Note: I recently returned from a 10 day jaunt in Ireland, 7 of which were spent touring the country with Shamrocker Adventures. Whilst I’ve always felt a strong connection and affection for the people of Ireland, I genuinely didn’t expect to enjoy myself as much as I did during my week with Shamrocker. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Shamrocker’s 7 Day All Ireland Rocker Tour
With the 7 day tour you’re essentially doing a full circle of Ireland, including Northern Ireland.
Some of my personal highlights included:
Countryside, Beaches & Coastline around Dingle
The Giant’s Causeway
Gaelic-speaking island Inis Mor
The Cliffs of Moher
The Belfast Black Cab tour
Views of Killarney National Park
Guide & Driver
By far one of the best things about being on our tour was all the craic and banter from guide Dave and driver John. With Ireland very much being a country known for its people, in themselves Dave and John kind of gave us a bit of the ‘Irish experience’ with the fun, jovial atmosphere they managed to create quite seamlessly on board.
Dave, the quintessential Irishman and our guide throughout the entirety of the tour, just seemed to have an innate ability of mixing humour with history. Quite often he’d start reciting some of Ireland’s heart breaking past, only to finish with an anecdotal story about a sheep called Trevor. It was a nice way of giving you an insight into what this country has gone through over the years, whilst still keeping the mood fairly upbeat for a tour!
And John’s air guitar performance down the isle of the bus on our last morning has fully cemented him into legendary status in my book!!
Our bus was a fairly standard coach, the kind of thing you would expect on any tour or long distance journey to be honest. I had no complaints with it. It carried all my luggage and there was enough room for everyone.
We stayed in backpacker-style hostels predominantly throughout the trip (with the exception of Derry where we stayed in a budget hotel for 1 night costing around £20 per person.) Accommodation is not included in the price of the tour, but on average it cost around €18 – €20 per person per night in the hostels we stayed in. You are of course welcome to arrange accommodation elsewhere throughout the tour and/or upgrade your room to a private at anytime.
My personal recommendation would be for you to stay in the Shamrocker-recommended hostels – the main reason being that it allows you the opportunity to get to know everyone else on board as quickly as possible if you’re also sharing a room with some of them. That and each hostel/hotel we stayed in was quite honestly all you needed for the night you were there, and indeed in many cases you were getting quite a lot of value for your money with the recommended accommodation.
Barnacles – Dublin (Pre trip)
Situated right smack bang next to the Temple Bar and also Shamrocker’s offices, you really can’t get a better location to stay the night before any Shamrocker trip (or indeed any trip to Dublin if you want to be in the Temple Bar area.) Also, a really fantastic common room upstairs!
Neptunes Hostel – Killarney
Great location, situated just 2 minutes walk from the entrance to the National Park and 5 minutes walk from the bus and train stations.
Rowan Tree Hostel – Ennis
The Rowan Tree is one of those all-singing-all-dancing luxury hostels that pretty much has anything you could ever need in it! Everything from the balcony views onto Ennis to the yummy breakfast scones in the morning was excellent!
Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel – Galway
Kinlay House has more of a hotel feel about it yet at the same time still manages to retain its youthful backpacker vibe. Location and breakfast were both really good quality here (as was the swanky common room with state of the art iMac computers that were free to use.)
TravelLodge Hotel – Derry
The TravelLodge’s well known facilities did not disappoint during our time in Derry. You know with this particular chain that you’re always going to find somewhere clean, central and safe. For a hotel it was also pretty cheap at just £40 a room (£20 per person with 2 people sharing.)
Sheep Island View Hostel – Ballintoy
If you’re looking for a hostel close to stunning scenic views, you can’t get much better than Sheep island View Hostel in the sleepy village of Ballintoy, Northern Ireland.
2015 prices for the 7 day tour I was on are €559 for 1 adult or €539 for students. When it comes to organised tours this is the budget end of touring Ireland, but they certainly pack a lot in for that price. It’s also worth noting that Shamrocker usually do Early Bird discounts, so right now for example you can save 15% off 2015 departures using the promocode “EARLYBIRD2015”.
– If I was to summarise my thoughts on this tour and who I think it would be suited for, I’d have to say it’s ideal for anyone who’s never been to Ireland or who’s maybe only been to a city or two. Particularly if you’d rather share your bus with a predominantly young and/or adventurous crowd, this is the tour for you. It’s also a hell of a lot easier to see the west coast of Ireland, i.e. the more rural (and more beautiful) parts, compared to trying to take public transport in this area!
(If you’d like to look at the full itinerary I took or find out anymore information about this particular Sharmrocker tour, you can visit their website here.)