There are countless stunning places in the world—Ireland being one of the most enchanting—but what made our visit outstanding was the remarkable Irish people. Our hosts from Railtours were top-rate in just about every respect. These eloquent, gracious and knowledgeable men and women are all retired from their professions and it’s obvious that they absolutely love hosting visitors to Ireland:
Brian accompanied us from Dublin to Cork & Cobh and impressed us with the detailed history of the areas we visited; Margaret ensured we got comfortably from Cobh to Killarney and gave us an insight into Irish family life and values; Paddy was with us at the Ring of Kerry and again in Northern Ireland and was so much fun to tease about allegedly being a leprechaun in disguise; Owen, “The Transfer Engineer in Galway” made us laugh for two days and thoughtfully orchestrated an earlier departure from Galway to escape a rainy day without our asking (can he read minds?).
Andy, who occasionally acts in plays and movies, was tremendous fun when he accompanied us in Limerick/Cliffs of Moher and again when we returned from Galway to Dublin… his singing, sense of humor, knowledge about various subjects and curiosity about other cultures brightened long journeys.
We also had a great time with Ray, who picked us up when we arrived in Dublin and sent us off when we departed. We were impressed with Railtours from the outset, when we were met in London at the start of our 10-day journey completely by land and sea. I’m afraid I forgot the name of our excellent host in London but he was efficient and thoughtful.
The logistics and organization behind the scenes were superb too. The devil is the details and so is heaven: They got the museum in Cobh to open just for the six of us on a public holiday. On the trains, we always got eight seats for two of us plus a host. The itinerary was sensitively planned and took into account that we would appreciate some rest every now and then after dragging our luggage all over Ireland. Even when the “group” consisted of just two of us, a host was always there to accompany us.
But don’t expect all the hosts to have doctorate-level technical details of history, geology, theology, etc the same way that guides on the Egyptian Nile River have PhDs in Egyptology. It wouldn’t be fair to expect that of every Railtours host. Having said that, I came away knowing much more about the etymology of English terms and words, Irish and European history, etc than I asked for.
On numerous occasions, we joined non-Railtours groups probably because there were just two of us… it was January and gorgeously clear and sunny but winter nonetheless. Much of the time, these external programs were well-selected. We particularly enjoyed Martin’s rich commentaries on Connemara and Kylemore Abbey, and Mark’s fabulously hilarious journey to the Giants Causeway. At the end of the two trips, both gentlemen ensured that we got to the train station punctually to avoid a three-hour wait for the next train. No mean feat when the groups had 30-40 people, and I suspect that our Railtours hosts influenced the effort. Well done.
This is the first time my sister or I have ever joined a group; they tend to be unappealing. But Railtours made the group format surprisingly enjoyable, personalized and sufficiently immersive for an introductory visit. The “first class” in Railtours Ireland Frist Class is apt!
Visited January 2017
“Exceptional 6-day first class Rail Tour Ireland”
The tour covers all the beautiful parts of Ireland, the hotels were first class and exceptionally well located. The tour guide, Jonathan Beaumont, was excellent, providing us with all the history and highlights of each place and keeping the group together. He was very knowledgeable and entertaining and we highly recommend him and the tour. The organization was superb, and there was always a Railtour staff at hand, at the train stations or coordinating with the buses. Really a First Class Tour.
Visited September 2016
“We LOVE Ireland!”
Reviewed 4 weeks ago
We took the DH36 Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher three day tour. It was fantastic. Our guide was fabulous and knew all about Ireland and how to answer all of our questions. We especially loved visiting Cork, the Blarney Castle, and the picturesque villages around the Ring of Kerry. We would love to come back and visit Ireland for longer. This was the perfect tour for us to see so much of Ireland in a short time. Our guide gave us wonderful dinner recommendations and recommended the Celtic Steps show which we loved. Everyone on our tour was also lovely. Would highly recommend this tour and we would do it again. It was a great value.
Had a really special experience on the Emerald Isle Express week long tour. Saw so much of this lovely country with the pleasure of travel on a proper heritage train and luxury overnight stays. All staff on the tour were fantastic and gave us a real Irish welcome. The added value of Jonathan and Norman's knowledge of railway and general Irish history was unexpected and helped to make the holiday. Quite a hectic schedule at times but the only way to pack everything in to the week. Thoroughly recommended!
Visited September 2016
“Excellent Day (Wicklow, Avoca & Glendalough Tour)”
An excellent day of magnificent scenery, Paddy and John were brilliant hosts. They provided a delightful day for all, with commentary throughout the entire tour. Every step of the way you are kept informed in a very personal way. Paddy is clearly passionate about his role and at one point explained "I never get tired of the scenery".
I can see why, the entire tour has beautiful tranquil settings.
Paddy brings an energy/enthusiasm that engages with all his quests in a friendly manner, his style/content of commentary is absolutely first class. Would happily take the same tour again. For me this tour rates with the best I have taken in London, France and Italy. Well worth a trip, particularly if you like natural beauty.
“3 Day tour of Cork, Blarney Castle, the Queenstown Story, Killarney and the Ring of Kerry”
Excellent 3 day tour of Cork, Blarney Castle, the Queenstown Story, Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. Jonathan was AMAZING tour guide! He had an extensive knowledge and passion for his Ireland and show us his Ireland he did. If I ever get back to Ireland (fingers crossed) I would definitely use this company and hopefully would be able to get Jonathan again!
Visited October 2016
Just got home from what has to be the most enjoyable, amazing holiday we have ever had. We travelled the five day Wild Atlantic with the Railtours Ireland booking. It was the best way to go and it took all the worry out of our travel. It was like having a totally independent tour but having all the details taken care of. Staff handed us off from one 'yellow jacket' to the next making sure we were where we needed to be when we needed to be there, had all our tickets, and let us focus on enjoying. I have never been so well taken care of when travelling. We saw so much, met so many amazing people, and had such personable and knowledgeable support from the 'yellow jacketed' personnel. I just loved how each staff shared deeply of themselves. We did not just see Ireland's tourist spots; we learned its story and saw the country through the eyes of its people. The stories were rich and profound, some making us laugh while others caused us to cry. Andy, you were the absolute best and we thank you. Honestly, I wish I could take you along everywhere we go. Would surely simplify things for me.
Visited November 2016
We were attracted to the Tour by the prospect of seeing some of the main attractions of Ireland in a different way, having driven to most of them in the past. We were certainly not disappointed in any way.
You and your colleagues did so much to make the holiday special for us, particularly highlighting the rail aspects for me and giving us so much insight into Irish history and culture. A country we already loved was really brought into focus for us.
So many wonderful sights and superb hospitality. Lots of ideas for things to do when we return to Ireland. Cycling the Westway will certainly be on the list as well as another stay at Dromoland Castle. I would also like to do more travel on Irish Rail, having been favourably impressed with all I saw of it.
Many thanks again to all involved and our best wishes for continued success with your tours.
My friend and I were on the 6 day All Ireland Tour and we had the most incredible time. Andy was our guide from the 19th-21st and he was awesome. We could not have asked for a better tour guide. He kept us entertained and made sure we knew what was going on each day
We had a great trip for three day tour and wish that we had time for the four day tour.The whole thing was Wow! We were given friendly knowledgable tour guides who were ever courteous and brilliant at thier jobs and professions,We were escorted by rail and bus and saw magnificent castles which had been restored to thier original pristine grandeur and estates and of course the amazing Cliffs of Moher which was truly magnificent.On the third day we were taken by plane to the largest of the Aran Islands where we saw the magnificent ancient settlements from the Bronze Age.We love the whole tour and were sad when it came to an end.We love the whole tour and were sad when it came to an end.Please do experience this beautiful tour!