Aidan was the first Irishman to conquer Everest barefoot. He can also pat his head whilst rubbing his tummy. We were delighted to help re-introduce Aidan back into society after retiring as a sergeant in An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force). He's made amazing progress.
During Aidan's time in uniform, he served in the traffic corps and the former Yugoslavia on UN Policing duties. He also founded the Garda mountaineering club. Hiking and mountaineering remain Aidan's passions.
A passionate people-person, Aisling hails from Yeats Country on the west coast of Ireland. Aisling (pronounced ash-ling) has led study abroad programmes, holds a degree in Social Care Practice and is a very talented artist, having decorated surfboards and boats. We're now afraid to park our cars near her!
Aisling's homeplace of Sligo remains her favourite spot for its “inspirational scenery and social atmosphere - even in bad weather”. We reckon ‘social atmosphere’ is Aisling-speak for the pub!
We call Andrew, ‘The Cat’, by virtue of the amount of lives he seems to have lived. Having survived almost being blown up while on UN peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, Andrew almost lost a tussle with the prop of a powered paraglider.
Andrew's enthusiasm is infectious. He’s never without a smile on his face. He loves the outdoors and storytelling. Andrew's VagaGuide colleagues love when they meet him on tour as he’s addicted to vehicle cleaning.
Bébhinn (pronounced bay-vin) is a direct descendant of 16th century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley; one of the most famous (and coolest) women in Irish history. Bébhinn is a pretty cool cucumber too. She hails from Clare Island off the west coast of Ireland and is an experienced outdoors and snowboarding instructor.
Now in her sixth season with Vagabond Tours, Bébhinn holds the National Tour Guide Badge qualification. Her passion for global travel shines through. Bébhinn cites surviving two weeks in the Namibian desert with fellow VagaGuide Denise amongst her achievements. She only calls her mother 'Mam’ when she needs a dog-sitter.
You need never worry about bad hair days on tour if Carmel’s your guide. Not only is she an experienced outdoors instructor, Carmel is also a qualified hair stylist. Originally from the west of Ireland, Carmel attended university in Galway. She showed great tenacity in resisting the lure of a vibrant student social scene to gain an honours degree in Microbiology.
With a passion for watersports and horse-riding from an early age, Carmel's “I’ll go where the wind takes me” philosophy makes her an ideal VagaGuide.
Damien has led hiking expeditions in Tibet, Nepal, China, India... and Carlow. He is recognised in Ireland as a pioneer of the adventure industry. Having climbed some of the world’s highest peaks, Damien yearned for a higher altitude still and so became a flying instructor.
Working for Vagabond has brought him back down to earth faster than you could say ‘doors armed and cross-checked’. Damien plays the bodhrán (Irish drum) and sings ballads. Despite his vast ‘life experience’, he once risked his career by beating his boss Rob in a half marathon.
Behind his quietly spoken manner and permanent smile lurks a heart of gold. Darran has lived and worked in Asia, Australia and NZ (where he was a beekeeper). As a child, Darran was often seen on Irish soap opera, Glenroe - a bit like an Irish Dallas but without JR.
At just 9 months old, Darran got his first case of altitude sickness when his parents took him walking in the Alps. Not to be deterred, he gained a degree in Outdoor Education and Leisure. He's also handy at soccer.
Another VagaGuide hailing from the west of Ireland, Denise’s previous career was as a sound engineer. From sound-proofed, windowless recording studios, her daily grind is now exploring the Irish countryside.
An avid traveller, Denise has horse-trekked the Grand Canyon, husky-sledded in the Arctic and hiked the Peruvian Andes. Last year, she rode across the mountainous frontier between Argentina and Chile. Like many of our VagaGuides, Denise is a musician and plays mandolin and violin.
Ed the Red is so-called partly because she's from Cork (red is the county colour); partly because she is part of the endangered species of redheads. With a quick wit and a laid back manner, Ed boasts years of experience leading groups, working as a lifeguard and being generally adventurous.
With a degree in Outdoor Education and Leisure, Ed is also a qualified surfing instructor, climbing instructor, and limbo dancer. Oh yes and she has red hair. Did we mention that?
Anyone of Irish descent will relate to Jason's personal history; emigrating from the quiet of rural western Ireland to its very antitheses – London. Having spent his formative years in England’s teeming capital, Jason returned to Ireland to study for his degree in Outdoor Education.
Jason has vast experience in guiding, as well as a stint teaching English in Vietnam. He can instruct in mountaineering, surfing, kayaking and sailing. He is also a qualified beach lifeguard. But we don’t allow him to pack his Speedos.
John is a curious fish. He seems like a good guy. He's certainly a fantastic tour guide. But we think it might be a cover for his secret life as a superhero. John's passion for Ireland, his knowledge and professionalism are second to none. Not to mention his humour and way with words. And a scant regard for financial reward...
The only logical conclusion is John must be Ireland’s Bruce Wayne. By day, he does an amazing job bringing Ireland to life for his guests. At night John is (probably) saving the world. Oh yes, plus he is also studying journalism, has years of experience in guiding and working in the travel industry and can speak 14 languages.
Kim transfers her fun-loving and energetic spirit to everyone on tour. She holds a degree in History and Archaeology, yet has also completed a course in animal welfare.
Kim's ability to lead is long-established, going back to her time as head prefect in secondary (high) school. Kim's tours currently focus on the southwestern corner of Ireland. This is because Rob (her boss) wanted Kim to have time to work on her wedding plans. He'd do anything for an invitation.
Another world traveller, Michael has lived in Honduras, New Zealand and Spain. He has travelled to many others, including South Asia and Nepal. Michael is fluent in Spanish and also speaks French.
When he returned from his travels Michael worked with Amazon. We ordered him online but Amazon couldn’t complete the requested drone delivery. Michael's surname is Stout. But please, Vagabonds, no Guinness jokes. Hailing from Cork, Michael prefers Murphy’s (obviously). Like fellow VagaGuide Denise, Michael has also worked as a sound engineer and plays guitar.
After leaving the Irish Army, Pat spent over 20 years working with relief agencies in various African countries. These included Western Sudan, Malawi and Sierra Leone. Then he decided it was time to get to know his home country as well as he does Africa, and so joined Vagabond Tours.
Pat is an accomplished parachutist (so long as there are no railway tracks near the landing zone!). His guilty pleasure is listening to Irish boyband Westlife. Vagabond Tours founder Rob reckons he looks like Sean Connery in the mirror.
Rhys is a climber, mountain guide and a trained blacksmith. He makes his own earrings.
Rhys has worked as a dog sled guide, a care worker and an outdoor pursuits instructor. He is also an accomplished paraglider. Rhys brings a sense of adventure to every Vagabond or Driftwood tour. He's adept at tailoring each group's experience in a fun, safe and welcoming way.
Another Outdoor Education and Leisure graduate, Ronan was made for the outdoors - be it kayaking, hiking, skiing or climbing. He has instructed and lead expeditions in Scotland, France, Norway, New Zealand, Namibia, Turkey and Kerry. Despite all that travelling he has never crossed the Atlantic, but that never stops him from going above and beyond to please his guests.
Rumour has it he once had an ‘astronaut’ moment whilst camping overnight with fellow guide Daz on Mount Blanc in temperatures of -20℃ (-4F).
When Tadhg told us he often sleeps with his eyes open, we knew he was perfect for Vagabond. Another VagaGuide from Cork, Tadhg has spent much of his working life instructing people on land and sea. He is talented, an experienced group leader and excellent company.
Tadhg’s family have been involved in marine conservation for over 25 years. They are currently building an aquarium in West Cork. There is a sense of mischief about Tadhg and a twinkle in his never-blinking eyes. Be prepared for a fun-filled experience.
Tim has has worked as a mountaineering instructor and guide for over 20 years across the world. A tour led by Tim will show off his gentle spirit and quirky sense of fun. Tim loves making wild Irish coffees for his guests and can eat seafood chowder daily for lunch.
Tim trained as a luthier, making mandolins, mandolas, bouzoukis and classical guitars. He is currently being taught Irish by his 7 year old daughter. Recently, one of our guests suggested Tim looked a bit like George Clooney. A bit.
Hear the birds chirping outside. Leap out of bed after a super-comfy sleep in one of Ireland's best boutique, family-owned hotels. Run outside into the sunshine. Grab a coffee to get my day started!
Meet my intrepid guests over a legendary hot Irish breakfast. So many choices! Bacon. Farm-fresh eggs. Fresh fruit and yoghurt. Not forgetting all the lovely bread with lashings of creamy Irish butter.
On the road. Chunky 4x4 tour vehicle. Great gang of people. We hit the beach. Or, drive right across it! Hike in the mountains. Off-road up a mountain path. See stunning castles and ancient sites. Lots of history. Mix of activities including horse-riding/swimming/chilling out. Great scenery.
Stroll one of Ireland's traditional villages. Settle into a local restaurant. Enjoy a slap up meal and then off to the pub for some good food, traditional music and mighty craic (fun). Share jokes and stories. Great memories and laughs.
Time for bed. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Bono, thank you for your calls, and we WILL let you know if we have any vacancies.
Meet our hard-working VagaHQ team and read the story of Vagabond in the About Us section.
Sustainability lies at the heart of everything we strive for. Learn more about Responsible Tourism here.