"Tea & Crisps"
Rob Rankin - Managing Director (the Elon Musk of Irish Tourism)
I've realised there are two things Irish people simply could not live without.
Luckily, these are also two of the things the Irish are world-beaters at:
Tea is an absolute staple for all self-respecting Irish people.
While some Irish people with notions of grandeur drink coffee, the rest of us tea-drinkers stand firm.
Barry’s or Lyons?
The two most popular tea brands in Ireland are locked in an eternal death-wrestle.
This is the Coke Vs. Pepsi debate for Irish tea-drinkers; the $64,000 question.
Choosing Barry's or Lyons will not only define you as a tea drinker, but as a human being in the eyes of your Irish hosts.
Unfortunately, there is also a culture war ongoing in the similarly hot-button topic of...
Tayto is arguably the most famous Irish crisp brand.
But King, Hunky-Dory's, Keogh's and a host of other pretenders to the Irish crisp throne are lurking thereabouts.
Let's go back to basics...
Crisps are what you might call potato chips; wafer-thin potato slices, deep-fried, salted and slathered in a host of delicious flavourings.
The most popular variety is cheese and onion.
Let's face it… these are vegetables! One of your five-a-day.
You heard it here first folks...
Tea and Tayto will see you through!
"TV & Movies"
Derry - Digital Marketing and Media Genius
We Irish are famed for being great entertainers, actors and directors.
I simply type ‘Ireland’ into Netflix (or any other streaming service) and I'm served up a great selection of entertainment all about Ireland.
Some of my favourite Irish shows:
- The hilarious comedy, Derry Girls (no relation!), set in Northern Ireland;
- The equally funny Young Offenders, set in Cork, in the southwest corner of Ireland.
- Or have you seen the excellent drama series Jack Taylor, set in the western city of Galway?
A wide variety of Irish movies are available too.
Check out I Am Patrick, about the life of our patron saint.
Or watch an Irish documentary; the brilliant Katie tells the tale of Irish boxing legend Katie Taylor.
Pop the kettle on, open a bag of Tayto, sit back and enjoy.
"Nature & Wildlife"
Russ - Operations Manager and Recovering VagaGuide
I am passionate about nature and wildlife in Ireland.
If you take a small-group tour of Ireland with any of our VagaGuides, you can expect the natural beauty of Ireland to take centre-stage.
For such a small island, Ireland is surprisingly wild.
You are never too far from spectacular scenery or wild animals here.
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way winds itself along 2500km of stunning coastline, hugging the ocean.
Choose from this array of incredible natural and wildlife experiences:
- Saying hello to nesting puffins as you climb to the summit of Skellig Michael island
- Watching wild sheep rock-hopping as you hike Slieve League
- Forest-bathing in the wonderfully serene valley of Gougane Barra
Any tour of Northern Ireland or the Ireland’s Ancient East region is similarly guaranteed to feature epic mountains, roaring rivers, empty beaches and magical forests.
I look forward to showing you around.
Deirdre - Sales & Marketing Manager... and closet masterchef!
I love to cook.
I’m no masterchef but comfort food has been the order of the day in my house recently.
Saint Patrick's Day is the perfect opportunity to take to your kitchen with our favourite Irish recipes.
You could try your hand at this 4-ingredient Irish soda bread recipe.
Or how about a warming and naturally sweet Apple Crumble?
Once you're full to bursting, sit back and check out the itinerary for our 6 Day Epic Ireland Food Tour.
We've taken the best of Ireland's foodie experiences and packaged them up into 6 days of mouth-watering fun along the southwestern Wild Atlantic Way.
Dee - Sales & Reservations Legend
I like to exercise and keep healthy.
But the gym is not for me.
Instead, I like Irish dance. Dancing gets my heart rate going and is a lot of fun.
Have you ever wanted to learn Irish dancing? Of course you have!
Now is the time.
Clear space in the living room, move any breakables to a safe distance and get ready to hop to an Irish jig.
Feel the magic of the beat and the thrill of the dance. Impress all your friends, get your family involved and — why not? — make your very own Riverdance video.
When you visit Ireland, you might be lucky enough to get the chance to dance around an ancient stone circle.
Remember, I am always here at the end of the phone if you’re interested in a tour – or just want some tips on Irish dancing!
VagaGuide Damo – a real life Cúchulainn (Mythical Irish Hero)
Irish sports = Gaelic Games.
But what are Gaelic Games?
The national sports of Ireland are Gaelic football, hurling, camogie and handball. They date back centuries and are integral to understanding Irish culture and society.
Today, at least one of these ancient sports are played in almost every town and village across Ireland.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is one of the largest amatuer sporting organisations in the world.
The championship season reaches a crescendo in September with the All-Ireland Finals in Dublin; a bucket-list experience of noise and colour, if you ever get the chance.
While leading Vagabond and Driftwood tours, I love to teach guests a little bit about Gaelic Games.
They even get to try it for themselves!
"History (Really, Really Old Stuff)"
History nerd Tim is the VagaGuide most likely to be a future president of Ireland
As a VagaGuide, it's very important to be able to pass on Ireland's vast history in an accessible way.
Guests come to Ireland to experience the stories of castles, sieges and unsung heroes.
We’re not just tour guides; we are also interpreters of Irish history.
For research, I like to read books, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts about Ireland’s dramatic past.
You too can learn about Ireland from the comfort of your own home.
Get a headstart on history before embarking on your Ireland tours by watching this excellent documentary on YouTube.
The Story of Ireland details Ireland's past from ancient times to recent decades.
Podcasts more your thing?
Sit back in a comfortable chair to enjoy The Irish History Podcast.
Vagaguide Bébho is Pirate Queen of Clare Island
We live in an ever-more digital world.
Virtual tours allow us to visit Ireland's rich heritage and stunning natural scenery from the safety of our own homes.
Step out onto Ireland’s edge with a virtual tour of the Cliffs of Moher.
Or climb to the top of Skellig Michael, Ireland’s otherworldly island treasure.
Walk through the neo-classical building that houses the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.
I love museum.ie as it gives me online access to Ireland's four national museums; from archeology and decorative arts to country life and natural history.
Dingle is a consistent favourite destination among our tour guests.
This wonderful drone footage captures the magic of the Kerry landscape:
Alternatively, take a sneak peak at where the Irish president lives… I’ll be visiting Vagaguide Tim here in years to come!
So when you are at home, you can still visit the Emerald Isle.
VagaGuide Ed is our resident bookworm
I love a good book.
From Swift to Shaw and from Joyce to Wilde, Ireland has an incredibly rich literary history to choose from.
It’s not all Nobel Prizes, though!
Modern bestselling authors from Ireland include Sally Rooney, Frank McCourt, Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry and Maeve Binchy.
One of my favourite Irish history books is Unsung Hero by Michael Smith. It’s about the life of legendary Irish explorer Tom Crean.
You get to visit his hometown of Annascaul on many of our southwestern tours. You may even get to enjoy a pint in the pub where he was landlord!
I feel proud every time I speak of Crean.
There are tons of other great books about Ireland.
Dive right in and enjoy the magic that flows from this green patch of paradise.
VagaGuide Michael is our all-singing, all-playing virtuoso
I spent years learning the piano. Not with great enthusiasm back then, I must admit.
Now that I'm older, I really appreciate knowing how to play an instrument.
I play more guitar nowadays.
I do like to sing – though I’m no Luke Kelly – some of my guests can stand testament to that!
One of the reasons I love being a VagaGuide is the chance to enjoy traditional Irish music being played live in local pubs.
My guests adore Irish music. It’s the perfect introduction to Irish culture.
There is some real talent out there that you can enjoy for the price of a glass of stout.
Now go check out some Irish Songs You Need To Know