Since 2011 I've been hosting friends-fans-and-family tours of Ireland's musical west coast for a wonderful, 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 2023 TOUR is SOLD OUT... and we are NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS for 2024!
HERE'S THE SCOOP ON MY 2024 TOUR
What: Tom Kimmel's Ireland Tour of 2024
Where: We'll explore Counties Cork, Kerry and Clare
When: Sunday, June 23 to Wednesday, July 3, 2024
What else: The cost of the tours is $2,650 – US$2,750 per person, based on double occupancy (two to a room) or $3,150 – US$3,250 for single room rate (single room availability is limited). The cost covers nine nights lodging, the luxury coach (bus), all breakfasts, three group dinners, music, island ferries and heritage centres.
—IF YOU ARE CURIOUS or INTERESTED, please click HERE to visit Inishfree Tours' 2024 Tour Schedule page, then click the ENQUIRE button by the listing for my June 23-July 3, 2024 tour.
—For more general info on Inishfree Tours, visit the Inishfree Tours website HERE.
—And feel free to contact me directly with a question by emailing me at ireland(at)tomkimmel(dot)com... I'll reply asap.
I can add that most of us coming from the US will depart from here 2 days before our tour officially begins. Most flights to Europe are overnight flights, so we'll arrive in Shannon (or Dublin) the morning of the day before we board our tour bus. If we're flying to Shannon (as most of us will), 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 we'll be picked up by our tour bus, and we'll be off on our actual first leg of the tour.
*Why fly to Shannon, and not Dublin? It's a smaller, much easier to navigate airport—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 for any reason you prefer to fly to Dublin, no worries. Ireland has excellent, clean, Wi-Fi equipped bus and train transportation that'll get you to the west coast before our tour kicks off. And if you want to come early (or stay late) and explore more of the country, Inishfree is happy to offer suggestions.
FYI we'll be on our own dime for lodging on the day we arrive (before our tour bus collects us the following morning to begin the tour proper). However, Inishfree Tours customarily books 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!)