I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to write me a testimonial and share your experience with others. It has been my pleasure getting to know you all and personalising your trips to Ireland. I hope to welcome you all back for more Craic & Ceoil.
Mise Le meas,
"A Venture to Ireland was what our family had decided we wanted for a major celebration . There are 17 of us in total. 3 families made up of 6 parents, 9 grandchildren and 2 grandparents. The trip would be for 2 weeks during July and August of 2019. A time to celebrate “ big birthdays”, high school and college graduations as well as a chance to be all together in the country of our forefathers.
We needed so much assistance we did not know where to begin. One day as I was listening to a podcast on NPR the discussion centered on the music traditions of Ireland. Dara Herlihy was one of the participants. He and his father Michael own The Music Shop in the town of Dingle. Dingle is on the West Coast of Ireland and was the destination we had hoped we could use as a base location.
I called Dara at The Music Store the next day. That began an 8 month preparation culminating in the trip of a lifetime for our family. When I reached Dara I told him what we thought we would need. A house for 2 weeks that would sleep 17 and have a pool. 4 cars, catered meals at the house on 4-5 nights, reservations for 17 on 5-6 nights at a variety of restaurants. Transportation to sites and towns for day trips, assistance with food etc. shopping, reservations for golf (tee times for 10). A guided tour of the Dingle Peninsula. A sea safari to the Blasket Island, etc. When I finished the list of needs Dara said “Look no further, I am your man. I have 9 years of tour experience in all of Ireland. I will take care of your family and all of their needs.” And he did! He made it look effortless.
Dara’s knowledge of his country, its language and history is extensive. He scheduled our trips to the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Adare, Kilarney and Kenmare on a very comfortable coach. He even helped plan a trip to a” possible” family Heritage site that turned out to be fun for all and will be added to the family folklore. Dara’s associates were all knowledgeable and courteous. They all love their country and town. All 17 of us were welcomed into their world.
We would highly recommend Dara and his associates to anyone that would like Personal Assistance for any size group or family that wants a memorable experience in Ireland."
-Marilyn & Paul O'Rourke
"In October 2018 my husband and I enjoyed a 14 day tour of Ireland with Dara Herlihy as our guide. We experienced not only the beauty of Ireland but we learned much of its history, contemporary issues, and our favorite-the music. It was a fun and memorable trip!!!"
- Joan & Jim Turner, USA
"Traveling with Dara is stress free and laughter filled. It’s so important for me not to worry about the details when I travel and to leisurely enjoy the wonder of the country without a lot of structure. Dara will make sure he meets and exceeds your expectations whatever they are. Ireland is an incredible vacation destination and has so much to offer. He loves Ireland and everything about it and his enthusiasm is contagious. He will help you experience everything as much or as little as you want. The history, music, food, shopping, pubs or hiking through the incredible country side whatever you are interested in doing. I look forward to my next trip."
- Penny Burton, USA
"My wife and I have taken several group trips to Europe, the UK and Ireland. All our tour guides have been great, but Dara was over the top. He was the most entertaining, enjoyable guide and connected us with the most informative local guides. If you book a tour with Dara you will not be disappointed and will remember it for the rest of your life."
- Galen and Carolyn Dale, USA
"I have had the pleasure and privilege to tour around the Dingle area with Dara on a few occasions during some of my visits to Dingle. Indeed, these are some of my fondest memories of a very beautiful part of Ireland that I hold most dear.
Dara grew up around Dingle and his love of his home turf shines brightly as he imparts multitudes of information about the geography, the history and the 'general goings on' of the area. He makes you feel as if you've been invited in to the private world of the "real" Dingle. He's been a tour operator for years in Ireland with Rick Steves so he knows his beloved country inside out, upside down and backwards, but best of all, he shows us Ireland in all its beautiful, interesting and multi-faceted sides.
On my more recent visits I haven't had the chance to see very much of him as he was busy with his touring and opening his pub "Nelligans"in Dingle. I considered arranging a private tour with someone else but (after Dara), didn't want to be disappointed. So! A new opportunity arises! I will be sure to arrange something with him as soon as I am there next..and very excited I will be!
Anything Dara does, he brings the very best of himself, and those around him. I heartily recommend his new tour company ‘Aisling Tours’ to everyone. I know you will be delighted."
- Sue Taylor, Canada
"Our two week tour with Dara Herlihy was splendid! Not only did we see the sights but also learned a tremendous amount about the culture, history and music (which we loved!). At the conclusion of the tour, we were provided with a list of books, movies and music to further our knowledge along with wonderful memories and new friends. We would go back to Ireland in a heartbeat with Dara as our guide."
- Sean & Diane Bower, USA
"I had the pleasure of meeting Dara Herlihy in August, 2019. My family went to Ireland for our dream trip. Dara showed us his country in such a way that he made us feel like part of his family. The trip was so much more than seeing the sights. He took us to his favorite eateries, recommended his favorite pubs (that aren’t overrun with tourists), even told us about his favorite spot in Dublin to just relax. He told us about Irish history in a way that was interesting and entertaining. Dara has an amazing sense of humor and his love of what he does shines through everything he does."
- Jennifer Mason, USA
"Joyce and I first met Dara Herlihy in the fall of 2019 during our first visit to Ireland. It was our first trip to the country and our first time using Rick Steves Tour company as well. From the very first meeting I knew we were in good hands. Mr. Herlihy’s ability to keep 26 strangers on point, enjoying each other’s company over a period of 7 days was exceptional. Dara is very knowledgeable of Ireland’s history, geography and politics. His sense of humor had us laughing all the time we were together. I also noticed that when we were in remote areas he always had someone local whom he knew to take us on a personal guided tour. Joyce and I had an unforgettable experience with Dara, one we will never forget. Thank you my friend."
- Pat & Joyce Spaulding, USA
"I own Friar’s Lodge Guest House in Kinsale Co Cork and have had the pleasure of working with Dara for many years when he was the guide for Rick Steve Tours . I found Dara not only to be the consummate professional but very warm and helpful. He is very knowledgeable, conscientious and dedicated to his clients. Touring with the Irish speaking Dara will be a wonderful and unforgettable experience."
- Maureen Tierney, Kinsale, Ireland
"We originally met Dara on a Rick Steve's 14 day tour of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Over years of being an outstanding tour guide, and his visiting and touring the USA, he has insightful knowledge that brings Irish history to life. He easily relates to and compares many cultural, social and political situations that both Ireland and other societies have experienced, both in ancient and modern times. His humour and patience are absolutely refreshing. His constant concern for traveler's safety and comfort is remarkable.
We look forward to enjoying Ireland again with Dara and to seeing and learning about other places and to experiencing wonderful restaurants, pubs and music. Slainte with double shots of 12 year Redbreast!"
- Ed Shaul, USA
"Dara Herlihy was the guide on a trip I took with Rick Steves in 2016. It was an awesome trip with a great overview of beautiful places and history in Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland. One of the keys to a great trip of course is to have a great guide.
Dara is a lot of fun and has a super sense of humor. And I was very impressed with the care and attention he paid to each and everyone in the group.
Fun is good but so is attention to the business end of things. Our visits to various sites and restaurants were all well managed and smooth. It was obvious to me that Dara holds all of the local guides, innkeepers and restaurants to a high standard. And we always stuck to our planned timelines (something I have not always experienced on other tours).
Lastly, Dara’s love for his country and understanding of its history shines through. That quality in a guide helps make a trip memorable."
- Joan Chandler, USA
"My husband and I had the privilege of spending 14 days in Ireland with Dara Herlihy in September, 2019. The evening before the tour began, Dara asked each of the 25 of us about our particular interests regarding our Ireland experience. Not only did he memorize all our names but took seriously to heart each of our hopes for creating a memorable tour. My personal interests were (and are) Irish music, language, and cultural history. Every single day of the tour, I felt like Dara was designing our activities to fill my curiosity. The thing is, I’m sure we each felt the same way! I imagine that most good tour guides can memorize names and create an interesting itinerary but what I left Ireland with—and still retain—is the feel of Ireland. So much more than a string of lovely places, I got a sense of Ireland as a living being—its age, its character, its joys and sorrows, its passions and peace. I got to bring home that addition to my life because of Dara’s honesty, his experience, and his genuine concern for the well-being of all his guests. Ireland will live in me always because of the way Dara brought it and me together!"
-Barbara Johnson, USA
"My wife and I have taken 3 Rick Steves tours since 2016; 2 in Italy and 1 in Ireland this past summer (2019). This tour had to be my favorite, it was enhanced by having Dara Herlihy as our tour guide. It would amaze me that every stop we made in the evening Dara would recommend 3 to 4 restaurants for the group to split up and try. All were excellent . What was amazing, Dara would visit each restaurant to make sure that our group members were happy and werre being treated well.
I will look forward to touring Ireland hopefully 2021 with Aisling Tours."
-Pete O'Connell, USA
"Going to Ireland was top of my bucket list and I finally got it done last August. Well it turns out I am not done yet. I still have to go back and see Northern Ireland and go to Cobh, Ireland to stand where my great grandfather stood to board the ship to New York his new place of residence so very long ago.
I enjoyed every moment that I was on the tour lead by Dara Herlihy. It was an eye opener to the history (some I did research before leaving on my tour) of Ireland, to the beautiful countryside (I did watch a lot of You Tube videos) but you can't really appreciate the gorgeous scenery until you are smack dab in the middle of it, and the extremely nice, musical people who love craic. Dara had us on walking tours starting with Ennis which is a wonderful town that is full of treasures in churches, very old buildings and a quaint river running through the center of town. That is were we discovered one of the statues of Daniel O'Connell. Also this was the start of discovering the very tasty meals in Ireland in Ennis at the Poet's Corner Pub in the hotel he booked and throughout Ireland. I also learned so much about Irish National Football during the National Championship game we watched in Dingle along with great music we heard especially in Dingle. Dara took us to many beautiful places and he does know where the best places to go in Ireland for food, scenery and craic (fun). We also had some time to explore or shop on our own. Dara had great suggestions of where to go or what to do on our free time. Dara made you feel you are part of a big family and took care of us well even making sure we made it to the airport for our flights out, he went above and beyond for our group. He injects history, a lot of great stories and craic into each outing so you truly receive the best of Ireland and come away with a great appreciation of Ireland and a GREAT longing to come back again. I know I will travel again to Ireland as long as Dara is the tour guide as I know I will be in good hands and enjoy his wit, dedication and love of Ireland.
Traveling does really open up your mind to new worlds, to people, history and it is worth it."
- Moira Harris, USA
"In August we visited Ireland and booked a tour with Dara. Best tour ever. We had an absolutely great time. The individual tours were well organized and fun and informative. All of the accommodations and meals were first rate. Could not have asked for anything more. We are planning to return to Ireland early next year and take another tour with Dara. Can’t wait to see Dingle again!"
- Anne Jones, USA
"Summer of 2019 was as close to perfect as it could get. Our tour of Ireland with Dara at the lead resulted in 28 of the happiest visitors Ireland has even seen. Dara's perpetual enthusiasm, knowledge and love for his native country, as well as his love of people was contagious. He made sure even during our free time that we had the best possible suggestions of how to spend it and where to go for a delicious meal. Truly the MVP of tour guides who now holds a special place in my heart. Can't wait for our next tour!"
- Karen O'Connell, USA