What is included in the price?
For the 7 day tour all accommodation, breakfasts and transport, entry to sights and tour guide are included. We also include 3 dinners because half the fun of the trip is getting to know the other travelers. Also we will be plying you with Irish candy on the bus – but only enough to get you hooked!
What is not included?
Flights to and from Ireland, transport to the pickup location in Dublin. Lunch and 4 dinners.
How long are the trips?
Trips last 7 days, starting and finishing in Dublin.
How do we join the trip?
We will pick a central Dublin location – normally a hotel for all the travelers to meet at and we will pick you up from there in our tour bus.
When should I arrive in Ireland?
It is best to give yourself some time to acclimatize and get over any jet lag, so we suggest arriving the day before the trip is due to leave. However you could arrive a few day earlier and enjoy Dublin and the surrounding countryside. We can help you deciding what to do if you come early.
How should I handle jet lag?
Our recommendation is to get an evening flight from the US and try and sleep for at least a couple of hours while traveling. Most direct US transatlantic flights arrive around 7am Irish time ( Ireland is 6 hours ahead ). Spend the first day walking around Dublin and checking out the sights and acclimatizing to Ireland and then try and get a good nights sleep. You should be good to go the next day, and if you are having a hard time getting over jet lag you can alway sleep on the tour bus.
Where will we stay?
We stay at small locally owned b&b’s and hotels. Mostly in small towns within walking distance of the sessions, shops, restaurants and pubs.
Where will we eat?
Breakfasts will be at our accommodation, lunches will be at restaurants and cafe’s and if the weather permits some picnic lunches too. Dinners will be in locally owned places often serving local produce.
I have heard the food in Ireland is bad is that true?
You can find good and bad food anywhere you go but Ireland has undergone a food revolution in the last 10 years and the food is consistently good everywhere you go. And we choose the food we eat on the tour very carefully – we have to eat it too!
I am a vegetarian, will I be able to find anything to eat?
Yes! Vegetarians have a great selection of food to choose from in Ireland. If you are worried about this we can put together some menus from the places we will be eating at but rest assured there will be many delicious options.
What fitness level should I have?
A moderate level of fitness is all that is needed. Weather permitting, we will be going on a couple of hikes while in Ireland to experience the full beauty of the countryside. We will explain how long and strenuous the hike is to everyone beforehand. If anyone feels uncomfortable doing a hike that is no problem, we will arrange an alternative activity.
What will the weather be like?
There will be a fair chance of rain while you are in Ireland. But it never gets really cold in the months we operate our tours. You can expect between 50 and 70f with a variety of sun, clouds and showers that all add to the dramatic beauty of the countryside.
What clothes should I bring?
Layer, layer, layer. Comfortable clothes during the day that you can add a sweater or rain jacket on top if necessary. Bring comfortable walking shoes for getting around the towns and sights. If you have hiking clothes and shoes bring those too. We have been known to take in a swim in the Atlantic on some of Ireland’s beautiful beaches so bring your swim suits if you would like a refreshing dip. At night the pubs and restaurants are informal but Irish people like to dress up a little bit before they go out – dressier jeans and a shirt or something like that.
What are some great gifts to buy in Ireland?
Ireland is famous for its crafts – pottery, jewelry and textiles. As an incentive to shop you will get a refund on the tax you pay on these purchases when you leave the country. A great musical gift is a boudhran – the Irish drum, which is relatively small and easy to transport home. Even easier to bring home is a tin or penny whistle, which is a regular feature in Irish sessions. Whiskey lovers will be lamenting the 1.5 liter limit per person on spirits leaving Ireland. There also will be no shortage of Irish themed t-shirts and sweaters you can take back from your trip.
What insurance should I have?
We recommend you purchase travel insurance. Ireland music tours accepts no responsibility for delayed airlines and missing the tour’s start, lost baggage, or any injuries that may occur while on tour.
Will my phone work in Ireland?
It depends on your provider and phone – you should call your carrier to confirm and find out how much it will cost – international roaming costs can be very expensive.
What rules do you have about the tour?
We don’t have many rules on the tour – it’s about you having a great time but we do have a couple of provisions:
1. Guests are responsible to get themselves to the initial rendezvous point in Dublin
2. We have an itinerary and if it guests want to do their own thing they might end up missing parts of the tour
3. Safety instructions from your guides must be obeyed at all times and unruly behavior could end up with the unruly ones missing the rest of the trip!
What is a session?
A session is an informal gathering of musicians, singers and music lovers that takes place in pubs or people’s homes. Some sessions are more formal than others, we pick sessions that welcome all level of musicians to take part – the key thing is the taking part.
What is the difference between traditional sessions and the sessions we will go to?
Traditional sessions are normally ONLY instrumental and stick ONLY to Irish tunes. Musicians in these sessions come prepared to tunes that they know well and beginners are not always welcome. They are wonderful to listen to and we try to get to one of these sessions during the tour so you can experience this unique irish musical experience. Our sessions welcome songs, instrumentals poetry and stories and are very forgiving of mistakes.
What can I expect at the session and what kind of songs?
In general expect songs from all genres at our sessions. Irish, folk, bluegrass, soul and rock and roll will all be well represented. Expect guitars, mandolins, banjos, bongos as well as more exotic instruments, like the Irish drums, the boudhran. People will also sing unaccompanied and we might even get a story or poem from the locals Check out our you tube page for samples of songs and for an idea of what the atmosphere is like.
Should I learn songs?
Absolutely ! Learn that killer song that you always wanted but never got around to and wow the locals on the tour. If you want to get comfortable playing some songs with the group please check out our “songs to learn” section on YouTube. There you find easy to learn and great songs that will definitely be played during he week.
Do I need to know Irish songs?
No! But I can guarantee you will want to know some after listening and paying along with amazing Irish songs during the tour. And we can let you know the names of the songs and singers so you can look them up when you get home.
Do I need to play really well?
No! Most of the players at the sessions are amateurs who know a handful of chords (and some of your guides), and if you check out our “learn to play” video section on you tube you can see you don’t need much.
Do I need to sing really well?
No! Though holding a tune would be nice. And if people in the pub know the song you will never be singing alone.
What instruments can I take?
Anything you want as long as it fits in the bus and you can pay it acoustically in a pub.
I am worried about transporting my instrument on a plane, what should I do?
The chances of your instrument being damaged if it is properly packed are slim, but not zero. If it is irreplaceable do not bring it – bring one you won’t mind losing. Alternatively we have some guitars you can rent from us during the week – please email us if you want further details on this option.
I have never played in public before what should I do?
Practice some of the “songs to learn” on YouTube before the trip and get comfortable with them, or send us a list of the songs you are most comfortable with and we will learn them. In the sessions you can play along with us and if at any point you want to fly solo then “more power to you!” as we say in Ireland.
Do I have to play an instrument or sing?
Absolutely not – but you would be welcome to if you wanted to. Some travelers have shared poetry on our trips, which is always wonderful. Singing along on songs everyone knows is expected and encouraged and will will often be part of a pub chorus on those songs.
Can I request songs from the musicians?
Yes! Though they might not always know them!
Can I take pictures and video of the sessions or musicians?
Yes. If there is an issue with taking pictures your guide will let you know beforehand, but in general our sessions are very relaxed affairs. However some of the musicians at traditional Irish music sessions do not like to have pictures taken, so it is always best to ask beforehand if your guide is not with you.
Are there any books or movies I can check out before the trip to give me a better idea of music in Ireland?
See our blog post on Irish movies