have no hesitation to recommend Exploring Vacations to anyone planning a tour to Ireland. The only problem we had was that the trip had to end. None of us were ready to leave yet. I want to give a special thank you to Gary Gorman and our driver Robert for their work in making our Ireland experience such a wonderful one for all of us. If you are thinking of travelling with a group of friends, having your own tour/guide driver is the way to go. Depending on the number in the group costs can be even cheaper than a large bus tour and you get to go to places the bigger buses can’t go to. Our group really liked the idea of getting our own lunches and suppers. Most times we never ate lunch as the morning Irish breakfast provided each day was filling. In closing, this is a very reputable company who stand behind all arrangements made and are there to help you throughout your trip should you need it.
Regards from Tecumseh Ontario Canada
Ray Robinet Ontario (June 14th 2013)
Thank you so much!
1) I found Exploring Vacations on the internet and chose you based on the information on your website for self-driving tours.
2) What did Exploring Vacations do really well? Absolutely EVERYTHING! Amy O’Kane is a FANTASTIC rep for your company. She is knowledgeable and exhibits the patience of a saint as we tweaked our itinerary to make sure that every detail of our trip has been satisfied. Amy gave us some tips on things we might enjoy in Ireland that are not in the guidebooks. This personal touch is much appreciated.
3) I didn’t run into anything that Exploring Vacations did poorly. Every staff member I dealt with was courteous, professional, and answered my many questions promptly and efficiently. I will definitely recommend Exploring Vacations to all my friends!
Paula Ehler MA (June 21st 2013)
Finally got to write to you just a sample of the pictures we took, everyone had a great time, Bart took great care of us and showed us some wonderful sights.
He went out of his way to ensure we saw everything, plus he is a genuine “nice guy” Please feel free to use us as a reference for your company,
I know there are many choices when choosing a travel agency going to Ireland but we were completely satisfied with Exploring Vacations.
All the hotels were excellent, Brooks, The Athenaeum, The White House Kinsale,! great food. The Royal Hotel in Killarney is phenomenal and their staff excellent. Bunratty castle Hotel as always was fine. Westwood in Galway was great, with huge rooms! and finally the Westin, Dublin was excellent!
Absolutely no complaints,
Tony Crowe New Jersey ( May 26th 2013)
First and foremost, I cannot tell you how extremely pleased we were with everything! This was one of the best trips we have ever taken, and we have been almost everywhere in the world. We saw so many wonderful things: the Powerscourt Castle and gardens, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle among just a few. Importantly, I found the grave of my grandfather in Rathvilly, and Joanie found the church where her great-grandparents were married in Cootehill. All in all I think I drove close to 2,400 km, and had no problems whatsoever — although some of the roads were a bit challenging! (Speaking of driving, I am over 75).
We have many impressions of the trip — but the most lasting will be the people. From those we met on the street to the absolutely wonderful B&B owners — the places you choose for us. Katherine at Mena House, Patrick in Kerry, to the wonderful folks at Dromoland Castle that gave us a very nice room upgrade — to just everyone, including the people with whom we corresponded at Exploring Vacations. Everyone was absolutely superb.
I cannot thank you enough — and some pictures may help tell the story. Thanks so much and we shall be more than pleased to recommend Exploring Vacations to our friends and colleagues who plan trips to your wonderful country.
With kind personal regards,
T. Michael Jackson Michigan ( May 10th 2013)
Jennifer and I would like to thank you for your help in making our Ireland trip a wonderful experience. Exploring Vacations is a great company. We told you we wanted to do a self-drive through western Ireland and to stay at a different B&B each day and end our trip in Dublin. In less than a day, you developed an itinerary that was perfect. When we landed in Shannon, our car was ready and each day, our B&Bs were expecting us. This trip was flawless and it was all due to you and your team. Your selection of where to stay was great. Each B&B made us feel welcome and treated us like royalty. Our ability to spend each day touring the countryside and making new friends in the many village pubs was what made our trip memorable. Ireland is not necessarily a place for destinations, but it is a place to be in…to experience the wonderful people and the magnificent landscapes. We thank you for making our first, but not last, trip to Ireland one of our best trips ever.
Larry and Jennifer Rogers
Larry Rogers (April 27th 2013)
You are the greatest! You-are-the-bomb!! You started putting our tour pkg together last January. We came 5/24 thru 6/1. Wow!! It was absolutely perfect. Exactly the experience we were looking for….only better. We just lucked out with the weather. Many warm sunny days. The B&B’s were all great yet all unique in their own ways. But like my wife said …Eileen at Seafield House RULES. She was so sweet and generous. And the best cook ever. Her home was so warm and inviting. Just genuinely lovely and accommodating. You did a fine deed here with this vacation. Both my wife and kids said it was the best ever. Trip of a lifetime. We couldn’t have packed more into every minute of every day. Yet the pace was just right to relax and enjoy. Thank you so much for your expertise in putting this together. It was an absolutely perfect trip. We are singing your praises to everyone we know. Sure look forward to traveling with you again. Most importantly you made my wife very, very happy. Thank you again for everything.
John Mistak Georgia (May 24th 2013)
I wanted to let you know we all enjoyed our trip to Ireland very much. Each of our B&B accomodations were wonderful and everyone was so helpful.
Everyone assured us they would be able to help us and made it stress-free for us.
Thank you for all your help and planning that made our trip so wonderful!
P.S. We all loved seeing Lough Tay…something we wouldn’t have known about without your suggestion.
Laura Maltas Iowa (June 10th 2013)
Just a quick note to thank-you for all your help. Ron and I had the most wonderful time in Ireland. The B&B were very clean and the people wonderful and friendly. Both Ron and myself hope to return to Ireland one day soon. Thanks once again for all your help.
Sherry Evans BC (June 17th 2013)
Ireland is the most beautiful country I have ever visited.
We loved ever minute of our stay
My favorite hotel was Gregans Castle
We had the most perfect driver.Filled with all the information that we would need to truley enjoy our driving tour.
He was polite,patient,and really nice to be around.
My riding was the best I have done in years on a perfect Irish hunter who loved to jump
I have told everyone about you have given your name out to many and I will be back very very soon!
My mother was so happy that she still says she can close hers eyes and for a minute she is back in Ireland
Thank You Thank you Thank you
Patricia-Ann Donohue Louisiana (Apr 23rd 2013)
I would like to let you know that my wife and I had a great time on our exploring Vacations self drive tour.
Everything went very smoothly. Ireland is an extremely beautiful country to visit. All the Hotels that you booked for us were of a very high standard and all the staff were extremely courteous, helpful and friendly.
Our favourite was the Maryborough Hotel in Cork. The Malton in Killarney was also very nice.
We found that the itinerary was very well paced out.We didn’t have to rush between stops.
Thank you very much for a wonderful holiday at an extremely competitive price.
Edward and Joyce Spicer Perth Western Australia
Edward Spicer Western Australia (April 8th 2013)
Edel, We had so much fun on our Ireland trip. The self-guided part was a dream come true for me staying at Ashford Castle. The tour was amazing and our guide, Marlene, was the best. Thank you so much to you and Patricia and Exploring Vacations for all your work. . Again. Thank you so much…you realized a dream for me!
Thanks, Mary Ulery
Mary Ulery CA (April 18th 2013)
I just wanted to let you know what a great time we had in Ireland!! Everything worked out so well, and we are so grateful for your help. You made everything so easy!
The hotels were lovely, and the itinerary was delightful. We enjoyed every second. What a beautiful country. You are so blessed!
The only problem is that now I want to move to Dublin!! We had our first tastes of Smithwick and Red Breast – great cultural moments!
Thanks so much!
Becky Kester Dallas (April 21st 2013)
Reporting in to you after our GREAT trip to your beautiful Country! Feel free to use any of my comments on your website – You picked out some great places for us to stay – we really liked the Ashling Hotel and didn’t think it was too far out like some people thought – with the LUAS right in front of the Hotel, we were where we wanted to be in 5 to 10 minutes! Their breakfast was great, and being across from the Guinness Factory and close to the Jameson Warehouse was great.
Our favorite Bed and Breakfast was the Maranatha House in Tower, Blarney, Cork – we had a great big beautiful room, and it was welcoming quiet. We also loved the Cranmor House in Trim – well situated, close to the Trim Castle, very well done, very quiet, and the Host and Hostess there were the best, even taking time out to show us some sheep and donkies up close. We are already recommending you to others who are thinking about Ireland – We ran into another American couple that had their trip planned by you – and, we really like the route you planned out for us, as we were able to see a really different variety of the country – really, really liked going on the ferry from Kerry to Clare – and, of course, loved all of the Irish people we met – they were the friendliest and most accommodating people we have ever encountered!
Thank you so much for everything.
Mike and Helen Reddy
Bonita (San Diego), California, USA
Mike and Helen Reddy California, USA (April 17th)
From the beginning, Michelle really listened to my friend and what we wanted to do while in Ireland.
She very quickly put together an Itinerary for a self drive tour of Ireland with B&B’s and car rental. For the next month we worked with Michelle with dates and places we wanted to see and experience…and all the while, Michelle was extremely positive and very accommodating to our requests. Our party of three have been extremely pleased with the help and patience shown and given by Michelle.
Not knowing anything about this company beforehand, we can honestly and highly recommend Exploring Vacations without hesitation to anyone who wishes to tour their beautiful island!
Thank you for planning our two week self drive tour. You listened to our dreams and wishes and after many changes to our original thoughts…you made us feel that any changes made were no problem which made us feel that your goal was for us to be totally satisfied with the tour. We couldn’t be more pleased.
Trish MacDonald (April 2013)
This was the best vacation I’ve ever taken. Partly because of your great work, partly because I was with my husband and son, and partly because I was so ready for this trip to the Emerald Isle. We found the Irish people helpful and kind, even giving up two stools in a crowded pub to my husband and I the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Though we kept hearing from the locals of the unusual bitterly cold mid March weather, we were undaunted. We enjoyed the Galway St. Patrick’s Day parade, even in the cold and rain. Felt for the parade participants in sandals and short sleeves.
We were enchanted with Ashford Castle. We rode horses, went skeet shooting and were awed by the Falconry experience. We want to adopt Owen (not correct spelling) who walked us through the woods with Killary and Maya, our two lovely Harris hawks. We did connect with the tour folks at the Quiet Man museum and have a wonderful picture of Mike dressed as one of the movie characters. Brandon ordered a delicious lamb shank at the small bar, The Crow’s Nest, in the lovely village of Cong. We would recommend a stop at Ashford Castle to anyone and everyone.
Randles Court was pleasant and comfy, public rooms with fireplaces are always a draw. The bar played sports games, so Brandon and Mike were happy. Brandon was very pleased with the Jameson Distillery tour in Midleton. We all received a certificate for the whiskey tasting at the end of the tour and learned many great facts about the making of Jameson, THE best whiskey (with an E) made. We would also recommend the Guinness Experience in Dublin to anyone who enjoys the stout that’s “made of more”. We have a certificate from the Perfect Pour experience and also really enjoyed our time in the Connoisseur Bar, meeting four lads from Boston.Thank youfor your help in making this an adventure of a lifetime, a memory that will live in our hearts forever. Most sincerely, Kathleen, Michael and Brandon O’Gehrke
Kathleen Gehrke (12th March 2013)
Staff of Exploring Vacations, Wow is all I can say!
Hotels were, pleasantly, what I expected, the meals were very good and plentiful, the tour guide was very informative.
Our driver was excellent, as the roads are quite trim, he kept us safe and sound. This was a good trip to get a feel for the different areas of your Island country. There were many times we wanted to stay longer at a location, but perhaps another time.
Great choice of hotels and B&B for accommodations.
Thank you for a memorable trip.
Michele A. Slauson
Michele A. Slauson Florida ( Sept 2012)
We would just like to drop you a note to say ‘thank you’ to you (and Exploring Vacations) for organizing our dream trip to Ireland. We told you what we had in mind and somehow you managed to put together the perfect itinerary with the right mix of sights and interesting places to stay. Loved being in the castles, but also enjoyed the B&B’s and hotels.
We fell in love immediately with all that Ireland has to offer: the misty mountains, green valleys, beautiful ocean, amazing food, quaint villages, vibrant cities, pubs and music and last but not least, wonderful people.
The trip was 10/10, all that we’d hoped for and more
Thank you so much again for all your patient assistance along the way.
Keep up the great work at Exploring Vacations!
Elizabeth & Michael
Elizabeth Santander Indiana (Sep. 2012)
Ireland was just stunning!! Many thanks to Exploring Vacations for making the trip a success! The accommodations were lovely all around.. very clean, neat, and inviting with friendly, helpful hosts.
It is difficult to select my favorite experience.. but it’s a tie between driving the Ring of Kerry and visiting St. Kevin’s in Glendalough.
We ended up using the great driving map provided by Exploring Vacations more than the GPS.
Overall an excellent experience!!
Melanie Weaver Lancaster, PA (June 2012)
I just wanted to thank you for all you did to set up our Exploring Vacations Trip. The self drive tour with all B&B’s (8 Sept – 22 Sept) was wonderful. We met so many great people and felt welcome just about everywhere we went. Both guests and hosts gave insightful commentary on local things to explore and we were guided more than once to some great restaurants and pubs for dinner in the evenings as well as to some “off the beaten path” places to visit.
I had the best time we have ever had on a vacation.
All of the other accommodations were each unique and special.
All in all we had a really wonderful time. Thank you for all your effort in making this happen for us.
Stephen Black CA (Sept 2012)
I’m sorry it has taken me this long to contact you but I wanted to express how wonderful my trip was to Ireland. The accommodations were all exceptional. In particular my stay at Youghal at the Aherne Seafood and Townhouse (which you recommended as a destination) and, of course, in Wicklow at the estate along the Irish Sea. Both were incredibly unique spots. The food and accommodations at Aherne are truly outstanding! Thanks for all of your help and guidance on putting my trip together. It was a marvelous success and I’ve told many people about it. In fact, I was doing a travel blog during the entire trip. Many people are excited about coming and for others it brought back memories of having been here before.
All the best,
Doug Slitor VA (Sept 2012)
That was the most amazing trip we’ve ever been on.Everything you arranged for us was perfect so both my husband I want to thank you.
The day we drove around the Ring of Kerry was picture perfect.We had to decide whether to drive Dingle or go to the Cliffs of Moher, and Moher won out.They were breath taking and impossible to photograph and do them justice.
We’ve been raving about you to all of our friends and family so you may get a few more calls from Ontario.
What a holiday,
Thank you both again
Mary McMurran Ontario (Oct 2012)
I just wanted to let you know how great of an adventure our group had in Ireland!
Everyone we came in contact with were super friendly. We made quite a bit of friends in Clifden, and we doubt they’ll ever forget us!
I have recommended your travel agency to many friends & family here in the States! Without your help in planning our places of stay, we would never have thought to see all the places we did!
Again, thank you for aiding in our AWESOME Adventure in Ireland! We had a blast!
Kim Hartman SD (Oct 2012)
We had a marvalous trip !! Our driver was absolutely incredible ! He was a super star- he worked with us and helped us know what we could do and made suggestions based on what we were talking with him about wanting to see – we saw FAR more than we ever thought we would based on his hard work and knowledge!!!
Our hotels were excellent and offered excellent food and service.
Our driver took GREAT care of my father who is 84 and my mother in law who is 74. He made sure they were included and saw as much as they could with out feeling like they were holding the trip experience back at all!!
We came away from our vacation with awesome memories of the land of our heritage with our family together! — which is everything we hoped for.
Thank you for assistance and patience!
John Walling Iowa (July 2012)
Thank you” for an absolutely marvelous vacation, and also to say how much we appreciated our driver, He went out of his way over and over again to be sure out trip was as memorable as possible, and by the end of our holiday, we viewed him not just as a driver, but as a dear friend. Our travels would not have been as good without him. We will always recommend your company.
Wanted to add an additional comment regarding our hotels. Each one was absolutely amazing and even better than expected.
Once again, thank you for all your hard work in putting all of our trip together. Each one on the trip applaud a job well done!
Brenda Gates IL (July 2012)
Well, my traveling companions and I are back in Ottawa as of last night, Wednesday, Sep. 26th. WHAT A TRIP!!!
My travelling companions join me in expressing our sincere thanks for everything you have done for us! Truly remarkable!
Looking up your site on Google and trusting that you would set up our itinerary to accommodate us was one thing, but to set up our B&B so close and handy to the many wonderful places we saw and many things we did, was just……..FANTASTIC!
All four of us were taken by the beauty of your country, taken by the charm of the Irish and amazed by the scenery, the greenery and the pride of the Irish.
THANK YOU!! I for one, will not hesitate to recommend EXPLORING Vacations to family and friends..
True Irish Experience!
Gordon Hadley Ontario (Sep. 26th 2012)
I have to say that our experience was in fact far superior to our expectations.
the highlights were as follows:
ballynahinch castle and in particular the restaurant where we had the best meal of our lives.
the hospitality of the landlord at Woodlands (if you want a sterile professional environment do not go there, Pat has the most wonderful sense of humour and ensured we were treated like royalty
the hospitality of the landlady at the accommodation at Kilkenny.
The Berkerley where we were upgraded to a junior suite and the food was very good and very reasonable cost
The sun finally coming out at Galway so that we saw the sun go down in Galway Bay at 9.30 pm.
All accommodation was of a high standard and the landlords went out of their way to make us feel at home.
Finally the Guiness at each hotel was wonderful
Gerard and Sharyn McDonald, Tamborine, Australia (June 2012)
Thanks for the email. You want to know how I liked our trip to Ireland? I plan to change my name to Shamus and move to Co. Leitrim next week! Seriously, the trip was absolutely wonderful for my son and me.
First, we were able to find the ancestral home, with much help from a lovely lady who works at Parkes’ Castle near Dromahair. She knew exactly where to send us in our search for the old house. After that discovery, everything was a bonus.
We enjoyed exploring around Sligo, Drumcliffe, and Knocknarea. We loved the drive through Connemara, the tour of Kylemore Abbey, the sights in Clifden, and the busy streets of Galway City. Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher are also near the top of our list of favorite places, along with Clonmacnois and several castles that we visited. We enjoyed the sights of Dublin, especially The Book of Kells, the Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse and the Writers’ Museum.
I assume that you are interested in knowing what we thought of the accommodations you arranged for us at Exploring Vacations. Every place we stayed was simply wonderful. The B&B’s in Trim, in Doolin, in Salt Hill, and in Mullingar were top notch. The people who operate these B&B’s were welcoming and friendly. Each one made our stay a pleasure. The Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo and The Berkeley Court Hotel in Dublin were also excellent places to stay.
I commend you and Exploring Vacations for making our trip one that we will always remember. Thank you for all you did for us.
Jim Carroll, Chesterfield VA (May 2012)
Our trip was absolutely fantastic and the places you lodged us at were wonderful. We especially enjoyed the first bed and breakfast we stayed at. The place was beautiful and the woman running it was delightful. I would recommend that place to anyone. Had a little difficulty with the width of the roads but learned to get around very easily. We saw everything we could squeeze in and kissed the Blarney Stone. Thank you so much for all you did to make it happen. You were great and your suggestions were right on target. We would not have enjoyed ourselves as much without your assistance.
Colleen R Oakley, Marlow, Oklahoma (May 2012)
I must tell you everything is first rate. The lodging was amazing. We had such a great time at the castle and everyone was so nice. I actually did get down and kiss the Blarney Stone!!! We enjoyed Dublin also with all the good food, pubs and shopping. The B&B in Cork was really really nice. The owner was very attentive, friendly and helpful. She made us feel right at home. All in all it was actually above what I expected. With all the driving that we did we got to see a lot of countryside. One day we even drove to Dingle and had a really good time there in all the little shops, sights and had lunch. Thanks to you and your staff for making a wonderful trip. It was amazing!
Lynn Sumner, Paola, KS (May 2012)
First, I would highly recommend Exploring Vacations to anyone and everyone interested in getting “it” right. The accomodations were ezxcellent and by mixing it up with the Manor Adare (Castle), Traditional Hotel and Bed and Breakfast, for our very short visit we enjoyed all aspects. It was a short trip. I was not sure if my wife would like the travel (time difference) and the driving involved (my choice,not yours). She loved Ireland, as i hoped she would. We make vacation plans one-two yeras in advance. Next year it is back to the Virgin Islands for us, but in 2014 I believe we may be looking at a 7-10 day visit back to Ireland, this time in the summer July/August and I am thinking Dingle and Galway. We both loved Dingle. I will plan to contact you this Fall or early Winter to get 2014 aligned.
Again thank you for making albeit a short vacation, one of our best
Tim Madden, Wilmington, MA (June 2012)
We are safely home in the states, after a pilgrimage to the motherland that was outstanding in every way. we’ll write more later, but we wanted to send a note thanking you for all that you did to make this the trip of a lifetime. every accommodation was perfect. everyone we met during our vacation was a gift and a blessing. even the “variable” weather was a source of humor, good spirit and laughter!
Ireland was wonderful. the irish were amazing!
everything came into perfect perspective when our gps led us onto a road that began with a center stripe and two side stripes…that became a road with only a center stripe…that became a road with no center stripe…that became a road with grass growing in the middle. we were so relieved when we came upon a rural postal truck. the mail carrier was happy to help us (a theme wherever we went in Ireland)…she told us to turn around and go back down to the town (grange, co. Tipperary)…except the town wasn’t really a town…just sort of a post in the middle of the road…but, not to worry, she assured us the road would eventually lead us to a place with good signs, better roads, and on to our eventual destination… and wasn’t she telling us the truth!
you set out a splendid itinerary for us…(we logged 2000 kilometers on our rental car)…we never worried about anything that we didn’t have a chance to visit…we simply said that we would see it on our next visit…you put us in touch with our irish roots…you guided us around the world’s most welcoming nation…we owe you a sincere debt of gratitude…
Go raibh maith agat!
Bob and Ginger Canavan, Andover, MA (May 2012)
I would like to thank you and your staff for a wonderful self-drive tour of Ireland. Your staff has done nothing but go above and beyond the call of duty to help us plan exactly what we wanted to do. Someone was always there to answer our questions, take care of the many changes we made in our plans, helped us out w/ changing the dates when I got them mixed up, and simply doing anything that needed to be done. The personal touch was definitely apparent. And to top it all off, when we had problems w/ our GPS unit, you took care of that for us in getting that fee refunded to us. I would not hesitate to recommend your company to ANYone that is planning a trip to the Old Sod. Thanks to you and your staff for an excellent job and wonderful, personal service!
David and Colleen Smith, Huntington, WV (May 2012)
We enjoyed ourselves immensely! The first day, at the Clontarf Castle Hotel we were talking to the concierge, and he helped us map out our route. (He paid you a compliment, by the way – said the itinerary you laid out for us was one of the better ones he had seen)
Anyhow, we followed the southern coastal routes (N25/N71/N70 mostly) from Kilkenny to Kinsale to Killarney. Then up the N22/N69/N67 to the Cliffs of Moher and into Doolin. Then into Galway, Ballynahinch, and Westport.
Finally, we drove from Westport back to Dublin.
One thing we found amusing was the Irish’s apparent fascination with potatoes. All potatoes, all the time – every meal except breakfast. And lots of them! Once I ordered lasagna, and even it was served with French fries! A fried chicken dinner had three kinds of potatoes served with it – mashed, boiled, and of course French fries. We’re not used to eating that many starches over here. And the portions were HUGE. My wife ended up ordering children’s portions because that was all she could eat.
Let’s see, what did we like best? We liked Kilkenny and Killarney. Also a little town called Inistioge just south of Kilkenny, and another one called Clifden between Galway and Westport. And, oh yes, another little town called Clonakilty (found it on the N71 while driving from Kinsale to Killarney).
Really liked that southern Ireland coastal drive!
So, all in all a VERY enjoyable trip. Thank you!
You’ll be hearing from us again for sure!
Martin and Vicki Egan
PS – Vicki wanted me to tell you about having to stop and wait for the herd of cows and the mountain sheep wandering on the roads out in the countryside. Got pictures of those as well! My wife was afraid the cows were going to bang up the rental car, but they just went around it. Business as usual for them, I guess….
Martin and Vicki Egan, Brandy Station, VA (Feb 2012)
When our Ireland trip concluded, I was going to write back and advise that I had some bad news and good news. The bad news was that we had departed Ireland. The good news was that we had the most wonderful time while in Ireland, largely in part to the help and guidance of Russell. The package that was put together for us was perfect for the days we had available. Russell did a great job of making adjustments to accommodate our flights and answering all of our questions clearly, taking the worries out of the logistics.
I have to say that we enjoyed staying at each of the B&Bs and would highly recommend each and every one. The accommodations were perfect and the hosts were terrific. This was our first experience with B&Bs, as we thought this would be a nice touch to get a bit closer to the communities we were visiting. We made the right choice with the B&Bs. Clontarf Castle in Dublin was also a truly wonderful experience.
As a result of the ‘bad news’ mentioned above, we will be returning the Ireland for a little longer stay, and plan to explore more of the southern portion. So far we are planning this for next year; however; who knows something may change and we end up making it over yet this year. At any rate, once we decide, we will be in touch to have you help with the planning.
Again, your help pulling everything together made the trip wonderful. It took the worries out of finding B&Bs with high standards, and gave excellent insights into things to do and see along the way.
Keep up the great work!! Look to be working with you again on the next trip.
Daryl Brown, Tennessee – March 2012
Daryl Brown, Cordova, TN (March 2012)
Thank you for taking us to out of the way places, not accessible to the big tour buses and making the extra effort to make our trip to Ireland memorable and enjoyable. For a price comparable to that of the big tour buses, we were able to experience and learn a lot more with you about Ireland . Thank you again
Denise & Peter Rankin Vancouver B.C. (Nov 2011)
My name is Patricia Glenn and I am Margaret Healy’s mother. I recently had a wonderful trip with nine members of my family. The driver of your Van was Philip Smith. He is the most wonderful Guide I have ever had the privilege to travel with. He has many attributes, among them, kindness, intelligence, love of his job, Historian, patience, protectiveness of the people he is responsible, for. He has that Irish wit that we Americans so love. All in all, it was a pleasure to be with him everyday. I have been around the block several times, being 84 years old and having raised a very large family. Philip was a gentleman in every way. We are indebted to him for a marvelous view of your beautiful country.
Patricia Healy, Wichita, Kansas (Oct 2011)
Just wanted to let you know what a FABULOUS, FABULOUS trip we had! Ireland was beautiful, the people friendly. Doing a privately escorted tour was the way to go. And what can I say about our tour escort, PJ O’Dwyer, tour guide extraordinaire! From Irish history, traditions and lore, to his personal experiences and Irish jokes, he was the best. He took us to out of the way places we never would have seen or experienced on a bus tour. We’ll never forget him. Thanks for your help. I would recommend your services to anyone looking for a terrific Ireland tour!
Patricia Brewster, North Carolina (Oct 2011)
Hello. I am writing on behalf of my dad and I , to say that we thoroughly enjoyed being in Ireland. I am glad, and so is my dad, 84, that we were able to do a self driven tour. We were able to set our own pace, stop when we wanted, get going when we wanted, ick our own time and place for meals, and attractions. All the bed and breakfasts were very welcoming, comfortable, friendly, good locations, and great food! Ireland is a terrific place to visit and explore. I am glad that we used your company. I would, and will, suggest to anyone that ask to do the same. Thank you very much. This will be a special memory for my dad.
Michael Maloney, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Sept 2011)
What a truly splendid time in Ireland! Thanks so much! I will certainly recommend you to anyone planning to travel to the “old sod”.
Charles Hayes, Palm Coast, Florida (May 2011)
I wanted you to know that my sister and I arrived home this Wednesday, and we had a wonderful time. I can’t thank you enough. The B&B reservations all worked out beautifully and so did the car. We had great weather and the hosts of the B&Bs couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. I can’t really tell you what was my favorite, because it was all so lovely.
Lynn McCall, Holualoa, HI (April 2011)
Just wanted to let you kow the tour was great! Martin was a great driver–and very knowledgeable.
Thank you for all your help.
Janice Barber, Los Alamos, New Mexico (May 2011)
I wanted to send you a thank you for our lovely trip you planned for us in Ireland. We are back home now and we had a wonderful time. Ireland is a beautiful country. The B & B’s were the best. We have never stayed in them before so we didn’t know what to expect. WOW! They were excellent. The people were so friendly at all of them. They all made us feel welcome and our breakfasts were awesome.
We had great weather and my hubby made out fine driving on the opposite side of the road.
Thank you again for the wonderful job you did at planning our Ireland vacation. We had an amazing time. Thank you again.
Sherrie Thorne, Ingersoll, ON Canada (June 2011)
Thank you so much for helping make our trip to Ireland a success. We had a wonderful time and did everything that we had planned and more. The B&Bs were delightful.
Our favorite part was the Skellig Islands trip. The puffins were a bonus. I have always wanted to take pictures of puffins so I was thrilled to see them. We also especially enjoyed the National Museum, Slieve League, Achill Island and Newgrange.
Cynthia and David Dickel, Tallahassee, FL (June 2011)
Just wanted to let you know that everything worked out very well with the car! Also, the B&B’s you booked for us were lovely – very good choices!!! and the Ashling Hotel, as well. We had a wonderful time, and thanks again so much for all your help!!
Pat Bayne, Greenwood Lake, NY (April 2011)
Could not have been happier with all accommodations !!!!! Sandy Cove, the view alone is worth the trip, great R&R. Almara house have the best hosts ever and beautiful little house. Castle and O’Callaghan right on the mark. The Glendine house is a big beautiful house, a great antique piece (a little musty, if I had a complaint, great for 1 night, good breakfast)
I want to thank you sooooo much for all your help and if I can recommend your establishment for touring you are the one!!! Could not have done this with out you.
Thanks again, from all of us!!!!
Melanie Tsonos, Nepean, ON (July 2011)
We had a great time, will refer to all family. Thanks so much!
Julie Ronan, Marina Del Rey, CA (July 2011)
We had a great time, thanks much.
Pat was the best and greatly added to the experience.
Frank Zafran, New York (Aug 2011)
Thank you for your timely and responsive attention to our travel plans. We’ve had a wonderful time in Ireland and will definitely make plans to return as soon as possible! I will also be recommending your service to others – very helpful, time-saving and all the makings of a worry-free holiday!!
Thank you very much!
Christine Zwozdesky, Alberta Canada (Aug 2011)
We have returned home safe and sound and had a wonderful trip. We enjoyed all the hotels and B & B’s. We would return to all of them.
The hosts were gracious and helpful.
Thank you for your help.
Jocelyne Laplante, Quebec, Canada (July 2011)
We are back in Vancouver; we had a great time, the hotels were all good esp the castle hotels, and Pembroke which is a very nice new hotel. We were sorry not to have time to see everything, and we are already thinking of our next trip back! I’ll definitely recommend you to friends and family; thanks again,
Kim Tung, Vancouver, BC, Canada (May 2011)
Just a quick note to say that my cousin and I had a fantastic time on the trip you organised for us at the end of August. Plus we had, unusually, blue skies and sunshine for the whole trip.
All the accommodation was great and our favourite was Ballynahinch. I would love to go back for a combined visit with the Aran Isles and traditional music around Galway.
I’ll be in touch later in the year to discuss this.
Thanks again for all your help.
Nancy Heatley, Bromley Kent UK (July 2011)
I received a phone call from my clients. They raved about their driver and how knowledgeable he was.
Thank you. I will certainly recommend your company again.
Holly Roberts / Team Leader Liberty Travel (June 2011)
Just a quick note to say many thanks for the hotel suggestions and the Kilronan Castle is a must do! for anyone. The weather was a bit blowy in Doolin but we had a great holiday.
I’m sure we do something again in the future in Ireland.
Once again many thanks for your help.
John & Sue Lennon, Swindon UK (Oct 2012)
I just wanted to let you know that we are now back from the best vacation I have ever had! Everything was perfect. We had no problems what so ever. The weather was fantastic. We didn’t get rained on once. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The roads were almost deserted most of the time in the outlying areas. The tourist attractions were not crowded at all. The views all over your country were incredible. I tool 500 pictures and could have taken a million. The castles and churches were everything I expected and more. I wanted to say thank you for setting up this great trip. I would go back and do it all again. I am looking forward to returning to Ireland soon!
Carla Elder, Clearwater FL (March 2011)
Sorry it has taken so long for me to thank you for our wonderful trip to Ireland! Everything went so smoothly and it was so relaxing! Easy days, interesting sights and nice hotels in the evening.
I cannot thank you enough for working with me and helping me to get the trip planned so quickly! Mr. Swan was the best! He is a perfect driver: not too chatty, but can hold up a conversation and has a easy-going manner. He was always punctual, polite, helpful …just great!
If you ever want to put me down as a reference for Exploring Vacations, I would be happy to help your company out in any way.
Next trip, will be the luxury hotels and maybe a castle stay with my husband!
Amy Youngblood, Midland Texas (March 2011)
Immediately upon entering the USA, I felt the need to write you regarding our recent tour. My mother, father, husband, and I cannot thank you enough for organizing such a wonderful tour of Ireland. Everything was perfect, including the lodging, choice of towns for our stay, as well as the sights you had scheduled us to see. My God you live in a breathtakingly beautiful country!!! My camera didn’t know which way to point out of the bus. I think it was a general consensus that Dingle was our favorite drive, and Doolin was our favorite little town. Of course, not taking away from all of the other beautiful areas. It was truly a trip of a lifetime, and I cannot thank you enough, again.
This letter would not be complete without telling you what an absolutely fantastic guide we had. I know that selection of these guides is random, however, if you had known me and my family, he was the absolutely most perfect person for us. Paul McGlinchey is an extremely special person. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable about the country he lives in, he is warm, and funny, and an absolute delight to be around. Our trip was truly made more memorable because of him. Too many times, the only feedback people give is negative feedback. I will tell you this trip was just about perfect. You are lucky to have such a wonderful representative of your company.
My sincere thanks and I hope to return to Ireland again.
Pam Ferrante, Sea Girt, NJ (March 2011)
We just got back to the states after a most enjoyable trip to Ireland. We can’t say enough good things about your beautiful country and the wonderful people that we met. The itinerary that you set up with places to see and great B&B accommodations was perfect. We are telling friends and family how great it was and how you made it all so easy.
Already talking about what we want to see when we come again! Thank you.
Kathy and Ken Stevenson, Columbia,South Carolina (Apr 2011)
We have finally arrived home and have recovered from our trip. Gloria is now busy re-arranging photos, a big job after a 6 week trip.
This is just a quick note to let you know what a wonderful time we had in Ireland. All of your arrangements were wonderful and we loved all of the B & Bs.
Bruce & Cathy Chapman, New South Wales, Australia (March 2011)
Everything was perfect. Thank you for your help and patience. We hope to return to Ireland.
Jeff Joslyn, Twin Lake, MI (April 2011)
We are now home after a wonderful trip,and really enjoyed our time in Ireland, so a big thank you to Exploring Vacations and yourself for all your help. All the arrangements went without hitch, with all the bookings and arrangements absolutely trouble free. The itinerary we did (Mystical Ireland) was well planned and paced, and we did just about all we set out to do. We are delighted with the service from Exploring Vacations and would be happy to recommend.
Ian Singleton, Victoria Australia (Feb 2011)
Let’s face it, coach tours can be crowded, cramped and overly commercial. We hate that. Travel with us and you’ll nejoy luxury travel with a smaller group so you can...