We all had a fantastic time in Ireland. Mark was personable, knowledgeable, punctual, accommodating, and made our holiday most enjoyable. If he didn’t know something, he would find out. We did most things that you suggested on the itinerary. All of the accommodations selected were very good. We all liked the variety of accommodations as well. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say the Sandhouse. We dined there as well and the lamb shank was superb! To have the ocean front rooms was a bonus and to hear the sound of the ocean was so soothing. Wish we had more time there! Fairview Guest house in Killarney was also lovely. Great location! The Abbeyglen castle was unique and loved the close proximity to Clifden. We walked into the village easily and had dinner. The Europa in Belfast sure has some history doesn’t it? The rooms there were a bit on the small side but not a problem at all. Again, an excellent location to walk everywhere. We were fortunate to be able to go to the local market which is only open on weekends!! Loved the Ashling. So very convenient to everything! The Clarion in Cork was also in a great location. We just needed more time to explore but I bet you get that feedback from many others. The weather at Cliffs of Moher did not co-operate for us so were unable to see them. We substituted the Ring of Kerry for Dingle peninsula instead and glad that we did. The weather on that day was not good as well. The weather did co-operate for us to take the ferry over to Innishmore and spend the day. We rented bikes and really enjoyed exploring the island. We had enough time to have a late lunch and do a bit of shopping. Wished we could have spent time in Galway but there wasn’t enough time to do both. All in all, a most memorable vacation was had by all. Thank you for all of your help in making it all happen!
Buffy Robblee, AB
We have taken a week after returning from Ireland to catch our breath and relive the trip of a lifetime! We are so thrilled that everything was just about perfect. Our driver, Dave Costello was a gem. He was a great guy, historian, gentleman, laughed, told jokes, played music appropriate to our location and couldn’t have been a better fit for my husband and I. While at Ashford we opted to eat in the main dining room. Wonderful. They even supplied a jacket for my husband to wear. Thank you for helping us plan this incredible vacation.
Maryann Donovan, PA
We had a fabulous time in Ireland. Shamrock Vacations planned a very nice trip for us. I do have a number of comments I would like to share with you. First and foremost, Des Murphy, our driver, was the single most important factor in making our trip as good as it was. He was knowledgeable, funny, and went out of his way to help us and encourage all the right stops. He figured out what we wanted to do very quickly and made sure we saw things not in the guide book but that would make our trip special. He took very good care of my Mom. We genuinely enjoyed his company and felt well cared for. He took us to some nice Irish restaurants and recommended some castles and activities that we would not have seen. Ashford Castle was one such stop where we did falconry! Fabulous. The driver who took us to our first hotel and back to the airport was also wonderful. He was on time and pointed out sights to us and gave us some history. The people were just great. We loved Waterford Castle. We also loved Abbeyglen Castle – the staff there were lovely. Fun sing alongs and champagne. The Brooks Hotel in Dublin was perfect. The breakfasts at all of the hotels were incredible. All in all we were very, very pleased and would recommend Shamrock Vacations. We had a wonderful vacation and thank you for arranging it for us.
Cindy Madole, TX
Thank you for the wonderful vacation you helped put together for us. I have to mention, a special thank you, to Isabella who worked with us to change our hotel dates in Ballyliffin due to the unexpected hospital stay in Dublin. Staying an extra night in Dublin meant our other dates got pushed back, which we had not accounted for. She was wonderful calling all the hotels and changing arrival dates for us and calling to check up on us during the trip. It was very comforting to know that someone was there to help with travel arrangements if needed. As for the transportation our driver was James Finn. He was wonderful, professional, but personable with six people in the group. James listened to each of us as to what we had an interest in and made every effort to see that we got to the places we had mentioned. He also had wonderful suggestions as to where to eat and other interesting places to see. The hotels we stayed at on this trip are all very nice. The best on my list would be the Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa in Donegal. The rooms and food were great and reasonable priced. I would suggest Shamrock Vacations to both family and friends. Also, please suggest a personal driver, such as James Finn to make the trip complete. Thanks to you and everyone at Shamrock Vacations.
Anne Marie McLoughlin, MA
Thank you so much! We found everything about our trip and your country to be enchanting. Our only regret was that our time there was too short. With that in mind we will definitely be planning a return trip and we heartily recommend your services to anyone planning a trip to Ireland. All of our accommodations were first class and the staff of each hotel were so friendly and helpful. We especially enjoyed Connor at the Brooks in Dublin. Our guide, Dave Costello was incredibly efficient and perceptive to our interest. His knowledge of Ireland and her history was impressive and his easy going personality was a great match to our small group. Thank you again for planning such a stress free and great trip for us.
Anita Moore, FL
I will be talking about this vacation for years to come. It was wonderful. We saw everything ,so much more than I ever expected. Our guide Paddy was so knowledgeable , he was a pleasure. I will be recommending Shamrock Vacations to every-one. Thank you for giving my husband and I a very special experience with memories that will
Pamela Perullo, NY
I want to thank you for an amazing vacation. It was worth every penny. Jerry Flannigan was outstanding and I would highly recommend him to anyone traveling in Ireland. Just an amazing trip and made our family extremely happy!!! Thanks again
George Powell, NH
We really enjoyed Ireland. What a beautiful country and such loving and kind people. It was all more than I expected. Paddy’s knowledge was amazing. The castle I enjoyed most was Ballyseede. I felt like I had stepped back in time. The food was all delicious but Finnegan’s was the BEST. Thanks for all your help.
Diane Wilber, FL
We had a wonderful time. Our driver Mark was terrific. He made the trip that much better
Michael Quinlivan, CT
Our trip was wonderful. We saw a lot of beautiful countryside. All of the accommodations were nice but we all agreed our favorite was Ballynahinch Castle. You all did an excellent job arranging the accommodations in each city. To summarize, the trip will be a positively memorable one and we would certainly do it all over again!
Sheila Lynch, AR
We were very pleased with Shamrock Vacations choices of accommodations and your service. Glasha was very nice, and Olive was lovely, so we have no complaints about any of our overnight accommodations. The banquet was a lot of fun, and going early was perfect. I was pleasantly surprised with Bunratty Manor – it is a very nice hotel, and the people were very gracious, including providing access to breakfast early since we had to leave for the airport before normal breakfast hours. Finally – we loved Ireland and its people. Thanks to everyone at Shamrock Vacations for all their assistance.
Larry & Jean Gilbert, CA
We had an absolutely wonderful time in Ireland. All of your arrangements happened as the itinerary stated. We are in awe of the history of your beautiful green country. Steve was our driver/guide. We cannot give him enough praise. He was perfect and so knowledgeable. He never rushed us or minded if we wanted to alter the schedule. He always knew of good places to eat or shop so we had many choices. He accommodated us in every way necessary. We would rank him 100 on a scale of 1-10!!!!! He was really off the charts. We LOVED the Bunratty banquet. Thank you for listening to our comments and arranging such a beautiful trip and gorgeous weather! We would recommend your company to anyone who is traveling to Ireland.
Janet McClusky, TN
Just a quick note to tell you how much we enjoyed our vacation to Ireland. Your help was invaluable and I enjoyed every castle and hotel that you booked for us. Your help and suggestions were right on the money. Checking in and out went very smoothly every single place we stayed. I enjoyed the people, atmosphere, food and getting to meet the beautiful wolfhound, at Ballyseede Castle, but our favorite place was Ballynahinch Castle- the bed was so comfortable and the views were simply gorgeous. The Medieval Banquet was my favorite activity, it was great- I think I could sit through that over and over. I even had to buy some Mead to bring home-very potent stuff. The people of Ireland are wonderful, so friendly and helpful and we enjoyed every aspect of your beautiful country. Our only regret was that we didn’t get to see the Cliffs of Mohr, it was raining and extremely foggy, but we still walked along the wall and did some shopping, so the trip wasn’t completely wasted and we stopped in a little fishing village that we enjoyed, I believe the name was Roundstone. Thank you again for helping me plan the trip of a lifetime and please know that it was everything I hoped it would be and more! If I ever get the chance to visit again, I will definitely go through you.
Sarah Linville, AL
We had a great time – and it was in no small part due to the great itinerary you guys put together, and the wonderful driver – Jerry – you selected for us. Spending time with Jerry was truly one of the highlights of our trip, and he did a great job responding to our requests to divert from the itinerary and try a few new places, and could not have been nicer and more accommodating. As for the hotels, we particularly enjoyed staying in the castle you all selected for us. Please know I will recommend you to anyone and everyone, and I am happy to serve as a reference if the occasion ever arises when I might be able to be helpful. Thanks again for everything, and my best to you and your team at Shamrock.
Victor Klatt, DC
I am struggling for words to describe our vacation, amazing, mind blowing, and beautiful are the first things that come to mind. From the first conversation I had with Gerard I knew this was going to be great, I had no idea how great it would be though. The accommodation’s were amazing. Everywhere we went we had no issues checking in and the people we so kind. The suggested sites to visit were very helpful in planning our days. We really enjoyed driving between towns and getting to experience your beautiful home. The entire staff of Shamrock deserves a great big THANK YOU! My husband and I saved and planned for the this trip for a year, and it was everything we dreamed it would be. We are already talking about when we can go back! I have passed your contact information on to several friends who have mentioned that they would like to see Ireland. Again, thank you for helping us make this a wonderful trip and we look forward to traveling with you again.
Heather Garcia, TX
The trip was wonderful, we loved every accomodation we stayed in. We especially enjoyed the Dapper driver, Danny. The driver can make or break a trip and he definitely made ours. He was also our tour guide and had a special Lagniappe for us every day, He was so helpful and patient with 8 ladies. He taught us to sing a bar song that we got to practice in the pub in Ballynahinch. This trip was by far the best trip I have made to Ireland and I have been quite a few times. The accomodations, the food, the company, the driver and luxury van, even the weather were all excellent. The 4 Castles we stayed in were just marvelous. Even better, there were fire places in most of the castles we stayed in. Everyone we met had a smile on their face and were so helpful.
Katherine Mistilis, MS
I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to Ireland in December. The hotels were beautiful, our driver Des Murphy was so personable and so helpful, and the suggestions from Shamrock for touring were great. I don’t think we could have had a better trip. Thanks for all your help.
Phyllis Orlicek, AR
All in all, everything went great! All of the hotels had wonderful staff and they took quite good care of us. Our two favorites were Ashford Castle and Inverlochy Castle. They were both just incredible. The Rocpool in Inverness was also very nice and the staff there was just fantastic. Cullin Hills, Hayfield Manor, The Kensington (a tiny room) and The Malton were all wonderful as well and we would have no issues staying again at any of those fine places as well. On our final itinerary, the links that you provided to the hotels really made traveling on our own much easier. Thank you for also recommending that we bring our own GPS. It made driving so much easier! I want to thank you and your staff for working with us and making this trip an experience that we won’t forget. Your flexibility in reworking the trip and getting last minute payment was just wonderful and we both really appreciate it. If we know of anyone planning a trip to the UK or Ireland, we will not hesitate to refer them to you as we know you will provide them with a first rate trip!
Mark & Kim Deitrick, GA
I just wanted to say what a fabulous time I had. My trip to Ireland was more than I could have imagined and I will have memories that will last me a life time. Every time I turned around there was another spectacular view of Ireland that simply took your breath away. I want to thank you and your colleagues for all the hard work you did. Everything went smoothly and fortunately I had no need to contact you. My stay at Waterford Castle was excellent. The elegance and decorum of the Castle were simply stupendous! I enjoyed it very much and would stay there again. The staff were very friendly and accommodating. I was unsure of the accommodation that was arranged for Killarney as you well know because it was a change at the last minute. As it turned out, the Arbutus Hotel and the staff that were there were one of my most favorite parts of the trip! The accommodation was very clean and the room was tastefully decorated with a personal touch. The staff were friendly and they made you feel like you were part of a family. I would definitely go back there. I wish them another 85 years of success.
Brenda Ryan, ON
I had an awesome time in Ireland! Each of the castles you arranged for me was excellent. Ashford Castle was my favorite and the Hawk Walk was fantastic! The weather was as to be expected, but coming from the desert, being rained on once and a while was a bonus. As for your arrangements I did not have a single problem. From picking up my rental car to my hotel reservations, each was completed without a hitch. Bravo! The staff and accommodations were first rate at Ashford, Dromoland, Waterford, Ballyseede and Lough Eske which was also by far the nicest smelling hotel I have ever stayed at! Again, Thank-you for arranging such an incredible trip. I could not have accomplished it on my own. I have bragged about your service to everybody, and will continue to do so. And I’ll definitely contact you for my trip to Northern Ireland in the future.
Chris Boudreaux, AZ
Wonderful, wonderful, and wonderful are the only three words that I can think of to describe “My Trip to Ireland” this past September. I was not sure just how things would go, or what to expect because I have never been on a tour or been to Ireland. I could not have been any happier about how things went and the the wonderful places we stayed (I loved Dingle the best, I would love to live there!) But then on the other hand, I thought Kinsale and Galway were lovely. Each day seemed to be more wonderful than the day before. The accommodations and the meals were all fantastic and never a disappointment. The entertainment was so fun…I love, love to watch Irish Dancing! I really enjoyed Northern Ireland and the beauty of it. Derry was a lovely town and our guide was great! I truly think our tour group, which was very cohesive, was so lucky to have Willie Lawless as our driver and Sibeena Murphy as our guide. They are both outstanding people and it was obvious that they have a true love for Ireland. I am so proud of my Irish heritage, and how wonderful that this is the year of “The Gathering” and that I was there representing my family. When I told some of the people on my tour that you had corresponded with me and helped me on planning this trip, they said they wished they had had you. They said their travel agencies in their home towns did nothing but book the tour for them. Thank you again.
Sheila Dugan, AZ
We had a fantastic time and look forward to returning! The hotels were great. Galway was beautiful. We even had some hurlers in our hotel! We took a trip to Cong (lovely) and flew the hawks at Ashford Castle. The one in Killarney (Fairview Guesthouse) was a little upscale for us, but very nice. Killarney itself was a little trendy, but fun. We even made it down to Cork so I could see the port where the last of my ancestors left Ireland 180 years ago. But Bunratty…Bunratty was everything we wanted. The hotel (Bunratty Manor), their staff, the area…for us it was perfect. We wished we could have stayed the weekend for the banjo picking contest!Thank you for all your help in planning what was the trip of my dreams.
Mark & Denise Jones, CA
All in all a wonderful trip, but let me expand on that. Our initial few days resulted from the car rental with Hertz which went well. I am adding what must be common knowledge that car rentals are all wanted when the transatlantic flights arrive, hence the place is packed and stays that way even though about 6 clerks were processing rentals. I expect all companies are the same but it is overwhelming when one steps into the office and sees 20 people or more all waiting for 20 rentals ahead of you. It actually moves along well but they could do with more seats for the passengers. We are all tired and likely irritable then compared to some times, all looking for some assurance as to destination, insurance etc,but Hertz did OK. Car was good and my driving exceeded expectations! For just about 4 or 5 days I took the extra insurance since the peace of mind sold me. For a longer rental I might not have. Cabra Castle was Wonderful!! Only have good things to say about that place. Obviously only one night is not a long enough time for a meaningful rating but we would go back there again from what we experienced. We joined our group at Clontarf castle. Turning in the rental car was easy and a taxi took us to the meeting place. We loved the first evening Irish House Party. Our driver/guide, Steve did a very good job for us. He was personable, not afraid to give his opinion and had interesting facts and stories, all while driving. Ballyseede was OK. Staff were good here. Meals pretty good but not up to the next two places. Dromoland and Ashford are both outstanding and the sort of place one dreams of seeing and staying at. Staff, food, accommodation all superb in our experience. Kilronan was attractive and we liked our room. Meals good but staff and meals not quite up to the prior two places. So in total we had a wonderful trip. The itinerary was good, driver excellent, accommodation a good variety, information provided before trip very well done and appreciated . I would certainly look at Shamrock when going again
Bob Burnside, ON
Let’s just start by saying it was a trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget. The car rental process went smoothly according to my husband. He got a GPS to help us navigate our way around. It took us on a few adventures when we missed the street and it redirected us, but we saw some amazing sites. Having never even imagined staying in a castle before, I can tell you, we were thrilled. Although we were not thrilled with Waterford the town itself, Waterford Castle was a delight. I believe when we arrived at the Fairview Guesthouse we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a bigger room. We did so, and it was great. The room was spotless. We were not prepared for the tiny elevators that claim to fit 8 people. We barely fit with our two suitcases but it was fun. Ballyseede Castle was at my request and I couldn’t believe my eyes when we arrived. It was massive and absolutely beautiful. I had asked for this because we are huge dog lovers and were missing our two at home. I had read that there were two dogs on site and looked very forward to seeing them. We missed them the first night and thought we might miss them the next morning as we checked out. When we went to the office to check out, there they were and although the little dog was enjoying his morning sleep in the sun, the Irish Wolfhound greeted us, and let us pet him and even gave me a goodbye kiss on my nose before he too returned to sleeping in the sun. The Park House Hotel in Galway, although hard to find, was well worth the five times around it took us to find the parking area. We were greeted by a young man who took our keys and said he would park the car for us. He told us where to go for check-in and the young lady there told us where to go to find our room and that our bags would be brought up for us. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we opened the door to our room. We walked into what is like a dining room here in the States, that led into a huge room with a couch and two large beds, and there was another door that led into a bathroom big enough for a large family. It had two large sinks and counters lining one whole wall and the other wall there was a separate shower and bathtub. The staff there was extremely friendly and even told my husband where to go for the best Guinness and live music. Ashford Castle made us feel like royalty. As we pulled into the entrance a young man asked us who we were and told us we were expected. He told us to follow the road to the Castle and another man would be waiting to escort us inside when we arrived. We were met by the second man who said he would have our car parked for us and he took our luggage for us and led us to the person who would check us in. We were led to a friendly, yet formal lady who explained things to us and then passed us off to another young man who asked if we wanted a tour or just be show to our room. I should have taken the tour. We were taken to our spacious room with a view or the fountain. We took a walk around some of the grounds and gardens ( even though it was cold and raining) and went inside and had our first ever Afternoon Tea. I don’t drink tea and they were nice enough to offer hot chocolate to warm me up after walking in the rain. I would stay in any of these places again. They were wonderful. This was a great adventure and was what I would classify as “The Trip of a Lifetime”!!!!!!! Thank you so much. If we ever make it to Ireland again, we will surely use your company.
Lisa Hamilton, IL
Our thanks to Shamrock for planning and executing a wonderful trip that surpassed our expectations. With just a little guidance from us regarding our desired plans, we were provided a proposed itinerary which took us along the coast throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland, and covered what we wanted to see at the perfect pace. We knew that having a driver would spare us from having to adjust to the left hand driving and navigating the roads. What we hadn’t focused on, however, was the significant advantage it would provide in allowing us to use all of our time in the most efficient manner possible, and to see things we would never have known were there. Our driver, Mark, truly made our trip exceptional, explaining Irish history, providing details regarding sights we would see and their significance, sharing Irish folklore and stories, and knowing all the off-the-beaten track places to stop for pictures and exploring. As lovers of music, we greatly enjoyed Mark’s sharing of music relevant to the locations we were seeing. It truly became a completely “Irish” vacation as we traveled along hearing traditional folk music, and also learning the meaning behind some of the modern music with which we were familiar, but had not grasped the context. Mark’s quick wit, cheerfulness, incredible timeliness and flexibility made the trip very enjoyable, and his suggestions and adaptation of the itinerary allowed us to make the most of each day. We covered a lot of ground in our twelve days, ranging from Dublin to Waterford, Killarney, Adare, Bunratty, Galway, Connemara, Donegal, Derry and Belfast, but never felt rushed and had time to truly enjoy the beauty of Ireland. Our accommodations were great, and we particularly enjoyed our stays at the Malton Hotel, Dromoland Castle and Lough Eske Castle. We are still debating what sights we liked the most – among them the Rock of Cashel,Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, Kylemore Abbey, the Giants Causeway,and the cities of Dublin, Galway, Derry and Belfast. It truly was a wonderful trip filled with great memories. Given that we normally research, plan and book all of our own trips, taking this approach was new to us (and somewhat of a leap of faith!). We are so glad we went this route, and it provided us a relaxing and perfect vacation.
Julie Dressing, VA
Our vacation was great! I really liked both Gerry and Liam as drivers. They were personable and knowledgeable about the areas we visited. Gerry knew the best places to stop at for lunch! Liam recited a poem in Gaelic. By having a driver, Anne and I were never rushed from one stop to the next. Our drivers were always patient and ready for moving on when we were finished with each stop. Staying at the Trinity Capitol Hotel in Dublin was great. It is located right in the heart of the city and made walking to see the Book of Kells and Christ Church so easy. Also Temple Bar was right around the corner as was the Liffey River Boat tours. There were many “next time” moments in our Dublin visit. I would stay at the Trinity Capitol next time. I loved Waterford Castle. The suite was great, the food excellent, the grounds wonderful and the personnel top notch. We loved the location and did some walking on the grounds. We chose to go to the museum instead of Waterford Crystal. The museum was great and Gerry was so flexible about our request. He knew some of the people inside and came in with us to be sure we were able to take advantage of the tour that was offered. My wanting to go to the museum was to see a hat that belonged to Henry VIII. I kept looking for the hat during the tour and did not find it. At the end I asked about and was told that the hat was in another museum that was a part of the three-museum facility. Since we did not have tickets to the whole facility and since we were on somewhat of a time schedule, I thanked them and prepared to leave. The person realizing our situation instructed one of the young museum summer workers to take us across the courtyard to the second museum and show us the hat! Needless to say, I was elated. I got a really great picture. I liked your suggested itinerary in that it included some of the usual Ireland stops. Kissing the Blarney stone was one of those stops. For us Americans, it is fascinating to explore your castles – especially Blarney. Your suggestions about pubs for our musical listening pleasure were excellent. Gerry took the time to drive us by the Danny Mann pub so we could easily walk there from the Malton Hotel. Loved the music, food and atmosphere! The Ring of Kerry was great. Gerry would stop at various scenic spots for us to enjoy. I brought my tin whistle with the hope of joining a session in a pub at some point. That didn’t happen, but I did get to play. At one of the stops we encountered a young man who was playing the uilleann pipes. Anne told him I played whistle and he immediately invited me to play a few tunes with him…which I did! What an experience playing whistle with uilleann pipes in the hills of the Ring of Kerry! I loved the Cliffs of Moher. Having a driver gave us all the time we wanted to experience and explore the cliffs. We both appreciated that. I loved the Burren and the ancient burial site. I really loved Ballynahinch Castle. Its location was what drew me to it and I was not disappointed. The suite was so excellent – thanks. We did have a chance to walk a bit after supper each night on some of the trails on the grounds. The food was excellent. Liam was so accommodating with our decision to not go out to the Aran Islands because of the threat of rain and thundershowers. We could easily make this switch because of having a driver. We went to the Kylemore Abbey instead. It was planned for the next day of our journey, but because we switched, we were able to spend more time there. We ended being there for about 3 hours! There was so much to take in…loved the gardens. We took the time to sit for a bit just taking in the sights and atmosphere. I loved the two monastic settlements. It was hard to wrap my brain around such old ruins. The year 512 does not compute in the US! Back to Dublin. Our last castle was a good one making it a good place to begin to decompress and prepare for our journey home. I would recommend Shamrock Vacations and have done so to our friends. Thanks for all the work you did to make our vacation the best.
Fred Fenn, CT
Shamrock Vacations was an excellent choice for travel advice. They asked us questions, took our suggestions, answered all our questions, responded in a timely manner, and put together a vacation that was relaxed, comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable. I felt the pacing was perfect. They just seemed to know how long to stay in a place, where to stay, and what to do. They always provided helpful suggestions (example: don’t go to the Aran islands if the weather isn’t good – that did happen to us, and we took the plan B suggestion and toured Kylemore Abbey and Gardens instead – and wow, what a gift!). Our first driver, Gerry Flanagan, was outstanding. He was consistently prompt (always early), helpful, positive, and took us to out-of-the-way spots on a couple of occasions (ex. After we toured the Bog Village (Gerry went with us and was our personal tour guide – he seemed to know everybody and he also knew a lot of facts), he took us to a local farmer named Brendan, who trained dogs to lead sheep – we saw his demonstration and it was fascinating – very colorful character – good with groups – and it was a fun activity for us), and he gave good suggestions for places to eat (“This place has a great apple pie” or at Paddy Short’s – “I stop here a lot – food is good, typical Irish food”). Sadly, five days into the trip, Gerry needed to go home to be with his family for personal reasons. It was a smooth transition to Liam Sayers, a retired math professor who spoke fluent Gaelic. Because we are both teachers, it was fun having a teacher drive us, and the flavor of the trip was a bit different from Gerry (not better, not worse – just different) so we feel blessed to have had two fabulous drivers on our trip. Liam, just like Gerry, was always prompt and helpful. Both drivers made us feel relaxed and comfortable and never in a hurry. Our accommodations were beyond our wildest dreams. Everything from exquisite food to impeccable service to beautiful rooms was such a gift to us. Our favorite castle was Ballynahinch!! Friendly, warm, relaxed, helpful. We felt a bit more at home there (maybe it was the firewood next to the pub!) and were thankful for two nights. We did a lot of walking, and enjoyed the trails by the Ballynahinch River. We did get to the Danny Mann Pub and saw a great concert – “Celtic Whisper” – fabulous! Fabulous! We bought their cd. Also enjoyed Blarney Inn Pub in Dublin – went there two nights – very friendly and delicious Irish stew!! We loved and appreciated all your suggestions and took most of them – Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle (and yes, we climbed the 100 windy, narrow, steep stairs to kiss that stone), riverboat cruise on the Liffey River, Trinity College and the Book of Kells (had a great student guide who was both entertaining and interesting), Temple Bar, Dublin Castle gardens, Muckross House and Gardens, Waterford Museum and Waterford Castle, Powerscourt House and Gardens, Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains, Reginald Tower in Waterford, Killarney, Kilkenny, Adare, Cork, lots of ruins and monastic settlements, the Burren and that burial tomb, Ailwee Caves, Limerick, King John’s Castle, Connemarra, Galway…I mean, we saw and did far more than we ever imagined we would. The beauty of having a driver, of course, is the flexibility – we stopped often to admire views and take pictures. We would recommend a driver to anyone thinking of touring. Liam even recited a famous Gaelic poem for us and let us record him on our cell phone! Some surprises: no Half and Half in Ireland for coffee, and I don’t like milk in coffee, so I learned to ask for “pouring cream”, and that was yummy! Water in glass bottles that you just use but don’t have to buy…butter served in little triangular wedges… Brie and warm tomatoes at breakfast… We had nine days of complete sunshine!!! Everyone kept telling us how unusual that was. Ireland was actually undergoing a heat wave while we there – some days in the 90’s – and they do not have air conditioning, so we did find some nights difficult for sleeping – there were fans for us to use but it was still almost unbearable – but that’s nobody’s fault. In fact, at Dromoland it was the hottest day and our room was stifling. Fred asked at the front desk if we could possibly have another, cooler room, and the gal could not have been more gracious and accommodating – a new room was provided immediately – on a lower floor – we were very grateful. Food there at Dromoland was much more expensive than anywhere else (a simple risotto dish for me and a chicken sandwich for Fred came to 50 euros), but at least the food was good!! Only one rainy day and it still was warm out! When Fred asked Gerry to find an ATM, he did, and Fred could not believe how easy it was to use – it was just like in America!! And when we arrived at Clondarf, our last hotel, Fred needed to get our boarding passes, and that was also very easy and smooth – the gal at the desk said “Oh yes, go right over to that computer, type in this password, and you should be all set” and she was right!) For me, there were no errors, no negative things, no disappointments (okay, maybe one – when I ordered vegetable soup in an eatery, it was pureed – not like in America – but that I would consider a cultural difference, not a negative comment). Fred and I were very impressed with Shamrock Vacations and we have told many of our friends. I would highly recommend them. They certainly worked tirelessly to provide a quality experience for two very grateful Americans!
Anne Fenn, CT
Our trip was a great success. Your arrangements were great. Entirely suitable to our tastes for travel and lodging. Here are some comments. The Malton Hotel was really nice. Spacious room and good restaurants. Also very conveniently located to the center. No need to use the car. Driving. This was a little problematic for me (and probably everyone else from the States) to say the least. Driving on the left hand side was hard enough to get used to but the incredibly narrow roads with no shoulders were a nightmare. We got through the 5 days without killing anyone although divorce was close. I call driving in Ireland “mowing the grass” because whenever you meet someone coming that’s what you have to do with the left side of the car. The Ring of Kerry was especially difficult. I’m relying on my wife to tell me how it was since my eyes were locked on the white line the whole time. The automatic shift was almost a necessity. I would definitely encourage your clients to take the option. We followed most of your site seeing recommendations and the Cliffs of Moher were really great. I enjoyed the Cliffs because we had to get out of the car and walk to see them. Ashford Castle was incredible. Thanks so much for recommending it and including it in our itinerary. I don’t think we have ever stayed in such an elegant, historic place with such gorgeous grounds. On the Ring of Connemara my wife suggested we hire a driver so I could actually see the countryside we were driving thru. This was a great idea. We hired a local driver and he took us all over on back roads we would never have found on our own. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I will be happy to recommend Shamrock Vacations to anyone considering a trip to Ireland. Ireland turned out to be one of the countries we have visited that we would like to return to. If we do we will certainly contact you.
Edward Brooks, IL
Sheryl and I had a great time. There were so many great moments I would end up writing you a book to describe them all. Our guide, Paddy was a real treasure. He’s a keeper! The lowest moment of the tour was the Kilronan Castle. The facility was nice, but Sheryl and I got the feeling that the Castle tried to cut as many corners as possible. Our dinner menu wasn’t the standard menu, it was a limited menu that quite frankly was a disappointment. There was no bottled water in our room, one little bar of soap…. stuff like that. And, the dining room staff was well…. off. I don’t know how to put it. Everything was there, but it was just not up to the standards set by all the other Castles. It was our last night and if I were asked to rate all the castles, Kilronan would be at the bottom of the list. Was that rating because we had just spent two delightful days at Ashford being catered to like kings and queens?? Probably. But, Kilronan was definitely the low point of the tour. But, Don’t despair!! Our last night in Dublin at the Four Seasons pushed the Kilronan memory into oblivion. We arrived at the Four Season a bit after 12 to find our room wasn’t ready and we were asked if we wouldn’t mind taking a free upgrade to the second best suite in the hotel. Well, DUH. We were treated to a suite that had three entrance doors to the suite, three balconies, two full bath rooms, a full kitchen (with espresso machine), a master bedroom the size of my house…. I could go on. Sheryl literally got lost in the suite. I have never had a hotel give us a wake-up call and then call us back 15 minutes later to make sure we up. I know the Four Seasons wasn’t on the ‘tour’, but for Sheryl and me, it was a great good-bye gift from Ireland we won’t soon forget. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Ireland. Sheryl complained the whole way back home that she was going back to ‘crappy old Maryland’ and that she had just discovered the most beautiful place on earth – Ireland. Thanks again.
George Uhall, MD
My wife and I really enjoyed our honeymoon there in Ireland and appreciate the time and effort that your agency put into planning it for us. We were especially impressed by the contact Kristel made to Ballyseede Castle regarding the horse and carriage ride to ensure that we didn’t miss it. We would highly recommend your agency to others and look forward to using your services on a return trip to Ireland in the future.
Ben Correa, FL
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful job that was done to assist in creating the memorable journey we had while in Ireland. Genevieve, the accommodations you set-up were very nice and the meals exquisite! Our driver, Joe Courtney, was a gem and such an added gift. He worked so well with us and he blended right in with our group. I really appreciated the communications between Shamrock, Joe, myself and the various venues to ensure everything went smoothly.I look forward to working with you again in the future for our next journey (hopefully in 2015).
Amy Wilinski, CA
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for organizing the castle tour. One of my best vacations! I had a chance to meet some wonderful people and see Ireland’s amazing country side. Paddy, our guide, was EXCELLENT – he was full of stories and facts!!! He has a wonderful and pleasant personality. He made this trip so much more enjoyable by his knowledge and warm disposition :) Thank you again! I will recommend Shamrock vacations (AND Paddy as a guide of course
to anybody who is interested in the beautiful Ireland!
Oxana Olach, NY
First of all, we loved the trip! Ballyseede Castle was beautiful, we liked Harrington Hall a lot, the Clarion in Cork was very nice as well. The Harbour Hotel in Galway was fine- the rooms were a little smaller (ok, a lot smaller!) but for our purposes it was just fine. The people in every single one of the hotels were fantastic- any question was cheerfully answered and any concerns (the only real concern was the number of beds in the rooms for the kids- I think at the Clarion they had Meghan and Ryan in a double bed- that had to be changed and it took them 2 minutes) were quickly addressed. The country, of course, is beautiful. We spent a lot more time in Dublin this time than 30 years ago, which we enjoyed. But we loved traveling the countryside – I think that Galway was a nicer (more cozy) city than Dublin and we loved the Cliffs and Connemara. Tralee was a really cute town and we had a great evening in a local pub there. (It seems that we spent a lot of evenings in the local pubs, lol!) We felt comfortable letting the kids roam by themselves at night, so that was a good thing. The last night in Dublin we ate at the Brazen Head and listened to “food, folklore and fairies” with a gentleman named Johnny Daly- we all enjoyed that one (even though it was pretty pricey! And you were correct about feeling like your wallet was hemorrhaging in Dublin- but since you had given us a head’s up about it, we were prepared. I really can’t comment on this vacation with out singing the praises of Dan Cooper, our driver. What a WONDERFUL gentleman! We loved him! He was kind, courteous, funny and so knowledgeable! Please make sure that his boss knows what a great treasure he has in Dan! He made the trip for us! And having a driver was so much smarter for us – at one point we were driving through Killarney and I commented to Steve about remembering a place from 30 years ago – I asked him if he remembered. His comment back to me -”I was so concerned with driving and not killing us on the roads that I missed a lot of the scenery” so, I was so happy that we did it with a driver this time- we all got to enjoy the scenery! I really can’t thank you enough for the planning and everything that went into making our vacation so wonderful!
Joanne Herlihy, NY
Your tour was everything you promised and much more! Our driver/guide, Jim, was so professional and courteous and had that lovely Irish wit that we appreciated so much. Of course having only 5 people on the tour made it possible to get to know each other quite well and I couldn’t have asked for better tour-mates. The castles were spectacular and all but one, Kilronan, far exceeded expectations. The staff at the castles were tremendously friendly and would do anything to make our stay with them a purely luxurious experience. Unfortunately, Hilda, the ghost at Ballyseede wasn’t around either night we were there–one of the young fellows advised me that Hilda doesn’t work Tuesdays but he’d call to see if she’d be available for haunting on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, she didn’t answer so I didn’t get my wish to see her at all!! All in all, it was a magnificent tour of your beautiful country and I can’t say enough good things about Shamrock Vacations. Thank you for making my visit there so comfortable and enjoyable.
Ina Knorr, BC
The Trip was wonderful. You gave me great things to see and staying in the castles was a great experience. The Irish people are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, which makes me glad my family originates from Ireland. The food was great, and the scenery out of this world. It was a great idea to get a navigation system. It would have been very frustrating without it. Even the navigation system wasn’t good for locating specific sites, but with it, your mapquest, and a map, I could enter the city near where I was going and the navigation system got me to the right vicinity. Then the road signs and people in the area helped me find the sites. It was fun learning to drive on the left side of the road, from the right side of the car. Hertz was overly busy. It was probably the hardest part of the trip, getting the car. But it was worthy it. I appreciate all you did for me! I have already highly recommended seeing Ireland and using your group.
Johnny Teague, TX
The vacation was wonderful! We especially enjoyed Clontarf, Lough Eske, and Perryville House. The Malton was really nice and we enjoyed it as well. I enjoyed each place we went, and thought that it was a good representation of Ireland. Also, the two days in each place was perfect. We didn’t have a chance to see everything, but we saw almost all of what we wanted too. I would definitely recommend Shamrock Vacations to any of my friends or family that want to plan trip to Ireland. Thank you very much for the wonderful vacation!
Catherine Worthen, TX
We want to let you know how much we all enjoyed our trip to Ireland. The scenery was spectacular and the sites were memorable. Thank you for organizing this trip for us, and for setting us up with Pat Griffin. He was a most attentive driver and very respectful. He provided us with background information on all the sites. Patty even made sure we were aware of where to eat and catch music before he dropped us off at our hotel. We enjoyed his company. All in all the trip was enjoyable and memorable. We will be recommending your services to friends/family who might be looking to make the trip.
Arlyn & Nancy Birkholz, MN
We had a fantastic trip, all of our accommodations were really excellent. From Trinity Capital Hotel in Dublin, and onward everywhere we stayed we were treated well, and were centrally located. I will say my two favorites were Perryville House in Kinsale, and Ballyseede Castle. Thanks to Shamrock Vacations for an excellent vacation. We definitely plan to use your services again.
Tim Budd, MA
We had a wonderful time in Ireland. The hotels were great, and all the arrangements you made were spot on. I will admit that I was nervous about doing this all over the internet, but everything worked out beautifully. We would use you again in a heartbeat!
Dan O’Fallon, MN
Firstly, let me say thank you so much for all of your hard-work planning our vacation. It was absolutely immaculate. I miss Ireland everyday. I brought some Irish turf peat home with me in hopes the scent would ease my longing, but it is just not the same! The trip was really, truly magical, and wouldn’t have been the same without your help. All of the places we stayed in were absolutely stunning, and had great service. We managed to get locked inside our room in Waterford castle. I attributed this to jet-lag and old keys, but was told later by a lady that it was likely the Waterford Castle ghost, and that a lot of strange things tend to happen there. I loved it.
While we simply didn’t have time to do all of your recommended stops along the way, the ones we did do were fantastic, such as the Black Taxi tour in Belfast. If I ever know of anyone planning a trip to Ireland, I will recommend Shamrock Vacations for sure, for sure
Cassandra Steiner, ON
The entire trip was amazing. There was so much to see and seemed like not enough time. It is hard to pick a favorite day or thing. We went to Carrigafoyle Castle and found the Ballylongford Cross at the National Musseum. The boys caught a fish with Frank at Ashford Castle and the Chef cooked it for us as an appetizer. We rode through the Irish countryside and Larkin and Charles golfed at Doonbeg. Our mission to get Sam to Gus O’Connors for his 18th was a resounding success and was one of the highlights of the vacation. A night Sam will ne’re forget. We ate a lot of great dinners. Our driver, Des, was a great asset. So much history and knowledge that made the trip so much more meaningful and efficient for time.
Linda Cook, AB
Thank you so much for the best vacation of my life. The tour was so informative, the guide, Frank Foster, was so friendly . The hotels were so beautiful. I want to extend my sincere thanks for all the hard work you put into making my bucket list complete. Thank you from the bottom of my Irish heart.
Nancy Ristigian, HI
Our trip to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland was just wonderful. The team at Shamrock Vacations did a superb job of locating ten beautiful and well appointed hotels for our 15 day visit, securing the nine passenger van when no one else could obtain the same and booking our ferry crossing into and returning from Scotland. It just couldn’t have been better.
The selected hotels all had outstanding breakfasts and excellent dinners as well. The rooms were just as you had promised and we enjoyed them all. They were all centrally located near the tourist sites we selected to visit. We were very fortunate to have great weather during the 15 days with only a little rain, which didn’t restrict our activities or travels.
All the people we encountered in the three countries were gracious, friendly and very helpful when we needed the same. We enjoyed many pubs in the small towns and villages we visited on our travels. We were fortunate to have been visiting such a pub to see Katie Taylor on TV, at the Olympics, win her semi-final fight and also the win that gave her the gold metal. What fun!
Ireland was all that the tour books said it would be, only better and the shades of green clearly seemed more than the 40 that every one claims you will see when you visit the green country called Ireland. Northern Ireland and Scotland are also beautiful and well worth visiting.
I want to thank you once again on behalf of all six of us for your efforts to make our trip exceptional and wonderful as you certainly succeeded in doing. The van you were able to secure provided us extra room for our luggage and plenty of space for each of us. We sang your praises to all hotel personnel and to everyone who asked with whom we had booked our tour. We will continue to recommend you and your firm to anyone seeking assistance in planning such a trip. One day we may return and we certainly will use your services again.
Bert & Deanne Caster, CA
I travelled with my teenaged daughter and cannot say enough great things about our experience with Shamrock Vacations. Without question we would use them again and recommend their services to anyone planning a trip to Ireland. Their professionalism, attitude and attention to detail is beyond reproach. Our trip could not have been more perfect. They worked with us to get us exactly what we wanted and truly listened to what we wanted. This was not an “off the shelf” trip. The trip truly catered to our specific requests. Their knowledge and advice is superb. They were always available to us. Responsive and caring.
Lori Sullivan Antolovic, TX
A tremendous thank you to the team at Shamrock Vacations. Their help in planning for our vacation ensured that this was one of the best ever for us. We always wanted to go to Ireland but there’s just so much to see and do and we had a limited amount of time. The team at Shamrock provided sage advice on what to see and how long we should stay at various venues and helped us priortize our visit. As a result, the trip was magnificent. It was just the right pace and the hotels were fantastic. We didn’t have any issues at all and everything went very smoothly. Ireland is a stunningly beautiful country that is rich in history and has much to offer. The best advice they gave us was to go to the Blarney Castle. We had considered not going because we weren’t interested kissing the stone, but Genevieve suggested that the castle was worth the trip. That castle and its grounds were stunning! And thankfully we avoided the long, touristy lines to kiss the stone. And every hotel selection was top notch and welcomed us with open arms right away. I would recommend Shamrock Vacations to anyone going to Ireland-it’s well worth the price.
Rebecca Duffy, WA
The team at Shamrock Vacations was fantastic during our trip planning. They recommended and booked perfect hotels for us on our anniversary trip and helped us choose an itinerary that was tailored perfectly to our needs. We combined just the right amount of driving with the right amount of luxury accomodations with the right amount of sight-seeing. Ireland is a stunning country and we know it wouldn’t have been so easy without the support of the team at Shamrock.
Josh Duffy, WA
The trip was in a word – WONDERFUL!!! Or should I say GRAND, BRILLIANT!! We had the best time. Our driver, Dan Cooper, was great. A 20-year veteran of the tour bus routes, he provided us with a trip to remember. And I have to say, it was so nice to not worry about getting lost or driving on the wrong side of your roads! Our favorite places to stay were Dromoland (of course) and The Malton Hotel in Killarney. We really appreciate the time you took to put the trip together, and especially the last minute changes due to my mistake making the flight arrangements. I have already recommended your agency and will continue to do so. And you can be sure, if I have the opportunity to return, I will be contacting you.Thanks again!
Liz St George, MA
I wanted to let you know that I had a very enjoyable and worry-free vacation thanks to you and your company. From the time I was met at Shannon Airport by Gerry to being chauffeured to my destination at Lisdoonvarna by my guide Steve, I had a wonderful time!! Gerry was so nice and helpful with information about things to do in Killarney and its environs, as well as handling my luggage.And I have to give a special comment about Steve who was my guide from Kennedy Coaches. He was prompt, courteous and went out of his way to make my trip fun, interesting and comfortable. He is a fountain of information and history of Ireland, told at appropriate moments during the tour so that it was never too much or boring. In fact I’m so glad I had this tour first before meeting the Irish artists at the painting retreat, so that I knew what they were talking about and could join their conversations!There was nothing I didn’t like about the tour, so I really have no negative comments. The Fairview in Killarney was a great place to stay – perfectly located and lovely amenities. The service was also impeccable. They arranged a cab for me to go to Muckross House, where I had a wonderful time hiking the National Park and lake, as well as a tour of the house and gardens, all of which were spectacular. I loved Ross castle and the lake where it’s situated, as well as Killarney itself. But I especially loved the jacuzzi tub in my room which I really needed after all that walking!! Last but not least the Fairview breakfasts were excellent.Other highlights included the tour of Galway which I especially enjoyed, as well as the shopping!! And Connamara I loved – that was hauntingly beautiful. All of it was made the better by Steve’s commentaries. One of the gems of the tour was Mount Falcon, which is truly exquisite! What a beautiful estate – the house and grounds are magnificent! Had many beautiful moments by the lake and walking the trails bordering lovely pastures inhabited by playful horses. The staff was pleasant and helpful, the food superb. Not to mention my wonderful room!!Kylemore Abbey was also a great choice worth a visit, and the smaller towns along the way, such as Cong, Adare, Westport and Leenane on the fjord. I truly loved it all!! My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend exploring other regions as well. That just means I’ll have to come back!To sum it up, I had a wonderful tour. Not only were the destinations fabulous in themselves, but I felt safe and cared-for while being a single woman in a different country, and all of that added up to a worry-free vacation!! I can’t thank you enough for arranging everything for me, especially since it was rather last minute. You are so pleasant to deal with, and your suggestions were spot-on as well. I will definitely recommend you and Shamrock Vacations to anyone going to your beautiful country.Warmest Regards,
Sharon Errickson, NJ
My wife, Sally, and I had a great time in Ireland. Although much too short to see everything, we enjoyed getting a taste of a beautiful isle!!! We appreciated the opportunity to stay in places that were harder for us to book without your assistance. Waterford Castle will always remain a special time for us. Des Prior, our driver, was very interesting and knowledgeable. When our flight from JFK to Shannon was delayed 3½ hours it was great to see him waiting for us. We very much enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and Cobh. On our own, we had a great Dingle Peninsula tour and Killarney was ideal to get the flavor of Ireland. Thank you for arranging our early morning transfer from Waterford Castle to Rosslare. Thanks again for working with us to make a great trip and making it work for our condensed schedule.Best wishes,
David Hill, PA