Private tour companies in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Bruges????? Must see???

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#1
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Hi! We are looking for first hand recommendations for the best private tour companies in Dublin, Cork , Belfast and Bruges. Also looking for must see/ favorite stops in all of these places. Thank you!
#3
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,811 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by ALW2
Hi! We are looking for first hand recommendations for the best private tour companies in Dublin, Cork , Belfast and Bruges. Also looking for must see/ favorite stops in all of these places. Thank you!
Dublin, the HoHo Bus is great, it takes you to all the key places. Catch it near Trinity College.

Belfast, Odyssey Tours was great. We did the Giant's Causeway, Rope Bridge and tour of city.

Cork, we found an inexpensive private tour on line, saved over the ship.

Bruges, we did the ship's tour that include Ghent as well.
#4
Chicago IL
705 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by ALW2
Hi! We are looking for first hand recommendations for the best private tour companies in Dublin, Cork , Belfast and Bruges. Also looking for must see/ favorite stops in all of these places. Thank you!

Dublin: Did the HOHO bus. Bought timed entry tickets beforehand for the Kilmainham Gaol which has limited entrance so is not offered to larger tours. Very interesting as it was central to the late 1800/1900s political history of Ireland
Cork: ECoach/Butler tours. Blarney Castle (very crowded but the grounds are beautiful even if you decide not to climb the stairs to kiss the Blarney Stone), lovely Kinsale village for lunch. Short stop at Charlesfort. Very reasonable price.
Belfast: City and Causeway Tours with Alistar. If Alistar isn't available, ask for David who was beyond wonderful. REALLY impressed with this company. Alistar called me from Ireland to personally explain his tour offerings! David was our driver and guide and took us to out of the way places we never would have seen otherwise. If you are a Game of Thrones watcher, he knows all the filming spots. He even took us to the Peace Wall in Belfast and let us sign it. Amazing day.
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#5
Cork
1,010 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
There are some really lovely places to visit in Cork other than Blarney. If you are doing a private tour you can ask to visit these instead. Probably a lot less crowded too.

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#6
Cork
1,010 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Gougan Barra, in West Cork. There's a lovely pub and cafe a short walk from here plush a gift shop. Very close to Glenn Gariff & Bantry too. Depending how long you have in port you could go to Garnish Island too (a botanical garden ).

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#7
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Wow. How beautiful! Thank you!
Originally posted by kerryincork
Gougan Barra, in West Cork. There's a lovely pub and cafe a short walk from here plush a gift shop. Very close to Glenn Gariff & Bantry too. Depending how long you have in port you could go to Garnish Island too (a botanical garden ).

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#8
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thank you for your recommendations mmendations! Where did you buy advanced tickets for the Kilmainham Gaol, online?
Originally posted by clmom
Dublin: Did the HOHO bus. Bought timed entry tickets beforehand for the Kilmainham Gaol which has limited entrance so is not offered to larger tours. Very interesting as it was central to the late 1800/1900s political history of Ireland
Cork: ECoach/Butler tours. Blarney Castle (very crowded but the grounds are beautiful even if you decide not to climb the stairs to kiss the Blarney Stone), lovely Kinsale village for lunch. Short stop at Charlesfort. Very reasonable price.
Belfast: City and Causeway Tours with Alistar. If Alistar isn't available, ask for David who was beyond wonderful. REALLY impressed with this company. Alistar called me from Ireland to personally explain his tour offerings! David was our driver and guide and took us to out of the way places we never would have seen otherwise. If you are a Game of Thrones watcher, he knows all the filming spots. He even took us to the Peace Wall in Belfast and let us sign it. Amazing day.
[email protected]
#9
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thank you for the suggestions!
Originally posted by 4774Papa
Dublin, the HoHo Bus is great, it takes you to all the key places. Catch it near Trinity College.

Belfast, Odyssey Tours was great. We did the Giant's Causeway, Rope Bridge and tour of city.

Cork, we found an inexpensive private tour on line, saved over the ship.

Bruges, we did the ship's tour that include Ghent as well.
#10
Chicago IL
705 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by ALW2
Thank you for your recommendations mmendations! Where did you buy advanced tickets for the Kilmainham Gaol, online?

Yes, bought the Kilmainham Gaol tickets online. If you are on a HOHO bus, they pass by the Gaol and the staff outside will give a thumbs up or thumbs down if there are still timed spots open within that hour. Even though we had timed tickets for 1.5 hours later, we got off the bus and went in. We were not allowed to exchange our timed tickets or get a refund so we just paid again (for a shorter, cheaper tour) which freed up the rest of our afternoon so we were happy.
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2016 Celebrity Equinox to Spain and Portugal
2015 Caribbean Princess to North Cape and Summer Solstice. Spectacular scenery!
2015 NCL Pearl to Eastern Caribbean
2014 Sapphire Princess Grand Asia Land/Cruise
2014 Celebrity Reflection to Eastern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess...Grand Med..great cruise while it lasted! Computer/engine issues forced an abrupt early end.
2013 Ruby Princess to Eastern Caribbean
2012 Emerald Princess to the Baltic
2011 Island Princess to the Panama Canal
2011 Star Princess to South America, Rio to Valparaiso
2010 NCL Dawn to the Southern Caribbean
2009 NCL Pearl to Alaska
2008 Pacific Princess to the Mediterranean...our first and still our favorite cruise!
#11
SoCal
2,327 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
We did Princess's British Isles cruise in August 2015. Here are my recommendations.

We did this Game of Thrones tour out of Belfast: http://www.gameofthronestours.tv/ guide was wonderful, wish I could remember his name. Due to traffic we missed seeing the walls in the city of Belfast. Excellent tour. Only 6 of us.

Our Inverness tour was with Dave Fyfe, Inverness Tours. Also excellent, knowledgeable guide. Covered lots of territory in our 8 or so hours with him. www.invernesstours.com

Worse tour was with Rabbies Tours in Edinburg. The guide was not really a guide, we just drove around and around and around. While a group of us were at Edinburgh Castle he drove the remainder just around and around. After picking us up, we drove to a little seaside village and said he needed to take his break. Now--why didn't he do that when we were in Edinburgh? He could have dropped off the others at the bottom of the Royal Mile, pointed out things to see and taken his break then. Also, we stood out in cold, blowing rain, waiting for the guide. He was holding a sign, wrong name, a couple of us talked to him, no not his group, the person who arranged the tour finally called the company, who called him.

If you are looking for a transfer back to London with sightseeing on the way, we did the transfer with International Tours, included Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Salisbury. Drop off in front of our hotel. As we were the last to be dropped off, we had a nice tour of London too!
#12
Cork
1,010 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
One of the many local beaches in Cork. Not exactly Miami, but I love it

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#13
Cork
1,010 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Only 30 min from Cobh & 20 min from Ringaskiddy

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#14
587 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Just curious .... why is it OK to state the name of tour companies that are OUT of the country? But we can't name US travel agencies within the US on CC?
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#15
Tampa, Florida area
12,055 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
For Bruges we did a ship's tour to Ghent for a riverboat tour. It was excellent and the scenery delightful. It was a very easy way to see a lovely city.
#16
Cotswolds, UK
2,347 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by CruiseGal999
Just curious .... why is it OK to state the name of tour companies that are OUT of the country? But we can't name US travel agencies within the US on CC?


Because tour operators and travel agencies are very different things. It's OK to name tour operators in the US on the appropriate boards, too.


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#17
40 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
I just got back from this cruise. We used About Cork Tours (Janice is booking manager) in both Cork and Dublin and they were excellent. We had a private tour for 7 hours in Cork for 330 Euro and 6 hours in Dublin for 280 Euro. You can tailor the day as you like and it was such a great experience. In Cork we went out to West Cork and saw scenery and small towns. In Dublin we went out to Wicklow and saw the main sites of Dublin.

In Dublin, we used Belfast City Tours and had Michael Doyle who was also excellent. it was 120 pounds for a half day tour up the coast in a London black cab. Again another excellent tour. Alot of people go to Giant's Causeway. Titanic Belfast is also a nice attraction but you can just take a taxi from the pier to see that.
#18
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thank you for the information. How long was the game of thrones tour and did you feel that if someone hadn't seen the he show, they would Ike it too?
Originally posted by PatriciaF
We did Princess's British Isles cruise in August 2015. Here are my recommendations.

We did this Game of Thrones tour out of Belfast: http://www.gameofthronestours.tv/ guide was wonderful, wish I could remember his name. Due to traffic we missed seeing the walls in the city of Belfast. Excellent tour. Only 6 of us.

Our Inverness tour was with Dave Fyfe, Inverness Tours. Also excellent, knowledgeable guide. Covered lots of territory in our 8 or so hours with him. www.invernesstours.com

Worse tour was with Rabbies Tours in Edinburg. The guide was not really a guide, we just drove around and around and around. While a group of us were at Edinburgh Castle he drove the remainder just around and around. After picking us up, we drove to a little seaside village and said he needed to take his break. Now--why didn't he do that when we were in Edinburgh? He could have dropped off the others at the bottom of the Royal Mile, pointed out things to see and taken his break then. Also, we stood out in cold, blowing rain, waiting for the guide. He was holding a sign, wrong name, a couple of us talked to him, no not his group, the person who arranged the tour finally called the company, who called him.

If you are looking for a transfer back to London with sightseeing on the way, we did the transfer with International Tours, included Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Salisbury. Drop off in front of our hotel. As we were the last to be dropped off, we had a nice tour of London too!
#19
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thank you for the help. Did you feel like you could have done Cork on your own or was the tour necessary? Am I understanding this correctly, Did you use both About Cork and Belfast city tours in Dublin? We are looking for a tour 6 hours or less.
Originally posted by cat4569
I just got back from this cruise. We used About Cork Tours (Janice is booking manager) in both Cork and Dublin and they were excellent. We had a private tour for 7 hours in Cork for 330 Euro and 6 hours in Dublin for 280 Euro. You can tailor the day as you like and it was such a great experience. In Cork we went out to West Cork and saw scenery and small towns. In Dublin we went out to Wicklow and saw the main sites of Dublin.

In Dublin, we used Belfast City Tours and had Michael Doyle who was also excellent. it was 120 pounds for a half day tour up the coast in a London black cab. Again another excellent tour. Alot of people go to Giant's Causeway. Titanic Belfast is also a nice attraction but you can just take a taxi from the pier to see that.
#20
United States
135 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
We are undecided about doing to Blarney castle. I am assuming it will take up the whole day and leave us very little time to see the rest of Cork. We aren't really beach people, what are the other must see sights in Cork? Anything music or movie sight related? Thank you!
Originally posted by kerryincork
There are some really lovely places to visit in Cork other than Blarney. If you are doing a private tour you can ask to visit these instead. Probably a lot less crowded too.

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