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This rail tour was well worth the money. The RailTours staff were easy to locate in the train stations and were so helpful and friendly. My elderly mom traveled with us and she has some mobility issues. The staff were helpful and always made sure she was comfortable. The stops were really meaningful and its was a tremendous way to see the country side. The only downfall was the coach driver once we were out of RailTours hands wasnt very attentive to our coach seat reservations causing two of our traveling companions to not get to sit together even though our seats were reserved together. Overall a great way to see the west coast of Ireland which shouldnt be missed.
This was the best tour though I would have liked it better with actual time in Galway. It did get a little confusing with the return trip because of the races. We had to take a bus and the drivers seemed very confused bout loading up the train orphans and it got tense especially in the rain. But otherwise the trip was very nice. Least amount of on and off hassles.
Fog, high winds, driving rain. It's what you expect in northwestern Ireland. Michael, our driver, kept apologizing for the weather, but it made for a great adventure. Wish we could have walked at Kylemore Abbey and seen the chapel and gardens, but it will be a reason to return .It was nice to have some pub time before boarding the train. Frank kept us engaged during the morning train ride and Big Brian created a party atmosphere on the way back to Dublin after dark, even guiding us to the appropriate public transportation back to our apartment. Overall, a day well spent.
This was a great trip from Dublin across the beautiful Ireland countryside to Connemara. It was a wonderful experience and our guides made the trip memorable. It was a great way to see the beauty and experience the flavor of Ireland if you are limited on time. We only had two days to spend in Ireland and this trip was definitely worth the effort.
The organisation of this tour, by Railtours Ireland, was immaculate. Meet the guide in the yellow fleece 20 minutes before the train departs, get reserved seats from Dublin to Galway with the guide offering commentary and advice. On the outbound rail journey, there were just six of us, of which we were the only two joining the Connemara tour. On arrival, the guide took us out into the station car park where our tour bus was waiting.
It was here that the arrangements broke down or, rather, the coach did! Since there were insufficient takers for the tour, we were consolidated with the same tour, but by Lally's, a different company. A brand new Volvo luxury coach - looked good, but the sensors that confirm the main passenger door is locked failed. So the furthest we went for 75 minutes was round the corner, to await another bus to come from the depot. OK, no one can legislate for such mechanical/electronic problems, but what an initial waste of the morning.
When we got going, we did cover the same ground - hills and mountains, dark brooding lakes, rhodedendron covered hillsides, Kylemore Abbey with its Victorian gardens, lakes, etc. But by then the edge was taken off the day. The second part of the drive was more of the same, then rocky coastline, views of the Arran Islands, and a drive along Galway Bay. It even seemed the driver's attention had been upset by the ealier difficulties because the commentary was factual but not over-informative.
Then we had about an hour in Galway for a very good ice cream, and back on the train to Dublin. This time there were so many Railtours' guests we had a complete coach reserved for us, and were entertained to a small taster 'nip' of one of Ireland's whiskeys.
Well, I absolutely loved this tour. Everything went extremely smoothly from the early rail trip to Galway to the return to Dublin in the evening. The tour guides were phenomenal Jim O'Keefe, Peter, and the stupendous driver of the coach, Martin. The guides had lots of interesting information to impart and struck a perfect balance of humour, information, and silence. Well done! The scenery was breathtaking. Quite unbelievable. I strongly recommend this tour...it very much surpassed my expectations!
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