~An Ireland adventure for 18-35 year olds~
Last month I joined a crew of 50 travellers on an 8 day tour venturing around Ireland where we started in Dublin making our way clockwise around the island heading into Northern Ireland. Ireland is part of Contiki’s collection of the “In-Depth Explorer” trips. The itinerary is created for the culturally curious where you’ll have opportunities to meet and interact with locals. It’s designed to give you the core experience of the country where the focus is on a specific region in detail.
Contiki Ireland route map
This tour is a great mixture of inclusions with comfortable hotel stays, meals included, and excursions. Contiki also has a variety of Me Time activities to choose from such as a guided bike tour of Kilkenny and a boat ride to the Aran Islands. Me Time activities are excursions for purchase that you can opt into when you have free time in a region on your Contiki tour.
What I loved about my Ireland experience with Contiki the most was travelling with people my own age who have the same passion for travel and spirit for adventure. Ireland was my second Contiki trip, the previous being in Western Europe in June 2016. On my first Contiki trip, I met a girl from California who I travelled to Iceland with just before heading on the Contiki Ireland tour. We were both solo travellers who bonded instantly and promised after our trip was over we would make plans in the future to explore a new place together. If you are looking to make some international friends, Contiki is the best way to do it. Like my first Contiki trip, in Ireland I went solo. On this Contiki trip, I soon became very good friends with my room mate who was from Washington D.C., a girl from Scotland, and many new friends from Australia.
Spending the evening with new friends at The Merry Ploughboy Pub
The majority of Contiki travellers are solo. It was very easy to make friends which started my first night in Dublin. We bonded from the first night to the last making memories while sipping on guinness and snapping some photos together while exploring. One of the best parts of the trip for me was on the coach travelling from destination to destination bonding with the others while seeing some beautiful Irish scenes. The coach is quite comfortable and spacious and I could charge my phone while on the road which was quite convenient. Our Contiki Tour Manager Joel was phenomenal. He gave us great commentary on the coach about 15-30 minutes before arriving in each location about the area and some historical facts. He was very informative if we had any questions about the areas we were visiting and took care of all the logistics for us.
Ireland is an incredible country filled with explosive culture and scenery. I now know why Irish pubs are so famous and imitated around the world. My first night in Dublin I went downtown and did some bar hopping. In every bar I went into, there was live music packed with locals who were all singing from their cores and hearts following along with the band. In some bars you can even see some step dancing taking place on the bar. Locals are more friendly in Ireland than any other country I’ve visited so far in Europe. While in the Aran Islands, there wasn’t a time where a local didn’t say hello or how are you while passing on my bike exploring the island.
Bike Tour in Kilkenny