30 Jul 2013 - 07 Aug 2013
This was my first Contiki tour and my first trip to Europe. What a wonderful way to get back in to traveling! I know that I was older than many of my travel mates but that didn't bother me too much. Heading into Northern Ireland was an amazing experience! Maybe on another visit, I will spend a day and a night in Belfast...
Pros: Giant's Causeway, Derry guide tour, Aran Islands, Galway (will definitely go back whenever I visit Ireland again), Jameson Experience (not on the tour necessarily but so glad my tour guide decided to make an impromptu stop from Kilkenny to Dublin), Guinness factory...we happened to arrive in Galway on the closing weekend of the Galway races and it was the best nights of my life on that trip.
Cons: Losing money, thanks to the Euro and Pound...now I know why some many Europeans have been heading to the States to visit over the last few years. Also, some of the dinners included on the tour were kinda the same, in terms of entrees (some sort of beef and root vegetable mashed up). While the beef is good over there, by the third included dinner, I needed a change!
I made a few great friends, both on the tour and in Ireland, and everyone is friendly over there, even when they are teasing you! If you need to bring back souvenirs, just buy chocolate, even if it's a KitKat! Chocolate and Guinness has never tasted the same in the States after my trip...gives me a reason to go back!
Review written May 2015event 0.3
09 Aug 2014 - 16 Aug 2014
My husband and I had been talking about visiting Ireland since we first started dating. We were looking for a tour that truly gave us an Irish experience. We did not have to worry about driving or locating accommodations each night and were very fortunate to have a great group to enjoy the experience with. This tour includes the Cliffs of Moher, the Giants Causeway, Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the Jameson Distillery, the Guinness Factory and many other sites. All of the breakfasts and about half of the dinners are included but be warned that the meal options can be limited. The food was great overall though and vegetarian options are available. This tour is not great if you are looking for an in depth experience as you will spend a lot of time on the bus and typically only spend one night in each town. We found that you spend a lot of time hanging out with your tour group and often missed out on the one on one experience with the locals. However if you only have 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to spend in Ireland and want to see a little bit of everything with a fun group then this is the tour for you. Our tour guide, Cam, described this trip as a buffet where you get to sample and figure out what you would really like to do when you visit Ireland again. Take it as you will but be prepared to drink often and a lot! It is very common to enjoy a beer or two with lunch and dinner before heading out to the bar each night. The tour group includes 18 to 35 year olds so there is always someone to head to the pub with or someone to hangout with in the hotel lobby to watch a movie. Free wifi was available in each hotel that we stayed at so no need to worry about that. My husband and I stayed in a room together but note that if you are traveling solo you will be assigned a room with another individual of the same sex to hopefully get along with. Make sure to say yes to the optional activities. Your tour guide will pass around the list on the first day and all of the activities were a lot of fun and worth the money. Also make sure to take lots of cold medicine with you and get a flu shot before you travel. We met our group in Ireland and most people had just gotten over the flu which we picked up towards the end of the tour. Not how you want to spend your first European experience that's for sure. We had such a great time that we quickly booked our next Contiki tour after we got home to the states.
Review written Dec 2014event 0.3
11 Oct 2014 - 18 Oct 2014
ThIs trip was amazing! Traveling to Ireland was the first trip I've taken outside Canada. I'd been dreaming of going for years and when we had the chance my friend and I jumped at the opportunity... and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
My tour manager was Evan. I can't begin to say enough good things about him- he was hilarious (especially his Hollaback girl karaoke), knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on his face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Sammy who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
A Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons. We saw Dublin, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Derry, Galway, Aran Islands, Blarney Castle, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery, Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Kilkenny, traditional bands, cows, sheep...lots of pubs and it was ALL fantastic!
Last but not least- the people! I met so many new friends that are part of some of the best experiences of my life. I won't forget the Auzzies (and there obsession with how ridiculous Newfoundlands culture is), the Americans, and fellow Canadians (even though I'm a Newfie before I'm a canadian) who I shared this amazing adventure with! They all helped make the trip what it was!
I will definitely be taking another Contiki tour in the future!
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
10 May 2014 - 17 May 2014
Ireland was amazing! It was my 1st Contiki trip and 1st time in Europe. I went in mid-May and experienced great weather and little rain. Unfortunately though, the day we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher there was the most unbelievable fog I've ever seen in my life. We saw no Cliffs. I wanted to cry. Unpredictable weather is just something you have to deal with in Ireland and the UK. Pack a poncho!
Our tour managers Sophie was so sweet and fantastic and very well-organized. Our group was a bit too large for my taste (a full bus of about 65 people) but the positive about it was meeting lots of great people.
All the included activities were great. My favorites were the Blarney Stone, the Rock of Cashel, the Belfast Peace Wall tour, and the Kilkenny walking tour.
I HIGHLY recommend doing *ALL* the optional activities as well (most people on the tour did all of them, as I did too). You'll experience Ireland in many ways, from cultural and historic to fun and fiesty. My favorites were the Aran Islands, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Giant's Causeway, and the Jameson Brewery. And definitely do the optional farewell dinner at the Merry Ploughboy. Our entire group went to it and it was the perfect way to end our trip with traditional food, drink, music and dance!
Dublin is a fantastically metropolitan and multi-cultural city. It was so much fun! The Peace Wall in Belfast was fascinating. The cobblestone streets in Kilkenny were beautiful. The GREEN countryside is the brightest green you'll ever see. And SHEEP! There are sheep are everywhere.
This tour was fast-paced so be prepared to get up and go early every morning. The only downside was the limited time we had for some of the activities, such as the Rock of Cashel. We had less than an hour there, which is far too short considering how beautiful it is. But for the most part we had an adequate time to enjoy the activity/destination/excursion.
The hotel accomodations were mostly good. I'd say 2 of the 6 hotels we stayed at were sub-par but nothing intolerable. Our tour bus was surprisingly awesome... new and clean and very comfortable with huge windows so you can get a panoramic view of all the landscapes.
So all in all, this trip was an amazing mix of culture, history, sightseeing, and fun (we had numerous group outings to local pubs). As the Irish say, SLAINTE!
Review written Sep 2014event 0.3
28 Jul 2012 - 04 Aug 2012
If you've ever dreamt of the Emerald Isle, stop dreaming and get over there! Just be prepared for a tonne of rain - no matter the season! I had specifically planned to go there during the summer season to see Ireland in all it's green glory - and although it was all green glory, it rained 7 of the 8 days which got to me eventually. If I had a chance to do it again, I would definitely do it! Just know that you do not go to the smaller, more picturesque villages in Ireland, but to the more commercial places. They are still charming but I hear the real beauty is in the places that a coach cannot get to. Do this tour anyways!
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3
10 Sep 2013 - 18 Sep 2013
The first word that comes to mind was WOW! Traveling to Ireland was the first "real big" trip I've taken. I'd been dreaming of going for years and since I'd get going alone I thought a tour was the best way to see it all....and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
My tour manager was Roxy. I can't begin to say enough good things about her- she's funny, knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on her face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Mark who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
A Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons (I highly recommend doing EVERYTHING). We saw Dublin, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Derry, Galway, Aran Islands, Blarney Castle, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery, Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Kilkenny, trad bands, Irish dancers, cows, sheep...lots of pubs and it was ALL magical!
Last but not least- the people! I met so many new friends that are part of some of the best experiences of my life. I won't forget the Auzzies, Canadians, and fellow Statesmen who I shared an amazing adventure with! They all helped make the trip what it was!
I will definitely be taking another Contiki tour in the future!
Review written Oct 2013event 0.3
05 Oct 2012 - 13 Oct 2012
I had an absolutely amazing time! Sara, our tour manager, was fabulous! She made the trip that much better. She was organized, educated and funny. I lost my sweatshirt on the trip and even though she totally didn't have to she found out what happened to it after the trip was over and messaged me on Facebook about it. 100% dedication.
I saw everything I wanted to see and partied with awesome new people. I met some people I'm going to travel half way around the world to vist some day. Ireland is beautiful and I couldn't have had a better time with a better group of people!
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
21 Sep 2012 - 29 Sep 2012
I just arrived from the 9 day Ireland tour and what an amazing trip!! Contiki you yet again have exceeded my expectations. We made it out to Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, and the Aran Islands to name a few. These trips are a two for one package because I feel as if after every tour I come back with another stamp in the passport but more importantly the friends that you come back with! Melts my heart!! :)
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
21 Sep 2012 - 29 Sep 2012
On this tour I was fortunate enough to go with 3 close friends of mine, right away I realized that whether I came with a group, or went alone, it wouldn't have mattered.
Everyone on the bus got along, no problems chatting with one another or hanging out at the pubs. I made friends on this trip that will last for a lifetime.
Our tour manager, Michelle, was incredible. As soon as we went for our meeting she was very welcoming, had a good sense of humour, and her knowledge of Ireland was extensive. She knew a lot of authentic pubs and little shops in Ireland and could answer any question. She put a lot of emphasis on respect during the tour and for our bus driver as well, Steve. I don't think we could have asked for a better driver, he was patient when people were late, he helped us with our luggage, and came to all the excursions with us. He definitely made himself present during the tour and became friends with a lot of us.
The whole tour was incredible, from Dublin to Cork, to Kilkenny, but what stood out for me the most was Northern Ireland and Galway.
In Northern Ireland we had a guide named Ronan and he was absolutely phenomenal. It would be a crime if Contiki ever decided to pass on this tour, but I doubt they ever would. He is an absolute superstar, completely unbiased to either the Catholics or Protestants, and speaks only of fact and RARELY personal opinion. He speaks eloquently and with humour to keep the group engaged.
While all of Ireland is beautiful and historical, Northern Ireland has such a unique story and history that makes it very impacting.
Galway is such a beautiful town, a lot of the shop lined streets are decorated and pedestrian only, making it simple to navigate and safe to roam about, of course still using caution at your own discretion.
The hotels weren't the Bellagio, but a lot of them offered free wifi, breakfast, a place to shower and sleep which is definitely the essentials. There were only two hotels outside of the city, this being Derry (we all went and hung out at the hotel bar) and our last nights stay in Dublin (and the cab ride cost about 10 Euro solo!) so none of us were complaining.
I would EASILY recommend Contiki and this tour and only hope that someone else is lucky enough to have Michelle and Steve show them Ireland.
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
30 Mar 2012 - 07 Apr 2012
Loved every minute of it!!! Our tour guide was beyond great and I met some amzing new friends! I wish I was still in Ireland!! So much to see and do- You must book this tour if you every wanted to see Ireland and have the best company!
Review written May 2012event 0.3
20 May 2011 - 28 May 2011
One thing you always hear about Ireland is that the people are so nice and it's true! From the moment I got off the plane in Dublin I felt welcome. Not only did I fall in love with the people, but the culture and the land. Everything was simply breathtaking. One of the best parts was Northern Island and our tour with Ronan in Derry. Standing where Bloody Sunday took place and hearing how Ronan described growing up there is something I truly will never forget. Aside from the places we visited and the things we experienced, I truly believe it wouldn't have been the same had I not been with the amazing group I was with. Our Tour Manager, Jason, was amazing from his knowledge about the country to his personality and making sure we all had the time of our lives. I made some great friends and have a whole new list of places to visit because of them. I also came back with a new vocabulary thanks to some of my new aussie and kiwi friends. It was more than I could've expected and I would recommend it as one of the best ways for a twenty something to travel. Planning my next trip as I write this! :)
Review written Nov 2011event 0.3
07 Oct 2011 - 15 Oct 2011
Just got back from my trip to Ireland!! It was Amazing!! We had such a great time and experienced so many interesting things! Me and my friend are already planning our next trip to Paris for New Years next year. Our trip through Northern Ireland was very informative and eye opening, I had no idea that the ongoing troubles were all so real still. . .it was very cool to hear it from someone who experienced it and our tour guide for that part of the trip couldn't have been better (Rolan I believe his name was?!) We had a great time in Derry and Belfast and loved the trip back down South to the Giants Causway, stop over in Sligo and the added bonus of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (which was one of mine, and my travel companions favorite experiences). The Blarney Castle was amazing, and although it was too foggy to see the Cliffs of Moher, the walk up and surrounding area was cool too see. Heading down through Galway was one of my favorite points as well, loved the city and the night life. Cork and Kilkenny also had to be two of my favorites, The whole West Coast was basically awesome, from the day-time sites, green landscape and nights ending with drinks, fun and some awesome new friends!
Our tour-guide, Stu, was awesome, he was very friendly, informative and interactive with day to night events. He made our trip that much more enjoyable!! Sad to hear he is leaving Contiki!! He will be a definite loss, but we were happy to be his last tour, we had a blast!!
Our driver - Gordon (Flash) was also very friendly and pleasant to be around! He also seemed to know so many things about the tour which was nice. . . however the bus was not my favorite part, it was very small and uncomfortable for long rides and was either FREEZING cold or very hot and a lot of people seemed to get sick from being confined without windows for such long periods of time.
We traveled with 6 people, which after meeting and talking to the rest of the travelers on our bus, seemed crazy, everyone was alone or with MAYBE one other person, and i think going forward I would do the same, as it def. gives you more opportunity to meet new people and make bonds that could last forever (although we def. were able to do that as well).
All in all we had an AMAZING time. I cant think of a better word to describe it. I am so happy Contiki was recommended to me and I will make sure to recommend it going forward. . .I can honestly say that I was not a big fan of the crazy schedule, as it didnt give much, if any, down time, but i understand that to see all we saw, it has to be somewhat regimented on a day-to-day basis.
Me and my friend have already begin to plan to travel to Paris with you for New Years 2012. I look forward to taking many more Contiki trips in the future!!
Thank you Contiki for making our trip one I will remember for a lifetime!!
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3