Cliffs of Moher2
Cliffs of Moher2

7 Tour Companies in Ireland to Choose From in 2024

Updated June 2024—Are you considering a guided tour of Ireland or would you rather wing it without the help of an expert tour guide?

7 Tour Companies in Ireland to Choose From in 2024This post and page contain affiliate links and I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

For those of you who are hesitant about driving in Ireland and don’t need the added stress that often comes with this, a guided tour is a great alternative.

Guided package tours are also a good way for first-time visitors to get acquainted with the country and see its main tourist attractions.

Here you’ll find information on 7 tour companies to choose from, all of them researched for you by Ireland on a Budget.

There are many more tour companies out there, but these ones will give you a good idea of what’s available.

In addition to these, Aer Lingus also offers vacation packages that are worth looking into.

The total cost of an Aer Lingus vacation includes airfare, accommodation, meals, and transportation. as well as rental car if you choose a package that includes that.

All other tours mentioned in this post exclude the cost of airfare, except for Gate 1 Travel. When different currencies are quoted, the price is based on the current rate as of June 11, 2024.

With that in mind, let’s dive in and learn more about the 7 tour companies in Ireland that you should consider when you're planning your vacation to the Emerald Isle.

1. CIE Tours

CIE Tours, based in Morristown, NJ, has been around since 1932, which means that they have a lot of experience in the industry.

The Ring of Kerry. Photo: Getty Images Pro.
The Ring of Kerry. Photo: Getty Images Pro.

The company offers package tours to Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, as well as Italy, Iceland, and Central and Eastern Europe.

CIE Tours also offers multi-destination tours that include Ireland and the country of your choice, be it the Scottish Highlands, England’s Lake District, London, or Iceland.

Its “Taste of Ireland” 5-day, 4-night tour is perfect for people who have never been to Ireland before.

Prices start at $1,395 US/$1,921.77 CAD per person.

The package includes accommodation, transportation by bus, breakfast each day, as well as welcome drinks with your group on the first day of the tour.

On CIE's "Taste of Ireland" tour you'll gt to see Blarney Castle in Co. Cork. Photo: Pixabay.
On CIE's “Taste of Ireland” tour you'll gt to see Blarney Castle in Co. Cork. Photo: Pixabay.

This particular guided CIE tour of Ireland begins in Dublin and ends in Shannon, which is where you’ll catch your return flight.

Attractions in between include the Ring of Kerry, the Skellig Experience, a sheepdog demonstration in Killarney, Blarney Castle in Cork, the Cliffs of Moher, and a medieval banquet experience at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.

Details on other tours can be found on the CIE website.

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2. Vagabond Tours

Vagabond Tours offers two different types of small group tours and is one of the 7 tour companies in Ireland that you should consider.

Participants in one of Vagabond's private tours enjoy the beautiful Beara Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Vagabond & Driftwood Small Tours of Ireland.
Participants in one of Vagabond's private tours enjoy the beautiful Beara Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Vagabond & Driftwood Small Tours of Ireland.

One of them is called Driftwood Tours, which is a guided tour but with the option to veer off the beaten path every now and again.

Such tours included a tour guide, transportation by coach, a variety of low-key activities, and plenty of free time.

Driftwood Tours can last anywhere from 6 to 11 days.

Ballyseede Castle in Co. Kerry, one of the hotels you can stay on Vagabond's Irish Castles and Kingdoms Tour. Photo:
Ballyseede Castle in Co. Kerry, one of the hotels you can stay on Vagabond's Irish Castles and Kingdoms Tour. Photo:

The 7-day Irish Castles and Kingdoms Tour costs approximately €1,975.50 per person sharing (about $2,163 US/£1,704 Sterling/$2,906 CAD/$3,329 AUD.

That includes most daily activities and visits, transportation to all destinations, accommodation, including a night in the 4-star Ballyseede Castle in Tralee, Co. Kerry, a full Irish breakfast each day, and tickets to the various attractions that are included in the tour.

Other meals during the day and accommodation in Dublin are not included. Some optional tours/visits to attractions are also not included in the price.

By contrast, the Vagabond Tours are for those who want the ultimate adventure in Ireland. That includes exploring the sights but also getting involved in activities like kayaking, surfing, hiking, and cycling.

The company’s 7-day Magnetic North Adventure Tour is a great example of a high adventure tour.

The Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim, one of the destinations that Vagabond Tours brings its visitors to. Vagabond is one of 7 tour companies in Ireland worth considering for your next vacation. Photo: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Northern Ireland</a> Tourism.
The Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim, one of the destinations that Vagabond Tours brings its visitors to. Vagabond is one of 7 tour companies in Ireland worth considering for your next vacation. Photo: Northern Ireland Tourism.

This one starts in Dublin and takes in many of the popular attractions in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, day trips to Derry and Belfast, kayaking around the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, horse riding on a beach in County Sligo and cycling on the Great Western Greenway in Co. Mayo, among other pursuits.

This trip, beginning at €1,867.50/$2,002.62 US/£1,573.73 Sterling/$2,760.84 CAD/$3,036.41 AUD per person, is like others offered by Vagabond Tours, offering accommodation, admission for most daily activities and visits, a hearty Irish breakfast each day, transportation, as well as guided tours of both Derry and Belfast.

walls around a building 7 tour companies in Ireland
The Derry City walls is one of the attractions you can see when you choose some of these 7 tour companies in Ireland. Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

Some of the places where you’ll stay on this tour include the Londonderry Arms Hotel, once owned by Winston Churchill and located in Carnlough, part of the beautiful Coastal Causeway region; the Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry ; the Arnolds Hotel in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, the Mount Falcon Estate and Hotel near Ballina, County Mayo, and The Wyatt Hotel in Westport, also in County Mayo.

3. Railtours Ireland

Fancy getting around Ireland by train?

RailtoursIreland offers exactly that, providing approximately 40 tours, everything from 1-day tours to 11-day vacations, leaving Dublin’s historic Heuston Station.

While most of your journey on a Railtours vacation will take place on a train, there are times when you’ll need to transfer to a coach bus, provided by Railtours.

The 5-day Royal Atlantic Tour will take you by train to Cork City. From there, you’ll visit Cobh, Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry.

Other destinations on this whirlwind trip include the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, and the Aran Islands.

lakes and mountains 7 tour companies in Ireland
The Ring of Kerry. Photo: Getty Images Pro.

The price of this tour is approximately $1,298 US/£1,020.64 Sterling/$1,788.48 CAD/$1,967.74 AUD per person sharing and is one of the more affordable tours that Railtours Ireland offers.

The cost includes train tickets, along with a full Irish breakfast each day, as well as bus travel, admission to the various visitor attractions, and accommodation.

a green bus 7 tour companies in Ireland
A Do Dublin bus carrying passengers throughout the city. Photo: Do Dublin Tours Facebook.

Railtours Ireland also provides day tours to various locations in Ireland.

Customers who book 2 or more full day tours will receive a complimentary 48 hrs Do Dublin Hop On/Hop Off sightseeing tour ticket.

Book any of the company's overnight tours and receive a complimentary 48-hour Do Dublin Hop On/Hop Off sightseeing tour ticket.

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4. Paddywagon Tours

Paddywagon Tours offers economical tours of Ireland that won’t break your budget. That includes many day tours as well as multi-day excursions.

For tourists who want to get a quick snapshot of the tourist attractions outside of Dublin, Paddywagon’s day tours are a great way to do that. They range in price from €33 and up.

If you’re interested in taking a multi-day tour with Paddywagon Tours, there are several to choose from, including tours lasting 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 days.

Tours fall into two categories, Backpacker and Economy, with the chance to stay in a hostel if you're on a tighter budget or in a B&B/guesthouse if you choose the economy rate.

round tower 7 tour companies in Ireland
Glendalough monastic site in Co. Wicklow was raided by the Vikings. Photo: Macmillan Media.

Private tours are also available for families, couples and groups looking for a more customized experience in Ireland through its sister company Elegant Irish Tours.

Its popular 6-day Tour: All Ireland costs an affordable €899 per person for the Backpacker option ($964.03 US/£757.88 Sterling/$1,327.56 CAD/$1,460.60 AUD), with the economy rate a little costlier at €1,499 per person ($1,607.28 US/£1,263.95 Sterling/$2,213.41 CAD/$2,435.35 AUD).

people looking at cliffs Cliffs of Moher app
The Cliffs of Moher attracts over a million visitors a year. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

It covers a lot of Ireland, including Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, Derry, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, The Ring of Kerry, and the magical Blarney Stone, to name a few.

Accommodation, admission to the various attractions, and breakfast each day are all included in the price.

5. Trafalgar Tours

Like CIE Tours, Trafalgar has been in the travel business for a long time – since 1947, in fact. So, you can expect them to deliver top-quality tours around Ireland and across the world.

While Trafalgar Tours are a bit more expensive, there is also a lot of value that you’ll get from booking a tour with this company.

a bridge 7 tour companies in Ireland
The Half-Penny Bridge in Dublin. Photo: Getty Images.

In addition to the daily breakfast that you’ll get on a Trafalgar tour, some packages also include dinner.

Keep that in mind when deciding which tour company to choose for your trip to Ireland.

You can book anywhere from 6 days to a 23-day tour with Trafalgar.

Its Best of Ireland: 10 Day Ireland Tour of Dublin, Ring of Kerry and Galway starts at $2,745 per person (£2,158.67 Sterling/$3,780.13 CAD/$4,160.10 AUD).

It includes 15 cities, 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners.

Expect to visit Counties Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo.

6. Brendan Vacations

With nearly 50 years in the travel industry, the folks at Brendan Vacations know a thing or two about crafting just the right kind of vacation packages for their customers.

a castle 7 tour companies in Ireland
Kilkenny is one of the stops on the Ireland Coast to Coast itinerary from Brendan Vacations, one of 7 tour companies in Ireland that you can choose from. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

The company offers a number of tours including guided vacations, private chauffeur-led trips, self-drive tours, locally hosted rail trips and lux self-drive tours.

There are plenty of vacation packages to choose from, including its Ireland's Sparkling Gems tour from $2,403 per person (£1,890.63 Sterling/$3,309.80 CAD/$2,763 AUD) as well as its Ireland Coast to Coast tour, a self-drive package from $1,498 per person (£1,181 Sterling/$2,014 CAD/$3,643.17 AUD).

Self-drive packages include car rental, accommodation, sightseeing and full breakfast daily.

The Sparkling Gems tour includes transportation (either by train or private vehicle), accommodation, sightseeing and breakfast daily.

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7. Gate 1 Travel

Gate 1 Travel is known for its wide-ranging package tours to destinations around the world, including Ireland.

Their 8 Day Essential Ireland is the most affordable package available, with prices starting at $1,839 per person for air & land. It includes 3 nights in Dublin, 1 night in Cork and 2 nights in Killarney, as well as 6 breakfasts and 1 dinner with wine.

I've personally taken a number of Gate 1 package tours to other countries and can highly recommend them.

You can find lots more Ireland vacation packages with Gate 1 on the company's website.


Tips for Choosing the Right Vacation Package

Photo: Africa Images.
Photo: Africa Images.
  • Book with a small group, if possible. If you travel in smaller groups, the chances are you’ll get to experience the more authentic side of Ireland. Plus, the tour company may be able to secure a nicer hotel with a smaller group.
  • Try not to book tours where you’re frenetically going from one place to another. Instead, opt for tour companies that give you the chance to stay in one destination for two nights, for example, instead of one.
  • Check out the location of the hotel you’ll be staying in. It’s much better if your tour company has you stay in accommodation that is located in the middle of a town or city or at least very close to it so that you can do some exploring by yourself.
  • Before you pay, check to see what’s included in the total cost. In addition, ask if that price is set once you make a deposit or pay in full.
  • If there are some things that you’ll need to pay extra for, make sure that is detailed upfront so there are no surprises.
  • Always read the company’s cancellation policy and other important information that can usually be found on the tour company website.
Photo: Kaspar Grinvalds.
Photo: Kaspar Grinvalds.

The tour companies listed above will no doubt answer any questions that you may have.

Go to the contact page on their websites to see how you can reach a customer service agent before you make the final decision.

Have you purchased a package tour? Let me know in the comments section below.

Read More: Explore Magical Ireland with Keogh Tours


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Avatar for Rocky Samo
    Rocky Samo

    Hi hello, good job I’m happy to read your blog and it’s very useful information thanks for sharing.

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