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Exploring Vacations Feedback

We frequently receive emails and photographs from clients when they return home. Here are just a few…

From: Monte Humble
Sent: 19 August 2016 15:26
To: Michelle Flynn
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations Confirmed Itinerary for Monte Humble.

Oh Michelle, our Vacation to Ireland was GREAT!!! Wonderful people, B&B’s, hotels, And COUNTRY! AWESOME!! The Itinerary you set up worked Nicely! I have given my friends your name and Exploring Vacations phone Number to set up their vacations. We may be back in a few years…. Thanks for ALL YOUR HELP, Monte Humble



From: Johanna Spangenberg
Sent: 03 July 2016 10:11
To: Cormac Boyle <>
Subject: Re: Travel itinerary confirmation

Hi Cormac, we are having a great time.  Thank you so much for planning such a great trip. The B and B owners have been fabulous! They have all been gracious, entertaining people. Now we are in Killarney with Tiona at Rossarney B and B. She lights up a room with her laughter.

You have a beautiful country with lovely people. We are so glad to be here.

Thank you, Johanna

From: Jennifer Sears
Sent: 01 July 2016 16:05
To: Christine O’Keeffe <>

Good Morning (or I guess it’s good afternoon for you now)!

I just wanted to let you know that my husband, son, and I had a fabulous time exploring Ireland!  Every day, it was a different experience and gave us a true taste of what that beautiful country had to offer. Our only regret is that we didn’t get to linger longer!

Thank you so much for your help and I have friends from work who are planning a vacation there next year and I’m going to pass on your name/company if you don’t mind?  I know they are considering doing it on their own but I had a wonderful experience with letting you guys handle it and I’ll suggest they let you handle theirs as well.

Thank you again!

Jennifer Sears

From: Peggy Good
Sent: 01 July 2016 13:30
To: Gary Gorman <>
Subject: Thank you!


Thank you for such a wonderful trip!! It couldn’t have been better and you made it so much easier for us to see the right things and stay in good places. I think Dingle was a favorite for all and we loved the little shops and side trips we took. The Pub life was delightful! London was great, too.

So, thank you for all your hard work. It paid off for our wonderful vacation!!

Kind regards,


Sent: 27 June 2016 15:00
To: Henry Reilly
Subject: Our Trip to Ireland

We have just returned from our trip.  I wanted to take an opportunity to let you know how much we enjoyed everything and how great the accommodations were.  We had no glitches on any of our Ireland accommodations.

We will recommend your services to any of our friends who might wish to travel to Ireland on a self guided tour.


Bill Dodson

From: Bob and Sue Huddleston
Sent: 25 June 2016 03:07
To: Niall Carroll <>
Subject: Huddleston Experience

Greetings, Niall.  Hope all is well with you and yours.

We’ve just arrived home from our grand Ireland tour, and wanted to thank you for all of your patience, assistance, and honesty in delivering a most memorable vacation.  Everything was as advertised, and it is beyond words how pleased we are that we enlisted in your outstanding package.  The accommodations were unsurpassed, the meals sumptuous, and the scheduled points of interest stops were entertaining and informative.  Your country is historic and gorgeous.  And on top of it all, the Irish football teams are moving on in the European Cup.  What fun it was to see the enthusiasm we saw on every stop.

A special note of commendation to our guide/driver/facilitator Martin O’Kane.  His skill at coordinating all activities and managing a group of strangers to create a harmonious atmosphere are remarkable.  Please convey to whomever appropriate that the trip was greatly enhanced by Martin’s experience and historical knowledge which facilitated at every step.  I feel confident that the entire group shares a similarly high regard for his skills.

Lest we forget, a special note of commendation goes to you.  Thank you for all of your efforts.  Your tour simply can’t be replicated.  We’ll carry this unique experience with us for a lifetime!!

Warmest regards,  Bob and Sue Huddleston

From: Tammy Frazer
Sent: 26 June 2016 11:02
To: Niall Carroll; Jacqueline Jordan
Subject: OUR TRIP

Good Day:

I just wanted you to know that our trip was fabulous.  Muckross Stables was awesome!  Absolutely no complaints from us at all; the place was great! We ended up getting a double ensuite  because some cancelled and I took the little room next to that.  They even gave us a ride into Killarney one night so we could taxi back.   The horseback riding was way fun.  All in all a good trip.  Thanks for a great trip!

From: Donna Koryga
Sent: 22 June 2016 14:55
To: Tina Finnerty <>
Subject: Essence of Ireland June 12-19

Hi Tina, I just wanted to tell you what a FABULOUS time we had on our tour.  Our guide Tom Murphy was fantastic,  the amount of people 13 was great , one couple had to leave the 2nd day for a home emergency. The tours were long but great.  I personally had a tough time with all the walking but everyone was so helpful.  The hotels were all top  notch and food was excellent.  I would HIGHLY recommend Exploring Vacations to any one.  There was only one part of the trip that we all did not like and that was the boat ride on the Coribb Princess.  I wish I could plan another trip but I don’t think I could do another with all the walking.   You were great in helping us plan our trip.  THANKS   DONNA & STAN KORYGA

From: Leslie Eastman
Sent: 20 June 2016 17:20
To: Michelle Flynn
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations

Hi Michelle,

Just wanted to touch base with you, Ireland was fantastic!  All of our accommodations were wonderful, the country is so beautiful and the people were so friendly and welcoming.  We will definitely spend another holiday in Ireland.  Thank you so much for all of your help putting together our itinerary, you did a fantastic job.

From: Claudia Greenwald
Sent: 19 April 2016 20:50
To: Niall Carroll <>
Subject: RE: Hotel

Hi Niall,

We just arrived home from our Scotland vacation.

Oh my gosh!!! You did such a great job picking wonderful places for us to stay. You also picked great towns and locations for us.
Thanks so much!!! We will work with you again and will recommend you to our family and friends.

Alan and Claudia

From: Roy Ellis
Sent: 08 June 2016 16:46
To: Cormac Boyle
Subject: Killarney Vacation

Hi Cormac,

Got back from Ireland yesterday evening and I wanted to let  you know that I had a fabulous vacation. I loved every minute of it, the scenery, the town and the hotel, the latter in every way. The location was perfect. the building it self also and the staff were wonderful. My room was in the front on the second floor where I  could observe the traffic and people as they went about there business and pleasures. It was nice that my nephew and niece were in Killarney also and every day we would drive to one of  the many attractions. One of the wonderful surprises was when one of the receptionist told me about Killarney House which is in the process of rehabilitation.  It has a vast area of lawn  with a pathway which led to the National Park where a walk led me to a small sparkling river with beautiful trees on either side and a pathway for visitors to enjoy the tranquility of it all. it was a photographers paradise.

Thanks Cormac for helping make my stay in Killarney a wonderful one.


From: Bruce C. Wilson
Sent: 14 June 2016 14:10
To: Henry Reilly
Subject: Our Scotland Trip

Hi Henry,

Two days of commuting in traffic to work on the “other side of the road” and it didn’t take long to miss Scotland!  My family had an absolutely awesome time.  The weather was great, the sites and scenery memorable and the people we met, priceless.  You really nailed it with the accommodations.  Each hotel was just a little different and unique in its own way.  We wouldn’t have changed a thing.  My son and I were able to get onto the Old Course on Friday afternoon so it served as a fitting culmination of a great golfing experience together.

We spent the last day in Edinburgh and had a blast.  What a fun town.  We found a cool pub that had two guys singing Scottish Folk songs that included a lot of comic relief as well.  They played for almost 3 hours.  A lot of hiking, eating and beer and the best part was I didn’t gain a pound!

It was a whirlwind trip but we are glad we saw as much as we did and we plan to go back again to spend more time in certain cities, explore more towns and play other courses.  Thank you so much for your input and excellent planning of our trip.  It was one of our best family vacations ever.



From: Roger Spinks
Sent: 15 June 2016 00:31
To: Jameson Brown
Subject: Ireland Vacation


Just dropping in to say “THANK YOU” for the wonderful vacation package you put together for my husband and I.  We landed in Dublin on Tuesday, June 7th. Everyone was so very nice and helpful.  Everywhere we stayed was absolutely beautiful!!!  We drove along the coast for miles and miles. (WOW!!! Driving itself was an adventure…..haha 🙂  The beauty of the Cliffs of Moher are beyond words. And  the Dromoland Castle was magnificent!!!!  The weather was sunny EVERY day!!!

Oh, I could go on and on……….  🙂

Thank you once again for making our dream Vacation & our 30th Anniversary one we will cherish forever.


Debbie Spinks

From: Cathy Williams
Sent: 14 June 2016 21:11
To: Jameson Brown
Subject: Ireland vacation

Hello Jameson,

We have been back a week now from our Ireland vacation and I just wanted to let you know it was fabulous.  Such a lovely country and wonderful, friendly people.  All the B & Bs were great and everyone offered helpful information to make our trip even more special.   The weather certainly cooperated as we only saw a few drops of rain one evening.

There were a few hair raising moments getting to our B & B in Dublin through morning rush hour traffic on the opposite side of the road!

Thank you.

Cathy Williams

From: Roxanne Eby
Sent: 16 June 2016 15:52
To: Gary Gorman <>
Subject: Great trip!

Hi Gary,

We just returned from our family vacation to Ireland and wanted to let you know that we all had a fantastic time!  Ireland is a beautiful country, and I can’t get over just how friendly everyone was.

Thank you so much for working with me on organizing this tour for our family, you were always so patient and helpful with all my questions.

Also, I want to thank our driver James, he was a gem!  James was very accommodating, professional and a very competent drive, everyone trusted and felt at ease with him at the wheel.  He also took care of organizing our check-in at each of  the hotels and attractions, so there were no worries – we could just sit back, relax, and enjoy ourselves!.

I also want to mention that lodging at each location was wonderful, and the complimentary breakfasts offered enough variety to please everyone.

Thanks again from the entire Eby family!

From: Kayleigh Holland
Sent: 01 June 2016 19:28
To: Aoife McCarthy <>
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations- WELCOME

Good afternoon Aoife,

It’s been a few weeks since my trip to scotland and I just wanted to thank you for planning such an amazing trip for us! Every bit of our trip was beautiful and memorable! I wish I could have stayed longer and seen so much more. Everything went so smoothly going from place to place. I will definitely use exploring vacations again and recommend exploring vacations to friends and families.

Again, thank you so much for helping me create this wonderful experience! I look forward to working with you again!

Kayleigh Holland

From: Amy Johnson

Sent: 01 June 2016 22:57

To: Christine O’Keeffe <>

Subject: Thank you!

Hi Chris

Hope you are doing well. This is the first time EVER we have allowed someone else to plan our holiday, so obviously it was a bit of a struggle to let you do your job that you know best. We wanted to tell you and your staff what a fantastic job you all did putting our holiday package together. We loved every second of it. Every B&B and hotel was perfect. We know we made request up to the last minute but you came thru like a champ. We were unaware the “Boss” Bruce Springsteen was going to be in Dublin, plus the big soccer match would be taking place the last weekend there. We were thankful to be staying in Ballsbridge but it explained why it was so difficult to find a hotel in Dublin for that weekend. You did fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!

From: marjorie kane
Sent: 21 May 2016 01:47
To: Christina Johnston <>
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations Vouchers for Marjorie Ellen Kane.

Hi  Christina- just wanted to let you know that the Irish Tour was fantastic and my only complaint was that is was not long enough.

It was everything and more than I expected and I hope God willing that I may visit your beautiful country again- to me it was the next best to heaven. Our tour bus driver Paddy was the best.

All the best-good job well done


Marjorie Kane

From: Lynnette Guthrie
Sent: 23 May 2016 01:07
To: Tina Finnerty <>
Subject: Thank you


We have just returned home from our tour of Britain and Ireland that you put together for us.    Thank you so much for the wonderful planning.     We had a marvellous time on both tours, with connections between tours going smoothly.  The guides were well informed and the accommodations superb.   Even the weather cooperated and only a few days of rain where we had to use our umbrellas!    We will certainly recommend to friends when they are looking for advise on tours of Great Britain and Ireland.  I liked that our groups were small, 24 and 10 respectively so we could get to know everyone in a short time.

Thank you again

Lynnette Guthrie



Sent: 18 May 2016 17:03

To: Gary Gorman <>

Subject: Ireland trip

Hi Gary,

I just wanted to thank you for all your help with our Ireland trip back in March.  You were a great help with all the info and planning. We had a memorable trip that we will never forget.  I hope to be back again with the next few years.  Ireland is a charming beautiful country and makes me proud to be Irish.

Thank you again!

Colleen Wignall

From: Elaine Purdy
Sent: 16 May 2016 23:06
To: Gary Gorman <>
Subject: Fwd: going to the Blarney Stone

Thank you.  We had a fabulous trip – each accommodation was excellent.

The route you put together for us allowed us to see a lot of the country, take in the culture and thoroughly learn to appreciate Ireland for its beauty and its people.

Gratefully yours,


Customer Photo 20

From: Jim Stupka
Sent: 10 May 2016 18:16
Subject: Jim Stupka – Italy Vacation

Exploring Vacations,

I wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had in Italy.  Your reservations were great.  Our first night at the Hotel New York in Milan was a great way to recover from jet lag.  We had fun walking around northern Milan and enjoying the sites and food.

Our room at the Hotel Barchetta Excelsior in Como was also great.  Having the room with a balcony facing the lake was exactly what we needed.

The Gibarti Hotel in Verona was also excellent.  We were close to the old city and were able to catch an opera and the tour buses very easily.

Venice is a wonderful place.  The Bonvecchiati Hotel staff were great to help us get around.  Having the gondola tours right outside the front door was wonderful.  And, having the San Marco that close was fun, too.

Lastly, the Brunelleschi Hotel.  The room was great, the staff were wonderful, the Duomo was great to visit.

The trip was wonderful and we will book with you again, next year.

Have a great summer.

Jim Stupka

From: jaime powers
Sent: 10 May 2016 17:59
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations

My wife and I really appreciate the work Exploring Vacations (notably, Aoife McCarthy) did putting our trip around Ireland in March 2016 together.  We will, without a doubt, use Exploring Vacations whenever travelling to a country in which you operate, and will not hesitate to recommend you to others.  You guys had us in great hotels / BnBs, and we are thankful for you putting your insight of Ireland to work for us and planning a wonderful and memorable trip.

Thanks again,

Jaime and Jill

From: Larry Clark
Sent: 04 August 2015 15:50
To: Denise Callinan
Subject: Thanks…


We have returned from our trip and we all had a great time.  Thanks for your help, it all seemed to work out fine, even with the occasional flat tire.  Ireland is a fun place, from what I have seen my next trip will be west and north.   I made a video, its long so watch when you are bored.


Larry Clark

From: Dennis Malcomb
Sent: 12 April 2016 22:30
To: Henry Reilly
Subject: RE: Ireland Trip

Hello Henry,

Just wanted to take this time and say… “Thank you.The Family loved the trip to Ireland!”
Thank you for what was offered, the stops and the Hotels!  Hotels were awesome, breakfasts were huge… and just being in Ireland was so amazing!

We most of all felt out guide “Patrick” was exceptional with his knowledge as well as his humor!!  We could not have asked for a better guide!

Realizing we came during the rainy season (which I think is year round… 🙂 )… we felt we were blessed, since it seemed that every time
we exited the bus for tours or any stops…. we were fortunate with no rain and even sunshine!

Thanks again for your patience and we are very happy we chose Exploring Vacations!!

We will always have great memories of Ireland and who knows…. we may have to return again in the future!!

The Malcomb Gang!
From: MarvinJohnson
Sent: 13 April 2016 09:42
To: Shane Thomas
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations

We are finishing up our holiday now sitting in the airport waiting for our flight to Canada.

I would like to thank you and your team for an unforgettable vacation. We seen more castles and churches then expected.

Cliffs of moher were great and also the burren.

The B&B’s were all great with great staff and owners.

Loved walking around the small towns.

The only problem we had was the gps in northern Ireland. Didn’t work very good .(Likely the operators). But after getting back into the main part of Ireland it was fine.

Thanks again for everything. Marvin&Kelly Johnson


Sent: 09 April 2016 02:34
To: Niall Carroll <>
Subject: Holiday in Ireland – March 2016

Dear Niall,

Gosh! What fun!! Russell & I had a wonderful holiday. Pearse is an absolute charm! A real treasure.

He made our travels go off effortlessly. No problems. We enjoyed his company and all his talent as well as the historic information on Ireland.

He was great in being very patient and helpful with Seniors. Especially with the slow pace that seniors move at

We enjoyed the Irish countryside, the castles, the cathedrals, the cliffs, the clints, the Irish folk we met

and of course the food in Ireland was absolutely divine! The scenery was truly awesome!

Again – Thank You!




Customer Photo

From: Donna Ray
Sent: 04 April 2016 00:20
To: Christina Johnston <>
Subject: Re: Hotel

Hi Christina,

We just got back from Ireland and I wanted to thank you for sending us to the best locations and accommodations. We really enjoyed ourselves and have great memories of the trip.

Thank you again,

Donna Ray

From: Claire Toutant
Sent: 25 March 2016 18:44
To: Laila Tamosune
Subject: Thanks

We are back from our trip and want to thank you for arranging a wonderful experience.  We did everything we wanted.  John Daly was a gem.

He was very flexible and considerate, especially with the physical limits of my friend.

Thanks for all your help.

Customer Photo 2

From: Laura Marie
Sent: 15 March 2016 00:52
To: Gary Gorman <>
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations Vouchers for Laura Ibrahim.

Greetings Gary,

Our holiday was incredible,  I wanted to thank you a million. I will be back with the girls, it’s a promise. So, just know that I will be in touch.

I hope all is well with you.


* The Ashling Hotel in Dublin was great – very nice room, friendly staff. We were in a bit of a funk because of flight delays – we ended up getting into Dublin around 4:00pm instead of 6:00am, which meant we missed out on the things we wanted to do in Dublin. Still, the hotel was nice, and we were able to explore the Temple Bar area.

* The Ambassador Hotel in Cork was fun. The room had a lot of character, and the staff in the pub were phenomenal! One of the servers sat down with us and recommended a brand of cider to drink, and told a tale of how drunk she had gotten on that cider the night before.  🙂

* Oh, one important point: The Ambassador is HAUNTED!!! I don’t believe in the supernatural, and I definitely don’t believe in ghosts. But there was a presence in that hotel that did not want me there. Soooo creepy!

* The Killarney International was amazing! It was hands-down the nicest hotel we stayed in. Very elegant, the room was incredible, the food and drinks in the restaurant were fantastic. The International was fantastic! I just wish that we had known that there is no parking at all – the concierge guided us to a parking garage that ended up being no charge, but still, it was odd…

Anyway, it was fantastic, and Erin *loved* it! It was the perfect birthday present. Thank you so much for making this happen!


26 – 11 – 16


In preparing for our 15 night trip to Ireland, “do we use a tour company or go the do it yourself route”? After looking at so many reviews we decided upon Exploring Vacations (EV). We were not disappointed! Amy O’Kane was our contact who provided us with initial information & it was she who cemented us to EV. For the remainder of our planning stage(s), we were so blessed to have Niall Carroll as our trip coordinator. Niall took our thoughts & wishes – reviewed them & either agreed with them or suggested a possible alternative but always with our decided wishes coming first. Niall was always there for us with information on sites, routes, towns, etc.

Every hotel & B&B we stayed in was so much more than we expected. Accommodations & food provided at each location was superb!

Thank you Niall & Exploring Vacations. We will recommend EV to anyone we know thinking of travelling to Ireland.

Lois & Bob Cooney, Ottawa, ON Canada

Customer Photo 3

To: Jameson Brown
Subject: 4 Chaps at Jameson

Hi Jameson,

Thought you would like to see a picture of the four of us who traveled to Ireland last week. Again thanks for all you did for us, everything was perfect.

Bill White

Customer Photo 4


From: Evan Dixon

Sent: 16 November 2015 23:05

To: Ciara Connolly

Subject: Re: Dixon travel

Hi Ciara,

We are finally home arriving yesterday from our trip.  It only seems like yesterday we were arriving in Ireland to proceed with our Irish trip.  Thanks to you and your team for organising the trip and sorting the hertz Car.  We thoroughly enjoyed travelling around your country, thought it was just delightful.

May have to visit one day again!!

Once again, thanks.


Lynda Dixon


From: Fred Weber
Sent: 11 November 2015 22:41
To: Natasha Reilly
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations

Hi Natasha,

Judy and I are having the time of our lives.  Saturday we’ll be taking the Picadilly Line to Heathrow and flying home.

If we had to do it over we would spend 1 more day in Edinburgh and 1 less day in London.

Our favorite hotel by far is the Bloomsbury Park. Great location, cozy room and helpful staff.

Our least favorite  was the Frederick House.  Lift was out of order, breakfast was across the street at Rick’s and was so so.

Randolph MacDonald was gorgeous, but still under renovation.  The Tower Hotel was fine, but a little too vanilla for us.

Our next big trip will be to South America  in a year or 2.  If your agency books travel there we’d be happy to use you.

Thanks for your hard work.

Fred and Judy

PS – The football match was a blast.  Our seats were in the second row, about 10 feet from the action.

From: Ali Glasgow

Sent: 11 November 2015 13:29

To: Ciara Connolly

Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations

Hi Ciara and Holly

thank you both for your fantastic and professional support and guidance throughout our hoiliday. It has enabled us to traverse through the complexities with the minimum of stress. I woudlo certainly use your company again if we are ever going to travel to Ireland and theUK.

Kind regards

Ali and Bruce Glasgow

Customer Photo 5



Nial, I am so bad at doing what should have been done a long time ago. That is to thank you again for one of the greatest trips of a lifetime. The itinerary you put together for Bob and I touring Ireland was so wonderful. The things we saw; the people we met; driving the almost impossibly narrow roads and lanes on (for us) the wrong side of the roads are memories and experiences not soon forgotten.  The colours of the green pastures against the blue of the sea with the white sheep and the dappled horses near gray castles and cemeteries were a pallet  so intense as to boggle the mind. Sipping Guinness at St James Gate; being in a tasting contest at Jameson (JJ&S); and seeing the stunning crystal offerings at Waterford put us in a world not often shared in this fast paced world..

I would personally  like to thank all the wonderful and caring hosts and hostesses around Ireland who opened their houses to us while we were there.

We would especially like to thank the people of Wicklow and our hosts at Stoops Guest House. We arrived in Wicklow after dark and got lost trying to find the guest house. As it turned out the guest house was not hard to find. We just didn’t know the area and were driving on the opposite side of the road. I finally flagged down a couple who not only gave us directions but said “Follow us”. They led us right to Stoops Guest House. Once there we found a modern wooden house almost like an alpine chateau. They had been waiting for us even though we were late arriving. They offered us Ice for a cocktail which we badly needed by that point. The house was a good location for exploring the eastern side of Ireland. From here we explored Dublin and its many sites. As previously mentioned, one of our sites was the Guinness factory and museum. At the end of the tour the offered each adult a free pint of stout. You would be surprised how many non drinkers there were on our tour and how happy they seamed to offer us their pint. We quit after about five or six each. Stoops was also our jumping off point for the Waterford Crystal factory. No free samples here!  We would again like to thank Stoops Guest House for their hospitality and recommend it highly to any wanting to explore the eastern side of Ireland.

We certainly wish to thank our consultant Nial and the staff of Exploring Vacations for making this an exceptional vacation.

John Cochran/ Robert Haley


From: barry kimmel
Sent: 09 November 2015 17:00
To: Shane Thomas
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations

Hello Shane

A little belated I want to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed our Ireland/Scotland tour.  Other than being severely challenged with driving in the big cities we did all right with left side driving, even down some very narrow roads.  I doubt that we would have survived the trip without GPS.  We did have a bit of a problem in Scotland  when Hertz claimed they had no record of your reserving a GPS unit for us.  I showed the desk person copy of the statement I received from your office indicating a GPS was included for our Scotland car rental.  Anyway, we were given an up grade auto at no charge that was equipped with GPS.  The weather was absolutely great during our trip.


From: Ted Gibbon
Sent: 09 November 2015 18:21
To: Henry Reilly
Subject: Exploring Vacations – Ted Gibbon

Henry, sorry to have taken so long to let you know how much Patricia and I enjoyed our tour of Ireland. Part of the delay was due to a severe case of jet lag (the 32 hour trip back to western Canada was a killer) and part due to family commitments.

The hotel arrangements you made for us for the two days preceding the tour were perfect. The O’Callaghan Hotel was well located and very accommodating. I would suggest you not advise people arriving off a long flight to use the travel voucher. The bus was packed and the drop off point was quite a distance from the hotel. Through good luck we were able to flag down a taxi and he took us to our destination. We exited the bus in such a hurry that we left a bag behind and the driver wasn’t pleased about having to let me back on to retrieve it. That said the friendliness we encountered by all made up for any frustration. Ireland lived up to its’ reputation for good humour and friendliness throughout our visit

What can we say about the tour other than it was outstanding!! Tom Murphy is an incredible driver, guide & host. He is the epitome of Irish hospitality ,story telling and entertainment. He must be one of your finest employees!! While all the places we visited were memorable perhaps the most enduring memory will be the brief encounter with Marty Milligan in the very centre of Ireland. What a delightful entertainer he is. Just mentioning his name makes both of us laugh and reminisce.

The itinerary was well thought out and Tom made every leg of the journey a delightful learning experience. Was he a history teacher before joining the tour business? We were blessed with great weather and of course the size of the group made all aspects of travel  comfortable and easy to manage. Probably didn’t do much for the company’s bottom line though.

In summary, the “Rambler” was a wonderful experience and we look forward to travelling with Exploring Vacations in the future.

Finally Henry, thanks for your attention to detail and effort in accommodating our requirements. Please pass on our special greetings and thanks to Tom Murphy.

Ted Gibbon, Patricia Morris.

Customer Photo 6

From: Bob Carman
Sent: 05 November 2015 18:50
To: Henry Reilly; Anne Marie Connolly
Subject: Outstanding Vacation

Henry and Anne,

I wanted to send a few words of thanks from my wife and myself for an absolutely wonderful vacation.  Our tour of Ireland couldn’t have been much better.  Every one of our accommodations were magnificent, just what we were looking for when we booked this trip.

Of the hotels you booked for, the castles were the tops, with Ballyseede Castle being the tops.  Researching the lodging you booked for us ahead of time, I had been a little concerned after reading some of the reviews of Barberstown Castle, but found it extremely nice.  Perhaps they have had a change of hands, because we found none of the rude staff described in some reviews.  I’m not sure if it was because of the time of year or day of week, but there were only 5 rooms occupied.  I hope they are successful.

A few comments that might have further improved an already great vacation:

  1. Would have liked an extra day in a few places.  We arrived in Dublin after an 8 hour flight that neither of us slept on.  After making a wrong turn or two in driving from the airport to the Ashling, all we could do on our arrival was sleep.  We did come back into Dublin during our stay at the Barberstown, but would have liked more.
  2. Same thing applies for Cork.  We went the slow way, via the coast from Waterford to Cork and arrived in Cork, to late to do any sightseeing.
  3. Cong – The Lodge at Ashford Castle offers so much that we didn’t have time for.
  4. The River Lee Hotel was grand, and included free parking.  The Ashling was nice, but charged 10 Euro to park.  Seems it should be included in a self drive tour.

Thanks again for planning such a great holiday, and putting up with many changes from me.

If anyone asks for a reference, be free to share my email address.

Bob Carman

From: Grey castles
Sent: 05 November 2015 01:18
To: Michelle Flynn
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations – Not Long Until your Vacation

Hi Michelle ,  I just wanted to send you a quick email and say thank you for setting up such a wonderful trip for us. It was truly a beautiful and phenomenal experience. Far exceeded any expectations I had.  All of the places you planned for us were a pleasure to stay at. Particularly the harbor view inn in Doolin,  the owner was so sweet and she took excellent care of us. Although our favorite was with Brendan in Wicklow on our first night.  He was a most gracious host and the room was quiet and comfortable.  Also, He had the best Irish breakfast we had the entire trip! We saw so much of your wonderful country and it was my trip of a life time. Memories I will carry with me always. Thank you for making that dream a reality.

Shawn Gallaher

From: Galbreath, Wendy (MSP)

Sent: 04 November 2015 19:25

To: Natasha Reilly

Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations

Hi Natasha.  Long time, no talk 🙂  So I’ve been really busy since my return, but I wanted to make sure I sent you my testimonial in hopes you can use it to help promote you and Exploring Vacations!  Per Gary’s message below, if I sent it to you, you could do with it what you want.  So here it goes… (if it’s too long, please feel free to edit)

We just spent the best 10 days of our lives in Ireland thanks to Natasha at Exploring Vacations!  After deciding to “check the box” on one of our bucket list vacation locations, we began researching travel agencies and came upon Exploring Vacations online.  After reading all the positive reviews, I signed up to receive their newsletter when one day I was sent an email indicating that if I booked by the end of the month, I would receive a 30% discount.  This sounded good, but from what I could see, most of the vacations were tours with a bunch of strangers.  I asked if we could have a tour designed just for the 4 of us and we would drive ourselves.  I received a prompt reply indicating that this was no problem.  Within minutes I had a full itinerary with all my requests met.  I booked immediately.

Our first stop was supposed to be Dublin at the Ashling Hotel, unfortunately our flights delayed us a day.  I emailed Natasha to let her know of our delay, I was angry and frustrated and she seemed to share in my frustrations for my sake, because she knew how much I was looking forward to it.  She stayed in contact with me until I arrived.  So our first stay was in Blarney at the Killarney House B&B.  This was a beautiful B&B, on a beautiful piece of property within walking distance to town and to the infamous Blarney Castle.  We spent 2 nights here and enjoyed every minute with one full day at the castle.  Our hosts were courteous and provided us privacy and some great advice on things to do and see on our Ireland vacation.  We truly appreciated their hospitality.  Breakfast was delicious as well! This was our first introduction to a bed and breakfast and we were very impressed.

We then went to Killarney for a couple of nights.  We stayed at the International Hotel and Marie was an amazing help to us.  She pointed us in the direction of a wonderful Dingle Peninsula Tour company in town. Our tour guide, Ray Furlong, was awesome!  It was worth every penny.

We headed north to Doolin and stayed at Nellie Dee’s.  Another wonderful B&B.  Jimmy introduced us to Rugby!  Our new favorite sport!  We took the boat tour of the Cliffs of Moher, the next day we hiked across the rim, 6.5 miles, worth every inch! And the next day as we headed to Galway, we stopped for our helicopter tour that Natasha scheduled for us with Executive Helicopter Tours, over the Cliffs of Moher.  AMAZING!  The most beautiful way to see the cliffs!  (picture attached)

After an evening in Galway at the Harbour Hotel, a very nice city, very busy and lots to do, we headed to what was the highlight of the trip for us.  A stay at a real castle!  This was something that was very important to us and I expressed this to Natasha.  Boy did she deliver!  The Ballynahinch Castle is a trip back in time!  We hiked for miles on the beautiful property.  What an awesome experience!  Natasha told the innkeeper that it was my husband’s birthday, because as soon as we came in, they wished him a Happy Birthday.  It was a very nice touch.  Michael, their bar manager was another great instructor for Rugby as well.  Now I wish we could get it in the states.

Finally, our last stay was at the Finnstown Castle Hotel in Dublin.  This was a great location, a bus ride away from the city center.

I would HIGHLY recommend Exploring Vacations!  Ask for Natasha.  She was answering a bunch of really dumb questions from me as I was nervous hiring a company I found online with no personal recommendations.  She made me feel at ease and remained available to me throughout my vacation.  At one point I was having difficulty finding the heliport, she remained next to her computer for my updates and asked for a status update when I landed.  She truly cared about our experience.  My husband (Greg) indicated that he was so very impressed with how coordinated the trip was.  He felt (as we all did) that she hit the nail on the head in giving us a flavor of every aspect of life in Ireland.  It was a sad day the day we had to leave.  There is so much left unseen.  We will be back Ireland and we will be using Exploring Vacations!

Greg & Wendy Galbreath and Scott & Dawn Brinningstaull (October 2015)

NOTE to Natasha:  I have a lot of pictures, if you need any more, let me know what kind you are looking for.

Thanks again Natasha!  I really cannot express our gratitude.  It was a trip of a lifetime!


Customer Photo 7

Customer Photo 8

From: Joan Tresco
Sent: 03 November 2015 23:23
To: Aisling Fay
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations – Joan Tresco

Hi Aisling,

I just wanted to let you know that everything was wonderful! We had a wonderful time and all worked out beautifully. We did make it to Leap Castle. I didn’t find one person in Ireland who wasn’t helpful and friendly. Thanks so much.

Oh we did have one little glitch. The hop on/hop off tickets didn’t have a company on them so the green bus sent us to the red bus and then back again. The green bus gave us tickets and said he would check when he got back and it if it wasn’t ok, he would know for next time. This would never happen in America.

From: Katie Metzger
Sent: 03 November 2015 04:41
To: Laila Tamosune <>
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations Receipt

We just got home last night and I want to thank you for all of your help in making our stay in Ireland wonderful.  Every accommodation was great. We enjoyed every stop along the way and John, our driver made our trip even better.  Thank you for advising us to get a driver to maximize our time in Ireland.  Katie

03 – 11 – 2015

Mark Stephens




Customer Photo 10

Customer Photo 9

Sent: 01 November 2015 20:30
To: Cormac Boyle <>
Subject: Sunday Afternoon

Hi Cormac

Best trip ever!  Even stumbled on BYRNE restaurant and Townhouse in Ennistymon .  I think  Conor  BYRNE resembles me  :-). Everything was perfect.  Great job.  I’m coming back.  And Pauline loved the trip too !

Thank you


From: Emily
Sent: 28 October 2015 01:19
To: Denise Callinan
Subject: Ireland Trip Oct. 2015 Review

Good Afternoon from Oregon!

First I would like to apologize for how long it has taken me to email you! We have been so busy since we got back from our trip last week that I hadn’t gotten a moment to express my sincere thanks.

Not only did we fall in love with Ireland from the moment we stepped off the plane, but we are already talking about coming back. You and your company did a perfect job explaining everything to me and answering all of my questions (which I know was a lot) and planned and scheduled a perfect trip for us. Each and every B&B was so welcoming and wonderful to us, and all located practically right next to what we were interested in seeing! I couldn’t have imagined a more flawless trip, nor do I have one sour moment from emailing you a year ago explaining my interest until now! I appreciate what you did from day one, especially being there for us in the middle of Ireland when our phones wouldn’t work. It was a breathe of fresh air and SO hard to leave your beautiful country.

I have not only written up great reviews on our B&B’s on Trip Advisor, but also suggested your travel company to family and friends back at home. When we go to Ireland next, we will not hesitate to call on you.

I could go on and on, but I will keep it short and write thank you, for everything, a thousand times over!

Emily Hoffert

Customer Photo 14

From: Emily Ginn
Sent: 27 October 2015 15:06
To: Natasha Reilly
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations

Hi Natasha

Thank you so much for planning a great trip for us and SO last minute!!!! You were wonderful and so understand. Especially with our silly frozen Visa cards.

We loved Kinsale especially. Very special little town. We then went on to Brugge Belgium which is phenomenal and a must see. Now we are in Amsterdam for a few days until we head back to Ottawa Canada.

Ottawa would love to have you visit! Canada is a great place…. Just not any time in the next 6 months unless you want freezing cold and 5 feet of snow!

Thanks again, we had such a memorable experience and loved Ireland so much.

Take care

Emily and Jacob

From: Heather [
Sent: 27 October 2015 14:11
To: Laila Tamosune <>
Cc: Heather Barber
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations

Hi Laila:  Back from our fabulous trip to Ireland. Had  a fantastic time.  B&B’s were all very nice.  Now I understand why stayed there instead of hotels, since hardly any ! Car was fine. Thank goodness for GPS though but we managed. Saw quite a lot of sights suggested in each city and just took time to explore a little on our own. A wonderful trip and we’d definitely go back and  book thru you. Really enjoyed the last night in Barberstown Castle. A beautiful place with great food. Thanks again for all your planning.


Sent from my iPad

From: Kenny McFarland
Sent: 27 October 2015 01:34
To: Lorraine Sinnott <>
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations


My wife and I would like to thank you for the exceptional work you did booking accommodations for our trip to Scotland and Ireland. Each of places we stayed were excellent and added greatly to our adventure. We will always remember this trip as being a wonderful experience. We would never have been able to find most of the great places we stayed without your help. We did on a few occasions visit with other people traveling that were envious when we told them about our experiences. As you are very aware the places you stay, dine and people you meet have a great influence on the travelling experience.

I would without any reservation recommend anyone travelling there to use your services.

Thank You so much,


From: Pam Jacobus
Sent: 26 October 2015 03:42
To: Jacqueline Jordan <>
Subject: My Trip

HI Jacqueline I hope you remember me..I was booked on a Rambler tour the week of Sept 28, 2015.  Since I haven’t heard from you regarding my trip, I thought I’d drop you a note. I had the best time. What an awesome tour. I know we had a small group 7, but we had the best time. I would like to know how to contact Tom Murphy, our tour guide, bus driver, historian, listener, luggage handler…what a great person, and I miss his stories and travels around Ireland. I am so looking forward to planning another trip back. I’ve passed on your company’s info to several friends so I hope they book with you. Thank You again for all your  patience, kindness and efficiency.


Cusotmer Photo 15 Customer Photo 16

From: Ian & Sue Buchanan
Sent: 23 October 2015 18:04
To: Jacqueline Jordan
Subject: trip

Hello Jacqueline,

Just finished our 10 day tour of Ireland with Martin and wanted to pass along our appreciation and complete satisfaction.

This was our first actual tour that we have done with other people and on a bus. We couldn’t have been more pleased. It was a concern initially if we would like a bus tour but starting out the first day Martin put everything at ease and made it enjoyable.

From that point forward everything went uphill!!

The tour itself was astonishing. The views, the accommodations, the food, and the company couldn’t have been better.

I do have to mention – sleeping in castles – WOW! What a thrill coming up the driveways coming face to face where we will be staying for the night removed the thought of living out of a suitcase for 10 days.

The food at every stop was on time and without compromise. Very professional in every aspect.

Martin had to be the best driver i have seen in a while. Small roads and a large bus could be a problem but it was not. How comforting it is when you can put your well being in a driver for the complete tour.

I do work in the driving industry and can appreciate a well trained driver with a personality that goes along with his complete professionalism.

If only all drivers were like Martin there would be less problems on the highways! Nice that other people have a sense of humour to!

You can bet anyone we talk to will be told how well we were treated and recommendations to use your business will be passed along without a thought.

Please pass along our appreciation to everyone and especially Martin who went above and beyond to make our vacation spectacular.

Thank You!!!

Ian & Susan Buchanan
“If you do what you need, you’re surviving – If you do what you want, you’re living”


From: Alyson Fischer

Sent: 24 October 2015 15:17

To: Aoife McCarthy <>

Subject: Vacation

Hi Aoife!

OMG what an AMAZING country you live in! I had the time of my life. From the scenery, to the people, to the food and drink. I want to move there! I woke up yesterday very sad that I was back home and not in the beautiful country of Ireland. My next trip will be a driving tour of Ireland and Scotland – this will be very far in the future though. Killarney was my favourite. I went to a lot of pubs and had a wonderful time just walking around. The music is amazing! I left my heart there, so I must return to get it back.

Thank you so much for helping me organize this trip in so little time. Can’t believe I travelled alone! I feel like a different person.

I will recommend Exploring Vacations and CIE to anyone I know planning a European vacation. Our tour guide, Tony, was great!

Cheers! 🍻🍀


Customer Photo 17

From: Dennis or Carol MUNN
Sent: 25 October 2015 19:16
To: Lorraine Sinnott <>
Subject: RE: Exploring Vacations

Just a note to say “thanks” – everything worked out perfectly!  Ireland is spectacular.


Dennis and Carol Munn

From: Sent: 25 October 2015 18:28
To: Michelle Flynn
Subject: Mistretta Vacation


I am finally getting a minute to write you and Exploring Vacations a Thank You note !  We didn’t get home until Oct 8th as we decided to fly over to Scotland for a visit—since we were so close—and then there has been all the unpacking to do.  BUT—-Thank You and Thank You again for a Wonderful Vacation Experience.  We loved all the places that you chose for us to stay and especially Adare Manor !!!  When Dick and I drove up to the gate and saw the gatekeeper dressed in a Top Hat we just started to grin and wondered what was next. THEN as we approached the manor our jaws dropped !!  Oh My Goodness —-What a Place !  The concierge…the rooms…the robes..the slippers…Just Everything to make it almost Magical.  We were truly Lord Richard and Lady Sharon for a Day.

Back at the Downhill House we were talking with the waitor at breakfast and told him that I had traced my ancestors to County Mayo and Kilcummin. He told us to just “stop and ask a man a tractor” to see if he knew anyone with the ‘Cooligan’ last name. We DID and found a Mr. Michael Forde that knew where one of the families had lived back in 1956 !!  He even took us to Lacken Cemetery to look at the gravestones.  Plus we stopped at John Lynn and Sons Pub in Killala that he told us had been owned by Martin Cooligan in that year. We talked to the current owner and it had been………….It was just surreal.

We also visited the The Mayo Heritage Center that has a Library room dedicated to a distant cousin Don McLane (he is from Peter Cooligan and I am from Phillip the 2-brothers that came to the USA in 1835)

We learned a lot from Larry at the Kilbrack House, too.  That was a very enjoyable stay. Such a comfortable place. He told us all the places to stop at from Galway to Limerick.  I bought Burren Perfume…And the Food……………  I could go on and on. I have over 1100 pictures to sort through.

Plus I gave your website and name to the Walmart cashier when we got to talking and she said her daughter wanted to go to Ireland. LOL

So glad I saw your online ad way back in 2014….

Sharon and Dick Mistretta

Livonia, NY

From: Susan Jacob

Sent: 23 October 2015 15:58

To: Ciara Connolly

Subject: Review

Ciara, hello.. I finally have gotten round to a review.  Thanks for posting it

“We were blessed to have found Exploring Vacations for our travel needs in Ireland.  They did everything!  Lodging, tours, Driver…

Because we scheduled late we had to take what was available when it came to lodging.  All were acceptable, tours were grand and amazing!  But without a doubt our Driver, Jonathan Normoyle, made our trip.  What can I say.. As we were spending 7 days with Jonathan we were a little anxious as to whether or not it would be a ‘fit’.  By end of tour we wanted to ADOPT him.  He was fabulous.  Professional, informative, flexible, engaging and funny.  We had a blast because of him.

He is a part of our Ireland story.  Everyone we know has heard something about him.  An all-around great guy!  if using Exploring Vacations, and I highly recommend them, ask for Jonathan as you will not be disappointed.”

Susan Jacob

Traveled September, 2015

Customer Photo 18

From: Bob Harris
Sent: 20 October 2015 20:01
To: Laila Tamosune <>
Subject: Re: Exploring Vacations


I have to say our Ireland trip was absolutely grand!  Everything worked out perfectly, even the weather couldn’t have been better.

My warmest thanks for helping set up possibly the best holiday I’ve ever taken, all of the people and B & B’s were lovely.


From: Terry9491

Sent: 15 October 2015 14:36

Subject: Letter of Appreciation

I want to express my appreciation to Exploring Vacations and Enfield Coaches and especially Matt Ward  for a fantastic visit to Ireland.  I was with a group of 8 members (Bartlett) who took the tour of Southern Ireland.  We all came to the conclusion the trip exceeded our expectation.  All the places we visited and the people who told us about the places were just wonderful.  Marty Mulligan needs special attention as his love of country and his knowledge of Ireland and Mullingar was  special.  We were impressed with every place visited.  How friendly everyone was and it made this trip so special in so many ways.

Matt Ward was our driver and tour guide.  We found him to be very professional, knowledgeable, humorous and having a love of Ireland that showed throughout our 7 days with him.  His knowledge was not just about the places we visited but about Ireland both young and old. He became a friend.  I sat with Matt for a bit when Kerry and Dublin played in the finals.  His team won (Dublin) and it was nice to see his fantastic smile.  I might add his smile is contagious as we smiled every minute we shared with him.  He made everyone smile on this tour.  Evenings at dinner were great as he shared himself with all of us.

In conclusion I would suggest you clone him as he was simple fantastic and made this trip just so wonderful.   We could not ask for a better driver, tour guide and now a friend.  Should we visit again to see Northern Ireland we would request Matt.

Thank you Matt for making this trip wonderful for all of us.

Thank You,

Terry&Theresa Armstrong

Customer Photo 19

From: Chris Hickey
Sent: 14 October 2015 17:33
To: Ciara Connolly
Subject: RE: voucher + itinary


Just wanted to let you know my wife and I had an amazing time in Ireland, you truly have one of the most beautiful places on earth! Thanks for all that you did.



From: Dave Gleason
Sent: 11 October 2015 18:14
To: Yvonne Ganly
Subject: Rating our Irish Bed & Breakfasts

Yvonne !

Don’t know if this will help but for what it is worth, here is our evaluation of our Irish B & B’s.

Waterloo House (Dublin) – We really enjoyed Waterloo House. It was situated in a nice upscale part of the city. We loved the building itself. It was close to a few fine pubs (important during our recovery from “jet lag”), and Evelyn and her staff were very helpful.

Mena House was a bit of a disappointment. Katherine was a big help with directions, but the room itself did not have any charm. We liked her garden. We needed a couple of things later in the evening (water & a fan) which were not available.

Harbour Crest was nice.The property was beautiful and Nan was a sweet lady. The room itself was neat and clean but again it lacked any special touches. Enjoyed our dinner @ the Pink Elephant.

Chelmsford House was in a really nice neighborhood and the room was nice.The front yard was beautiful. Louise was friendly and very helpful. Breakfast was particularly good. We did a lot of neat stuff during our 2 day stay. The music and the locals @ Kean’s Pub were spectacular (one of the real highlights of our trip).

Harbour View was not our favorite place. The room was nothing special and the young host Amy had an “attitude”. Music was good and our ferry trip to the Aron Islands and the Ciffs of Moher was memorable, although it was a very rough ride !

Abbey Lee was our favorite B & B. We loved Mike and Marie (Mike was the most engaging of all the men we met @ B & B’s along the way) Nice room – nice garden- good breakfast ! Really good food in the evenings and great music

Glenderan B & B. Really nice location, with wonderful view ! Lots of animals (Horses and dogs) on the site. Ann was nice and very helpful. Nice dinner (Mango’s) and great music !

Ardlenagh View was very nice. Great bathroom ! Eileen was very attentive. Good breakfast !

Dunadry Hotel – Dated Hotel – really long walk to our room – very nice dinner at the hotel and the music was good !!

Dunboyne Castle – Great way to end our stay- First class accommodations-We loved it !! We were ready to be pampered………….

Overall impression – In the US Bed & Breakfasts, at least the ones we have stayed @ (Sante Fe, NM/Jackson Hole, Wyo/etc) were very upscale – a step above most hotels – But, to be honest, we paid premium rates too. In Ireland, B & B’s are more modest, much more focused on hospitality, rather than all the “bells and whistles”. We almost felt like we were actually staying in someone’s home (in a spare bedroom and that was a good thing in most cases).

Hope you don’t mind us sharing our impressions (2 senior citizens who don’t travel a lot in the US, and have never been overseas before………..)

Next chapter – “Traveling by car in Ireland”

Thanks !


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