Rachel Gaffney's Letter from Texas - Discerning Trips to Ireland

Dromoland CastleRachel Gaffney, the famous foodie who’s flying the flag for Ireland in Texas, shares valuable insights into the hopes and expectations of discerning travelers to Ireland - and how they can be met successfully.

In January, I was contacted by a lady from Austin, Texas. I had arranged a trip to Ireland for her friends in August 2013 and now she wanted me to arrange her family trip. In the last nine months I have sent ten groups to Ireland from here. For privacy’s sake, I am calling my current client Alison.

Alison and her husband have taken their children to eighteen countries but Ireland was not one of them and it certainly was not on their radar until they had spoken to their friends. Alison flew to Dallas for business so we took the opportunity to meet in person and discuss their itinerary. We sat in the restaurant and I began with the usual questions. When did she plan on visiting, how long did they want to stay, how many people etc.

Once these details were documented, I sat back and did what I always do. I chatted and listened. People do not realise they are dropping clues about their lives and interests that I can pick on when planning their trip.

I learned that her oldest daughter sang in musicals and acted on the stage in numerous plays. She and her husband are history buffs. She is on the board for an historical society and preservation group. Those details alone had me firing on all cylinders.

Now, this is where social media comes in to play. I follow Twitter and Facebook very closely. I learn about upcoming exhibits in the National Art Gallery and the National Library of Ireland. I learn when to avoid certain places if there are conferences or concerts taking place. Tweets about great food always catch my attention. Book signings, cultural exhibits, food festivals, sailing courses and whale watching tweets have resulted in many bookings from me.

This family is not Irish. Their ancestors are not Irish. They would like to experience the rich culture, breathe in the fresh air rain or shine, escaping the searing Texas heat, walk along the beaches, hike in the mountains, meet the characters and savour the food.

Their trip will begin with a couple of days in Dublin, staying at the Merrion Hotel. We have hired a car and driver for the entire trip, allowing the luxury of sitting back and relaxing. After all, it is their vacation. A visit to the ‘Book of Kells’ is a must but following that a visit with the Irish Georgian Society is on the agenda.

From Dublin they will drive to Kinsale, stopping in Tipperary for lunch at the ‘Old Convent’. Perryville House will be home for a few days allowing them to visit Desmond Castle and the International Wine Museum and dinner at ‘Fishy Fishy’.

I have urged them to stay at the ‘Killarney Park Hotel’. I visited and stayed there last year for two nights. I have said it before and I will say it again, I believe the service in Killarney is possibly the best in Ireland. The people there just seem to have it in their DNA !

The final leg of their trip will be three nights at Dromoland Castle as they really wanted to stay at a castle and have their family portrait taken there for their Christmas card this year. This means I have been looking for a photographer also.

Anyone reading this article will see why I am constantly connected to Ireland. My clients all want to experience Ireland in different ways. For Alison and her family, I have arranged some very special experiences which will include visiting the University of Limerick, whale watching in West Cork and salmon tasting in Co Clare.

Please keep sharing your news, I’m always watching and always looking for experiences.


Rachel Gaffney's Real Irelandhttp://rachelgaffneysrealireland.com

: Rachel Gaffneys Real Ireland
Follow me on Twitter: @Rachelgaffney

Email: Rachel@Rachelgaffneys.com

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