Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

"We want you to love Ireland as much as we do."

Website: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/

About

Country pride and passion that since its founding in 2002 has catapulted Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland and its tour companies, Vagabond Adventure Tours and Driftwood Journeys of Discovery, to become one of Ireland’s premier active travel operators and a leader in this country’s adventure tourism industry.  A committed environmental ethic and a creative vision designed to inspire and enthrall clients come together on every tour to capture the windswept beauty, age-old traditions, whimsy and pathos of Ireland and its people. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first Tour Operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification.

The Beginning

Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland was the brain child of Rob Rankin who had been travelling in Southern Africa with his wife, Amy. While there, they saw the safari and ‘overland’ tours that were so popular and realized that a more adventurous way of seeing Ireland would be a fun and lasting experience for visitors. Ireland may not have the lions, elephants, jungles or deserts of Africa, but it certainly has plenty of great scenery, fascinating history and a few two- and four-legged wild creatures running loose. Just what you need for a good safari.

Vagabond Adventure Tours explore Ireland’s hidden corners on scheduled departures of fully guided itineraries that mix up multi-sport activities, history, myth and culture for 7 to 12 days. Small groups of up to 13 participants journey in custom-built 4X4 Land Rovers and Mercedes vehicles (a.k.a. Vagatrons). The first and only vehicles of their kind in Ireland when originally introduced, they are designed to drive into areas beyond the reach of more traditional motor tours, often rambling off-road to drive along beaches, through rivers or up muddy tracks. Guests can then walk in the mountains, kayak in secluded bays, horseback ride on a remote beach, clamber over ancient ruins, learn about pirate queens and retrace the steps of pilgrims or search for ancestors. Days end at intimate guest houses or small hotels offering up a roaring fire.  See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/our-tours-of-ireland-2/adventure-tours-of-ireland/.

Driftwood Journeys of Discovery expands touring options on scheduled departures of fully guided itineraries over 6 to 11 days for clients who prefer a more relaxing adventure that emphasizes the unique scenery, culture and history of Ireland. Tour guests are surrounded by Ireland’s majestic countryside, visiting hidden beaches and learning about high kings, giants and poets while travelling in comfort with a maximum group size of 16. See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/our-tours-of-ireland-2/small-group-tours-of-ireland/

Both styles of touring offer cultural experiences that run the gamut from sheep dog displays and private demonstrations by artisan craftsmen to fascinating political history tours of Belfast.

How Vagabond Adventure Tours and Driftwood Journey of Discovery Tours Differ

Mode of Transport

Vagabond Adventure Tour

All travel is in a Land Rover or Mercedes 4X4 ‘Vagatrons’. They are perfectly comfortable and add a real spirit of adventure right from the start of the trip.

Driftwood Journey of Discovery

All the Driftwood tours glide along in an extremely smart and comfortable green ‘Drifters’ which is either a Mercedes or Volkswagen mini-coach.

Touring on Foot

Vagabond Adventure Tour

A hike every day is usually a part of a Vagabond tour. These can last up to 2.5 hours and cover up to 5 miles (8km’s) on uneven paths over undulating terrain. A moderate level of fitness is required.

Driftwood Journey of Discovery

For those who would like to stroll through local villages, stately homes and gardens and to historical sites – then Driftwood is the perfect style of touring.

Options for Activity and Adventure

Vagabond Adventure Tour

Activity options available on adventure tours may include:

  • Sea-kayaking (3 hours session under full supervision)
  • Horse-riding (1 hour on the beach)
  • Cycling (2 hours in the Killarney National Park)
  • Skellig Michael Trip (including boat trip, a climb up 100’s of steps with no handle)
  • Surfing – for the really hardy people

All activities and walks are optional and require a moderate level of fitness.

Driftwood Journey of Discovery

Offering less active options, including:

  • A horse and open carriage ride though the Killarney National Park
  • Visits to gardens such as Garinish Island, Bantry House and Muckross House
  • An Irish cooking lesson
  • Visit to a local artisan craft workshop
  • Less physical strolls on hard surfaces or good paths to scenic locations and historical sites

Vagabond Adventure Tours tend to move at a slightly quicker pace, ideal for those who want to feel they are on the go, in a refreshing kind of way.

Driftwood Journey of Discovery Tours as the name suggests, take a bit more time getting from A to B, plus there is more free time at certain locations.

All Tours Encompass the Best of Ireland.  For instance, on an 11-day Driftwood tour or a 12-day Vagabond tour from Antrim to West Cork returning to Dublin, guests will experience different accents, dialects, foods, cultures, sports, architecture and micro-climates - not to mention centuries of history and stunning landscapes. In fact, Vagabond travelers often see more of Ireland than many Irish locals experience in a lifetime.

Authentic and Local experiences are created by using native-owned accommodations and dining in locally owned restaurants and pubs as well as through flexible itineraries offering free time during the day in small, off-the-track communities.  Because groups are small guests arrive, shop, eat and stay without disturbing everyday life. Often the most memorable experiences come from unplanned and spontaneous local interactions.

Hidden Ireland away from the crowds brings guests to such hidden gems as the Neolithic Uragh Stone Circle on the Beara Peninsula, Aughnanure Castle in Connemara or the Grianan of Aileach in Donegal.

Client-First Approach.  With group sizes significantly less than most Irish tour operators it means that guides make a point to know each guest’s name upon arrival.  Tours are very personal and flexible and no two outings are ever the same.  If guests have an Irish connection, guides can help source connections, be it a long-lost cousin or simply a shop or pub with their name on it.

Quality and Services that guests enjoy meet the highest standards. Accommodations are handpicked to ensure the highest quality of hospitality and the food that is offered is both delicious and world-class.

Guaranteed Departures.  All confirmed tour departures are 100% guaranteed. Vagabond Tours has never, ever, ever cancelled a tour.

Small Groups translates to personalized service from the booking process to the tour itself. Freed of the constraints of larger numbers the company can utilize smaller hotels and guest houses in some of Ireland’s most remote and picturesque spots. Flexibility comes when trip guests request arrangements for visits to sights and attractions not included in the itinerary. If it is possible, they make it happen. Everyone is involved in such decision making.

Telling the Story of Ireland comes through guides who share several things in common. All are wanderers at heart, but each loves Ireland and recreating the lore and myths that have blurred fact from fiction. The natural world is their playground as they become Pied Pipers leading guests to the next overlook high above the sea’s spray where minutes ago they were kayaking across the bay. Listening to their guests is their forte. Their role is to bring Ireland to life, to tell the local stories while traveling across it, to introduce visitors to proud communities and to weave together all the parts of the complete cultural experience. Guides are also ambassadors and living examples of Ireland and Irish life that visitors now have unrivalled access to.

Creating an active connection with nature, heritage and landscapes is a given, as each day on a Vagabond Tour is filled with experiences that take travelers deep into Irish landscapes, connecting them with nature and Irish culture. For example:

  • Hiking the Dunboey Coastal Walk on the Beara Peninsula or the Glenveigh National Park
  • Clambering to Ireland’s highest burial cairn at the summit of Slieve Gullion mountain
  • Kayaking out into Dingle Bay Co. Kerry to see the abundance of wildlife and sea life
  • Cycling through Killarney National Park’s natural and man-made treasures
  • Horse-riding on a windswept Mullaghmore Beach with Classiebawn Castle in the background

Famous highlights come with itineraries without the crowds. For example:

  • Cliffs of Moher – Guests arrive late in the evening or early morning to avoid the busy times
  • Cliff walk to the Giant’s Causeway, a 3-hour hike in from Dunseverick Castle
  • Inis Oirr – for a more personal experience, groups visit the smallest, lesser visited Aran island

Remote Locations reveal hidden gems such as…

  • Skellig Michael – Few operators offer access to the UNESCO World Heritage site islands on scheduled tours
  • Slieve League Cliffs and the Cliffs of Kilkee
  • Inch Strand - Driving down Inch is for 4X4 adventure tours only!
  • Ballycarberry Castle – Opens only for Vagabond guests – and cows.
  • Coppermines Road on the Beara Peninsula

Overnights are Hand Picked in locations where guests find it easy to disconnect and relax, where the welcome is genuine and the service excellent. Categories include:

  • Remote and stunning -  Away from it all in Portmagee and Gougane Barra
  • Buzzing Local Communities - Fun evenings in Kenmare, Dingle, Clifden, Kinsale and Ardara
  • Something Special - Live like a Lord or Lady at Ballygally Castle and Abbeyglen Castle Hotels, Mount Falcon Estate or Bantry House
  • A bit adventurous - Glamping by the sea at Dromquinna Manor

Local Hospitality may be disguised as a…

  • Picnic on a remote beach.
  • Dinner in one of Kinsale’s finest restaurants
  • Concert in St James Church in Dingle
  • Music and dancing in the Bridge Bar, Portmagee
  • Lunch in McCarthy’s Bar in Castletownbere

Customized Tours and Private Departures can be arranged to accommodate groups and multi-generational families.

Children ages 10 and up are welcome on most all scheduled departures. Most young participants are teenagers.

Sustainable Tourism plays a big role in this company that is committed to a code of best practice in all aspects of business, including relationships with and effects on the environment and the communities guests visit. Few business sectors rely on the natural environment in the way that tourism does, so it is very much in this company’s interest to preserve the natural world. This means constant monitoring of business methods to make sure that the environmental impact is as low as possible.

In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first Tour Operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. Vagabond Tours founder and owner, Rob Rankin, was presented with the Gold Award by Eco Tourism Ireland. Speaking at the presentation, Rankin reaffirmed Vagabond’s commitment to sustainable tourism and the multi-faceted role played by the company. “As a company, we have always been very aware of our environmental and social responsibilities. That we are one of many caretakers of Ireland and have a responsibility to practice sustainability to ensure the landscape, the Irish culture and traditions are protected for future generations and visitors alike to enjoy and experience.” In a recent team exercise, being environmentally aware was universally adopted as a key company value.

High Yield, Low Impact Tourism means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest’s contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). In 2016 alone, these guests contributed over €3 million to local Irish economies. A Vagabond passenger is a great example of a high yield, low impact tourist.

A Carbon Neutral Company. Investing in the future, Vagabond has gone carbon neutral. On 12 November 2016, in association with the Woodland Trust, they planted 111 trees to offset all 2016 CO2 emissions.

Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics program designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Vagabond guides have gone through the facilitator training program and work in the off season to continue to develop best practices.

Ireland Adventure Association - Rob Rankin, MD and co-founder of Vagabond, is currently leading the development of a vital representative body for the adventure travel industry in Ireland. It is a professional body not a marketing body. It is a sector which generated €850,000,000 for the Irish economy in 2014. Key roles of the new organization will include promoting responsible and sustainable tourism.

Evolvingwith Accolades

  • 2002 Vagabond was established.
  • 2003 the first employee was hired.
  • Driftwood launched in 2011
  • 2013 a company tour was named one of National Geographic Traveler’s Top 50 Tours, the first and only Irish tour company to be singled out by this award.
  • 2015 & 2017 Vagabond Tours of Ireland won Best Adventure Experience at the Irish Tourism Awards in 2015 and in 2017
  • 2017 Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour Operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification

Contact Information

Amy Rankin              This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  /  00353 866494262
Rob Rankin              This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  /  00353 876494262

Vagabond Adventure Tours Email:           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone:                USA (870) 619-4059

Driftwood Journeys of Discovery Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone:                USA (870) 474 0055

Address:                   
Vagabond Tours of Ireland
52, Newtown Business and Enterprise Park
Newtownmountkennedy
Co. Wicklow, A63 PA07, Ireland

Website: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/

Social Media:          

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland
Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/
Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/
Twitter:          https://twitter.com/vagabondireland
YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Media Contact:      

Widness & Wiggins PR
Sara Widness / 802-234-6704 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Wiggins / 720-301-3822 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
 
 
 

Tour Company in Ireland Targets Brexit to Help Explain Why Ireland Is Two Countries

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland -- In a fast-changing world, the letter A appears still to stand for apple. And the letter B? In many minds for the foreseeable future, B is for Brexit -- Britain exiting the European Union).

Confronted with a fast-approaching October 31 vote, this week the EU has been asked for another Brexit delay. If the EU approves the extension request, the Brexit deadline would be delayed until 31 January 2020. Rob Rankin, founder and owner Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, is taking a wait-and-see-attitude concerning the UK Parliament’s vote to uphold or not the exit date that could change how the UK does business with Europe -- and also on the Emerald Isle.

Maybe Brexit will be washed down the drain over a toast with its trading bloc partners since 1993. Maybe not. In the meantime Rankin’s team offers a list of ideas to visitors to Ireland who may want to know what the fuss is all about. In Dublin, the gateway city for Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, historic attractions are two-a-penny. Guests are invited to discover for themselves the bullet holes on the General Post Office that betray its role at the heart of the 1916 Easter Rising. The National Museum is housed in a former barracks. Glasnevin Cemetery holds an array of independence heroes and an excellent museum.

Highly recommended in Belfastis an on-own Black Cab tour that offers a unique perspective on the capital of Northern Ireland. Guests listen to expert personal commentary on a guided tour through unionist and nationalist communities, learning about the late 20th century ‘The Troubles’ while viewing political murals and signing names to a peace wall.

Itineraries encompassing Derry include aguided walking tour around the historic walled city of Derry/Londonderry that showcases the Guild Hall and a siege cannon while shedding light on the nationalist neighborhood where the Northern Irish Civil Rights movement was born in the late 1960s, leading to a virtual 30-year war between Catholics and Protestants.

And other itineraries including Cork, also known as the Rebel County, share stories of the action here during the early 1920s War of Independence and ensuing Civil War. Michael Collins was ambushed and assassinated at Béal na Bláth. Picturesque Cobh was a center of resistance in 1916.

“It’s a no-brainer to say that this ours is a complicated history,” adds Rankin. Vagabond Tours of Ireland assists its guests in scratching the surface of the history of why there are two separate Irelands. This history goes back well into the 16th century when the island was like a piece of fabric being stretched between Gaelic-speaking Catholics and the English who spoke English and who were eventually predominantly Protestant. 

“Today Brexit has become our own three-legged milking stool,” Rankin explains. The three legs are 

  • European Union (EU) – since 1993 a commerce-driven alliance of European nations, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
  • United Kingdom (UK) – inclusive of Great Britain (Scotland, Wales, England) and Northern Ireland (six counties that are culturally British out of an overall 32 counties on the island). This bloc known as the UK has voted to disengage from the EU because of a perception that the UK doesn’t enjoy full sovereignty in the EU.  
  • Republic of Ireland – represents 26 of 32 counties on the Emerald Isle, is not part of the UK bloc and enjoys 80% to 90% support for continuing its own EU membership. The Republic of Ireland fought and won independence from the UK from 1916 to 1921. The six counties in the northern part of Ireland demanded that their union with the UK and the British crown remain intact, resulting in Northern Ireland. When the UK voted to remove itself (Brexit) from the EU, the independent country Republic of Ireland determined to remain within the EU.

Customs and tariff protocols between the Republic of Ireland (EU) and Northern Ireland (UK) have been operational and peaceful for nearly two decades. Residents and visitors to Ireland and the UK enjoy visa-free travel to each other’s countries. All sides have agreed that this situation will continue post-Brexit.

What is of concern, adds Rankin, is that without a so-called backstop built into the negotiations, the now a ‘soft’ border between the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could once again become a ‘hard’ border that in turn could pick at century-old scars. The relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has steadily improved since the landmark peace accord of 1998. What’s known as the Good Friday Agreement ended paramilitary activity and customs infrastructure at north/south border crossing points. The British army was removed from Northern Ireland.

No matter Brexit’s outcome – or not – Rankin and his team are high on 2020 bookings, already strong.

“We envisage no major disruption. The bright side is, we hope, more opportunity to explain Irish history,” he says.

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours (the division hosting the Epic Irish Food Adventure Tour) are for active travellers who want to mix up hiking, kayaking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom Mercedes 'Vagatron' or special mini-buses which allow access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. In 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. And in February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:    

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:   https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Vagabond Tours of Ireland Helps Connect Guests to Their Ancestral Links

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Oct. 1, 2019 – Emigrants are those who for multiple reasons need to escape their current living situation. They become immigrants when and if they’re allowed onto foreign shores.

Years roll by. Emigrants become statistics. Immigrants often achieve citizenship in their new countries. But sometimes they and their offspring – especially if they have Irish roots -- are compelled to look back.

One award-winning tour company, whose reputation lies in whisking guests into the magic of off-the-beaten-track Ireland, hopes that visitors of Irish descent will make the effort to explore their particular pasts when visiting the Emerald Isle.

“Every Vagabond Small-Group Adventure Tour sheds light on who the Irish are today and where we’ve been,” explains Robb Rankin, owner of Vagabond tours. “When it comes to the particulars of family histories and genealogies, while you’re with us in Ireland, you may want to explore your own extended family ancestry -- or look for relatives in order to qualify for an Irish passport.”

Here are two Vagabond blog posts related to Irish ancestry and roots: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/nancy-came-back-irish-roots and https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/the-genealogy-detectivee

Other suggestions Rankin has for using valuable digging time in Ireland wisely is to:

  • Meet up with Aoife Fitzgerald, the mother of “Vagaguide” Rhys. She is on tap to help sort out the inevitable obstacles when doing this digging.
  • Use free time when on Vagabond tours to meet up with local experts in towns where the tour stops. Meet-ups with local experts can be arranged in Kinsale, Dingle and Clifden, among many others.
  • Schedule time for serious research before and after the tour in such treasure troves as
  • Specific groups settled in certain areas in North America. For example, Blasket islanders from the Dingle peninsula congregated mainly in Massachusetts, around the Hartford, CT, area (if people know they have Blasket ancestors, they can find out more on the Blasket website).
  • Connect the emigration dots while on such immersive tours as a 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour (winner of Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience at the 2019 Irish Tourism Awards). This itinerary at €1,819 per person double visits:
    • Cobh: The last port of call for the Titanic and departure point for Famine emigrants. Conde Nast Traveler in 2019 named Cobh one of “Europe’s Most Beautiful Small Towns.”
    • Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross (Wexford): This is an exact replica of a 19th century Irish emigrant vessel.
    • New Ross where the Kennedys (of JFK fame) originated.
    • An optional detour to Béal na Bláth, site of the ambush and assassination of Michael Collins who after the Famine represents in the early 20th century yet another chapter of the pathos of Ireland and its quest for independence.

To begin to appreciate the emigration story, Rankin suggests that either before or after this (and other) tours that guests book a Back Cab Tourto explore the history of Belfast that is contested by two tribes that are Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Unionist, Green and Orange.

In late summer 2019 Ireland reported a recent milestone of population growth surpassing 4.9m. The growth represents, in addition to non-Irish nationals, returning Irish nationals to the tune of 30 percent. This is the highest level in 170 years since the post-Famine point of 1851 when emigrants undertook the perilous sea journey to Canada and the United States. Belfast, Dublin and Derry, followed by Limerick and Sligo and later Liverpool in England, were the key ports of embarkation. During the Famine many also left from small ports such as Westport, Killala and Kinsale. From such ports embarked 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America (1848-1950), including Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island who departed from Cobh.

For more details, itinerary, images and inclusions please see Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland offering two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours are for active travellers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discovery  follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' or Mercedes-Benz “Drifter” that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go. In 2019 Vagabond began using a fleet of Mercedes “Sprinters” and Volkswagen “Crafters” for guest comfort.

For details on all of Vagabond Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

 

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland in 2020 Hosts Five 6-Day Celebrations of Irish History Through Food

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Sept. 11, 2019 – Countries love to display their cultures and histories through food. Ireland, too, is now ripe for a culinary sort through.

“In the 21st century we love the fact that we can celebrate our food that eloquently expresses the beauty – and poignancy -- of our land and history,” says Rob Rankin, Vagabond Tours’ Founder and Managing Director.

Ireland’s award-winning travel company will showcase in 2020 Ireland’s history through food. The 6 Day Epic Ireland Food Tour departs the gateway city of Dublin on a circuitous course from famine to Michelin. Trip dates in 2020 are May 11, June 8, July 6, Aug. 3 and Sept. 14. The per person double rate is €1,899 (single supplement €270). For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-ireland-food-tour.

“Call our celebration of food a Phoenix of sorts,” muses Rankin. “We have periods throughout our history when the Irish had nothing to eat and other times when we went hungry because we were busy dodging bullets.”

But this tour doesn’t fixate on the island’s past woes; rather this fast-paced, active adventure bakes in the fun while focusing on Ireland’s mild climate, rich soil and clean oceans.

“This itinerary opens a window to Ireland’s recent food renaissance. After years of underappreciation, local Irish produce has come to the fore, mixing with international influences to produce a distinctively Irish modern cuisine,” adds Rankin.

Guests kayak with dolphins across Dingle Bay and walk dramatic cliffs and beaches as they…

  • Taste dillisk (truffle of the sea) and refreshing carrigeen icepop while foraging, perhaps also finding sea spaghetti and wrack on the golden sands of Derrynane on the Ring of Kerry. (Historic note: Queen Victoria vacationed on the Ring of Kerry back in the 1860s. But did she know about a secret viewing point high above the ocean that Vagabond Tours’ 4x4 tour vehicles can access by offroading?);
  • Unearth fairy potatoes (Conopodium majus – a wild carrot), Irish coconut (blossoms from the wild gorse/furze shrub) and wild garlic that goes into pesto – all on a foraging hike in Clare with local food guru Oonagh O’Dwyer;
  • Work up an appetite with a breathtaking hike along the Cliffs of Moher;
  • Sample Irish wildflower honeys and the nectar of the gods at Ireland’s finest meadery;
  • Tour the tastes of a vibrant community – Kinsale -- at the heart of Ireland’s food renaissance (and unofficial foodie capital);
  • Toast this food odyssey with wild-brewed, off-the-beaten-track Irish coffee;
  • Meet Ireland’s original female craft brewer at her 100-year-old Dingle pub;
  • Feast like lords and ladies at a characterful Irish castle hotel;
  • Shuck and slurp oysters on the spectacular Flaggy Shore before shuffling to Linnane’s Lobster Bar on the active fishing pier;
  • Meet with such local purveyors as Burren Smokehouse, St. Tola’s Goat’s Cheese and Wild Irish Sea Vegetables;
  • Discover Annascaul pudding, Bere Island hake, Castletownbere clams, Durrus and Cashel Blue cheese, smoked and cured Gubbeen bacon and Clonakilty black pudding;
  • Ramble through a Willy Wonka-inspired edible paradise at the Garden of Re-Imagination near Glengarriff where the flavors and stories of rare delights are revealed by the pink flamingo tree, dahlia tubers and barberries;
  • Savour the world’s creamiest milk and best artisan cheeses from grass-fed cows – and water buffalo. Ireland has an ancient tradition in dairy. Butter making was first introduced by the Celts in the 2nd century BC;
  • Toast all of the above over Irish craft beers and whiskey.

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two types of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours (the style hosting the Epic Ireland Food Tour) are for active travellers who want to mix up hiking, kayaking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end, the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' or Mercedes-Benz “Drifter” that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. In 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. And in February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:          

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

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Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland Folds Galway into 2020 Itineraries Honoring Europe’s Capital of Culture

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Aug. 16, 2019 – Ireland’s Galway in February will become even more globally prominent. This city has been dubbed the 2020 European Capital of Culture. https://galway2020.ie/en/

An award-winning tour operator, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, is already preparing to fold Galway into as many of its 2020 tours as possible. This company will also offer opportunities for guests to sample a variety of world-class events that make travel to Ireland in 2020 a must.

The national event lineup for next year includes but is not limited to:

In addition to this calendar of one-off crowd-pleasers, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland asked its guides to tally up past-guest surveys of what their alumni thought were the most outstanding experiences in Ireland. Following is the result of their research, a perfect mix of hidden gems, historical events, challenging hikes and stunning destinations that create the ultimate Ireland bucket list of amazing things to do on the Emerald Isle in 2020 and beyond.

  • Visiting Skellig Michael, an island with puffins, 600 steep stone steps and a 6th century monastic settlement that was featured in Star Wars The Last Jedi (Episode VIII).
  • Biking two brand-new greenways opening in 2020. One, a section of the Royal Canal Greenway, will be Ireland's longest dedicated cycle path, leading from the outskirts of Dublin to Longford in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands. When it launches in the second half of 2020, the Carlingford Lough Greenway will be Ireland's first cross-border cycle trail, linking Newry in Northern Ireland to Louth in the Republic.
  • Booking a Black Cab Tour to explore the history of Belfast that is contested by two tribes that are Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Unionist, Green and Orange.
  • Downing a quaff in a hardware store.
  • Watching a hurling match, the world’s fastest field sport.
  • Soaking aching muscles in a kelp bath.
  • Crawling inside Ireland’s myth-laden and highest passage tomb – in Armagh.
  • Hiking from clifftop to waterline on Giant’s Causeway.
  • Partaking of Listowel Writers Week in quiet north Kerry May 27-31, 2020.

Vagabond’s 12 Day Giant Irish Adventure and the 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland itineraries embrace most of these experiences. All of the company’s tours begin in and end in Dublin. Guests are encouraged to schedule in optional Dublin events as they arrive or depart the city.

The 12 Day Giant Irish Adventure Tour is a two-time winner of Best Adventure Experience at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards in 2017 and 2015. The per person double rate is €2,899 (single supplement €490). This is Ireland’s ultimate guided adventure tour, journeying over mountain passes, riding horses on deserted beaches and exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.

The slower-paced, less active 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland itinerary is €2,749 per person double (single supplement €469). Guests discover Ireland from coast to coast through immersion in history, culture, music and crafts.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom Mercedes-Benz Drifter or 4x4 Vagatron that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720-301-3822

 

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Vagabond Tours of Ireland Whisks Guests to Best-kept Secret on Journeys to Remote Beara Peninsula

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, July 16, 2019 – Ireland’s award-winning tour company has a reputation for whisking guests into the magic of off-the-beaten-track gems.

Visitors step back into history on the Beara Peninsula on four tours conducted by Vagabond Tours of Ireland. Here on Ireland’s southwest coast is “Ireland’s Best Kept Secret,” according to Travel + Leisure in its May 2019 issue.

“Thankfully, because the roads here are still too narrow for tour buses, the rugged Ring of Beara (peninsula) sees fewer tourists than other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way. However, we still can experience livestock-induced traffic jams,” said Rob Rankin, owner with Amy Rankin of Vagabond Tours of Ireland.

Countless locales in Ireland have inspired poetry and music. So has Bantry Bay. This bay represents the calmer waters bounding the south of the Beara Peninsula that juts out into the wild Atlantic. In the evenings, guests may still experience many a “tender sound of song and merry dancing (that) stole softly over Bantry Bay.” Here in 3000 BC Bronze Age people made their marks in standing stones, predating the remains of Vikings who plundered monasteries, and well before the copper barons of the 18th and 19th centuries savaged under the earth in service to English masters.

The net result of all of these comings and goings is a trove of magic that many visitors to Ireland fail to discover. Here are some of the many delights Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland mixes and matches into itineraries that imbibe the Beara Peninsula.

Healy Pass: The name of this serpentine mountain road resonates with Ireland’s history. It was built in 1847 in the turmoil of the potato famine to help people get to food sources. It was named for the first governor general of the Irish Free State (circa 1922).

Uragh (Neolithic) Stone Circle: Standing stones up to 10 feet high from 3000 to 1500 BC.

Lorge Chocolatier: Handmade chocolates from a native of France who follows that country’s chocolate-making traditions.

Garnish Island: Out in Bantry Bay this island enjoys a micro-climate where a formal Italianate garden of, among others, sub-tropical plants flourishes.

Milleens Cheese Ltd: This company is the oldest company producing farmhouse cheeses in Ireland. Home base is a farm that boasts a herd of Holstein-Friesians, a breed distinguished for milk production (dating to 2000 BC) and recognized as those black and white cows.

15th Century Dunboy Castle: This ruin represents a clan (O’Sullivan) that held the reins over coastal fisheries and therefore the livelihood and bellies of local folk. 

Bullig Bay Looped Walk: A scenic trail replete with ruins (including Dunboy Castle) in and out of the woods along the bay.Watch out for traditional dry-stone walls, a ruined watch-tower and crumbling walled enclosures, each steeped in history.

Puxley Mansion: The dream is to make this 19th century Victorian manor house near Dunboy Castle into a hotel. Dogging its history is the fact that the IRA burnt it to the ground in 1920. (Jane Eyre and Rochester might well have been at home here.)

Copper Mines Museum: Think the TV series Poldark that was set across the Irish Channel in Cornwall. Techniques of copper mining in Cornwall (shown in the TV series) made their way over to Allihies in the early 19th century, leaving behind today’s labyrinth of dangerous and deserted mine shafts, skirted by Vagabond’s off-road vehicles.(Up to 40% of the population of Butte, Montana in the U.S., descended from emigrant miners from this area.)

Derreen Garden: Dating to Clan Sullivan that controlled the fisheries, guests today can stroll the paths through this 60-acre estate confiscated by Cromwell’s friends in the mid-17th century, a time that marked Protestant control over the then-Catholic population.

Seal Colony:A colony of roughly 250 seals bask on the rocky outcrop of Seal Island visible to guests boating across Bantry Bay.

Vagabond Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Toursare for active travellers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Active tours that partake of the Beara Peninsula are:

·         7 Day Epic Irish Food Adventure Tour

·         12 Day Vagabond Giant Irish Adventure

·         8 Day Vagabond Wild Irish Rover

·         7 Day Vagabond World Tour of Ireland

Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do,” says Rankin.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally-owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' or Mercedes-Benz “Drifter” that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go. In 2019 Vagabond will also be utilizing a fleet of Mercedes “Sprinters” and Volkswagen “Crafters” for guest comfort.

For details on all of Vagabond Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Award-Winning Tour Operator Outlines Six Reasons Why August Is Best Month to Visit Ireland

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, May 16, 2019 – One tour operator packs more of its award-wining itineraries into August than into any other month.

Why August?

Rob Rankin, owner with Amy Rankin of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, offers his top six reasons.

  • No Sweat. Temperatures average a comfortable 66℉with perhaps up to three inches of rain. But heh! No rain, no green. We love our rain!
  • Escape the Crowds. Unspoiled, underpopulated and unbothered by crowds and queues; Ireland’s off-the-beaten-path villages, coastlines and mountains are left beautifully empty, even in August. If you want to be poked with a selfie stick, try the south of France.
  • Fetes & Tetes. For sure there will be a few tetes (wigs) at our many local festivals where locals who are characters in their daily lives take center stage. Here are a few for 2019.

- Kerry sets itself up every year to honor a wild goat. Puck Fair annually (for 400 years) crowns a bearded beast as King Puck as throngs dance to live music. This year’s dates are Aug. 10-12.

- Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann (pronounced flaa kee-ole na hare-on) celebrates traditional Irish music in a different town each year. In 2019, ‘the flaa’ will be in Drogheda from Aug. 11–19.

- Waterford Walls draws world-renowned artists to Ireland’s oldest city to create total mayhem and amazing graffiti on Aug. 22-25.

- Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival now in its 25th year brings tall tales to Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

- Dublin Horse Show is all about the coveted Aga Khan trophy from Aug. 7-22.

  • Get Stuffed. August is by far the best time to eat your way to the soul of Ireland. Clean oceans deliver delicate scallops, delightful seabass and delicious mackerel. We call these “the bacon of the sea.” Veggies, not all green, explode from gardens. Those distinctive hedgerows abound with wild blackberries and elderberries. Maybe it’s time for some local foraging? Wild venison now appears on menus. A summertime classic, the 99, is a soft-serve ice cream served in a cone with a Cadbury-produced 99 Flake (chocolate) bar.
  • The Games are the Thing. Gaelic Games (GAA, or gaaah) are Ireland’s national sports. August provides the exciting preamble to September’s All-Ireland finals. If you’re in Dublin, don’t miss the riot of color and atmosphere that is a GAA championship match at Croke Park. It’s one of Europe’s largest, noisiest stadia. When we’re out and about, almost any town and village we pass will be hosting Gaelic football or hurling matches.
  • By the Sea. Some Vagabond itineraries call for ferry rides to nearby islands such as The Skelligs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site commemorating the ruins of a one-time monastery (and a filming site for Star Wars)Scattery Island, with deserted village, monastic ruins and stone round tower hinting of Napoleonic-era battlements;and the world-class gardenson Garnish Island. While water temps top out in August at around 64°F, travelers love to stroll the beach and enjoy the sun that shines this time of year from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Following are three tours the Rankins recommend, especially in August:

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours (which include the three tours mentioned above) are for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. And Driftwood Journeys of Discovery which follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

In 2013, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 the company was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Six Day Ancient Ireland Tour Explores Viking, Norman History Along Emerald Isle’s East Coast

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, April 9, 2019 – The cinematic journey back in time is nearly over. The History channel’s blockbuster hit, “Vikings” is scheduled to conclude its sixth – and final season in 2020.

But in Ireland the Vikings and their lasting influence still remain. An award-winning tour operator, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, recreates for visitors Ireland’s own Viking history in some of the places where the Vikings pillaged and plundered in their quest for precious baubles and arable lands.

The company’s Driftwood: 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour travels south from the gateway city, Dublin, through County Wicklow (old Norse for “Vikings Meadow”) where many episodes of “Vikings” were shot. (This fully guided small group tour won a “best” award at the 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards.)

Guests may envision Vikings landing longboats off the Irish Sea and the flags of Norman invaders from England who, with help, eventually did them in. The artifacts they’ve left behind signal bloodshed one moment and repentance the next. More than any other region of Ireland, this coastline separated by mountains from inland valleys defines how the Irish came to be in the 5000 years since Stone Age settlements.

“A common view is the Vikings were raiders who didn’t stick around. But some did. As early as 800 AD they set up winter camps (longphorts) here, plotting how to loot the wealth of monasteries, intermarrying with indigenous Celtic Gael, putting down roots and founding our first capital at Waterford,” notes Rob Rankin, co-owner of Vagabond Tours. “The Vikings had a settlement in 841 AD in what is now Dublin. Then in the late 12th century, another predator, the Normans, thrust and parried the assorted kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland.”

The tour’s first major stop explores the site of a Viking attack on Christmas night in 835 AD on Glendalough, a 6th century monastic center. Farther south comes the Viking Triangle, the virtual museum cities of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. The Vikings founded Ireland’s first city, Waterford (Norse for “windy fjord”), in 914. Here one can visit museums and buildings rife with Viking lore. Participants on this trip have the option to:

  • Tour the Viking Museum in Ireland’s oldest civic building, the 800-year- old Reginald’s Tower;
  • Watch history come to life at the 3D King of the Vikings virtual reality experience.
  • Step into a real 13th century chamber at the Medieval Museum,
  • Behold the elegance of 18th century Georgian Waterford at the Bishop’s Palace Museum.

While in Waterford, now famous worldwide for its crystal stemware, guests revel in two nights of luxury – hardly Viking style -- at Waterford Castle Hotel. (The castle became a hotel in the 1980s and underwent a major refurbishment in 2015.) Little Island, on which the castle stands, is strategically encircled by Kings Channel and River Suir. From the 6th century it housed a monastic center. From the 9th to 11th centuries the Vikings built fortifications on what was then called Island Vra (Dane’s Island). The early 12th century stone castle remained in the hands of its original owners, the Fitzgeralds (later kings of Ireland) for over 800 years. The island was a reward for the family’s role in the 1170 Norman invasion. (In Woodstown, just upstream from the castle, is relatively new evidence of a significant Viking settlement unearthed in the 21st century.)

At the mouth of another river the Vikings established in the 9th century a settlement they calledUeigsfjordor Waesfjord(“ford of the waterlogged island”), today’s Wexford. The Norse controlled this region until challenged, in part, by the Normans early in the 12th century. (In nearby New Ross guests may opt to visit the Ros Tapestry where 150 stitchers since 1998 have created 15 dramatic tapestries depicting Norman history in Ireland.)

In Kilkenny, the stronghold of a Norse clan since the 6th century, artifacts are buried deep. But in the 1990s a tour guide discovered silver and bronze treasures including buttons from a Viking coat.

In addition to Waterford Castle, other aristocratic homes and their gardens are players on this itinerary. Visitors will:

  • Behold the splendor of 12th century Kilkenny Castle,
  • Ramble the Robinsonian gardens of Altamount House,
  • Dress for battle at the medieval Ballyhack Castle,
  • Walk in awe around 13th century Tintern Abbey,
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone and explore Blarney Castle and Gardens.

Departures (14 total in 2019) from Dublin are from mid-April through mid-October. The per person double rate is €1,819 (€315 single supplement).

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on the Vikings-themed trip see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-eastern-ireland-tour/.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours are for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 the company was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

For Inquisitive Travelers Who May Only Visit Ireland Once in a Lifetime – This 12-Day Tour Has It All

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, March 19, 2019 – The traveler’s dilemma is how to find enough time to get into the heart and soul of a country.

One award-winning, home-grown tour operator that curates adventures across Ireland suggests the questions should be: How to find enough time for a country to get into your heart?

An award-winning 12-day tour does just this, promises Rob Rankin, co-owner with his wife, Amy Rankin, of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/).

“Give Ireland 12 days on our Giant Irish Adventureand you’ll see more of Ireland than most Irish will see in a lifetime,” adds Rankin. “When you leave your heart here, it’s always with the best intention to return. But if that doesn’t happen, you can be content that from the Giant’s Causeway in the very northeast to the Blarney Stone in the south-west, you have seen the very best Ireland and her people have to offer.”

The per person double rate is €2,899(€490 single supplement). Departures in 2019 are April 22 and 29; May 6, 13, 20 and 27; June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26; Sept.2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Oct. 7. Next year’s dates have also been set so reservations for 2020 departures are now also available.

Imagine a country of wild moorland, rugged mountains and unspoiled beaches. This epic journey circumnavigates the entire Emerald Isle, moving counter-clockwise beginning and ending in Dublin. Along the way travelers will explore natural, cultural and historical icons including sites where Game of Thrones was filmed. Legends of this ancient culture come to life in music and dance. Beauty exudes in the poetry of place names: Connemara, Galway, Iveragh (the Ring of Kerry), Limerick and Tipperary. And spirit emerges in the laughter over toasts in pubs – perhaps at one of Dingle Town’s 54 watering holes.

A former eight-day version of this experience was recognized by National Geographic Traveler as a Tour of a Lifetime, however the present 12-day route covers much more ground. This off-the-beaten track, flexible itinerary requires a fair level of fitness for horseback riding and kayaking, or for hiking and cycling 2.5 hours on undulating hill paths. Guests have the options to:

  • Kayak across Dingle Bay to meet a friendly dolphin
  • Surf an Atlantic wave
  • Hike over rugged landscapes
  • Horseback ride along a golden Irish strand
  • Bike or hike the wonders of Killarney National Park
  • Visit a working sheep farm for a herding and shearing demonstration
  • Journey to the Skellig Islands, one of Ireland's UNESCO World Heritage sites and a filming location for Star Wars
  • Shout from the battlements of mythical castles
  • Peer into portal tombs older than the pyramids
  • Stand in awe at ancient Neolithic stone circles and Celtic ring forts
  • Dig deep into Belfast with a Black Cab tour or a visit to the Titanic Experience
  • Walk the ramparts of Derry, Ireland’s only complete walled city

Enroute guests enjoy fresh and locally sourced food from Ireland’s clean waters and green farms. On all of its tours, the Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. On one stop a hot, rejuvenating seaweed bath awaits. On another, guests live like lords and ladies in a castle-style country house. Transport is in a custom 4x4 Land Rover or Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do,” says Rankin.

Please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/irish-tours-12-day-giant-irish-adventure/

Those who prefer a less active, gentler pace, can opt for an 11 Day Discover Ireland Tour. The per person double rate is €2,749 (€469 single supplement). This program that also circumnavigates Ireland shifts the focus slightly from outdoor activities to cultural sightseeing, with additional visits to stately homes and castles and opportunities to stroll through world-class gardens.

Please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/vacations-to-ireland-11-day-driftwood/.

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours(the collection including the Magnetic North Adventure Tour) are for active travellers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discoveryfollow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Land Rover or Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland Dips into St. Patrick Haunts on Immersive, off-Beaten-Track Itineraries

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Mar. 1, 2019 – At last count some 180 communities in Ireland claim to host St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The traditional March 17 fete also heralds the day for planting spring peas.

At age 16 (around 400 AD, during Roman times), the to-be-St. Patrick was sold into slavery, working as a shepherd in Ireland. His calling followed, as did the symbolism of the shamrock’s three leaves representing the Trinity.

One award-winning tour company, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, goes off the beaten path to introduce guests to secrets of the Emerald Isle. Discoveries while touring include many of the towns and villages that honor the country’s patron saint with parades that include:

  • Vintage tractors and cars followed by all sorts of agricultural vehicles such as quad bikes and customized fertilizer barrels turned into trains for tots;
  • Floats, decorated and themed, typically pulled by tractors;
  • Costumed depictions of ancestors and relations;
  • Candies (sweets) tossed from the floats to children lining the way;
  • Majorettes and sports clubs parading;
  • Country music and dancing;
  • Irish American paraphernalia;
  • Animals – sheep and dogs, for example – dyed green.

Along a 92-mile route through the northern counties of Armagh and Down are 15 locations that concern St. Patrick. One Vagabond itinerary, 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour, takes in some of the sights along this route asguests hike, bike, kayak and horseback ride through landscapes fomenting with history and lore. Tours begin mid April and continue into mid October. On the weekend of March 17, this tour’s gateway city, Dublin, will see 100,000 or more in the streets celebrating, including sports fans following the All-Ireland Club Championship finals, an inter-county hurling competition devoted to Ireland’s national sport. For tour details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/

Along this and other Vagabond routes will be stories of such quirky happenings as those in:

  • Dripsey: World’s shortest parade -- 25 yards from one pub door into another! https://www.rte.ie/archives/exhibitions/923-st-patricks-day-as-seen-on-tv/287788-shortest-st-patricks-day-parade/
  • Dingle: The earliest St Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland kicks off at 6 a.m., the first of two on this day. The second is a larger lunch-time event. The reason for the early parade stems from a time when people feared to be seen in groups in daylight.
  • Duncannon on the Hook Peninsula:Ireland’s only beach parade.
  • Derry: Ireland’s only walled city hosts a food fest along with a parade. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVA-3IjxkeI)
  • Ulster Folk & Transport Museum at Cultra: This historic theme park displays traditional crafts and promotes a traditional food champ.(https://www.youtube.com/watch)
  • Ardara in Donegal:  Pop and country mixed in the 2017 float parade in this genuinely rural Irish country town when one of the floats featured locals dressed as all the celebrities who had died in the previous year. A tractor pulled their party in heaven. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xqWCAtseE4
  • Slemish in Antrim:  St. Patrick worked on Slemish mountain. Today locals climb the hill en-masse and re-enact his life there.
  • Living Wake at the Ulster American Folk Park: Costumed guides re-enact emotions of those left behind and those ofthousands of people before their voyage from Ireland to America in the 1700s and 1800s.
  • Elphin Windmill: The restored 18th century windmill in Roscommon hosts a tea party on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Achill Island:  Eachtiny village on Achill Island boasts a pipe band. They all come together to compete on St Patrick’s Day. The day starts with a traditional drum beating at daybreak – as early as 6 a.m., heralding the Afreann Gaeilge (Mass in Irish). This is preceded by a pipe band. (http://achilltourism.com/experience-achill/achill-island-tourism-festivals-and-events/achill-island-tourism-st-patricks-day-on-achill-island-ireland/).

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours (the collection including the Magnetic North Adventure Tour) are for active travellers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. Driftwood Journeys of Discovery follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.

On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Land Rover or Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland

 

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland Walks with Two Awards at Annual Irish Tourism Event

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Feb. 11, 2019 – Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland is no stranger to accepting awards. In early February the company received not one but two 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards presented Feb. 2 at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin.

These awards recognize those people and companies that create enhanced experiences to draw people to Ireland. Awards are granted across 15 categories for general initiatives such as accommodation and marketing, and regional specific awards for the Atlantic Way, Hidden Heartlands and Ancient East. Fifteen winners were chosen from among 75 shortlisted nominees. For more on the awards see https://www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie/

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland’s 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour won in the category Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience, under 25,000 visitors. “We introduced this tour in 2018 to help answer the question, “Who are the Irish?” explained Rob Rankin, Rob Rankin, co-owner with his wife, Amy Rankin. In their imaginations guests burrow into bogs, scale crenellated towers and shimmy up mountains for glimpses of Ireland beginning with Iron Age Celts sifted into Stone Age sands. See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-eastern-ireland-tour/.

Best Environmental Tourism Innovative went to Vagabond Tours of Ireland for environmental initiatives that in some instances have led to significant cost savings for the company while other initiatives are viewed as company investments that “we hope will have a long-term benefit to the environment,” said Rankin. These include:

  • Offsetting the company’s total annual carbon emissions and restoring Ireland’s lost woodlands with a program of replanting indigenous Irish hardwood trees.
  • Offering free compostable cups to guests to use in local coffee shops instead of non-recyclable cups.
  • Giving each guest an aluminum water bottle to use instead of single use plastic bottles, helping to eliminate an estimated 30,000 fewer plastic bottles per year in Ireland.

Vagabond’s staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in custom mini buses, Mercedes 'Vagatrons' or 4x4 Sprinters Newtrons that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.

# # #

PR Contact for Information, Photos, Press Visits: Widness and Wiggins PR

Sara Widness / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 802-234-6704

Dave Wiggins / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Ph: 720-301-3822

Follow Vagabond Tours of Ireland on Social Media:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/vagabondireland

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.ie/vagabondireland/

Instagram      https://www.instagram.com/vagabondireland/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/vagabondireland

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabondireland