For travelers that desire a more independent experience, CIE offers the option of a more self-directed tour, where “you can rent a car with a navigation system and do exactly the same itinerary as one of our coach tours, and stay in exactly the same hotels, but you’re driving yourself.” A more luxurious choice is the tour with a chauffeur car and deluxe castle hotels. “So you’ve got a chauffeur driving the car and you get your premium hotels, full Irish breakfast, it includes the driver’s accommodation, it’s just an incredible value. If you had the premium hotels – like the Merrion, the Capella in Cork, Blarney Park, Ashford Castle, Ritz Carlton, the Powerscourt, say for two people, its about $4,000 per person including accommodations, breakfast every day, the driver’s accommodations and everything.”
Ireland is a lot to take in over the course of just a week or two, especially for first-time visitors. For this reason, CIE offers several packages that focus on different parts of Ireland, and at least ten tours that combine visits to Ireland and Britain. “Just to give you an example, there’s the Britain and Irish Delight, a ten-day deluxe tour, or the Taste of Scotland, the Scots-Irish tour. This is a tour that really caters to the Scots-Irish connection here in America. It’s a tour that goes from Glasgow to Loch Lohmond and Behr Castle in Edinburgh, then you take the ferry over to Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway to the Ulster American Folk Park down to Westport, Achill Island, then Viking Dublin, Kilmainham jail, then return home from Dublin. And the price is $1,798. That tour would suit a lot of Canadians of Scots Irish ancestry who would have more of an interest in the Scotland and Northern Ireland parts. We have some tours that arrive in Shannon and just visit the southwest of Ireland, and some that start in Dublin and go around the whole country including Northern Ireland. There are several tours that go into Northern Ireland.”
One of Stack’s favorite tours is the Circle of Friends, which was created with an intergenerational focus in mind. “What we’re aiming for here are grandparents who are taking their kids and grandkids over, so groups as small as 10 people. We provide them with their own coach and an itinerary, and they can go with their family throughout the country and have everything taken care of. There are a lot of Irish Americans who have done very well and rather than just dying and leaving money to your kids, to have the experience of traveling with them and spending the money while you’re alive, enjoying the company of your family, is really lovely.”
After ten years with Aer Lingus, ten years working for the Irish Tourist Board (now Tourism Ireland) and approximately six years with the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, Stack began leading CIE International in 1990. He lives in Rye, New York and also maintains an office in Dublin.
To learn more about CIE Tours visit www.cietours.com or call 1-800-223-6508