For the next number of weeks, our Irish Experience Tours blog will showcase some of the amazing activities that you will experience on our tours in 2019. Come with us and get a taste of the real Ireland as we take you further off the beaten track to the hidden magic of this wonderful island.
Our tours, which are more like road-trips with friends if we’re honest, will bring you the very best of adventure, history, scenery and most importantly – fun. Come with us to the best spots, through the rugged mountains, along the most magnificent beaches and waterways, and into the greatest secrets that Ireland has to offer. Let us take you on your own voyage of discovery through the best little country in the world.
Our first stop this week is the Boyne River in Ireland’s Ancient East, a place dripping with history and heritage. All the information you need is below, and on our website, but please contact us should you have any enquiries about your tour, and get booking today.
Experience 1: The Boyne River Boat Tour
It was a clear and bright morning as we approached the meeting point near the visitor’s centre. The weather gods had been in good humour and a light fog on the water’s surface was clearing as we met our guide, listened to our safety brief, and clipped on our life-jackets.
Our guide, Ross, was fantastic. His knowledge of the history and heritage of the area and the river was brilliant, and the way he told the stories of the past was engaging and informative.
The boat we were going in was more like a piece of art than a form of transport. Called a naomhog (pronounced nay-vogue), which is a special type of currach, it is a long, slim boat with a wooden frame consisting of oak and spruce, steamed and bent for strength. You will learn the special paddling technique used for these boats on the journey.
They sit low in the water which adds to the experience as it feels like you are almost on top on the surface of the river, similar to driving a low-riding sports car on the road. Naomhogs were specially designed in County Kerry for speedy access to offshore islands like the Blaskets and the Skelligs (which some of you will have seen in the recent Star Wars movies).
Staying on the TV theme, if you have seen HBO’s blockbuster series Game of Thrones, the boats used are the actual boats from Game of Thrones from season 2 to 8. Even cooler, our guide Ross was a cast member and had a few brilliant stories from his time on set. As we moved along the river, I felt like a Viking from ancient times, stealing up the river as we plotted our next raid. Ross also trained the cast in boat handling and skippered most of the boats in the show. Some of which he owns.
We begin the tour at the first lock on the oldest canal in Ireland that bisects the battlefield of the Battle of the Boyne just 3km downstream from Newgrange. I could say we’re drowning in history but maybe that’s not appropriate! Parts of the journey on the river are narrow, with high water reeds. The river widens in other sections and we got to see some of the famous scenery of the Boyne Valley. Modern bridges and roadways are the only visual clues that remind you that you are not actually back in ancient times wearing a horned helmet with a sword at your side.
We learned about the myths and legends from Irish folklore, such as the story of Fionn Mac Cumhaill who ate the Salmon of Knowledge (look it up!). Ross also told us about the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 between two kings and their armies vying for the title of King of England.
The award winning, King’s Tour on the breath-taking Boyne River takes about 90 minutes and comes highly recommended. This unique, early morning river trip is part of our Crean and Shackleton Tours which range from 8 to 13 days. Follow the link below to find out more and book your spot today.
Why choose Irish Experience Tours?
It’s the trip of a lifetime, and it’s important to select the right tour company – one that makes sure you leave with special memories, incredible stories and life long friends.
So, here’s a little list that shows why you should choose us, and not someone else.
Our core belief is that smaller groups make for a far better experience. We have an average of 8-12 people on each tour. The result is that your journey feels more like a road trip with your mates, rather than a bus ride with 50 strangers. To understand our philosophy about small groups click here.
We’re number one
We have extremely high customer satisfaction and referrals because we offer travellers more of what they want – down-to-earth, real Ireland with an awesome crew and a greater emphasis on your needs. See HERE, HERE & HERE.
The best tour guides that money can buy
Our guides have been travelling the length and breadth of Ireland for many years; as well as being your local “guidebook” they provide commentary, book activities and meals, and provide information on anything from Irish history and culture… to the best watering hole. Like you, we all have an adventurous streak and our travellers always love our enthusiasm for our country!
IRISH Owned + Operated
Support the locals! Founded in 2010, we are Irish and proud of it. We know our country and we’re proud to show it off! We are not a big corporate, selling you tours from a flash office. We don’t rent expensive retail space and we don’t pay marketing experts thousands of euros to define us – we already know who we are. We are a small team that loves this country and loves what we do. We really do get a buzz when we see our customers having a unique experience.
Outstanding customer service
If you have any problem or question, we don’t muck about, we just sort it out. Your email won’t get forwarded, your call won’t get transferred. The person you speak to is the person who will help you. Even after you book, we will keep in touch with you regularly until you start your tour.
A fully immersive tour
With us, you don’t just see Ireland, you experience it. We’re all about spontaneous exploration, immersing you in Irish life and giving you more than just a handful of happy memories. We promise you will leave having made a great group of friends from all around the world, and played a role in a thousand stories to amaze the folks back home.
More than a bus pass
Some bus companies will take you straight from A to B with barely a toilet break in between! We are Irish Experience and want to take you away from all the hustle and bustle. That means with us you will experience great stops and inclusions en route. A typical travel day can see you stop off for a short walk to a waterfall, numerous beautiful photo opportunities, pausing at Castles and early Christian relics close to the roadside, an opportunity to taste local wine/craft beer or seafood, stumbling across local festivals and events or even checking out some colourful sheep and other wildlife!
We have our own preferred accommodation dotted throughout Ireland, where you will spend plenty of tour nights. Ireland is lucky to have a high standard of accommodation. You have the chance to stay in a variety of Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Where possible, we choose family-owned and run accommodation with a reputation for hospitality and eco-friendliness.
We are the only company that lets you pre-book activities. We want to get you further off the beaten track in Ireland, immersing you in the places and activities that will, quite simply, blow you away. To name a few… climbing Irelands ‘Holy Mountain’, trekking from Doolin to The Cliffs of Moher, staying in small coastal fishing villages along the Wild Atlantic Way, catching and eating Atlantic seafood, seeing local craftsmen at work, biking around old Gaelic islands and kayaking with dolphins. However, nothing is compulsory and if you want to relax and enjoy the tour without walking a few miles, your guide will always have plenty of alternatives.