Traveler Spotlight: Kacey & Thomas, Ireland September 2011

Why did you choose Tenon Tours?


We originally booked our

Ireland vacation



which unfortunately went bankrupt. In a panic, I sent out numerous inquiries about rescheduling our trip. Your sales representative,

Andrew Sanborn

, responded with the most sincere, helpful email and truly calmed my frantic nerves. I was a mess, but he worked everything out and was so helpful. He took care of everything.

Why did you choose this other company initially to book your trip?

I originally began planning in 2007 after Tom and I got engaged so we could have our our

honeymoon in Ireland

. While planning the wedding, we decided to not take the honeymoon immediately after the wedding. We decided to celebrate our 3 year

wedding anniversary in Ireland

so when I began researching the trip again at the beginning of 2011, I still had the original quotes and information from my previous contact at

My Guide Ireland

so I contacted her again. I felt she had been so helpful when we first began planning our trip, so I wanted to give her first “dibs” on this trip.

What went through your mind when you found out your trip had been cancelled?

I was DEVASTATED! Our entire trip was paid for; we were not sure we would even be reimbursed. We had purchased the trip insurance, but unfortunately they did NOT cover any part of our trip being cancelled due to company bankruptcy. I immediately sent out feelers to find another

Ireland travel company

to see what I could do to salvage our trip. Andrew responded immediately. He was so heartfelt in his emails and seemed genuinely concerned about my dilemma. The best thing, though, was his concern for the employees of


. At that point he was not a competitor, he was a comrade. Regardless of the quote from Tenon Tours, I would have chosen you due to Andrew’s sincerity.

Any advice you’d give to other people who are researching a

trip to Ireland


Just go with the flow. Work with people you trust and are comfortable with. Ask questions, no matter how dumb you may think they are.  Stay calm and let the professionals do their job. Enjoy the ride!

Why did you pick this as your destination?


I have always had a keen interest and deep appreciation for anything Irish. It has been my dream destination for as long as I could remember.


I have never been to Europe, but always wanted to go. This was her dream, so it’s where we went.

Do you wish you prepared better for any specific part of the trip?


I did not prepare, I only packed!


I wish I would have researched the addresses of places instead of only having longitude and latitude for them. We had trouble finding some places, but we did enjoy our “lost” moments. We really just went with the flow.

What was the best part about your vacation?


The people…and the beer!


We really wanted to experience the

Irish culture

and lifestyle during this trip, so we spent a lot of time speaking to locals and hanging out with them. We wanted to see how the Irish live, not just the beautiful scenery. I have never met kinder or more accommodating people; everyone was just so friendly. I also had a really delectable piece of Bailey’s Creme Brulee in a little pub in Kenmare that ranks up there at the top. Ha!


Tell us about any new friends you may have met along the way:


We met LOTS of bartenders and pub owners! And I “met” a donkey who really wanted to bite my hand off…I guess he didn’t want me petting him that day!


We met many lovely people during our trip. We met a great couple traveling from New York who we spent a crazy night pub-hopping with in Kinsale. What a fun time! We also spent a crazy, rain-filled afternoon with 2 Irish gentlemen in a sports bar. They taught us how to wager on horses. Turns out I’m pretty good at picking horses. I picked 4 winners in a row! We spent the afternoon running next door to the Paddy Power placing bets. We came out winners, though, so all was fun! We also met a funny lad named Thigue who sang the most unique songs in the Session in Doolin. What a character! He kept us laughing all evening!


The day we spent in the sports pub betting on horses was really unexpected and fun. What a nice, relaxing day!

Where were the top 3 places to visit on your wish list?

We wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone, see the Cliffs of Moher and drive the Ring of Kerry.


Blarney Stone

was not exactly what we expected. We did not realize the castle was in ruin, but we loved it. We climbed the winding staircase and
kissed the Blarney Stone in the rain! The grounds around the castle are spectacular; we enjoyed walking around the grounds even though it was raining.


Cliffs of Moher

were a disappointment to us; it was so foggy we could not see them! We even tried to go back the next day, but it was just as foggy. The exhibition hall was nice, though, as was lunch in the lookout cafe’. Note to future travelers: If it is foggy, you will see NOTHING.


Ring of Kerry

was indescribable. The weather was perfect that day, so everything was just so beautiful. Just when you think you have seen the most beautiful scenery EVER, you turn a curve and it gets even prettier. We stopped at a B & B that advertised “The Most Beautiful View in County Kerry”…we just had to see if it lived up to its own hype. Well, it did! The cliff view there was amazing. I cannot imagine a more dramatic view than that. It made the disappointment of not seeing the Cliffs of Moher a little more bearable.

How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?


Tom did all the driving, so I’ll leave this one to him.


It took a minute to get accustomed. I took a practice lap around the rental car place before I got on the road. I got the hang of it pretty quickly; the
most unnerving part of

driving in Ireland

was the narrow rugged roads.

What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?


Rent the Ireland GPS and go with the flow. It takes longer to drive places in Ireland. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.


Use common sense when following the directions of the GPS (ours was suicidal or just liked playing very mean jokes!). It does help with the round-abouts in Ireland. Many of the roads are unnamed or change names rapidly; this makes for stressful driving. I was pretty good at round-abouts, which was a great thing. If you have trouble with them, you will have trouble

driving in Ireland

. We went through as many as 4 in a half mile in some places.


Oh, we have a great driving story! We were driving in the countryside one day and the GPS told us to turn left…so we did. When we got on the road (between 2 cow/sheep pastures), we noticed the road became gravel ahead. We kept going, though. The gravel quickly turned into dirt, which turned into mud. Now we are driving a little Ford C-Max car…not a 4-wheel drive. Tom became a little stressed; he just knew we were going to get stuck. We finally made our way to the end of the road, and felt enormous relief. We turned left, as instructed, and drove about 200 yards before the road AGAIN turned into gravel. This one was worse, though. The road part was really just ruts left from a tractor. We kept going, hoping it would end soon. The gravel again turned into dirt, which then turned into mud, and then turned into grass. We were in hysterics! We haven’t seen a house or human in miles. What are we going to do if we get stuck?!? Ahead, I could see a large hill and it seemed the grass road just stopped. Tom tried to make it up the hill, but the little car wouldn’t make it. He got out and walked up the hill to see what was over the hill and what did he find?!? A RIVER! Our GPS was apparently suicidal! The worst part? We had to go back down the road that we were scared of getting stuck on. When we finally got back to a paved road, there was a tree limb sticking out of the hood of the car. Thanks
goodness for Full Coverage Insurance!

Shout-out to Andrew?

He is a saint! He answered every question with professionalism and knowledge…and he did it quickly! Great customer service!

Anything else to add?

Drink the beer! Dance in the rain! Sing in the sessions! Search for a four-leafed clover! Try the Irish food! Watch a soccer/rugby match! Pet a sheep! Drink an

Irish coffee

! Kiss the Blarney Stone! Chase a






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