Since 2011 I've been hosting friends-fans-and-family tours of Ireland's musical west coast for a great, small Irish family-owned outfit called Inishfree Tours. Inishfree runs a tight ship with a gentle hand, and they set up these "tours for people who hate tours" with great care and expertise.
A maximum of two dozen of us travel on what the Irish call a "luxury coach" (aka small-ish, comfortable bus), and we're shown the country by savvy guides and sharp drivers. And perhaps most importantly, we generally stay well away from the large tour companies with their noisy crowds, spending most of our time in small towns, local pubs and gorgeous out of the way places.
In a nutshell, we have wonderful and unforgettable time on each trip.
Ireland is home-away-from home for me. The Irish are welcoming, affable and generally a lot of fun to be around. Many have a unique dry sense of humor! And the music we'll hear in the evenings: soul stirring and spectacularly well played.
The tours are carefully planned, and the pacing is just right. We don't try to spend ten minutes at every little tourist stop along the way, rather we tarry here and there long enough to really soak in what's special about a place.
My 2022 tour is SOLD OUT, but we are TAKING RESERVATIONS for 2023!
Here's the 2023 scoop:
What: Tom Kimmel's Ireland Tour of 2023
Where: We'll explore Counties Dublin, Waterford and Clare
When: Tuesday, April 18 to Thursday, April 27, 2023
For cost, more on travel and lodging, how to make reservations, and more...
—Read the rest of this page(!)
—Visit the Inishfree Tours 2023 Schedule page HERE.
...and click the ENQUIRE button there for my tour (which is will be the first tour of next season!) to submit a brief form that'll let the tour company know of your interest.)
—For more general info on Inishfree Tours, click HERE.
—To contact me directly with a question, email me at ireland(at)tomkimmel(dot)com...and I'll reply asap.
I will tell you that most of us coming from the US will depart from here on Sunday, April 16, 2023 and fly overnight, arriving in *Shannon the following morning (Monday, April 17, 2023). A taxi will be waiting to take us to our overnight lodging in nearby Bunratty in one of my favorite B&Bs (or a nearby hotel, for those who prefer). The next morning (Tuesday, April 18, 2023) we'll be picked up by our tour bus, and we'll be off on our first leg of the tour... which will take us to County Dublin, where we'll be based for the first three nights of the tour.
*Why fly to Shannon, and not Dublin? It's a smaller, much easier to navigate airport, and as Ireland is relatively narrow east-to-west, traveling across to Dublin is an easy three hour bus ride. And because the last leg of our tour will run along the west coast, Shannon is most convenient as our starting and ending points.
Of course, if you want to arrive in Ireland early and explore more of the country, that's easily arranged, and Inishfree is happy to offer suggestions. And please note that Ireland has excellent, clean, Wi-Fi equipped bus and train transportation.
FYI we'll be on our own dime for lodging for the full day we arrive (before our tour bus collects us the following morning to begin the tour proper). However, Inishfree is happy book our B&B or hotel lodging for us. And most of us will gather for a lovely get-acquainted dinner at Gallagher's (Bunratty's best restaurant) on the evening of our arrival. (Others may prefer to attend a "medieval banquet" at Bunratty Castle.)
Last, but not least, while I love all the tours' usual stops, I should note that most activities are optional, so if you're someone who needs more time alone (or space to shop or explore away from the group), there's plenty of time built in for that.
I'll close by saying that if you want to get a feel for just how much I love Ireland—and love sharing Ireland—listen below to my story Home, Like Ireland.
As they say in Ireland, Sláinte! (To your health!)