Last September, we went on a guided tour of Ireland – Shamrocker Adventures – 7 Days All Ireland Rocker Tour. We chose it because it sounded amazingly fun, had good reviews and we wanted to learn about and see as much of Ireland as possible, with our limited vacation time and budget!
We loved this trip and are really glad we went with this choice! Here are the details of the trip we went on and also our review and thoughts! Hopefully this will help you if you are thinking about doing a similar trip!
– September 19 – September 25, 2015
– 7 days, 6 nights
Thoughts: Definitely not enough to fully explore Ireland but we felt it was just enough to visit all the major sights, enough to get a feel for Ireland and enough to get a sense of the places we would like to return to in the future!
– Tour guide/s and driver/s
– Transportation on a coach bus
– 6 nights accommodations: at hostels, save one night at a hotel (Travelodge) in Derry.
– 6 breakfasts
– Admission fees to Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher
– Bus and ferry ride to/from Inis Mór
Thoughts: It was really nice to have all of these expenses included in the price of the tour. It allowed us to budget better and have a better idea of how much money we would need whilst in Ireland. We also were able to pay this off ahead of time, giving us and our wallets some peace of mind, instead of having to paying the exchange rate and international bank fees or coming home to a huge credit card bill! We also didn’t have to worry about paying for admission fees or waiting in line to purchase tickets for Giant’s Causeway or Cliffs of Moher, which was really convenient.
– In January 2015, priced at $789 CAD
– We booked with a 15% early booking discount, so we ended up paying $670.65 CAD for our tour
– Current pricing as of July 2016 is $929 CAD
Thoughts: We thought we got a really good deal, considering what was included in the price! It worked out to almost $100 CAD per day, which we thought was reasonable since it included accommodations, transportation, tour guide and driver, various sights and admission fees and most importantly – the EXPERIENCE! We thought our experience was DEFINITELY worth the price that we paid!
Current pricing has gone up, compared to when we went last year. However, Shamrocker Adventures always has deals and promotions that you can take advantage of, in order to bring your cost lower. We took advantage of a 15% Early Bird discount for our trip last year. Right now, there is a 10% discount for all trips in August and September 2016. As well, check out this page for 3 other ways to save:
- the multi trip deal (get 10% off your total when you book 2 or more qualifying trips with Shamrocker Adventures, Haggis Adventures or Busabout)
- special discount for students, which you CAN combine with the other two deals here!!
- special discount if you gather 3 or more friends to go on a grand adventure with you!
*The above info was gathered in July 2016 when we wrote the article. Check out the websites above for updated details and discounts.
Extras we opted in for:
– Blarney Castle – $20 CAD (Current pricing: $22 CAD)
– We did opt in for the Black Cab Tour in Belfast and the Derry Walking Tour. We signed up and paid for these when we checked in on the first day in Dublin. Unfortunately, we can’t remember exactly how much we paid, but it might have been around 15 Euros?!
– Current pricing for the Belfast Black Cab Tour is $25 CAD and the Derry Walking Tour is $9 CAD.
Thoughts: It was nice that there were some optional activities – which allows you to choose another activity if the suggested one doesn’t appeal to you. For example, we opted for the Black Cab Tour in Belfast to learn more about the history of the city. Some of our group mates opted to make their own way to Titanic Belfast to learn more about the Titanic instead.
– Admission fee to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
– Admission fee Dunluce Castle (probably not enough time to fully enjoy it for the short period of time that our group stopped here)
– Activities on Inis Mór (for example: bike rental or horseback riding or pony and cart tour or bus up to Dún Aonghasa)
– Lunch, dinner and snacks
– Souvenirs and extras
Thoughts: What we (and many of our group mates) liked about a tour like this, is the freedom to choose some of your own activities and meals! If you don’t want to do anything else on Inis Mór besides sitting by the harbour to enjoy the view, you can. If you want to save money by cooking your own meals at the hostel, you can. On the other hand, if you don’t want to cook, you can opt to eat out at a restaurant. Our guides had lots of recommendations and were very knowledgeable about all the places we stopped in. Our guides even organized dinners and our own “pub crawl” for us. You are free to partake in these or do you own thing – whatever you want! We liked that you could “personalize” your trip, according to your own preferences!
We would definitely recommend this tour!
We liked the itinerary of this tour and thought it was very well planned. The trip followed a logical loop around Ireland and there was no backtracking or repeating places that we had already seen. Of course, we would have liked more time in some places to explore further but at least this trip gave us an idea of what cities, towns and sights we want to see on our next trip to Ireland!
We visited the major cities and attractions of Ireland and Northern Ireland, like Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, Inis Mór, Galway and the Dingle Peninsula. But we also stopped at smaller, quaint places, like Ballintoy, Westport and Ennis. So we felt we got a feel of Ireland, and not just the big cities!
These tours are geared towards the 18 – 35 year old crowd, with its activities and accommodations. But that’s not to say that if you are over 35 that you are not welcome! Some of our group mates were over 35 and I think we all had a good time together!
One thing we didn’t know ahead of time, was that there would be people joining and leaving the tour midway. On the 4th day, we had a new group and tour guide join us. We had all thought everyone on our tour would be together for the whole 7 days, but some left after 5 days. We also lost our first guide and driver on the 5th day, with the other tour guide taking over. Everything worked out well in the end, but we missed our friends who left on day 5 and there was an obvious divide between the two groups. Our first guide even made all of us promise to be nice to the new group… not sure what he thought we would do! But all in all, we thought it was ok and understood why they needed to do this.
There is quite a bit of “adventures and exploring!” We were walking every single day – scrambling up and down hills, jumping over rocks and hiking up and down stairs. So we would recommend bringing some sturdy runners or hiking shoes. Of course, there are always alternatives if you’re feeling tired or if adventures and exploring is not your cup of tea. For attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Inis Mór and Giant’s Causeway, you are given free time to spend as you choose. While we were on Inis Mór, I went along with our guide for an epic island bike ride and adventure, while Ioana explored the island on horseback. At the Cliffs of Moher, we chose to take a long walk around the cliffs, but there is always the option to stay in the visitor centre or to sit on the benches outside and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. At Giant’s Causeway, you could take the clifftop walk to the Amphitheatre, or you might take the shuttle bus down to see the spectacular basalt columns making up the causeway. So, even if you prefer to look at the scenery from afar or through the bus window instead of trekking through it, we think you can still enjoy this tour!
Overall, we give the All Ireland Rocker 7 days tour that we went on: 10 sheep out of 10!
We had a blast exploring Ireland and Northern Ireland! We learned a lot about its history, its stunning geology and landscapes, and heard some fascinating stories, literature, myths and legends. We took some great photographs and had an amazing experience. We also made new friends that we still keep in touch with – thank you Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram!
Check out this next post for a recap of our trip and our favourite moments and highlights!
Have you been on this trip before? Or another guided trip like this? How did you find it? Let us know below!
From Vancouver with Love,
Ioana and Natalie
© Letters of Wanderlust, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any written material and/or photographs without express and written permission from this site’s authors is strictly prohibited. Please get in touch if you would like to republish any of our materials or if you would like to work on a project together!