personalized driver/guide tour?

Aug 6th, 2005, 10:01 AM
  #1  
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personalized driver/guide tour?

trust fodorites opinions...

would love to hear from anyone who has been on a personalized driver/guide tour

family, 3 generation, 12 day tour being planned for june 2006...concentrating on west coast, north to donegal...south to kenmare

we have driven once before, but over ruled by other family members on this trip

thanks
chip is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #2  
 
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You may want to re-post with Ireland in you subject.
abram is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 01:57 PM
  #3  
 
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I hired a private driver for a trip around Ireland with my Mom and it was excellent. He picked us up at Dublin airport for transfer into town, met us a couple days later and began our tour around the isle. It was great to have someone familiar with local roads and insights about the various places we visited (e.g., gets crowded in the AM, go in the afternoon or vice ersa) and it was wonderful to be able to sit back and relax rather than drive/navigate. In addition, we were able to flex out schedule, stay more or less time at anything that struck our fancy en route. We arranged through an agency in NY called Destination Ireland and Great Britain, who also booked all our hotel nights at castles and manors. Sure, it cost a bit more than a package tour, but worth every cent.
Seamus is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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chip, haven't been to Ireland yet but I've been to Italy, Belgium, and Holland. I'm planning our first trip to Ireland for summer 2006 so I've combed through a lot of info.

If I were going to book a personalized tour, I would choose either Rick Steves or else I'd choose something that Michele Erdvig would arrange. (See www.irelandyes.com ) I've been enjoying using this fodors web-site and www.irelandyes.com to plan our independent trip to Ireland.

Good luck! Have a great trip.
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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Chip, I think I gave you a false impression about what Michele Erdvig can do for you. She's not a travel agent and doesn't actually make the arrangements for you. She does offer free info on her web-site, or else you can pay her a fair price for a custom-made itinerary planned with your needs in mind, which could include drivers, tour guides, etc. I think she also does a limited number of small-group tours to Ireland where you would travel with her and her husband, but you would need to ask her for sure about that. I'm a new user of her web-site.

You'll get some great info here on fodors too! I love both web-sites.
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 12:38 PM
  #6  
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thanks for the info

seamus, I will check out your agency.

I don't want to go with a planned tour (RS) and I love planning, just want a good driver with a reliable company

thanks
chip is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:49 PM
  #7  
 
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Hi! I'm posting my question to the wrong thread - but was hoping to get a reply from Melissa5 regarding a tour guide for Rome. I emailed the address given on the Rome link but it came back as undeliverable. I'm trying to contact Francesca Caruso.

Thanks so much for any help,
Dimara
Dimara is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:14 PM
  #8  
 
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Chip - you might try Michael Forristal Land Connection . I think the website is: www.irelandescorted.com . I ran across it when researching our trip and was very pleased with my contacts with Michael Forristal. We did not use his services because it was getting late for the size of our group and I was about to confirm other arrangements by the time I found him, but I would definitely consider him for a smaller group in the future. 12 Travel is another good one and they have an excellent website. We used CIE for our personalized tour with very satisfactory results - I don't know if they do smaller groups. Though nothing is perfect, it was nice not to have to navigate and drive this time, and to have a knowledgeable guide to identify what we were seeing and to relay history and local lore, rather than be glued to the guide books! Good luck and enjoy the planning!


GmaMcD is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:48 PM
  #9  
 
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Dimara, the e-mail I have for Francesca Caruso is [email protected] The last time I e-mailed her a few months ago it was still correct. If that still doesn't work, the only other thing I can suggest is get the newest Rick Steves guide to Rome and see if he still lists a contact e-mail for her. (that's how I found her in the first place.) good luck!
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2005, 09:48 AM
  #10  
 
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Melissa5 - Thanks for the information. Hope I can get ahold of her - I've read some great reviews about her tours. Again, thanks!
Dimara

Dimara is offline  
Aug 9th, 2005, 09:59 AM
  #11  
rex
 
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I would consider doing it, but I may not be available the dates you have in mind.

How big a family?

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
rex is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 07:13 AM
  #12  
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gmamcd
we have contacted michael...one of two companies responding...other is discover ireland tours eric o gorman. our group is too small for cie.

so how was your trip gmamcd? any suggestions?

would love to hear if anyone has ever actually used either of these two

michael has called twice and it very pleasant...but eric may have a better value

so rex...
have you ever done this before, or is this your dream job (along with everyone else here!)

we are a group of 8-12 (8 for sure...4 others still thinking)

probable dates june 2006 (15th to the 26th)

thanks!

chip is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 07:44 AM
  #13  
rex
 
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Yes, I have done it before, both for free and for compensation. Party of 12 would require a second driver of course (my wife, and yes, she has done this before). Dates are probably workable, but would require blessing from my family. Wedding(s) June 2 (niece) and July 15 (our daughter).

Feel free to write to me.
rex is offline  
Aug 14th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #14  
rex
 
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topping...
rex is offline  
Aug 14th, 2005, 09:38 PM
  #15  
 
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Chip- Here's another company to try-Deros Coach Tours in Killarney.([email protected])-website derostours.com - our excellent CIE driver/guide, Jim Daly,actually is employed by Deros but CIE contracts with them at busy times. Jim said to contact Catherine at their office - they have mini-buses, can personalize tours,etc. I have no idea of their prices. (It will be another week yet before I get a chance to write our trip report.)
GmaMcD is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 04:27 AM
  #16  
 
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Hi Chip,

Have you finally booked your tour...if you need any further recommendations let me know
shane
irishexpert is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 12:33 PM
  #17  
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Hi Shane, thanks for the interest.
yes, we have finally booked with discover ireland tours; van with a private driver/guide.

we got several excellent references

we chose our own itinerary and accommodations...
we are flying in and out of shannon with stays in westport/olde railway hotel (touring connemara from there), dunkineely/ castle murray house(southern donegal), just outside of letterkenney/silver tassie hotel(daytrip to derry and giant's causeway), doolin/cullinan's guesthouse, dingle/doyles guesthouse, kenmare/hawthorn house (daytrip to beara pen.), and our last night in bunratty/bunratty woods b&b.

if you have a favorite sight/pub/restaurant in any of these areas to share, that would be great

chip is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 02:06 AM
  #18  
 
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How much are these places charging you? Just curious as I knew someone years ago who did this independently for mostly older couples on trips to the country for a week or two. I think you probably could arrange privately with a mini bus company directly at half the cost. Let me know out of curiousity!
SiobhanP is offline  

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