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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 2012Read more reviews » Write a review