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Our top priority when planning your trip is to provide an authentic and unique tour, which is tailor-made just for you. Although your vacation may only last a week or two, you will return home with wonderful memories to cherish for a lifetime! Below are real reviews – genuine, unedited & unsolicited – from real travelers, just like you. They fell in love with the diverse culture, characterful accommodations, exclusive experiences and remarkable history that comprise every Authentic Vacation.
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Last Minute Trip
I had a last-minute work trip that I added a vacation too. Authentic Vacations were quick and found me exactly what I needed. They worked within my budget and it was seamless when I got to Ireland!
Summer vacation with wife and 14 yr old daughter
We had an awesome trip to the wonderful island of Ireland. Everything went smooth for us and our agent Lonna set us up with great accommodations. It seemed each hotel/b&b got better as the trip went along! We went for 8 days with 2 in Dublin, 1 in Kinittey, 2 in Killarney, 1 in Dingle, 1 in Doolin, and 1 in Trim before departing for home. My wife and daughter liked Dingle the best, while I thought Killarney offered the best of all worlds. I will say as an American, driving over there is an adventure. Major roadways are not a problem, but I've been on golf cart paths wider than some of the rural 2-lane roads found in the countryside. The only piece of advice I could offer is that when in Dublin, take the hop-on/off tour bus 1st thing around the entire city. Then get off the bus and explore the parts of the city that seem interesting to you. If you stay at the Ashling Hotel, walk across the bridge in front of the hotel and go around the corner of the train station to your right to get on the convertible bus. Knowing this would have saved us several hours as we wasted half a day trying to figure this out on our own.
This was our second trip with Authentic Ireland and we loved it even more than our first trip. Aran Islands was a great spot. Rugged and beautiful! Our driver for the 3-day portion was great. Very helpful with great ideas. Our stay in Sheen Falls was magical. The cottage and villa were stocked with everything we needed to make a fantastic breakfast!! Also wine and candy 😎 Michelle was so helpful and gave me wonderful advice. She booked our perfect meal at The Lime Tree!! Perfect family vacation!!
Ireland Trip 2019
We booked a 10 day stay in Ireland. My boyfriend and I made our first international trip together. We had a great time! I had been to Ireland before, but the itinerary AV made was outstanding. The pace was great for a cross-country road trip and Michael was excellent at listening to our expectations and our wishlist. The Mystical Rose and Mena House were our very favorite B&Bs! Ring of Kerry was spectacular! We never had a bad meal! IT was outstanding to have all the planning stream-lined in one document. We just got back July 1st, and are already talking about Scotland! I had never been to Galway-what an addition to the trip. We saw everything we planned and had enough time to try other experiences. Ireland is getting more touristy by the second, so I would highly recommend planning and booking in advance for as much as possible. There were 2 B&Bs that we were not overwhelmingly enthused by, but they got the job done. We could not have had better weather-only one day of rain! The Blarney Castle was fantastic and driving ourselves was not even that bad. All in all, a great experience!
40th Anniversary Trip
My wife and I spent 16 days traveling all over Scotland. We had an amazing trip! We had read many of Con's blogs and planned many of our activities based on his blog.
Con and his team set up the hotel/B&B stops for us along the way and my wife and I drove the rental car over 1500 miles touring the countryside, castles, distilleries, and sites around Scotland, as we pleased.
Most of the accommodations were very nice, but, like most anywhere you travel in Europe, many of the showers in the bathrooms are more like a phone booth. Very cramped.
Except for being a little warmer than we anticipated, the weather was perfect. Out of 16 days, we had two days of rain.
Driving on the wrong side of the road, from the wrong side of the car, on some of the narrow, single lanes, winding coastal roads, with your wife navigating and yelling at you to slow down, was an adventure all by itself. I wish we had taken a "GoPro" camera to put on the dash to record some of the roads we drove on! Make sure you have an international phone plan or a GPS! Google Maps worked great for us.
As someone else mentioned in their review, the "Spirit of Scotland" dinner show was underwhelming, as was the food, but it was already included in our package. Probably could have spent those 2-3 hours doing something more interesting.
Con was very helpful in helping arrange our trip and gave some very useful tips and insight.
One suggestion I would make to Authentic Vacations for those who are renting a vehicle and driving in Scotland is that they provide some explanation of road signs and some details about highway speed limits. Such as, unless posted differently, the speed limit on Scotland highways is 60 MPH.
AND, in Scotland, the speed limit is in MPH, not Kilometers. Speed cameras are used extensively in Scotland, so mind your speed.
Thanks, Con and Authentic Vacations. We had a wonderful vacation!
We took our first trip to Ireland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was such a fun trip. Lonna, our agent, made sure all our arrangements were too good to go before we left. And we had no problems with the rental car or hotels. She made planning the trip less stressful for us since we'd not been there before. We opted for the self-driving authentic castle tour. We saw so many old castles and churches. It was fantastic.
We went to Kylemore Abbey, which is located in a beautiful mountainous setting. Blarney castle's gardens were amazing. Killarney is set near a National Park (named after the town) and the mountains and lakes there are beautiful. Galway was a cute, lively seaside town and Dublin had the hustle and bustle a large city.
A few tips I can offer when planning your trip are: if you're traveling with someone tall (my hubby is tall) make sure you request king-size beds (it seems they are less standard in hotels over there compared to the US). Not all hotels over there have AC so if that is an important must-have for you make sure you tell your agent that.
I loved our trip. I would not hesitate to use Authentic Ireland to plan any future trips. They were great to work with.
This is our second time using Authentic Ireland and they did not disappoint! Lauren has helped me both times with our vacations last year and this year and she did an amazing job both times. This year especially because we made a lot of customizations.
What a fantastic week we had traveling Ireland's northwest and part of Northern Ireland! From the rental car, to the sights to see to the B&B's everything was flawless. The Blackrock B&B in Portrush is a MUST!!!
The entire family took a graduation/anniversary trip to Ireland with Authentic Vacations. It was amazing and was everything we could have asked for. Our agent Heather took great care of us and made changes based on what the girls wanted to do and made sure we were taken care of every step of the way. What a hassle-free vacation. The rooms that were booked were fantastic and very nice, All the attractions we wanted were taken care of and never did we rush with the exception of Dublin. We tried to do way too much in one day. The only negatives of the trip were the flight, we were not sitting together, and the rental vehicle was not what we booked as it was way too small and not in the class that was booked. Overall Authentic Vacations took the stress and worries of our vacation out and let us just enjoy our family time together. Thank you, Heather, and thank you Authentic Vacations you made a lot of memories for us and we will be booking with you again on our next trip.
My wife and I traveled to Ireland and then Scotland. Our experience was spectacular! Getting there, we had a bit of a hurdle with our initial flight being delayed and we ended up flying non-stop to Edinburgh, UK, then connecting via Aer Lingus to Dublin, Ireland. We made the best of it and our travel agent, Michelle changed our rental car reservation from Shannon, Ireland to Dublin, Ireland. She was amazing!
Once in Dublin, we drove across the country to Adare County, which was our first stop. Michelle had called our first destination ahead of our arrival to let them know we would be late. They kept the kitchen open for us and were extremely accommodating. It was pretty warm in the room because a guest insisted the heat be turned up. We were hot and left the window open all night and the second night, the Mustard Seed staff put a fan in our room. They were so kind and we really enjoyed our two days there. Our next stop was Ashford Castle. This was far and above our absolute favorite place!! We went on a Hawk Walk, a cruise on the Loch, had Afternoon Tea, and our room was fit for a Queen! It was so beautiful!! The staff was fabulous, so friendly, always going above and beyond to make sure we felt welcome and taken care of! Our next stop was Hayfield Manor, which was beautiful. The food was incredible and the room was stunning! Our fourth stop was The Park at Kenmare. The views were spectacular and the greenery and nature were incredible. The accommodation was on the Ring of Kerry so it was a bit more touristy. The little town was quaint and full of shops, pubs, and neat places for tea. We recommend The Horseshoe (a pub the locals frequent), Weavers (for clothing and jewelry) and Jam (to eat a snack and have some tea). The mountain views and the water views were so beautiful! Words do not do it justice. Our last stop was Dromoland Castle. This was our least favorite because the Castle seemed like an after-thought. You are a golfer, you might love it there because they were all about the golf. The staff seemed less friendly and accommodating and we thought made they were worn out from the US Presidential visit the day prior to our arrival. We tried the spa and it was lack-luster, which was surprising and the room itself looked like any other hotel room. The positives are the garden was beautiful and there were water features and fairy houses and such all over the garden. Driving from one place to another, we visited Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone, meandered through Rock Close, walked the Cliffs of Moher, drove to Mizen Head (the Southernmost Point in Ireland), went to the Torc Falls and just enjoyed every moment of the drive. Yes, driving was stressful. My wife drove and the local and regional roads are small, you are on the left side of the road, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car so just know this prior to arrival. What we both commented as our absolute favorite part was the Irish people. They were kind beyond measure, compassionate, thoughtful, and just incredible!
In Scotland, we stayed at The Principle at St. George Street in Edinburgh. It was in the middle of a very busy city. People were everywhere, cars were everywhere...it was a typical big city. I can now say I experienced it and do not need to go back. The Highlands, on the other hand, was absolutely spectacular! The mountains were beautiful and we took a boat tour on Loch Ness, which was surreal. No Nessie sightings! 🙂 We had Whiskey Ice Cream, and just enjoyed the tour. It was long, 12 hours to be exact, but there were shortstops (15min - 1 hour) every hour or so. We highly recommend Authentic Ireland! They were wonderful to work with and we plan to use them again in the future.
A trip of a life time. Everything was timely and well done, the tours were beyond fun. Both of my 16 yr old daughters went with us and had such a good time. We did bike riding, went on a ferry, visited castles saw churches. It was just great!!
Ireland in the Country
My wife and I took a 5-day trip throughout the countryside of Ireland. Doolin (Cliffs of Moher), Killarney, and Bunratty. Each location had its own unique feel and when you think of Ireland this is the side you want to experience. Could not off been happier with the short excursions that Authentic Vacations picked for us and the lodging was great.
My wife and I went on a honeymoon to Ireland with Authentic and it was absolutely amazing. Our agent Josi ensured there were no problems along the way and had everything set up. I would absolutely use Authentics services again and would highly recommend it to anyone.
This mother/daughter trip to Ireland was absolutely amazing! I'm so thankful we decided to go through Authentic Vacations to help us with our journey. Everything was amazingly planned out for us according to what we wanted to see and do and we had very little issues! I was extremely nervous to drive there but with all the information provided it worked out very well. I would absolutely recommend anyone wanting to plan a trip to go through Authentic Vacations, they really did take a lot of stress and worry out of the whole process for us! Thank you!
Overall this was a great vacation!
A couple of things to note when traveling to Ireland:
1) The beds are small. 2 of the three B&Bs and both of the hotels had only US full-size beds. Not King or even Queen, This made for uncomfortable sleeping.
2) No A/C in any of the hotels or B&Bs. Luckily it was cool at night and open windows made it reasonable.
3) No screens on windows. Lucky again, there were few bugs but that could be different at different times of the year.
4) Roads: I drove this trip and it created a fair amount of stress. I am not the shy type and normally would drive anywhere in the world but these roads are ridiculously narrow with either 4" curbs where white lines should be of rock walls covered with vegetation. Right at the edge of the road!! Couple this with driving on the other side of the road with farm equipment and buses everywhere ... often 1" between walls and bus mirrors and often had to stop for a bus to get by. I hit the curbs many times as judging distance for the other side is harder than expected.
Accommodations: all very clean with very nice people. Not very close to attractions and never walking distance (with the exception of the hotels in Dublin). We were traveling with another couple as a last minute addition and the accommodations with them were quite far from us and inconvenient. Given they were added late I won't complain too much about that.
I like cities Dublin is easy to get around on the Hop On/Off bus. For me doing it again, I would spend less time in Dublin (maybe none) and more time in the smaller towns that are more quaint and Irish.
Lastly Directions: Get them down before you go if you are driving. Most do not list the actual postal address only the road. Trying to talk to a 'very Irish' person on the phone is more than difficult. You can't even tell that its English being spoken. We had to solicit help on the street for directions; they called the B&B for us to talk to the lady and get the directions then translated for us. After all that they said just follow me and took us there themselves over 5 miles away from where our GPS said it should be. Down single lane roads with grass 4 - 5' high on both sides hitting the mirrors while driving. Upon arrival, our escort said to me " I don't know how anyone could find this folking place. He laughed and drove off.
Beautiful country and worth the trip.
Hi Lauren (Travel Agent)
I wanted to send you an update regarding our wonderful trip to Ireland.
The hotels arranged were fabulous. Our daughters ranked them by the breakfasts and variety of food for an Irish breakfast. Trinity Hotel in Dublin was ranked the best overall for the variety of choices and service of the food. The rooms were a decent size and the location (across from Trinity College) seemed to be in the heart of the city. It was within walking distance to Dublin Castle, and a nice walk to the Guinness Plant (after a long plane flight).
In Kilkenny, the Butler house was the best place we stayed in. The presentation and taste for breakfast (to me) was the best for the week. That hotel to my husband and me was wonderful. We loved the view that we had ( of Kilkenny Castle) and the back yard gardens.
Each day and as we traveled throughout Ireland, we had enough time to enjoy the activity for the day (ie. Guinness tour; a castle or area to visit; shopping, etc.) and enjoyed the time we had to see the countryside. The scenery was so lush and green. We were fortunate to have good weather (sunshine and blue skies) there for most of the week.
Our recommendation to have a driver for the week, was the best idea and using Pro B & C, was a definite bonus. Our driver John was fantastic. We could not have been more pleased with the service highly recommend the Pro B & C for anyone in need of transportation or a driver throughout Ireland. I would highly recommend using John as a driver to any future customer as well; especially those who are history buffs. He provided factual knowledge for each and every area that we passed. He also brought up other areas to visit (ie Leap Castle, which my husband loved and it was the perfect fathers day present) and recommended wonderful places to dine for lunch or dinner. John and my husband had many great discussions since my husband is from Irish decent.
Authentic Vacations was the best travel agency I have dealt with. I truly do appreciate your help in answering my many emails, and how you provided information and kept me at ease during this process. Our family could not have been happier with the itinerary and hotels we stayed at.
We will be using Authentic Vacations for our next overseas trip. Thank you once again.
Our week-long vacation to Ireland went very smoothly once we got there. One concern I had was how different our final itinerary was from the itinerary we were first sent. I understand that sometimes hotels might not be available, but in the final version we were slated to stay in a town an hour away from our original lodging. We had made a lot of plans based around the original town, and it would have been a headache to rearrange them. Fortunately, we were able to stay in the original town after some communication with our agent.
We had requested 4 or 5 star hotels, and most of the hotels we stayed at were wonderful. However, the Auburn Lodge and Hotel in Ennis was a big disappointment. It was only rated 3 stars, and the room was dingy and pretty depressing. Not very nice for a honeymoon. Also, one little problem was that our hotel the first two nights- the Trinity Hotel in Dublin, only had two twin beds. Also not great for a honeymoon!
Other than those details, our trip went very smoothly and we had a wonderful time. We had no problems getting our rental car or checking into any of the hotels, and any questions we had before or during the trip were answered very promptly.
We had a wonderful experience with Authentic Ireland and would definitely recommend!
Ireland was beautiful! My husband and i went there for our honeymoon. We rented a car so that we could drive where we wanted to each day. Everyone is different, so i realize that may not sound like a "dream honeymoon" to some, because it requires driving on the opposite side of the road, but we really enjoyed it! Authentic vacations was also very helpful through the whole process! We really enjoyed working with our agent! And all of the flight tickets and reservations went smoothly and were ready for us just as she said! We would highly recommend traveling with authentic vactions!! 🙂
Our self-driving tour of Ireland was very satisfying. John drove and I navigated. Some of the narrow roads were 'exciting', but drivers seem to understand the etiquette of the road pretty well and watch for safe places to pass by. My interests include ancient history and natural geography, and we enjoyed seeing and hearing about Newgrange and the passage mounds, the Giant's Causeway, the beautiful countryside and quaint towns and villages. We stayed in a variety of rooms, including a castle, nice hotels-old, and a very nice newer one, as well as B & Bs with very nice and friendly hosts and comfortable beds. The castle room in which we stayed had beautiful glass lights above an external door that allowed outside light to shine on the bed all night and focused the sun directly on the bed as soon after 5 as the sun rose high enough. Combined with a party that wandered the halls the night before, sleep was minimal. When we told the desk that one couldn't sleep in the room unless the windows were somehow covered, they very kindly comped our lunch and wine for the afternoon. It was a beautiful place with beautiful grounds, and excellent food. We are not 'Game of Thrones' afficianados, but enjoyed seeing some of the scenes in North Ireland from which it was filmed, and recognizing the creativity required of the director/producers to make the film realistic. We skipped many of the more familiar tourist areas for lack of time and energy, but were extremely satisfied with the choices we made. Dublin's Trinity College, Lough Rynn's beautiful wild countryside and castle, Westport's charming town and the Atlantic seaside with nearby Westport House and its female pirate, and Bushmills distillery fascinating tour were highlights. People everywhere were helpful and friendly. We had a great time. Amanda helped plan this trip to our specifications. Thank you, Amanda!