Ireland's Tourism Ambassadors

This Q&A series highlights Ireland on a Budget's “Tourism Ambassadors,” a cross-section of people from the tourism industry in Ireland who work tirelessly to promote their own businesses as well as the island of Ireland.
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The section is being updated regularly, so be sure to check back often. If you know of a Tourism Ambassador who deserves attention, let me know by emailing [email protected].

AB Tours, Alan Byrne

If you're looking for someone to take you around Dublin's attractions who is both a native Dubliner and an expert in Irish history, you won't be disappointed in Alan Byrne of AB Tours.

man talking to people Dublin tour guide
Tour guide Alan Byrne, center, takes tourists on a tour of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Alan Byrne.

Read more about Alan's tour company AB Tours

About Ireland Taxi Tours

Have you thought about seeing Ireland by taxi? It's not as unusual as you might think.
Paul Kenny, a taxi driver/tour guide in Kilkenny who works with About Ireland Taxi Tours. Photo: About Ireland Taxi Tours.

Learn how Cork native Robert McAuliffe turned his novel idea into a thriving touring company.

Atlantic Coastal Cruises, Johnny and Patrice Gallagher

Learn about husband-and-wife team Johnny and Patrice Gallagher and their venture based in Killybegs, Co. Donegal, called Atlantic Coastal Cruises.
“The Pirate Queen,” which is managed and run by Atlantic Coastal Cruises. Photo: Atlantic Coastal Cruises Facebook.

Johnny says he has always had a love of the sea and realized the opportunity for this kind of business given the natural beauty of Donegal and the presence of the Wild Atlantic Way in this part of Ireland.

Read more about Atlantic Coastal Cruises.

Ballybur Castle, Mhairi Gray

Are you dreaming of staying in an Irish castle? Tourism Ambassador Mhairi Gray is dying to welcome you to her family home, a 16th-century castle!

a castle at the end of a road Ballybur Castle
Ballybur Castle in Co. Kilkenny. Photo: Ballybur Castle.

A stay at this completely renovated castle is ideal for a family or a large group of friends. Find out more about this fascinating place just 5 miles (8 km) from Kilkenny City.

Read more about Mhairi Gray and her popular tourism destination Ballybur Castle.

Burren Farm Experience, Bronagh and Cathal O'Rourke

Discover what it's like to run a farm in the barren landscape of The Burren in County Clare.

Ireland on a Budget Tourism Ambassadors Bronagh and Cathal O'Rourke, 5th-generation dry beef farmers, provide a variety of tours and experiences for visitors on their 500-acre farm.

Read more about the Burren Farm Experience.

Derrie Danders Walking and Audio Tours, David Douglas

Discover the beautiful city of Derry/Londonderry with David Douglas of Derrie Danders Walking and Audio Tours.
David Douglas is pictured here in the city of his birth. Photo: Derry Danders Walking and Audio Tours.

Stroll the streets of Derry with David as he uncovers its rich history, including its troubled past, and what makes it truly special as the only completely walled city on the island of Ireland.

Read more about Derrie Danders Walking and Audio Tours.

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Donegal Tour Guide, Henry Doohan

If you're looking for a private tour of Donegal, one of Ireland's most beautiful counties, be sure to check out Donegal Tour Guide, run by Henry Doohan.
Henry Doohan, the Donegal Tour Guide. Photo courtesy of Donegal Tour Guide.

Henry is not only sought out as an expert tour guide of his native Donegal. He also serves as a private driver, picking up passengers at the airport and bringing them to their destination.

Find out more about this friendly Donegal Tour Guide.

Dublin City Tours, Alan Swaine

Take a guided tour with Alan Swaine of Dublin City Tours and learn all about Dublin's many secrets.
A group of happy tourists all together for Alan Swaine's tour of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Alan Swaine.

Alan's favorite Dublin destination is the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral in the heart of the city, which has stood in the center of Dublin for at least 1,000 years.

Find out more about Alan's tour business, Dublin City Tours.

Electric Escapes, Paul Harmon

Take a cycle on either a traditional bike or an E-bike with Electric Escapes.

The company is run by Paul Harmon, originally from the U.K.

After traveling the world with his wife, Marie, he found himself in County Mayo and fell in love with the area.
Paul Harmon of Electric Escapes, at far right, along with tourists on a group e-bike tour. Photo courtesy of Electric Escapes.

Needless to say, Paul is still in Mayo and enjoying every minute of it, including showing visitors this spectacular part of Ireland and serving as a great tourism ambassador for the West of Ireland region.

Read more about Electric Escapes.

Experiencing Ireland Tours, Trudy Carmody

Discover, explore and experience Ireland with Trudy Carmody, the founder of Experiencing Ireland Tours.

Trudy is focused not only on bringing her guests to popular tourist destinations but more importantly, showing them the real Ireland.

a woman standing by a monument Experiencing Ireland Tours
Trudy Carmody, who runs Experiencing Ireland Tours is pictured at Spanish Point in Co. Clare. Photo: Experiencing Ireland Tours.

In addition to being a tour operator, Trudy is also sought out as an ancestry expert, having helped many people discover their ancestral roots, and in some cases, their ancestral homesteads.

Find out more about Trudy's successful tourism venture, Experiencing Ireland Tours.

Gallivanting Tours, Lorraine O'Dwyer

If you're looking for an authentic experience in Ireland, Lorraine O'Dwyer of Gallivanting Tours is the company to book with.
Lorraine O'Dwyer, owner of Gallivanting Tours pictured at the Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford. Photo: Facebook.

Lorraine is a passionate tourism ambassador, representing the very best of everything you'll find in Ireland. She's an expert in the local food offerings as well as food heritage and offers an all-inclusive experience that you won't forget in a hurry.

Read more about Lorraine and Gallivanting Tours.

Galway City Walking Tours, Brian Nolan
Brian Nolan, pictured far right, leads visitors on a tour in Galway City. Photo:

Brian Nolan, the founder of Galway City Walking Tours, gained experience in the tourism business while living in the United States and has taken those skills and put them to good use as an excellent and much sought-after tour guide in the city of Galway.

Brian's tours cover every inch of the City of the Tribes and he is a great ambassador for tourism in Ireland.

Read more about Galway City Walking Tours.

Explore Four Great Irish Cities (Including Galway) with Aer Lingus Vacations(includes airfare, accommodation, breakfast each day, car rental & tours)

Galway Tour Guide, Gerry Hanley

Gerry Hanley's tours of Galway city and the surrounding area are perfect for tourists who want to experience the “real” Ireland.

Gerry's tours are also about making the connection between Ireland and other countries and telling some interesting stories along the way.

people standing together near a river Ireland's tourism ambassadors
Find out more about this former engineer and now a tour guide.

Hilltop Treks, Terry Lambert

Whether you're interested in a daylong walk, an extended walking holiday, or self-guided walking tours, be sure to reach out to Hilltop Treks.

people posing for a photo Ireland's tourism ambassadors
Terry Lambert of Hilltop Treks, pictured on the right, with walkers in Co. Wicklow. Photo courtesy of Hilltop Treks.

Owner Terry Lambert has walked pretty much all of Ireland and the guides he chooses are known for their in-depth knowledge of the local areas they cover.

Read more about Terry's passion for Ireland and his successful tourism business, Hilltop Treks.

Read More: Where to Go Walking in Ireland: 10 Walks that Showcase Ireland's Real Beauty

Hillwalk Tours

Is hill walking something you'd be interested in doing during your Ireland vacation?
Hill walking on The Dingle Way. Photo courtesy of Hillwalk Tours Facebook.

Hillwalk Tours offers a number of budget-friendly tours in Ireland. In addition, they offer walking tours in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Spain (the Camino Frances). Find out more about this eco-friendly Tourism Ambassador.

Irish Music Tours, Bronagh Given and Sean Kearns

If the thought of attending traditional Irish music sessions by night and seeing Ireland's popular attractions by day is appealing to you, be sure to consider Irish Music Tours.

people playing Irish music Irish Music Tours
A traditional Irish music session being enjoyed by guests on an Irish Music Tours trip. Photo courtesy of Irish Music Tours.

Discover how the creators, Sean Kearns and Bronagh Given, started the tour company and how you can join them on an exciting tour in 2024.

Off the Beaten Path: Owen Clarke

Explore all of County Donegal's hidden jewels with accomplished photographer and tour guide Owen Clarke.

a man with a bicycle on a cliff Ireland's tourism ambassadors
Owen Clarke on one of his fat bikes. Photo: Owen Clarke Photography.

Based on Tory Island, one of Donegal's beautiful offshore islands, Clarke is looking forward to welcoming visitors and having them see his part of the world on electric fat bikes.

Learn more about Off the Beaten Path tours.

Oul House, P.J. McClay

While P.J. McClay might not be a traditional “Tourism Ambassador,” the Donegal native who now lives in Boston is highlighting an important part of Ireland's rich heritage – its old, abandoned cottages that tell a story of the country's tragic past.

a man working with wood Ireland's Tourism Ambassadors
P.J. McClay at work in his Boston workshop. Photo courtesy of McClay Carpentry.

There are thousands of such cottages scattered across the country, many left to decay.

Read more about my conversation with P.J. on the renovation of this unique 200-year-old

Read More: Famous Irish Landmarks from Irish History that Every First-Time Visitor to Ireland Should See

Teapot Lane Glamping, Derval McGovern

Have you tried glamping? Meet Derval McGovern, owner of Teapot Lane Glamping in Co. Leitrim.

a field of flowers near a house Ireland's tourism ambassadors
The self-catering cottage at Teapot Lane Glamping. Photo courtesy of Teapot Lane Glamping.

Derval tells me all about this popular accommodation in Ireland, a more luxurious form of camping, and what her glamping site offers to visitors.

Read More about Teapot Lane Glamping.

The Ireland Travel Club, Annie Stackpole & Grace Donaldson

If you're looking for a tour company that offers an authentic experience of Ireland, you'll want to book with these two young ladies, the founders of The Ireland Travel Club.

people sitting on a bench near statues Ireland's tourism ambassadors
Annie and Grace are pictured in Galway with guests, one of the stops on their Authentic Ireland tour. Photo courtesy of Ireland Travel Club.

Annie and Grace promise to take their visitors off the beaten path and become totally immersed in Irish culture.

Find out more about the Ireland Travel Club.

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Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours

Discover the ruggedness and beauty of the North Mayo coastline with Denis Quinn, a Failte Ireland-approved tour guide and owner of Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours.

cliffs at the ocean Ireland's Tourism Ambassadors
The rugged North Mayo coastline is where Denis Quinn of Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours spends a lot of his time with tourists. Photo: Pawel Sadowski for Failte Ireland.

Denis was born in Dublin but has family in Co. Mayo, where he has made his home for the past 20 years.

Take a guided cultural and historical tour with Denis, an adventure that also includes foraging on the Wild Atlantic Way coastline and so much more.

Read more about Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours.