This was my second tour with Vagabond. I did the 8 day Wild Rover tour in 2019 and planned to do this one last year, but of course, had to reschedule. I was a bit apprehensive due to Covid, but I didn't want to wait another year. Traveling solo, I knew I'd be in great hands with Vagabond, but this tour exceeded my expectations by 1000%!
Leading up to the tour, the communication and Covid updates from Vagabond were excellent. There were some travel restrictions announced right before my tour, and Rob Rankin, the owner of Vagabond, personally answered my emails, assuring me that all was well.
The tour began at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin early on Sunday morning. I was greeted by Rob Rankin, and was so impressed that he took the time to see everyone off. One of the great things about Vagabond is the 4x4 vans they use, which really do go off the beaten path, far from the large tour buses. There was only one other couple on my tour and our guide, Andrew was warm and funny right from the start. I had emailed Emma at Vagabond about my ancestry prior to the tour; my 6th great grandfather, Patrick McSherry was born in Newry in 1725 and I had asked whether we'd be driving through there on our first day. She replied that it wasn't a scheduled stop, but that she would mention it to our guide. Andrew kindly took the time to go into the town and gave me extra time to visit a cathedral, which was coincidentally named St. Patrick's! That was just the start of an amazing week. He went SO far above and beyond on every step of the tour, from booking lunch and dinner every day, to hiking with us and booking activities that we wanted to do. He was funny (I laughed til I cried!), kind and caring, and incredibly knowledgeable on the history of every town and place we visited. His stories and fables kept us entertained, which I loved hearing. He even knew the history of the wells of St. Patrick that we visited.
It's hard to say what my favorite part of the tour was...every day was fantastic and a new adventure! The tragic history of Northern Ireland was so interesting. Andrew suggested a great hike at the Giants Causeway, which took us up to cliffs overlooking the ocean. He arranged for us to kayak in Sheepshaven Bay in Dunfanaghy, which was amazing! I loved Donegal and Slieve League. On the last day, we all hiked Croagh Patrick, with beautiful views of Clew Bay.
If you’re looking for a small group tour that’s adventurous, takes you to places no other tour company does, want to have a ton of fun and learn the history and wonderful fables of Ireland, then I can’t recommend Vagabond highly enough. I will surely return for tour #3!
Thanks a MILLION to Vagabond for being the BEST tour company in Ireland AND to Andrew, for the MOST wonderful week in Ireland that I ever could’ve imagined!