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Vagabond Tours

Greystones, Ireland
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About Vagabond Tours
Ireland’s original and No.1 small-group tour operator since 2002, we specialise in fantastic off-the-beaten track tours of Ireland. We will take you to the hidden corners of Ireland. Right from the start our mission has always been ‘We want you to love Ireland as much as we do’ – and we really love Ireland! Our small-group tour sizes (max 15) make our tours a unique and unforgettable way to experience the real Ireland. Our tours are immersive and delivered in a professional, yet informal and contemporary style, all of which makes Vagabond & Driftwood Tours a welcoming, personal, trustworthy and unforgettable way to see authentic Ireland. We aim to bring long-term benefits to both our community and our planet as part of our responsible tourism mission. That's why we're a certified B Corp and actively practice sustainability on tour; like using only locally-owned independent accommodation and giving you reusable water and coffee containers to avoid single use plastic.
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Stephanie L wrote a review Oct 2021
10 contributions
7 day Castles and Kingdoms I cannot say enough wonderful things about this company and my touring experience. From the beginning when I booked the tour, to every call I made with a question or a payment, to finally stepping foot on Irish soil for the first time and then hopping on the comfy van for my trip around the magical countryside. Every single interaction I had with Vagabond was just wonderful. Edwina, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, fun, and passionate about all that is Ireland. When I returned home I tried to condense my trip into a Facebook post. I will leave it here for you to read and hopefully it helps you understand how truly amazing Ireland is and how thankful you’ll be for booking with Ireland. “We’ve spent 10 days immersed in the beautiful, mystical, sometimes tragic, and absolutely brilliant Irish culture. I feel whole. I feel at home. That’s what Ireland feels like when you’re here, home. You forget about your troubles and stresses back in the states and you breathe in the brisk breeze of the morning. You shake off the day before and you start anew. I’ve posted pictures of sights seen, but there is no way a photo can capture the way the cushy Irish grass feels underneath your feet or how welcoming the people are. Trying to condense the magic of this place into a few paragraphs is almost impossible, but here we go. The wind that whips your hair smells of whiskey, tales of old, and faery glitter. Dublin, however, smells of diesel fuel and piss. The people are hearty, earthy, kind, and warm. I was not dressed properly so I was freezing the last couple of days. Drinking starts at 11am and doesn’t end until the music stops and…it usually never stops. Not all the dogs are friendly, but most are and they get to roam the wild as they please. On that note, I’ve learned the true definition of “wild” while here. I got to experience the rugged aggressive beauty of the Irish land. I learned to respect the Earth a bit more. We are all connected and we should show a bit more care when going about our daily lives. Mystic Ireland did not disappoint. I am currently having a pint outside at Quay’s Bar on the street of Temple Bar. I’m enjoying the people watching. I’m trying to memorize the sound of laughter and music and footsteps. The end of my trip of a lifetime has come. My chest is a bit heavy and I will miss the green hills, the mountains of limestone, the fresh water rivers and streams that seem never ending, and the feeling of belonging. Despite all that, I am happy. My heart is filled with memories that will never fade. My last drink in Ireland was going to be for my Mom and it was going to be her favorite drink, wine. However, after some thought…I’ve decided that my very last drink will be a Guinness. So, here’s to my Momma, here’s to the strong Irish wind, the cold Irish rain, to the wild people of Ireland. Here’s to Éire! It’s not goodbye forever.” Slánte!
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Date of experience: October 2021
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Response from robrankinvagabond, Owner at Vagabond Tours
Responded Nov 2, 2021
Hello Stephanie... And a great big thank you from all of us here in Ireland! We were delighted to receive your 5 star review. Even more so, reading your poetic and evocative words made us all very proud to have played a part in your dream Ireland trip. Edwina (or Ed The Red, as we call her!) is a diamond. A true expert on all things Irish, cultural or historical. She's very funny too, so I am happy that you guys got on together. It was also lovely to witness how you guys gelled with your fellow travellers. Hopefully we can welcome you back in Ireland again soon!
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TomC wrote a review Oct 2021
1 contribution
On September 19, 2021 my wife and I met with our guide Tim Orr to begin our Driftwood - 7 Day Tour of Castles. It was our first tip to Ireland and we chose the absolute best touring company and were lucky enough to be blessed with a fantastic tour guide. I would rate the Vagabond experience a solid 15 stars and our guide Tim 15 plus stars. we appreciated his energy, knowledge of Irish history and even his singing voice. When asked if he knew the song Seven Drunken Nights he not only knew the song but sang very verse! As a citizen of Ireland by descent he helped me feel that I truly belonged in the land of all my four grandparents. In a way I felt I was "home". Born in America but Irish by blood. As a senior citizen using a rollator/walker to get around, Tim went far and above his duties not only to help me but also to make sure every step I took was safe. This caring attitude ensured our enjoyment. He even climber the stairs of the Blarney Castle to see if I was safe! Tim even helped us arrange tickets for a train trip from Dublin to Galway City with a return by bus and a cab ride to Cobh to see where my grandparents left Eire and where the Titanic picked up its last 123 passengers before in 1912. Every stop on our was appreciated and enjoyed. Vagabond is the BEST tour company in Ireland and their guides are also the BEST. My next tour will be with Vagabond. They are the only way to go!
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Date of experience: September 2021
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Response from robrankinvagabond, Owner at Vagabond Tours
Responded Oct 26, 2021
Hello Tom! What a delightful review you have given us. It makes everyone in the team here happy to find that you so thoroughly enjoyed your tour. Thank you! VagaGuide Tim is a special human who we all love and seems to have been a perfect fit for your needs. Your anecdote about his singing abilities made us smile! Special thanks go to you for making the trip at a time when our small, family-owned company is emerging from a period of turbulence. We have high hopes for touring in 2022 and would relish the opportunity to welcome you back again.
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Shannon K wrote a review Oct 2021
Tennessee12 contributions
+1
This is ABSOLUTELY the BEST way to see Ireland! The small group (we had 11) van allows you to go to places big busses cannot access. Our drive/guide, Edwina, was everything we could have asked for and more! She’s very skilled, knowledgeable, fun, funny, friendly, and helpful. We had enough time to visit on scheduled stops without being rushed or trying to kill time. Each hotel was different and all were very nice. My husband was in a manual wheelchair, and he was accommodated and able to enjoy the trip in comfort. We met 9 strangers that felt like family by the end of the tour. I would 1000% travel with them again!
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Date of experience: October 2021
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Response from robrankinvagabond, Owner at Vagabond Tours
Responded Oct 26, 2021
Thank you for your kind review, Shannon. We always aim for our guests to leave Ireland loving it as much as do. And in your case, it seems Edwina and the whole team have absolutely achieved this. We are especially appreciative that you and your husband visited us in Ireland off the back of a challenging year for tourism. Thank you for the effort! We would be delighted to welcome you back to Ireland again in the future.
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jenniger wrote a review Oct 2021
Shawnee, Kansas45 contributions27 helpful votes
Great relaxed 11 day Ireland tour with our excellent guide Damien We enjoyed most of the hotels in spite of the Covid restrictions and loved the small group experience. We enjoyed our stops from archaeology, beautiful landscapes, excellent meals to politics in northern Ireland. I had some mobility problems but I was always able to enjoy the tour managing those sites with a cane and my husbands arm At a couple of places I chose to go and eat lunch in the pub instead.If the climb was too steep or the terrain too rough . No problem I ioved the fact we didn’t have to leave at the crack of dawn like so many tour groups but had time to enjoy the area around the hotel or even to get up a little later. The places we visited were all interesting. I can’t recommend this tour enough
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Date of experience: September 2021
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Response from robrankinvagabond, Owner at Vagabond Tours
Responded Oct 7, 2021
Hi Jenniger, thank you so much for your lovely review and kind words about your 11 Day Driftwood Tour. As you found out, Damien is one of our star VagaGuides and an absolutely legendary human being! I am delighted that you guys got on well together. I'm particularly happy to hear that your experience wasn't negatively affected by any mobility issues. Your business is much appreciated at a challenging time for Irish tourism. We really, truly appreciate your visit and would love to welcome you both back to Ireland at some point in the future.
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JneSky wrote a review Sep 2021
1 contribution
This was my second tour with Vagabond. I did the 8 day Wild Rover tour in 2019 and planned to do this one last year, but of course, had to reschedule. I was a bit apprehensive due to Covid, but I didn't want to wait another year. Traveling solo, I knew I'd be in great hands with Vagabond, but this tour exceeded my expectations by 1000%! Leading up to the tour, the communication and Covid updates from Vagabond were excellent. There were some travel restrictions announced right before my tour, and Rob Rankin, the owner of Vagabond, personally answered my emails, assuring me that all was well. The tour began at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin early on Sunday morning. I was greeted by Rob Rankin, and was so impressed that he took the time to see everyone off. One of the great things about Vagabond is the 4x4 vans they use, which really do go off the beaten path, far from the large tour buses. There was only one other couple on my tour and our guide, Andrew was warm and funny right from the start. I had emailed Emma at Vagabond about my ancestry prior to the tour; my 6th great grandfather, Patrick McSherry was born in Newry in 1725 and I had asked whether we'd be driving through there on our first day. She replied that it wasn't a scheduled stop, but that she would mention it to our guide. Andrew kindly took the time to go into the town and gave me extra time to visit a cathedral, which was coincidentally named St. Patrick's! That was just the start of an amazing week. He went SO far above and beyond on every step of the tour, from booking lunch and dinner every day, to hiking with us and booking activities that we wanted to do. He was funny (I laughed til I cried!), kind and caring, and incredibly knowledgeable on the history of every town and place we visited. His stories and fables kept us entertained, which I loved hearing. He even knew the history of the wells of St. Patrick that we visited. It's hard to say what my favorite part of the tour was...every day was fantastic and a new adventure! The tragic history of Northern Ireland was so interesting. Andrew suggested a great hike at the Giants Causeway, which took us up to cliffs overlooking the ocean. He arranged for us to kayak in Sheepshaven Bay in Dunfanaghy, which was amazing! I loved Donegal and Slieve League. On the last day, we all hiked Croagh Patrick, with beautiful views of Clew Bay. If you’re looking for a small group tour that’s adventurous, takes you to places no other tour company does, want to have a ton of fun and learn the history and wonderful fables of Ireland, then I can’t recommend Vagabond highly enough. I will surely return for tour #3! Thanks a MILLION to Vagabond for being the BEST tour company in Ireland AND to Andrew, for the MOST wonderful week in Ireland that I ever could’ve imagined!
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Date of experience: September 2021
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Response from vagaboss, Owner at Vagabond Tours
Responded Sep 24, 2021
Thank You So Much Jane! Not only for you incredibly-worded 5 star review but also for your continued support for Vagabond Tours through this challenging era for tourism. We are so delighted that you were patient with us, waited through your cancelled tour last year and stuck with us to tour Ireland again in September. You had a gem of a tour guide in Andrew. One of our goals is to be as flexible as we can out on the road. I'm particularly happy to hear that he was able to bring you to a site of your family heritage in Newry. I was satisfied that my schedule allowed me to personally see off our tours this year and to answer your concerns directly by email. We aim to be offer direct and personalised service wherever possible. Hopefully we will see you again soon back in Ireland - for your third tour!
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