Laura enjoyed a family getaway to Ireland with her husband and step-daughter! Read what she has to say about their trip with Tenon Tours below.
Why did you want to plan a customized vacation to Europe?
This was our first time doing a self drive trip, first visit to Ireland and we wanted to be certain we made the most of the time we had for our visit.
Why did you choose Tenon Tours?
Researching itineraries, I came across a link to Tenon Tours, followed it and from what I read, I thought that Tenon sounded like a great possibility for tour planning. Once I contacted Tenon and received a prompt, warm and informative response from Barbara Brown, I determined that having a customized plan was going to be the best plan for our trip.
What is the biggest advantage of working with a boutique tour operator like Tenon Tours?
I was able to explain exactly what we hoped to accomplish on our first trip to Ireland. When I had our introductory telephone call, I was very impressed with Barbara’s firsthand knowledge of Ireland. She provided so much insight into just how far we could hope to venture and what places would be the best spots to visit based on our preferences for smaller towns, coastal scenery and the ability to decide for ourselves what we would like to do each day.
Describe three highlights of your trip.
Our trip to Inishmore and visit to Dun Aengus was a wonderful start to our week. Dun Aengus was breath taking – both the hike to the fortress and the sweeping views of cliffs and ocean. From Killarney we spent a day driving the Dingle Peninsular where we were thrilled with the amazing vistas. Slea Head Drive and Inch Beach were highlights. Our last stop was Kinsale and it would be impossible to say what part of our stay in Kinsale was a highlight as we simply never wanted to leave! The town and surrounding area was delightful, our stay at the Perryville House was perfect, the staff there treated us like we were family, particularly Emily and Frances. Charles Fort, the 9/11 Memorial Garden, the Tap Tavern Ghost Tour, dining, pubs, harbor boat tour, all were just fabulous. I don’t think we would have found the delights of Kinsale without the guidance of Tenon Tours.
What was the most interesting experience you had while abroad?
That is a difficult question. Perhaps the chance visit to Clancy’s Pub in Bruff on our last evening driving back to Shannon. We met the pub’s proprietor who was pleased to regale us with the local history including the ties of JFK to the town.
Did you learn anything new or surprising?
We learned that we love Ireland and cannot wait to return. The people were so friendly and the sheer beauty of the country just demands more return visits.
Do you have advice to offer other travelers who may be considering a customized vacation to one of our destinations?
If you really want to get the most out of your vacation time, working with professional advisers such as those at Tenon will achieve that goal. We are fairly seasoned travelers and don’t do “tours” as we enjoy doing what we want at our own pace. Tenon gave us a wealth of experience and knowledge about our destination and allowed us the freedom we enjoy.
Would you return to this destination? Would you do the same vacation, or something different?
We definitely want to return to Ireland. We would love to revisit the places we went to, but realize that there are so many additional places to explore, we will look forward to seeing new areas. (With hopes of concluding any trip with a return visit to Kinsale!)
Is there anything else you would like to share, either about the service you received or your vacation?
Tenon’s service was excellent. Barbara and Gracie were well informed and able to share their own favorite places to visit which really helped us plan great stops. If you are planning a self drive trip, you should know that the roads in Ireland are quite different than in the US. Driving on the opposite side was not nearly as challenging as navigating narrow roads with no shoulders and dealing with encounters with cows and sheep. The saving grace was that unlike in the US, the drivers in Ireland do not try to intimidate you or get crazy impatient when you are cautiously going slow or seeming uncertain. I tried to pull over and let locals go by where ever it was safe to do so.
Which destination is next on your list?
A Rhine River cruise, a return to Ireland also.
Thank you for choosing Tenon Tours, Laura! We’re glad you had a memorable family vacation and wish you many more! We hope to assist you again when you’re ready to return to Ireland.