We had a marvelous visit to Scotland! Everyone of my family had an almost indescribable time. Thanks to you and Ruth and your team for enabling it! Transportation arrangements in both London and Edinburgh were efficiently provided and the staff were very professional. Accommodations and services provided in Scotland were outstanding with one exception. The services and food at the Rocpool Reserve Hotel were outstanding however one of the reserved rooms required descending about 15 steps in a curved pattern to reach the bathroom facilities, a challenge in daylight and certainly not recommended at night. The seats at the Tattoo were absolutely the best! Thanks to Ruth! We had a wonderful experience which exceeded our expectations! In our collective opinions, your selection of Alan McKenzie as our guide and driver was most important and rewarding to my family! We have been the benefactors of very excellent guides in various countries around the world and Alan ranks right at the top! His professionalism, courtesies, intimate knowledge of history, geography, interesting facts and curiosities, made our days the best! His attentiveness to our grandchildren with his pledge to “make this most memorable” for them could not be surpassed. He was humorous and engaging as he involved them is all aspects of their adventure. I must say, he was the same with the adults, but exemplary with Maisie and John. My recommendation is that Shamrock utilize Alan whenever possible, he was absolutely amazing in all aspects! It should be noted that there is only the one formal dining option at Inverlochy Castle, and only one great restaurant in Fort William, the Crannog, which requires reservations and was booked so we couldn’t eat there. The same considerations for Inverness at either the Mustard Seed or The Kitchen as they required early reservations and other options were somewhat limited. In hindsight we should have looked into more dining options in Edinburgh during the festival. The Balmoral made arrangements for us our last night which provokes the thought that they might have been able to help us during our first two nights there. (Note from Shamrock – a concierge service is available for restaurant reservations so please ask for assistance in advance of your trip). We will certainly recommend Shamrock Vacations to our friends and others considering visits to Scotland or Ireland. Thanks again to you and your Shamrock team for making our holidays in Scotland outstanding!
Dave McPherson, AZ
We could not be more pleased with the trip! It was amazing and an experience that we will always cherish. We ran into one snag with the hotel in Inverness not having two rooms reserved for us plus the one room they had was a twin room. I called Ruth right away and she straightened it out in a flash. Here are some things we especially appreciated:
- The self drive worked out perfectly – the days weren’t too long with driving, and they were broken up nicely with things to see along the way. Through your reservation, we ended up with an Alambra SUV for the car from Hertz, and it was the perfect size for all of our luggage and we were super comfortable the whole day.
- Aberdeen worked out very well for us — we had dinners in the city and then during the day we went to the beach and then two castles – Dunnotarr at Stonehaven and then Craigivere Castle.
- Pitlochry was one of our favorite places! I would have loved to stay there even longer–maybe on another trip!
- Your distillery recommendations were spot on.
- The Bonham and Fonab were outstanding. Everyone was so kind everywhere. The castle hotel in Invergarry was so special–we loved it. Brandi and Steven were convinced their room had a ghost!
- It would have been great to know that some places (such as Invergarry and Pitlochry) are best to eat at the hotel and not try to search for other places. The hotel restaurants were the best around, and we called ahead to reserve a spot and it’s good that we did since they were so busy.
The trip was so amazing! We can’t wait to go on another one.
Virginia Potter, TX
We did enjoy our trip. Paul Walker, our driver, was excellent. Very accommodating, knowledgable, considerate. All accommodations were good, however Kilronan and Clontarf were more like upscale hotels instead of castles. My favorites were Kinnitty, Abbeyglen and Ballyseede. Your country is beautiful and I am proud of my Irish ancestry. The weather proved to be uncooperative so we chose to take an alternative trip one day. Again Paul was very helpful and inventive in selecting things we could do. The staff at Kinnitty was exceptional. Joe at Ballyseede was also exceptional. The food was great at all the castles. Again we enjoyed our trip.
Linda Harper, TN
The trip was lovely. We were all happy we hired the driver. Mr. Fleming was safe, informative, and personable. We opted given our schedule and his experience to do the Dingle road instead of the Ring of Kerry. It was worth it for sure. After Ashford he took us to additional beautiful locales to the northwest of Galway. We should have scheduled certain popular activities at Ashford before arrival, because one we wanted, falconry, was full up. Concerning accommodations, of course Ashford was super, and the same would apply to Malton as well. So glad for those two. Buswells could have used an upgrade for both rooms, but acceptable given our short stay. Very attentive staff in all locations. We had stayed in the Hilton a day early and so were familiar with it. The return to the Hilton was a perfect and easy choice. For your information, they provide a complementary hotel shuttle to Malahide for evening entertainment. Thanks for your good service
Joe Errington, VA
We had a wonderful time in Ireland. Everything was arranged perfectly. I meant to send an email as soon as we returned to let you know how much we enjoyed ourselves and how much we appreciated all the arrangements made by Shamrock Vacations. We all felt that the accommodations were excellent and the staff members at each of the hotels were very friendly and helpful if we had questions. The only time that was a little crazy was in Killarney due to so much going on while we were there. We were still able to do what we wanted to do even with so many people coming for the Ring of Kerry Charity Bike Race and the Kerry vs Cork football match. We would not have wanted to miss visiting Killarney. It really added to the great memories we will have of our visit. We have and will continue to recommend Shamrock Vacations to anyone planning a trip to Ireland. And if we plan another trip, you will certainly hear from me. Thank you so much for all the help.
Michele Kosanke, WI
We loved your service. Our driver guide John was very professional. He was always where he said he would be and always on time. All went completely smoothly at the hotels, the rooms were ready for the three of us and there were no problems with checking in. We appreciated that! We really enjoyed all of our hotels. All in all, you all were really terrific and we very much appreciated all of your help and being there for us when we needed anything. It was such a relief for me to know you were there if I needed anything. Ireland stole our hearts, we absolutely love your country. Isle of Man was very interesting, but it didn’t match the beauty and friendliness of Ireland.Thank you for everything. We sure miss being on our vacation and I would definitely recommend your company to anyone asking me about an Ireland trip.
Michele Mesko, CA
We loved our trip organized by Shamrock Vacations. It was an A-plus experience for both of us. Ballyseede Castle was first class without the attitude. Everyone was extremely friendly. Kinnitty Castle was the most authentic, Kilronan Castle had the best bed, and Abbeyglen Castle was the most fun. The food in all of the hotels was a gourmet experience. I met a woman during my travels who said it all in a few short words, “If you want sunshine go to Italy or Spain. If you want friendship, conversation and beauty, go to Ireland.” Thank you and I will be sure to tell my friends and relatives to go to Ireland and use Shamrock Vacations.
Martin & Kathy Godin, CA
The highlight of my summer was traveling to Ireland with my family under the expert guidance of Shamrock Vacations. It all started with a comment in 2013 from my 72 year old father who said that only place he wished he had seen was Ireland. It started a process with me and my sister to make it happen. I searched various tour companies and got three different quotes from three different travel agencies. We decided on Shamrock Vacations and from that point on the experience has been MAGICAL! We started the process with Genevieve Sheehan at Shamrock Vacations. She spent the time finding what and where we wanted to do and see. We were open to any suggestions since no one in our group beside myself had been to Ireland. Genevieve recommended an extraordinary 10-day luxury chauffeur vacation with castle stays and beautiful hotel accommodations. After the trip was planned, I had help every step of the way from the outstanding staff including Ruth, Nicola, and Clare. From arrival to departure, Shamrock Vacations had everything in order. The few hiccups were addressed quickly by the helpful staff. Anything we needed, from food reservations to tours, was handled with stellar customer service. The BEST part of the trip was our driver, Danny McCarthy. He was an insightful, jovial Irishman full of history, stories and an occasional ballad! We wanted to pack Danny up and take him home after spending a week with him. He was fantastic. The Davenport and Malton Hotel stays were top notch locations that were perfect to explore the areas of Dublin and Killarney. The most breath-taking event was the stay at Ashford Castle. I am still speechless… stunning castle, beautiful rooms, and breathtaking grounds. You felt transported to another time. If you have a chance, do the Hawk Walk! The experience being so close to these spectacular raptors was astounding. The trip was phenomenal…. the sites, sounds and tastes of Ireland have made a lasting impression on our family. I would highly recommend Shamrock Vacations to anyone expecting to make a memory of a lifetime. Shamrock Vacations will be my go-to travel agency for the MANY more trips we are already planning on taking in Ireland, Scotland and England. I have already recommended them to all my friends.
Tami Dorraugh, CA
We had an amazing trip to Ireland. It is more beautiful than we even imagined it! I think you picked out the right spots for us as we had a good home base for all of our exploring. The next time I will focus on some smaller towns that provide a little more intimate experiences. We really enjoyed Galway and the Park House was very nice. The service was very attentive and they did anything they could to help make our trip enjoyable. The Malton wasn’t as good. The hotel is beautiful, but they have some service issues starting with the luggage handling and continuing right into the bar service.I wouldn’t go back to that hotel.Needless to say Dromoland was spectacular! We felt so pampered and special there. I am so glad we stayed for an extra few nights. It was the perfect way to end the trip! Thanks again for all of your help planning the trip.
Kathy Lyons, MA
We had an absolutely wonderful time! Things went really well. Thank you so much for putting together a wonderful Scottish adventure for us. Now the details:Edinburgh: Vibrant and classic, this was really a great place to start. The hotel was actually within walking distance of New Town. Had some really great meals and enjoyed going through the castle. The one drawback was the hotel, Bonham. Yes, “boutique” but definitely showing its age. Very friendly and helpful staff, and they served a good breakfast. Could hear guests through the bathroom walls and a loud party in the dinning room late one night. There was scaffolding in front of our window; when we asked what time the workers would start in the morning we were told that the scaffold had been there for a couple of months already and they didn’t expect any work to take place for several more weeks. Room Wi-Fi essentially was non-existent it was such a poor signal. Really doesn’t deserve 4 starts.Glasgow: We walked the downtown area looking through the shops. The hotel, Carlton George, was a very nice modern boutique with very friendly service. Nicely located just a short walk from the train station. The room was well apportioned and very comfortable. Interestingly, they offer free beer, wine and spirits in the room!Glengarry Castle Hotel is a hidden gem! Yes, they don’t have an elevator but that was a minor inconvenience. The service was better than I have had at some 5-star facilities. The room had a 4-poster bed, beautiful view of the lake along with a very nice sitting area. The hotel dinner was outstanding, probably one of the best meals we had on the trip. To call this a 3-star facility is an understatement. This should be a regular stop for your guests.The Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness would best be described as a typical tourist hotel. Clean, well appointed, but nothing special. Just far enough away from things that you need to eat in their restaurant. They but on the face of a gourmet menu but we probably would have done better at a fish and chips stand. Our server went off duty half-way through our meal, leaving one person to take care of the table and take care of the bill. We ended up waiting almost a half hour after we finished before I could get the check. Two other aggravating issues: the lights immediately go out when you remove your room card from the slot (no courtesy delay) and they insist on charging for Wi-Fi in the rooms. Off all the places we stayed, I would suggest you definitely find another location in Inverness.Dalhousie Castle was another charmer. Very good service, very nice and comfortable room. I liked how they had you go to the library bar ahead of your dinner reservation to get a drink and order your meal. After you had some time to relax you were then escorted to your table with the first course soon to follow. Would definitely stay there again.OK, now let’s talk about our driver, Angus. He was great! As a tour guide, he pointed out things that we otherwise would have never noticed. He was incredibly knowledgeable. He helped us address each day’s trip, helping us make small changes that wonderfully enhanced our experience. We saw things and went places the average tourist doesn’t go and this just made things all that much better. There is no question that “Gus” helped make our Scotland trip so memorable.Again, I want to thank you and your team, especially Nicola, for putting together such a great experience for us. I have already recommended you to a couple of my friends; I hope they follow through and make plans with you.
Jeff Linzer, GA
First of all let me say that Annie and I had a wonderful visit to your country. It is truly a magical place and the people are so friendly. Dublin was great and we had a good time. The drive to Kilkenny and Cork worked out well and we took a detour to Waterford to see where the crystal was made. Great trip. A cabbie told us about a memorial to the 911 firemen in Kinsale so we went there as well. What a great little village/town and the memorial was beautiful (343 trees planted for each of the firemen who died in 911). The Malton in Killarney was wonderful and we loved that town as well. Great food, great people and probably the busiest place we went to other than Dublin. From there we took a direct route to Waterville, over the hills and thru the valley on a one lane road! What an exciting ride with beautiful views. And Waterville was a great course (as was Portmarnock). Not to mention they have the life size statue of Payne Stewart at the course. From there up to our favorite place we stayed at, Ashford Castle! Oh, what a wonderful place to stay and the people were all so friendly, played golf, great meals, skeet shooting, had a great time. I think I forgot “kissing the Blarney Stone” at the castle …..great fun there too. From Ashford on up the coast to Lough Eske Castle in Donegal which was another great place to stay. Played at Donegal Golf Club, toured the city, had a couple of nice meals and also the most sunshine of the whole trip! Met some interesting people there including the Harbor Commodore from Belfast who was involved with the building of the exhibit featuring the Titanic. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get to Belfast, but maybe next time. All in all, a wonderful trip and a beautiful country. We would love to go back someday. Thanks to you and your whole team for making this trip so much fun!
Mark Fleming, MI
Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful vacation!! The itinerary you planned was marvelous, and activities and attractions recommended were excellent suggestions. I will try to capture some of the most important parts:
- Accommodations – we really liked all of them, but the Malton was probably our favorite, with Knockranny House a very close second. The Malton’s grounds are beautiful, as well as the hotel, and an added bonus was a children’s play area outside where our 15-month old grandson could run off some energy. I have to mention that several times when locals asked where we were staying, and we replied the Malton or Knockranny, the response was “wow, how did you get in there? That place is fabulous!” We felt very special! The only thing I have to mention that took us by surprise was the lack of air conditioning in some of the hotels. Being spoiled Americans who love their A/C, and the weather being warmer than usual for the time of year, the rooms were at times stuffy. In all my reading on the internet about Ireland vacations, I never ran across anything that commented on the lack of air conditioning. It makes sense with the age of the beautiful buildings, but it might be nice for you to possibly comment on this with the accommodations. We were able to upgrade to rooms with A/C at the Ashling (extra 30 euros per night), and the evenings were a little cooler at the Malton (but fans provided in each of the rooms), Knockranny and Clontarf so we got by.
- Transportations arrangements – these were fabulous! Our driver, Mark Lyons, was amazing with his knowledge, personality, wit, professionalism and true desire to make this trip as special as possible for us. In addition, he was wonderful with our grandson! The added bonus was that with our small group (10 people) Mark drove a mini-coach that he was able to take on 2-lane roads through the countryside and along the ocean. I’m certain we saw things that people on the 50-passenger coaches are never able to see close up. It was also because of Mark’s tenacity that we were able to find our great, great grandparents’ homestead in County Mayo! That was certainly an emotional highlight of the trip, and I will forever be grateful to Mark for helping us with that. There are still a couple partial walls standing, and it is in the shadows of Croagh Patrick, which can be seen in the distance. Simply amazing! The mini-coach was immaculately clean and very comfortable. Mark was a fanatic about cleaning the windows often, and sprucing up the inside each night. Great choice for transportation!
- Restaurants and reservations – We ate at Bank on College Green in Dublin and loved it! We were running late after doing the Dingle Peninsula and had to call to cancel the reservation at Treyvauds. We ate at An Port Mor in Westport. This was exceptional!! This was the day that several in our party climbed Croagh Patrick, and we were also running late that day. I called An Port Mor to let them know, and they were so accommodating. We were given our own small upper room to dine in. The atmosphere, the servers, and the food were all wonderful! I would highly recommend this restaurant!!
- Customer service from Shamrock Vacations – every single employee I interacted with was professional, knowledgeable, friendly, exceedingly prompt with responses, and truly seemed to want to make our vacation the best possible! With this being our first vacation overseas, we had MANY questions, and each was answered with patience and caring. From the first airport transfer, to the hotel reservations, to the mini-coach tour, to the dining reservations, to the last airport transfer – each was seamless and without a glitch! It truly is a testament to you and your staff that this vacation was effortless on our part. All we had to do was sit back and enjoy! And that we did!! It was a joy from beginning to end, and we were all sad to leave. Your company made this trip a magical experience! Kudos to all your employees, and you have our deepest gratitude!
I really don’t know what else to say. I wish there was some way I could include even more superlatives. It is honestly beyond description how much we enjoyed this vacation. We would all like to come back again and explore more of the out-of-the-way locations, and spend more time just drinking in the beauty of Ireland.Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
Anita Kale, IL
Our trip was wonderful. We saw so much of Ireland. If we did it over again, I would have traveled less and spent more time in a few places- but it is hard to know that ahead of time. Our favorite hotels were Trump at Doonbeg- this was very comfortable for a family of 6. Next best was Ashford Castle. Every hotel was clean, comfortable and enjoyable- those 2 were just a step up…. Our driver Paul was great. He picked great routes between destinations and helped to choose stops for lunch, shopping and touring.
He put in a long day of driving to get us to the northern tip of Donegal where my husband’s family is from. Thanks for your help in these arrangements.
Amy Curran, PA
We had a wonderful time. Ireland was beautiful. The hawk walk , Blarney Castle, Wexford, Cork, Galway, Cliffs, Ballyseede, everything we did was great. Liverpool was fantastic, we did the Magical Mystery Tour, walked to Albert Dock, rode the Ferris wheel, walked all over the city centre of every town and city we went to. The hotels were great, and the VW van was perfect for all of us. Thank you for all your help. We will definitely come back.
Kathy Bailey, KS
We had a wonderful time in Ireland, Scotland and England. I think we all agree that Ashford Castle was the top! Wonderful! And Dromoland a close second. Lough Eske Castle and Portmarnock were both good, as well. Mark, our driver/guide was a pure gem! We all thought highly of him and enjoyed his company. Ireland was probably my favorite. Loved the people, the music, the stories, the countryside, the blarney! The Scottish Highlands are beautiful. I wish we had had a little more time in Skye. Bob, our driver/guide was very good, very knowledgeable and a pleasant man. Our accommodations at Corriegour Lodge, we all agreed, were at the bottom of our list. After those in Ireland, it was definitely a come down. The rooms were very small, the bathrooms tiny. They really need to buy new mattresses for the beds. It is not a 4-star lodge. The location was beautiful and, while very expensive for a captive group, the food was good. Fonab Castle was lovely and our room at the Bonham in Edinburgh, was probably my favorite. Very large, lovely. The Bath Spa Hotel was very nice and The Kensington Hotel was especially lovely. Our initial room left something to be desired as we were on the top floor with dormers and a queen bed. Actually, it was quite small and my husband bumped his head on the ceiling/wall twice. We requested a king bed room and they moved us happily and without any hassle to a wonderful large room with a king bed. The common rooms were lovely. All in all everything ran smoothly and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The people we ran into were friendly, pleasant, and happy to help us. Thank you for everything Shamrock did. We were quite pleased with you.
Judie Von Eiff, IL
The weather was a little rough the first 5 days, but the countryside was beautiful. The Castles were great. Dromoland Castle and Ashford Castle were the best! Dromoland had more of the old world feel, which Molly really liked. Ashford was a little more modern, but was absolutely beautiful. The grounds and gardens at Ashford were amazing. It was also nice at Ashford Castle because the village of Cong was a short walk away. The food at both of these castles was excellent. Our driver Paddy Kennedy couldn’t have been better. He was very knowledgeable and a pleasure to talk with. He did everything he could to make sure we were comfortable and got to do the things we wanted. You arranged everything very well, even on the days we added before and after the tour. The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin was quite nice. The “Bank on College Green” restaurant in Dublin was wonderful. The interior was gorgeous and the food was fantastic.
Gene Foulger, UT
Thanks for creating an absolutely beautiful trip on our tour of Ireland. After driving almost 2000 kilometers, I have to say I was getting used to driving on the left side of the road, although I will never get over having the left hand side of the car up against a stone wall while a large truck is headed right for us……all the same, it was fairly easy to adjust as I had three navigators in the car. The accommodations were spectacular. We asked for and received wonderful castles and manors, with beautiful views of the countryside, delicious menus, and spacious accommodations. Two of the castles, Waterford and Ashford, were extraordinary. The recommendation to have us stay two nights at each location was perfect as it gave us time to explore the countryside. Rest assured you have met our expectations and will continue to have our highest recommendation. As a final note we want to comment on the outstanding hospitality and friendliness of the Irish people. While one should expect that from the hotel and restaurant staff where we were booked, we found it to be universal throughout the countryside. On behalf of Susan and I, and our traveling companions, Jan and Don Bybee, thanks for a memorable trip.
Richard Crummel, TX
We absolutely loved our journey to Ireland and were enchanted with the island and its people. We all were pleased with the plan but felt we should have organized it with Ashford Castle last as it was the most glorious of our accommodations. Lough Eske is no doubt deluxe but it is without character and you felt you could have been anywhere–there was nothing “Irish” about it and even its help was European. Portmarnock is a beautiful spot but if you are not planning to play golf there then I would not advise staying. Our thought was that perhaps those who wanted to go to Dublin should start at the Shelbourne. Maury and I had absolutely the most perfect days there touring the sights and dining exquisitely at One Pico and Patrick Guilbaud. Then start the journey at Powerscourt which the Sullivans loved and we appreciated its beauty when we went to pick them up there. Dromoland was a delight and we all had fun on the pony cart ride and walking the grounds. Without question our stay at Ashford Castle was most magical. We toured the grounds, went to the local church for mass, visited a pub the Sullivans had been to 25 years ago, went on the lake cruise and learned about the history of the area, ate at a pub in the town of Cong, dined at the cottage on the estate, reveled in luxurious and delicious breakfasts, enjoyed the lounge at night with lovely Irish singing, and slept in beautifully decorated rooms. A third night there would have been a delight with perhaps playing 9 holes of golf. Our driver from the airport to the Shelbourne was excellent in giving us background on Ireland and Dublin. Mark, our tour guide for the trip, was excellent and delighted us with the depth of his knowledge, his humor, and his willingness to indulge us. Our times in the van were relaxing and filled with good spirits and singing! We all thank you at Shamrock for planning a memorable vacation for all of us and I hope my suggestions will be helpful when you are planning other journeys. It is my fondest hope that we shall enlist your services again for another trip to beautiful Ireland!
Angela DiDomenico, IL
Thank you for following up with me concerning my trip. Everything went very well and I couldn’t be more pleased. The accommodations were beyond expectations! Ireland is an amazingly beautiful country with fabulous people! I cannot think of anything that could be improved upon really. Our trip went off without a hitch other than we experienced a delayed flight at the onset of our trip. That cost us our allotted time to tour Dublin. I think the next time I go back, (yes I intend to go back) I will stay two nights at each stop, instead of just one. Thank you all at Shamrock Vacations. Please give Colin my regards. He did a great job setting up our trip. It was very much according to my wishes.
John Kelly, KY
We really enjoyed our vacation in Ireland and had a wonderful time. The hotels we liked the best were (in no particular order): The Brooks Hotel, The Malton and of course, Ashford Castle. However, all hotels were of good quality and provided us with spacious rooms together with the cot for the baby. The suggested itinerary was somewhat overcrowded (especially traveling with a baby who needed to be fed and changed every few hours) but we adjusted it as we went along according to our own liking. All In all, it worked out very well and we saw and experienced a tremendous amount of Ireland in such a short time! We shall cherish our memories of a wonderful and beautiful country for so many years to come. And we are certainly recommending your services to all of our acquaintances should any of them decide to visit Ireland. With our best regards and many thanks again for making Ireland so enjoyable,
Brenda Tripathi, SC
First, let us say that the trip was outstanding, you delivered on all aspects of the trip above our expectations and we will DEFINITELY recommend Shamrock to any of our family and friends who might be planning a trip to Ireland. We felt we received a great value for the money that we spent for the tour. The castle stays were especially fun as each one of them was quite different from the others. Dave Costello is an exceptional person with a vast knowledge of the history of Ireland as well as the history of the music of Ireland. You live in a beautiful country and for the most part are very friendly and outgoing people. I have never eaten so many potatoes in a 10 day period in my life! (not a bad thing). The pubs were a great time and all of them that we just walked into off the street (about 20 of them) were very welcoming, and the food was consistently very good. Of course the Guiness was great, and we also discovered the Cider (Bulmers I think) as a good alternative to drinking beer all the time. We are so glad we discovered Shamrock Vacations and wish you great success going forward.
Terry & Diana Korf, FL
We cannot thank you enough for your help in planning such a wonderful trip to Ireland for our family (all 18 of us) to celebrate our 60th Wedding Anniversary. We gave our oldest son, William Hayden the job of putting this feat together and when he found you it all came together beautifully. I must tell you that we started to plan this trip last summer. Our travel agent contacted Trafalgar Tours and Grand Circle but they have a policy of not taking any child under the age of five. Even though our youngest granddaughter would turn five on July 2nd, they would not make an exception. We even tried making arrangements through AAA and Brendan Vacations, but the same rule applied. This is when William took over and found you, so I am convinced that things have a way of happening for the best. You did a much better job than Trafalgar, Grand Circle and Brendan Tours. Thank you a million times over. All the accommodations that you made were excellent. Everyone agreed that Ballyseede Castle in Tralee was their favorite and the Fitzpatrick Hotel in Dublin the last night was their least favorite. The best thing that you did was to find Mark to be our driver/guide. He really made Ireland come alive for us and made us so proud of our Irish Heritage. He gave us facts, told us Irish lore, played Irish music, suggested things to do like the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin to amuse our grandchildren and took us to places we would never have seen on Trafalgar, Grand Circle or Brendan Tours, I’m sure. And we didn’t have to have our luggage out in the hall by 7AM! We would certainly recommend you and Shamrock Vacations to anyone wanting an extra special private tour of Ireland. Thank you again for all you did to make our vacation extra special.
Bob & Maryann Hayden, CT
We had a fabulous time. What we thought would be a once in a lifetime experience has turned out to be what we have decided will be our first Irish adventure. Although our flight to Ireland was less than ideal, we arrived to find the most beautiful city, Dublin. Our driver was waiting at our gate, and provided much appreciated tips on our way to the hotel. The itinerary you set for us was exactly what was requested, and we were pleased with all of the accommodations. As we traveled across the south of your lovely country, we were struck the most by two things. Firstly, the natural beauty that is Ireland. Regardless of where we looked, the whole country looked like a post card! I will never get over the spectacular views I saw. Secondly, the Irish people are the warmest, most friendly people I’ve had the pleasure to come across. We had numerous, fascinating conversations with people I now miss as a would a friend. The Irish are well known for their Irish pride, and after this vacation, I feel that not only is that pride understandable, but well deserved, as well. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and we cannot wait to return. I’m not sure when that will happen, but we will gladly be back in touch with Shamrock to assist us in our next trip. Your attention and accessibility throughout this process made everything so much easier, and took the worry and stress out of our vacation planning. I have recommended your agency to some friends, and will continue to do so. Thank you so much for helping to make this dream come true.
Michelle Brown, SVA
I wanted to thank you again for putting together a beautiful experience for our group. Everyone loved the experience, food and the accommodations. People really enjoyed the folklore theatre the first night in Dublin. Was a good way to start it out. Loved Kilronan Castle and enjoyed the 3 nights there as it helped to decompress a bit. Dinner was very nice and well-prepared and served when dining in the restaurant. If you dine in the sitting area, the service was not so attentive. Brooklodge was beautiful. Great dinner but it was not in the restaurant listed in the itinerary. It was in the Italian restaurant they own. We still enjoyed it very much and it was fantastic food. Next time would like to stay there 2 nights maybe dinner at each of their restaurants. Unfortunately their horse person was out sick, so those of us who wanted to go riding were out of luck. We really enjoyed the local tour guides that we had. Anthony Murphy and Kevin O’Kelly were new to me and liked both of them very much. Would enjoy having them again. Mike Rothcroghan was his sweet lovable self and Claire Roche was divine with her harp and homemade scones and John Wilmott gracious with his stories and sharing his home and labyrinth with us.
Amy Wilinski, WI
We really enjoyed our trip and have lots of great pictures and memories.
The highlights for us included:
– Dromoland Castle. This was our favorite accommodation. We will plan 2 nights here next time we return with our kids!
– Cliffs of Moher
– Dingle and touring around ring of Kerry area.
– Blarney Castle
– Jameson distillery in Midleton
We were very happy with all of the accommodations, except Waterford castle as the room looked quite worn and needing painting and update. Our tour guide Des Murphy was exceptional. We can’t say enough about him. He is friendly, funny and very easy to get along with. We appreciated learning much of the history that he shared with us along our tour. Thank you again for the planning. It made the trip stress free!
Nichole Currie, ON
Wendy and I are still talking with friends on how wonderful our trip to the UK was and what a fantastic job you and your staff did making it a trip to remember. With all the photos I took I was able to make 3 different shutter fly memory books that we show off at any chance we get. Everyone that sees them is amazed on how beautiful each county is and how spectacular the sights are. So when they ask, we for sure are recommending Shamrock Vacations and also our driver Mark Lyons if they want a great personal tour of Ireland.
Doug Quinn, CA
I’m writing to tell you that the vacation you and your staff planned for us was absolutely perfect! Every hotel and dinner reservation exceeded our expectations and the itinerary that you planned was ideal. Most importantly, Paddy Kennedy was superb! He is so pleasant, knowledgeable and skilled. His ideas for what we should see, where we should have lunch, and what we should do were so helpful. Above all he was just “good company” and our memories of this vacation will include Paddy. I will certainly recommend your company to anyone planning a trip to Ireland.
Patricia Lahey, NY
Everything went smoothly from our arrival a half hour early to the pick-up in Dublin for our return home. In spite of our early arrival, Jerry was right there waiting for us. It was dark and rainy, so he drove us to The Burren as it was too early for the Cliffs of Moher. At first I felt we were missing so much of the Irish scenery as we drove in the dark. Silly me as we saw plenty of it during the whole trip. Jerry was a careful, safe driver. When we arrived in Killarney he recommended a very nice restaurant a few paces from the hotel – The Fresk. The Plaza Hotel in Killarney was excellent. The next day we walked the main street, then Jerry drove us to St. Mary’s Cathedral. It was well worth the visit due to having been built of stone. On to Cork with a stop to kiss the Blarney Stone. Our hotel – the River Lee – was wonderful. We had deluxe rooms and therefore access to the executive lounge with various coffees, cheeses, crackers , cookies, fruit and juices. On Tuesday, Jerry drove us to the church where my great grandparents were married – Sts. Peter and Paul. I had written to the pastor but he was not at home when we got there. When we returned home, I had a letter from the person in charge of archives. He sent me a marriage certificate with the church seal on it and a note saying he was sorry we had missed each other. We then rode to the Waterford Glass Factory. I had told Jerry what we wanted to see on our way to Dublin and he worked out the best schedule. It was an interesting tour, as you see the workers first hand. On Wednesday we drove to the Rock of Cashel. I think that that was my favorite part of the trip. The tour guide was very enthusiastic. We visited Kilkenny Castle and enjoyed it. Onto Dublin – We bid farewell to Jerry at this point. We have no regrets in the experience of having a driver: especially Jerry. We checked into the Davenport Hotel around 5:00pm. The kids were disappointed as it seemed a bit dated in comparison to the other 2 hotels we were in. My only complaint was that the hot and cold water was not mixed, but rather 2 different faucets. Yes, it was older, but pretty centrally located. The staff at the desk were very nice and efficient. They arranged for a taxi for us to Connelly Station for our trip to Belfast. As we were leaving before breakfast, they offered us a continental breakfast. It was very welcoming to come down to the lounge at 6:15am and seeing the table set for us. We had juice, coffee and pastries. On Thursday we walked to Dublin Castle. Good tour. We continued to the Guinness Storehouse. The “kids “ enjoyed pouring their own beer. We had a very good lunch there with our own “poured” beer. We then walked to Christ Church Cathedral.On our last day we went shopping on Grafton St. and the kids went to Trinity College. On Sunday our transfer was due to pick us up at 1:00, but I called at 12:20, said we were ready and he arrived soon after. Excellent service. We were unsure about picking your company, but you were the only one to answer my inquiries and to keep in touch. Our confidence grew and when Jerry showed up as we were travel weary, we knew we had picked a winner. Thank you for the wonderful experience.
Linda Stampfel, NY
The Castle tour was …well, I just don’t know how to put it into words!!! The group of 10 was wonderful and we got along perfect. The castles were wonderful…as expected Ashford was my favorite!!! And, Paddy, our driver was the best! A sweet man with lots of knowledge, funny jokes and personal stories to share. He made the trip extra special! Thanks so much.
Nancy Penton, NL
Our trip to Ireland was wonderful. The four hotels – Pembroke, Fairview Guesthouse, Park City and Brooks – were all very nice and centrally located as we had requested. What really made our trip extra special was our driver/guide, Jerry Horgan. Besides being very personable and accommodating, Jerry had an exceptional knowledge of his country and its history. He took us to places that no tour bus would ever go. After just a few days with him, Jerry felt like a long-time friend. Our eight days with Jerry passed by too quickly. It was hard to say goodbye but hopefully we will return and have Jerry show us more of the country that he loves.
Frances Henckler, UT
We truly appreciate all you did to prepare our trip. Not one glitch! All that Shamrock did was excellent. And, Jerry, our driver, was perfect for us! He went above and beyond the call of duty to create a unique vacation spot on for us, “not your typical tourist” tourist!! Without a doubt, Jerry gave us the experiences, through his contacts with locals, that we had hoped for. For example, we hurled with Ronan O’Se, and then met Ivan Canning who hand makes Hurleys. We bought a Hurley from Ivan and Ivan signed it! The list goes on and on with how Shamrock and Jerry made our trip a trip of a lifetime! Thank you! We had an incredible time and will gladly spread the word!
Susan Rutland, AL
First, let us say the entire trip, as a whole, was WONDERFUL!!! We truly experienced Ireland in ways they we had hoped for, plus more. We were EXTREMELY pleased with the accommodations at the Shelbourne, and we cannot tell you how many times, when we mentioned that the Shelbourne was where we were staying, we got positive reactions, ranging from approval, envy, esteem and respect. We visited several Antique shops on Francis Street and we had a sense of credibility with the dealers just by mentioning the Shelbourne. It was clearly the perfect choice for us. I would not like to stay anywhere else. AAAAA+++++ five star rating from us.Ballyseede Castle was wonderful, with the most appropriate fixtures, decor and period appropriate accommodations we could hope for. The grounds were small, but the facilities were excellent. Staff was absolutely wonderful. I would certainly recommend it to anyone. Ballynahinch was unbelievably beautiful, and I wish we had more time to explore the grounds. Again, the decor was wonderful, and appropriate to the setting. The staff was excellent, and I would love to return there for a longer visit. Lough Eske was beautiful on the exterior, however, the interior began to resemble a more modern remodeling job. The bathroom was the largest of all the hotels, and was very nice, very comfortable room, great staff and very pleasant. It simply was obvious that it had been remodeled in modern times, with more modern furniture in the rooms, fewer antiques. Again, please remember our love is antiques, antique fixtures, antique furnishings, experiencing history. Still, it was VERY nice, and very comfortable. Best food we ate on the trip.Regarding the transportation, the initial transfer from airport was perfect, on time, nice car, no problems.We received a call on Thursday to explain that the original driver had a problem and there was a change. Friday, we would be picked up at the Shelbourne and driven to Ballyseede by one gentleman (Ray) and the rest of the trip we would have another driver. No problem for us, we were glad to be informed, and hopeful for the best. Ray was very polite, safe driving, on time, got us to and from the Rock of Cashel and Blarney castle, and to Ballyseede with no problems. He was familiar with the roads, but did not offer any other detailed information about the history, regional information, etc. The rest of the trip we were in the company of Don Dowling. I cannot begin to say enough about how absolutely wonderful, knowledgeable and charming he was. He absolutely made the trip WONDERFUL. He sat with us each morning, gave us options, plans, choices on sights, history of each, showed on the map where were were going, and let us decide what type of day we wanted to have. Again, we love history and we were there to learn as much as we could, and see the historically significant places, which we were able to do thanks greatly to Mr. Dowling. I cannot begin to impress on you how absolutely thoughtful, charming, polite and accommodating he was. We stopped at several antique stores in several towns, bought items that required shipping, and generally had a great experience. Don was the “tour guide”, historian, knew local places to eat, local places to visit, sights that were “off the grid” (waterfalls, vistas and views that were breathtaking), photographer, and general companion. We felt safe, and were very impressed at his driving skills for safety and getting around without getting lost. He knew many locals at each sight, and if he didn’t know them he introduced himself and made new acquaintances for the “next time” he might visit. Thanks to him and his personal contacts we visited Adare Manor, Ashford Castle, and several places that might otherwise not have been available. He knew the history, background, and flavor of all of the sights and regions were went through. Again, we had a wonderful experience, and have recommended your services to others.
Robert Brownrigg, TX
Our Self Drive Vacation coordinated by Shamrock Vacations was nothing less than superb. From our pick up at Dublin airport by Noel, to the return of the rental car in Shannon, every detail of your planning was exactly as outlined in our vacation package. All of the accommodations were at a level above that which we anticipated. Particularly notable is the fact that those in Dublin, Belfast and Derry were centrally located, allowing us to walk to most venues. We particularly enjoyed the Ashling Hotel (comfort and accessibility) and the City Hotel Derry and Sandhouse Hotel Donegal for their location and view. Reception and checkout at all hotels was congenial and effortless. Our vacation experience in Ireland was spectacular and was definitely enhanced by the detailing provided by Shamrock. We managed to visit nearly every site that we had preselected, finding that time alone, was the limiting factor. We actually arrived in Galway at 22:00 on the 14th, having filled our day with sightseeing, and sadly couldn’t experience that city due to time constraints. Overall our experience was very positive and we give much of the credit to the staff at Shamrock Vacations for their orchestrating of our holiday. Be assured that we will utilize your services on future travels to Ireland, as well as recommend your professionalism to acquaintances travelling to there.
Duncan McNaughton, ON
We had a wonderful trip, and I am very happy that we booked it with Shamrock Vacations. The hotels were all immaculate, and the service was excellent for the most part. We were greeted at the airport by a very friendly driver, who promptly took our bags and drove us to the Shelbourne Hotel, while giving us some information about Dublin on the way there. When we arrived at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, the lobby was filled with other American tourists, like ourselves, who had arrived on overnight flights and who were trying to get early check-ins. The staff was accommodating as they could be, and after a few inquiries at the desk, they were able to give us one of our two rooms prior to the 3 pm check-in time so we could rest and get changed. We got the other room a few hours later. Both rooms were very clean, and approximately the same size. I was a bit concerned beforehand that the single room would be small, but that was not the case. The accommodations were excellent. The morning breakfasts were sumptuous and the staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. We dined one night at the hotel and were quite happy with the dinner as well. While in Dublin, we visited the St. Stephen’s Green, walked down Grafton Street, went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, visited the Guiness Storehouse, and also went to some pubs in the Grafton Street area. The River Lee in Cork was very clean. We had rooms on the executive floor which was the 5th floor. The staff was friendly and accommodating. We left on Monday and went to Cobh to the Titanic Experience Museum, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was an interactive museum where they give each person, upon entry, a card which had the name and information of an actual person who booked passage on the Titanic. You find out if that person lived or perished at the end of the experience. Unfortunately, since we were 3rd class passengers, we were all lost at sea. Cobh was a very cute little town with a beautiful cathedral up the hill from the museum and port. We left there and headed to Killarney and checked into the Muckross Hotel & Spa. The rooms were clean and a good size, and were next door to each other. We decided to go on a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry the next day rather than drive it ourselves. The bus tour was with Deros Tours in Killarney. The bus made stops along the way in different towns, beaches, and sites. My favorite stop was at a cost of 5 euro each for admission to a show where sheep were herded by sheepdogs and a shepherd. This was so interesting and enlightening. That night we returned to Killarney town and did some shopping for woolens and souvenirs, and went to see Trad music in a local pub after having dinner. I would say that we had the most fun the entire day while being on the bus tour to the Ring of Kerry and going to see the Trad music and being in Killarney. We left Killarney on Wednesday and headed to the ferry at Tarbert and took it across the Shannon River to go to the Cliffs of Moher. We had a wonderful time there and took several pictures. We left there and drove directly to our hotel at Dromoland Castle. We didn’t check in until 5 pm and wished that we could have stayed an additional night. The staff was extremely accommodating. They shook our hands and introduced themselves as we got out of our car before entering to check in. They made us feel like royalty. The rooms were huge and the dining room felt like we were in Downton Abby. The breakfast was huge with a buffet as well as menu item choice. We also had dinner at the hotel which was excellent, with great service. Overall, I would highly recommend Shamrock Vacations for arranging a tour of Ireland. I would book with you again if I ever return. I loved Killarney and County Clare the best. My favorite hotels were the Shelbourne Hotel and the Dromoland Castle.
Patricia Parsons, NY
We had an awesome time! It rained most of the time but as you say Welcome to Ireland. The rain didn’t dampen of spirits or the spirits of the Irish people we met. Your country and people are truly beautiful. Let me give you a quick summary of the accommodations. Sheedy’s Country House – A rooms were very nice. But the real gem was Martina. She made our stay even more rewarding. John is an excellent chef and the food was some of the best. The Burren was very unique and we enjoyed riding through it. Cliffs of Moher were also beautiful. Park House Hotel – The rooms were very nice and Galway is a very unique city. The Park Hose in the perfect location for a stay in Galway. The Malt House didn’t have our reservation but we got a table within 10 minutes. They were very accommodating. The Food was by far the best we had in Ireland and would highly recommend it. Unfortunately it was raining too much and missed the Aran Islands. Maybe next time. We did visit Kylemore Abbey and the sky allowed us for the most part to stay semi dry. Ashford Castle – Of course was the most luxurious and best accommodation and the staff was great. The small town of Cong was nice and there was some good hiking. Valerie did their Hawk Walk and she really enjoyed that, 2 more checks off the bucket list. Arbutus Hotel, – Nice older hotel that was in the heart of the town. The Porterhouse restaurant was OK but nothing to write home about. The Ring of Kerry, Muckross House, and Ross castle were all great places to see. You must take a Jaunting Car ride through the gardens. River Lee Hotel – A beautiful hotel with great amenities. You can see most of Cork from their glass elevators. We Walked 2 of the 4 Cork City walks and saw some the historical spots which was fantastic. We had lunch at the English Market and dinner at Market Lane. Both were very good. We stopped at Blarney Castle on our way to Bunratty to kiss the Blarney Stone. Bunratty Manor – Our least favorite place but we were bummed about leaving. We couldn’t get wifi in our room and had to go to the lobby to get it and watch the Kerry-Mayo match. Freddy’s Bistro was a fantastic place to eat. Very romantic and the staff was excellent. Over all our trip was FANTASTIC! We will recommend your services to all our friends.
George Leonard, SC
We had an amazing time and would like to thank you for the wonderful accommodation you selected for us. The driving from place to place was very easy and straight forward. I don’t know when I will get back but the friendly people and spectacular country side we experienced will have us come back at some point. Like I said it was all amazing and I await for the opportunity to return and visit your beautiful country again.
Gordon Horsman, ON
Kelly and I had a great time. The castles were magnificent and comfortable with friendly staff. We could not have had a better time. The driving was quite interesting. No major incidents occurred thank God for little favors. You have a beautiful country and very friendly people. I felt like family. Thank you and your staff for the arrangements. Thanks again I will be returning in the future.
Karen Sanzone, NY
Words can not describe the absolutely wonderful holiday we had with Shamrock Vacations. As the organizer for 17 family members, ranging in age from 10 – 79, I was slightly stressed. You worry about spending their money, accommodations, enjoyment and the travel guide/driver – who can make or break a holiday. I knew that we wanted a personal driver to tour Southern Ireland, which included Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Doolin and a stay in a castle. We had 10 nights to take in many sights, such as, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, Lakes of Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, Aran Islands and slip in a Greyhound race and medieval feast. After researching three different companies, receiving their quotes and itineraries, Genevieve came through on all accounts. She LISTENED, reworked the itinerary to fit our wants and needs and remained extremely pleasant when answering my many questions. The first thing I would like to mention is our driver and tour guide, Funky Mark. His high energy, knowledge, friendliness and over all awesome personality was one of the reasons our trip was such a success. His choice of music and at times strobing lights, brought a smile and laughter to all. Mark had a wonderful way of getting to know us and made suggestions and changes to our itinerary that took us “off the beaten path”, making for a special day. We drove by his family home, waved to his Dad and heard stories of his dear Mummy. It was as if we were travelling with a good friend. Lastly, I must speak of his driving skills. Mark’s ability to manoeuvre all those narrow twisting roads that make Ireland unique, was remarkable. You will never find a cleaner bus in all of Ireland. Mark vacuumed, wiped, dusted and swept his bus at every stop. There was never a doubt that the windows would be clear for all those spectacular sights. Off the charts when it comes to ranking him!! Our accommodations were wonderful. The Ashling Hotel, in Dublin and the Clarion, in Cork were in a great location. The Malton Hotel was beautiful. Large rooms, close to town, friendly service and fabulous detail in the dining room. Sheedy’s Country House in Lisdoonvarna was fantastic. Martina and John made our stay so comfortable and the dinner was absolutely spectacular . Dromoland Caslte was our last stop. We treated ourselves to golf, a hawk walk (very cool), horse and carriage ride, biking and the best fish (Monkfish) I have ever had. The nightly singing in the bar, the beautiful rooms, the gorgeous grounds, all made our Castle experience magical. This review could not be complete without mentioning Clare, in reservation. We had a few changes and a family emergency but Clare was always on top of it. Whether by phone or email she was professional and extremely kind. I felt very well looked after and I knew that my group were being cared for. I realize I have only touched on a few of our highlights – there are too many to mention at this time. Just know that the “Toner” group were positively impressed with Shamrock Vacations. We will recommend you to many and hopefully have a chance to call on your services when we return in the future.
Colleen Toner, AB
We had a great time. They weather turned out great for us and the country was beautiful. All of our experiences were great with our favorite place to stay being Ashford Castle. We saw so many different things from castles to Abbeys to crystal factories that it would be hard to say what was best. The car we had was great (brand new audi A5) and we took a GPS of Ireland so we had no problems with directions. We had few problems and my wife and I both agree that the people are as friendly as anywhere we have ever been. We will certainly pass on our knowledge of Shamrock Vacations. Your people were great and the experience was wonderful.
Ron & Pat Camp, GA
We had a very good trip. We enjoyed the different castle hotels, as each had its own different atmosphere. Ashford was probably our favorite. We were able to tour so much of Ireland in the time we were there, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery. We appreciate the organizing that you did for us.
Barbara Alexander, ON
We had a fantastic time on our vacation in Ireland. You did an excellent job of providing us with ideas for our itinerary, and we enjoyed every accommodation. There was a good mix of castles, older homes and new hotels to stay in. Service in all was excellent, food was great. We enjoyed the driving tour we did on our own, (a GPS navigation system is a must) because we could set our own destinations, and use our time as we chose. We have done bus tours and much preferred the freedom of doing our own thing. Thanks for all you did in putting together this package.
Linda and Kevin MacDougall, ON
Elizabeth, Sallie, Mary Katherine and I just came back from our 9-day vacation arranged by you to Ireland. I wanted you to know how pleased we were with your choice of driver (Gerry), itinerary, and lodging (the Pembroke in Kilkenny, Malton in Killarney, Dromoland Castle, Ashford Castle (wow!), and Conrad in Dublin). We topped off our trip with seats at the GAA quarterfinals between Donegal (we were adopted by the Donegal fans) and Armagh. I’d like to say that this was a “once-in-a lifetime” trip but I know that Elizabeth and I will be back. For me, seeing County Clare where my grandmother Mary Ann O’Malley was from on her way to the US was very special. You folks did a great job of putting together our vacation, and I was especially appreciative of your looking after Mary Katherine and her shellfish allergy. I wish we did as good a job in the States. We look forward to traveling with you again. Thanks again, and please feel free to use us as a reference. We’d recommend you without reservation.
Tad Dunn, NC
Having now digested and reviewed (though not as a group) our trip, we want you to know it was FANTASTIC! When I try to judge my favorite parts, I am at a bit of a loss. Bunratty Castle comes to mind (I am a reader or historical novels), though I can’t believe I climbed every step. I was dizzy the rest of the afternoon, but happy. As a gardener, Powerscourt gardens and those of Ashford castle were also favorites. The former is featured in almost every gardening book I own, and the latter will be truly exquisite as the new plantings mature. The top of the list for me, however, is the view from our room at Ashford Castle. Given scones with cream, I could sit and look at the lake for a month. (By the way, we traveled on our stomachs!) Gerry was perfect for us. He sensed our energy levels and helped us make good choices when we were too tired to see everything. He also steered us to great pubs! As Mary Katherine said, “I’m gonna miss G-dog. He drove it like it was stolen.” Translated, she loved Gerry and how fast he was able to drive on the narrow twisty roads. That was a true compliment from a hip hop listening, purple (though tastefully) streaked haired 21 year old. The one problem we had was a slight allergic reaction by Mary Katherine in the dining room at Ashford Castle. A dish also made it to Tad that was quickly removed, but it could have been a problem. They were using molecular gastronomy, and I’m not sure all the special ingredients and techniques used for that are easily identifiable. On the other hand, at every stop the hotel waitstaff knew there were allergies and discussed them with us. Thank you for letting them all know. The Malton was especially impressive. The manager told us that they have a meeting with the entire restaurant staff every day and discuss each guest’s food needs. When we’ve had our family get together to compare photos and memories in October, I’ll send some pictures and highlights from the others. In the meantime, please feel free to use us as references. Though we haven’t got a Facebook page, we always like to share our good experiences with others. We are happy to include you as one of the best travel experiences we’ve ever had! Many, many thanks,
Elizabeth Dunn, NC
We had a wonderful time and we absolutely enjoyed the trip, the people, their warmth and beauty. Highlight for us was Ashford Castle just as you predicted and the Falconry School was a chance of a lifetime. Certainly one of the coolest experiences of our lives. Overall accommodations were very nice. I want to provide a very strong endorsement and appreciation for our guide (friend!!) Jerry Horgan. He added so much to our experience he was professional, safe, knowledgeable and friendly certainly but he went above and beyond in every way. As an example, our boys took an interest in hurling and he got two hurleys for the boys and taught them how to play. This is one example of many where Jerry made our trip special. We could not make a stronger recommendation than the one we would give Jerry Horgan – special gentleman. We look forward to visiting again and appreciate all you did to make the trip come together and for the special memories we now have.
Kyle Smith, VA
My husband and I would like to extend our heartfelt thank you for our outstanding Ireland vacation that was set up for us. Our experience was absolutely wonderful and even though we have had many vacations around the world, our very most favorite vacation was this one! We would also like to mention that our tour guide was extremely helpful and has this great knack for telling stories through his long experience as a guide. He was always punctual and my husband and I said if it wasn’t for Paddy Kennedy our trip would have not been as pleasurable as he talked on about the history and experience stories as our guide. Paddy will always be a special person and memory who contributed significantly to our most favorite vacation.
Gerry and Deborah Taylor, ON
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
On behalf of the Bergan family, I would like to express my gratitude for the excellent service you and your company provided us during our family trip to Ireland in July, 2014. In particular, we would like to thank two drivers. Danny McCarthy, who was our primary driver, ferried us around the country with unfailing good humor. He accommodated our many requests, was patient with our two little granddaughters, made excellent suggestions regarding food and sights, regaled us with songs and stories, and went above and beyond the call of duty in helping us find where the Bergans came from. Oh, and he was an excellent driver. Our next “thank you” goes to the driver who drove my wife and me, and our younger son, from Ashford Castle to Shannon Airport. He, too, was punctual, professional, funny, and unforgettable. Our vacation to Ireland was a memorable family experience, greatly enhanced by your efforts regarding logistics and by your fine staff.
Philip Bergan, CT
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, WI
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