Today I'm delighted to introduce you to Irish Essence Tours, a new Irish Tour Company, specializing in taking tourists off the beaten path, to discover a hidden Ireland.
Irish Essence Tours is no longer operational, but you can read about their story here.
I love to talk about all things Irish, especially little known, out-of-the-way places in the land of my birth.
When Deborah Feery of Irish Essence Tours contacted me about her new company's dedication to creating customized vacations, focusing on personal experiences, and fulfilling clients' dreams, I knew this company is a perfect match for some of the readers of Irish American Mom.
And so over to Deborah of Irish Essence Tours.....
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Introducing Irish Essence Tours
Let me introduce myself – my name is Deborah. I’m the founder and Managing Director of Irish Essence Tours. I come from the Midlands of Ireland - County Westmeath to be exact.
The little village where I grew up, Tyrrellspass, is hugely important to me and I am so proud of my heritage.
I am Irish to the bone! Since I was a very young child, I’ve enjoyed Traditional Irish Dancing and played Traditional Irish Music.
I started playing the tin-whistle at the age of 4, inspiring me to complete my degree in Traditional Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
So, how did I end up working in the Travel Industry?
Well, many years ago, I took a job working with one of the biggest Tour Operators in Ireland. During my time there, I noticed opportunities for improvement. It was apparent to me the industry needed something a little different, so I took the plunge and launched my own Company.
There are literally hundreds of companies in Ireland offering Tours of Ireland and they promise to make them ‘personal’, ‘unique’, or ‘original’, but how many of these companies can deliver on their promises?
The whole idea is a little jaded at this stage. Many of these companies are so big, they are unable to offer the level of personal attention I feel is imperative to our line of business. You receive auto-responders before you actually speak to a real person. How frustrating!
The Travel Industry in Ireland is hugely male dominated. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not saying that’s a negative, but a female perspective might just mix things up a little.
What's Different About Irish Essence Tours?
At Irish Essence Tours I surround myself with a small, closely-knit team of people who have years of experience working in the field. I work hard to ensure I find people with my same passion for the job. It’s important to me we don’t just see this as work– there’s more to it than just arranging a tour.
I want my team to build close working relationships with our clients, listen to their needs, and if there is anything they can do to make a trip extra special, I want them to go above and beyond, just as I would.
I put a lot of effort into sourcing new attractions and activities for our clients. I especially want to draw more tourism through the Midlands of Ireland which tends to get neglected due to its central location.
The Coastal Counties of Ireland are tough to compete with and are seldom shunned in favour of the Midlands of Ireland, but I want to help people discover the magic of the Midlands.
Small Group Coach Tours
For our Small Group Coach Tours, I arrange workshops in Irish soda bread making in a wonderful little Café, called The Grocery, in my local village.
We visit a charming and quaint family-owned Folk Museum just outside of Athlone, County Westmeath. The dear couple who run the Museum love to welcome our visitors; they even open at any time to accommodate our clients.
There is also a family run farm literally 15 minutes away from my home that specializes in organic produce. They conduct instructional workshops for our tour participants. So much untapped talent!
Irish Nights are a highlight of our Small Group Coach Tours. We visit local pubs in County Westmeath. As Managing Director of Irish Essence Tours, my main tasks are administrative, but when it comes to Irish Nights I just can't help myself but get involved.
I love to attend these nights, meet my clients and join in with the other musicians providing entertainment. Picture that scene from Titanic where Jack and Rose attend the party in Third Class and the band (Gaelic Storm) raise the roof? That was always my aim for our Irish nights and it’s now a reality.
Self-Drive and Private Chauffeured Tours
For our Self-Drive and Private-Chauffeured tours, I ensure people are getting the best value possible in terms of attractions. I started working on a Discount Card Scheme but as we are a relatively new company, many attractions were not willing to offer much in terms of a discount until we have sent a lot of business their way.
Our remedy for this? We take the hit on the attractions that don't offer a discount. We’ve reduced the cost of these attractions for our clients by paying a percentage of the admission. Every little bit helps when you’re traveling on a budget - right?
As Irish Essence Tours is relatively new, one of the problems we face is people worrying if we’ll survive as a Company. Is their money safe if they book with us? Well the simple answer to that is a resounding ‘Yes!’.
We cannot become members of the I.T.O.A. just yet but we’ve prepared for this and have purchased bonding insurance. It’s important to us that people feel entirely comfortable putting their faith in us from the beginning.
Choosing A Name For My Company
I’m very conscious of the Irish Experience becoming too commercialized and I really think it would be a shame to lose sight of what we are renowned for as a Country – our culture, our history, our raw, rustic magnetism, our authentic charm and gift of the gab, our friendly locals and our wonderful accommodations.
From the beginning, it was important to me the title of our Company represent what is essential to us - the essence of Ireland, the spirit, the core, the soul.
This truly was a trip of a lifetime for us. I find myself looking at it and sighing, wishing we could be back there! We couldn’t have asked for a better trip and we’re already planning our return for 2015. The level of personal attention you devoted to every little detail will never be forgotten – we raised many pints of Guinness to Irish Essence Tours and to you Deborah on our trip!
─ MARTHA & JIM FOSTER AND BITSY & BOB MORALES, TEXAS
My Dream Is Your Perfect Vacation
For me the time had come to peel back a layer on the whole Irish Tourism package and that’s what we’ve aimed for and hopefully achieved with Irish Essence Tours.
It’s my dream to arrange people’s vacations, so they don't find the task to be a chore. Some enjoy the challenge but do not realize that as Tour Operators, we get better rates for accommodations, we know the best accommodations in Ireland, and we get better deals on attractions.
As a Company, we don’t slap on hefty commission charges since we don’t have a huge workforce to pay. We charge what we need to charge, but we certainly don’t believe in excessive prices. People sometimes underestimate the benefits of having a person in Ireland whom you can phone 24/7 should something go wrong. It’s insurance in itself!
So why not take a look at our website, Irish Essence Tours. Remember we can customize any trip you like to suit your needs. We’ll do everything we can to make this the trip of a lifetime for you.
A big thank you to Deborah for this very informative guest post.
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Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
P.S. Irish American Mom is not affiliated with Irish Essence Tours. I hope this post promote helps Deborah spread the word about her company as she builds upon her dream of creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for tourists to Ireland.
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