Part of my family and I took the Taste of Ireland Tour, guided by Frankie’s Irish Tours in June 2017. Let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint! Frankie booked all the flights and rooms, all we had to do was pay the man. Easy as pie!
We arrived in Shannon and Frankie picked up our van and off we went exploring the west coast of Ireland for about 10 days. Our first two days and nights were spent in Doolin. While in Doolin, we toured some of the old local grave yards and abandoned churches. Lots of history there. We also ventured into Doolin Cave and saw their famous stalactite. The Cave isn’t Carlsbad Caverns. No elevator, just 8 flights of stairs up and down. Still very impressive! Frankie, having grown up there, still has many friends and family in the area. And for me, the best part of the whole trip, was getting to have tea, or a pint with the locals. The Irish we met were very friendly and approachable. They loved hearing about where we were from and current American politics. One couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable lot. We also visited a couple of sheep farms. It was interesting to me, that the farmers in Ireland are into environmental sustainability. Something that American farmers, at least of my dad’s generation, paid little attention to.
In my opinion, the Cliffs of Moher hike was the highlight for me, scenic-wise. The Cliffs are amazing! And believe me, the Atlantic is a LONG way down from the top! The pictures and videos I’d seen prior to going did not do the Cliffs justice. We did the Doolin Cliff Walk and our guide was awesome. He told us about the Cliffs and the history of the surrounding countryside. This hike, which starts in Doolin, is about 5 miles long. The first half of the hike was pretty easy, but the 2nd half was a little more strenuous, at least for a fat man. So prior to you going, I’d recommend that you get your legs in shape.
If castles, towers and abbeys are what you like, the tour again did not disappoint. Doonagore Tower, King John’s Castle, Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel, were just a few of the old structures that we visited and were awed by. These are just some of the major sites that we visited. We also spent some time in Cong Wood, taking a walking tour of the town with a local who told us all about the John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara movie, “The Quiet Man”, which was filmed there. We also took a boat tour of Loch Ballynamona, and walked the gardens of Ashford Castle. Incredible gardens!
I won’t bore you further with play by play. Let’s just leave at this; if you’re wanting to visit the Emerald Isle, see incredible sites, and meet and interact with locals, then Frankie’s Irish Tours is the way to go. You could see the same sites using the big bus tours, but you won’t be able to get to know what is the heart of Ireland, its people.
- Mike Ferguson
If you are ever interested in going to Ireland, go with Frankie! He is from western Ireland, but currently lives in New Mexico. His family and friends are all there. So, not only will you get an intimate tour of the sites (including castles, abbeys, Cliffs of Moher, ancient cathedrals) you will have afternoon tea with the locals in their homes; you will go to the pubs for the locals (not the tourists) and you will be a part of Irish sing alongs and conversation.
If there is a wedding, you will be invited. You can go to mass at a traditional Irish Catholic church. Frankie's family and friends will invite you for tea and apple tarts, give you discounts and private tours of their land, homes and villages. I've traveled a lot and this is the most authentic, up close and personal tour I've ever been on. I highly recommend it!
- Jaimie Stevens
"We spent two wonderful weeks in October touring Ireland with Frankie Davis as our trip planner and tour guide. Blessed with good weather, friendly people, delicious food, fine Irish music in local pubs and comfortable accommodations, mostly in countryside B & B's.
With Frankie's Irish roots, we visited his family and friends, often in their homes. Mostly back roads, small towns, castles, churches, cemeteries and ruins along the beautiful and rugged coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast. Dined and slept in an ancient but comfortable castle one night, enjoyed Irish folk music and dancing in another castle, where our guide Frankie, a twice elected "King" of the Culchies, was asked to join in the evenings entertainment. Our visits to many wonderful places was not hurried, and we enjoyed many opportunities for museums, hikes, shopping and myriads of old churches and wonderful small towns. Upon Frankie learning of my love of whipped ice cream, it became a feature of the tour to have "Larry time" whereby we sought out a new store and new ice cream every day.
Frankie's local knowledge benefited our experience in many ways by including visits to the bogs where he worked at cutting Peat while growing up, to sitting having a pint with locals in their local haunts. T'was a great adventure, with a small group and we look forward to another trip with Frankie in the near future!
- Larry & Signe Henderson
-Larry & Signe Henderson
The Web site for Frankie’s Irish Tours claims that those who travel with Frankie “get to meet the locals in their homes and experience their way of living.” We found this claim to be true, especially during the first few days we spent on Ireland’s “Wild Atlantic Way.”
Frankie introduced us to several of his relatives and friends; in fact, our first stop was at the cemetery where his grandparents are buried. We enjoyed listening to the people he grew up with and learning more about their lives. I doubt that participants in conventional tours ever have such an opportunity. We found almost everyone in Ireland to be friendly and hospitable, particularly those who knew Frankie, but also those who didn’t. We were surprised at how open and relaxed the Irish are when dealing with strangers. Of course, Frankie did not seem like a stranger to them; he is also open and friendly. Watching him interact with his countrymen, even those he had not met before, was a treat.
We think we saw aspects of Ireland that typical tours do not offer because Frankie is a local. Furthermore, we were pleased with every accommodation where we stayed. The other aspect of this tour that gratified us occurred near the end of our stay in Ireland, when we reached Dublin. One member of our group experienced some difficulties getting around, and honestly, we could not have been more impressed with Frankie’s sympathetic attitude. He was accommodating about the person’s physical limitations, doing nothing to make the traveler feel as if he were interfering with the group’s enjoyment of what Dublin had to offer. So considerate, so willing to help in whatever way possible. When traveling, one never knows what will happen. Frankie manages such unexpected developments in the most thoughtful way possible.