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“New Grange Tours”
Review of Mary Gibbons Tours

Mary Gibbons Tours
Ranked #15 of 254 Tours in County Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Auburn, Alabama
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“New Grange Tours”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

If you want a truly amazing experience of a wonderful tour and tour guide - then book the New Grange Tour with Mary Gibbons tours. For the past 11 years I have booked this tour with Mary Gibbons. Every spring I lead 15 to 20 design students all around Ireland for 9 weeks and this full day tour of New Grange is the highlight of all our tours.

First of all, New Grange is a must see if you're in Ireland and Mary Gibbons tells the history of Ireland in a most interesting and articulate manner as you travel through the city center of DUblin on the way to where Ireland begin - the Hill of Tara and then on to New Grange.

Mary knows more history and dates that any person I've every met...anywhere. This trip is worth every penny. Even though I've probably been inside this incredible megalithic tomb, New Grange, more than any other American I never get tired of it. It's an architectural wonder. Trust me.

Mary Gibbons is the real deal !!!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank RandallBartlett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Warwick, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“'Beware of cheap imitations'”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Just returned from my first trip to Ireland and Dublin which was fantastic. My husband particularly wanted to see Newgrange and so we looked on the internet to research this and found the 'Mary Gibbons Tour'. We called into the Tourism Office in Dublin, who booked over the telephoned on our behalf and printed out the information for the next day. The bus arrived promptly at the allotted stop and Mary herself welcomed us on board and took our money. After seeing to the other passengers, she welcomed us all and introduced her driver, Dara, who was also welcoming and friendly throughout the day. Mary gave a well paced, extremely interesting and at times very entertaining account of Irish history and England and Newgrange's place in it. She then gave a succinct, chronological account at the end. The day we went it was bitterly cold and snowing but the bus was almost full and there were visitors from Japan, Brazil, USA and Spain. Some of them only spoke limited English and I think Mary took this into account. When you get to the Hill of Tara Mary gives you an account and explanation of what you will see and then leaves you to walk around at your own pace, which I think most people preferred. I think it is completely unfair (as TravelinSonja has said below) to suggest you are 'handed off' to local guides. At Newgrange you are driven directly to the site, which means you avoid the queues. We stopped for lunch at a charming farm house/coffee shop, but if you take your own lunch there is a picnic area. However, because with were with Mary, and due to the extreme cold, we were able to eat our sandwiches inside. I can certainly recommend the hot chocolate and caramel squares though!! We were shown round Newgrange by their own guides as this seems to be the norm. Quite rightly we were divided into two smaller groups as the tomb is extremely small and you are only in there for about 20 minutes. We then had time to have a good look round outside whilst the second group went in. We were then taken by 'shuttle bus' the the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre, which has a fantastic exhibition about the site. Then Dara came to collect us. We were given ample time to look round and Mary was happy to chat and answer questions. She also gave us some ideas of where to visit in Dublin re museums etc. The journey back to Dublin is shorter as you return by a more direct route. The charge for the tour includes entry into Newgrange. All in all it was a fantastic day. I guess different people look for different things in a tour. I think the character assassination of Mary Gibbons in one reviewers account is completely unfair, but I note that the reviewer liked the fact that the bus had wifi. Personally, I was amazed how many of the passengers were on their phones during the trip or those who talked to one another continually in their own language, with no regard to others who are trying to listen to the commentary, but we all have to take the rough with the smooth. If you get the chance, take the tour. You will come away much better informed on Irish history from someone who is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subject - but beware - there are cheaper alternatives out there so make sure you get the 'real deal'.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank Furbit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“New grange tour-Outstanding!”
Reviewed March 22, 2013 via mobile

I have been taking students (21 this year) to Ireland for four years now, and I must say that Mary Gibbons Hills of Tara and Newgrange tour is a must for anyone seeking an informative and witty history of Ireland. Mary Gibbons is extremely professional, punctual and informative. I do not hesitate to book her tour each year, and I have always enjoyed it each time. If you are traveling to Ireland you must see Newgrange.

Helpful?
Thank Ross H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Great knowledge, not so good of an attitude”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I booked a Mary Gibbons tour of Newgrange and Tara Hill through a stateside tour operator - not knowing what to book, I left it to the operator to fill three days. This tour was one of those days. Now, I need to start by saying that this rating is *not* for the sites, but for the tour company/tour guide instead. Having taken a tour with a different company on a different day, there was room for comparison, and it was not in Mary Gibbons's favor.

There were several pluses to taking a Mary Gibbons tour: she was punctual and filled with knowledge of Irish history. However, more often than not Mary muttered into her microphone, rattled off facts rapidly, and seemed disinterested, bored, and, at times, downright unfriendly. Often times I ask questions of the tour guides. I didn't do this with Mary Gibbons, as she never invited questions. Arriving at attractions (Newgrange, as well as Tara) she seemed quite happy handing us off to local guides (at Newgrange), or letting us walk off (at Tara) while she sat in a local book shop, chatting with the owner. As a few of us entered the book shop, she gave us a terse look that made us want to do an about-face and run out.

Mary's behavior during most of the tour was that of a person who was doing us a favor by escorting us (instead of someone paid for the job). She wasn't receiving many questions, not because people doubted her knowledge - to the contrary, I was quite impressed with how much she knew. It was because she was inhospitable and uninviting.

As we returned into Dublin, Mary's narrative slowed. Seeing the Spire of Dublin (the Monument of Light) she thought for a minute and invited a French architecture student on the bus to give her opinion. The French woman gave a somewhat hesitant (but negative) reply, and Mary proceeded to malign the spire far longer than necessary. It reminded me of the fact that the French wanted to dismantle the Eiffel Tower when it was first erected, as they disliked the addition to the skyline of Paris. It also made me see Mary as arrogant and pretentious.

The reason this company got three dots is because they are punctual, the bus had wi-fi on board, and Mary herself is exceptionally knowledgeable (if you can ignore the terseness, you'll be fine). If possible, take other tours.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank TravelinSonja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
“Wonderful tour of ancient sites”
Reviewed March 9, 2013

Really enjoyed the Gibbons tour to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. A very comfortable bus (coach) and perfectly scheduled timing for everything, along with great hints and tips about seeing the most of the attractions. This is a great 6 or 7 hour trip for anyone interested in Irish history and culture, and is a must-do for an enthusiast about any bit of ancient history. Mary was a great guide to the history, the people, and the culture. Highly recommended.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Josh P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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