Posts tagged with "Amy Rankin"

Vagabond Tours Accepts Two Top Awards

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland is no stranger to accepting awards. In early February the company received not one but two 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards presented Feb. 2 at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin.

These awards recognize those people and companies that create enhanced experiences to draw people to Ireland. Awards are granted across 15 categories for general initiatives such as accommodation and marketing, and regional specific awards for the Atlantic Way, Hidden Heartlands and Ancient East. Fifteen winners were chosen from among 75 shortlisted nominees. For more on the awards see https://www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie/

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland’s 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour won in the category Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience, under 25,000 visitors. “We introduced this tour in 2018 to help answer the question, “Who are the Irish?” explained Rob Rankin, co-owner with his wife, Amy Rankin. In their imaginations guests burrow into bogs, scale crenellated towers and shimmy up mountains for glimpses of Ireland beginning with Iron Age Celts sifted into Stone Age sands. See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-eastern-ireland-tour/.

Best Environmental Tourism Innovative went to Vagabond Tours of Ireland for environmental initiatives that in some instances have led to significant cost savings for the company while other initiatives are viewed as company investments that “we hope will have a long-term benefit to the environment,” said Rankin. These include:

  • Offsetting the company’s total annual carbon emissions and restoring Ireland’s lost woodlands with a program of replanting indigenous Irish hardwood trees.
  • Offering free compostable cups to guests to use in local coffee shops instead of non-recyclable cups.
  • Giving each guest an aluminum water bottle to use instead of single use plastic bottles, helping to eliminate an estimated 30,000 fewer plastic bottles per year in Ireland.

Vagabond’s staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in custom mini buses, Mercedes ‘Vagatrons’ or 4×4 Sprinters Newtrons that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: info@vagabond.ie.

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

Ireland is the Place to Be for St. Patrick’s Day,

Vagabond Small Group Tours Connects Five Days
Of Celebration in Dublin with a Choice of
Two Multi-Day Adventure Tours

 
Departure dates of two early spring 2018 adventures in Ireland are thoughtfully scheduled immediately after St. Patricks’ Day celebrations in Dublin on March 17.
 





This means that before joining a tour, guests of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/) can have the best of all worlds Irish. On their own they can partake of St. Patrick’s Day events March 15-19 in Dublin, the gateway city for both of these week-long tours. Then filled with bonhomie and by-now most certainly desperate to find a leprechaun – or at least a luck-filled four-leaf clover – their journey of Ireland’s south and south west begins.
 
Last year just over 100,000 North Americans visited Ireland over the St. Patrick’s Day period. The relatively warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and the prevailing southwesterly winds help make March’s climate moderate and usually pleasant. Here is a link to the official festival website http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/events. This celebration honors Ireland’s patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century and whose influence brought about Ireland’s Golden Era.
 
On all Vagabond tours a bounty of live music is a given, but fiddles become even more intense over this holiday that’s celebrated worldwide with the wearin’ o’ the green. 

Also given on these tours are excellent meals in some of Ireland’s best pubs and restaurants and accommodation in carefully vetted guest houses and small hotels that reflect their communities. The two March departures coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day journey roundtrip from Dublin to Ireland’s southwest Wild Atlantic Way, with photo-op stops aplenty and visits to breweries, whisky distilleries, shops and galleries.  

 
But first guests have to decide just how action-packed they want their exploration of Ireland to be. Fit and active travelers will probably opt for an 8 Day Vagabond Wild Irish Rover Tour departing March 18 with Vagabond Adventure Tours. This was recognized as a Top 50 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime. Physical activities are interwoven with stories of, among many others, 5th century monks who lived in beehive-like huts, and tales of ancient castles and circles of stone (some optional):

  • Walking and hiking through some of Ireland’s best scenery including the Bullig Bay loop by the ancient ruins of Dunboy Castle
  • Horseback riding on the Dingle Peninsula
  • Mountain biking or bike touring in Killarney National Park
  • Sea kayaking with Funghi the Dolphin in Dingle Bay
  • Golfing on The Dingle Golf Links
  • Learn some skills of Gaelic football or hurling, traditional Irish sports
  • Spotting seals in Bantry Bay
  • Sampling at the Dingle Irish Whiskey Distillery, one of a new breed of exciting distillery’s in Ireland
  • Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle  

The per person double rate is €1,919 (single supplement €315). For details please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/ireland-trips-award-winning-8-day/.
 
This company’s complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, has a 7 Day Driftwood Treasure Island departure March 19, 2018, that includes an overnight in Dingle, a town with a population of 2,500 people and 54 pubs, and another overnight in a haunted Irish castle hotel, all on a search for some of Ireland’s great houses and gardens:

  • Muckross House and Gardens, Kerry
  • Bantry House and Gardens, Cork
  • Garinish Island Gardens, Cork
  • Kylemore Abbey and Grounds, Connemara  

The per person double rate is €1,699 (single supplement €300). For details please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-treasure-ireland-tour/
 
Amy Rankin, co-founder and director, says that Vagabond’s March and April tours are 10 percent cheaper than those in summer; airline fares are lower in the spring; and with flocks of sheep galore, the lambing season is a must and guides are energized having just emerged from “hibernation”. For fun watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwBVGm_01f8.
 
“From the addition of unique accommodations to totally brand-new tours, 2018 is shaping up to be our most exciting new year!” she adds.
 
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. And in 2016, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. 
 
In 2013 the company launched Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that explores in a less strenuous manner many of the same routes of Vagabond Adventure Tours. Itineraries in both divisions focus on high yield, low impact tourism which means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). For details on all of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2018 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email info@vagabond.ie.

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Travel Ireland 

For 2018 – Cliffs and Castles, Food and Fiddles

Permeate Newly Crafted Itineraries 
For Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

 
Inquisitive adventure travelers would be wise to put Ireland on their tour map for 2018. Vagabond Adventure Tours, Ireland’s award-winning tour operator serving fit and active travelers, and its complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, have added new tours and itinerary embellishments for the coming year.
 
“From the addition of unique accommodations to totally brand-new tours, 2018 is shaping up to be our most exciting new year!” says Amy Rankin, co-founder and director of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/).
 
New from Driftwood Journeys of Discovery
 
With multiple departures scheduled for May into September 2018, Vagabond’s Driftwood Journeys of Discovery is launching a new leisurely paced 7 Day Kerry UnCorked Tour through Ireland’s southwest including two nights in Ireland’s foodie capital, Kinsale, where guests savor sea food, visit craft breweries and enjoy whiskey tasting in a local pub. Another stop with plenty of time allotted for exploring is Dingle where galleries and pubs (54 at last count) abound. The itinerary embraces visits to ancient ruins and lunar landscapes, planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone, watching the centuries-bred instincts of working sheep dogs, strolling through stately homes and gardens, being spell-bound by the green fields and stone walls of Dingle and Ireland’s wild and rugged Atlantic coastline where near the Cliffs of Moher in the Burren original Irish music still emanates. The gateway city is Dublin. The per person double rate is €1,699 (€300 single supplement). For more details see: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/cultural-ireland-tour-7-day/.
 
Driftwood Journeys of Discovery’s 6 Day Northern Island Tour lavishes guests inclined to leisurely paced culture with castles and manor house estates on whose walls is written much of Northern Island’s resiliency. Appetites for grandeur are whetted on Day 1 at two Palladian-style estates, Castletown House on 550 acres maintained by the Guinness fortune, and Strokestown Park and The Irish National Famine Museum. Sweet dreams this night are within the confines of Markee Castle Hotel. After extensive renovation to become an accommodation, as of 2017 this family-owned castle-hotel is the fourth member of Romantic Castles of Ireland and a new addition to this itinerary. Guests also get tweedy in Donegal, home of the famous weave and Donegal Castle and they’re imbued in clan lore at Dunluce Castle, the McDonald stronghold. One night they sleep with ghosts in 17th century Ballygally Castle. Another recent addition to this tour is a night at a Victorian red brick masterpiece right on the beach, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. Over six days guests enjoy jaw-dropping vistas atop Atlantic Ocean cliffs; the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway; Celtic myths and monasteries; walks on the beach along the Wild Atlantic Way; fiddle-filled pubs, tours of cultural hubs and more. The gateway city is Dublin. Scheduled departures run from April through October. The rate per person double is €1,509 (single supplement €210). For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-northern-ireland-tour/.
 
New from Vagabond Adventure Tours
 
Vagabond Adventure Tours offers a new-for-2018 itinerary, 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour, that embraces the complex history of Northern Ireland and the north-west counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. The journey follows inland and sea-kissed routes where guests hike, horseback ride, bike and kayak. This seven-day tour’s magic includes:

  • castles watching over world-class gardens
  • the flora and fauna of national parks, moorlands and glens
  • villages where weavers still ply their trade
  • morning walks on Ireland’s holiest mountain
  • bike rides along the famous Western Greenway
  • museum visits
  • kayak outings on sea and river
  • playing a prehistoric sport, hurling
  • wondering at ancient Neolithic stone circles and Celtic ring forts

 
The gateway is Dublin. The rate per person double is €1,619 (€220 single supplement). Weekly departures are scheduled from late April through September, 2018. For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/.
 
Also beginning in 2018, all tours that include Galway will linger a bit longer here giving guests at least two hours for exploring and shopping in this bustling city. From Eyre Square, a walk down Shop Street is a must. Onlookers are treated to entertainment from buskers as well as countless small cafes and shops, including the shop famous for Claddagh rings that promise love, loyalty and friendship. Not far from Spanish Arch is the impressive Galway Cathedral, which is home to interesting art and design. The Vagabond Adventure Tours inclusive of Galway include 7, 8, 11 and 12-day programs.
 
On all its tours, the Vagabond staff will curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
 
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named a “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. And in 2016, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. 
 
In 2013 the company launched Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that explores in a less strenuous manner many of the same routes of Vagabond Adventure Tours. Itineraries in both divisions focus on high yield, low impact tourism which means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest’s contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). For details on all of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2018 reservations, please visit www.vagabondtours.com. Call toll free (from the US) 833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email info@vagabond and info@driftwood.