Shamrocker Adventures Review
On my solo trip to Ireland, I took a Shamrocker Adventures tour around the perimeter of the Emerald Isle. I was hopelessly stuck between jobs at the moment, so I didn’t have the time nor energy to plan a detailed itinerary. Life burned me out.
I know this attitude is “against the travelers’ code of conduct” to admit, but, eh, I’m an honest girl. At the time, I just wanted to hand over the responsibility to someone else and enjoy a remarkable vacation. No planning on my end.
No fuss, no muss.
I had already taken a Haggis Adventure tour of Scotland (which I loved!) so my expectations for Ireland were high.
But boy, oh, boy did I make the right decision! Turns out, Ireland was a wonderful experience for me. I mean, who wouldn’t love Ireland? This country is known for it’s friendly population, stunning natural beauty, and hearty beer. Yay for Guinness!
However, I also think part of Ireland’s unrelenting magic was due to being part of an arranged tour. Shamrocker Adventures let me “sit back and relax” so to speak. It was a lovely change from planning everything myself.
Prior to my visit, I decided to take the 7 Day All Ireland Rocker Tour because I wanted to see both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on my solo trip. And, you know me, I hate to miss anything so (of course) I’d go right for the longest tour.
As a disclaimer, this post is completely unsponsored and opinions are absolutely my own. I actually took my Shamrocker trip way before I even created a travel blog if you can believe it!
Ahh, the good ol’ days.
Why Pick Shamrocker Adventures?
So why should you pick Shamrocker Adventures rather than independently explore Ireland? If you know anything about travel forums, the commenters tend to blast people asking about guided tours.
Well. There are many good reasons to take a Shamrocker Adventures tour!
First of all, Ireland’s public transportation system isn’t as extensive as other European countries. You can take trains and buses to Ireland’s major cities, of course. Sadly, though, you need to rent a car to see some of Ireland’s most beautiful natural scenery. And you may not feel comfortable driving on the left on tiny remote roads. I personally wouldn’t. Shamrocker Adventures makes it easy to see all the sights throughout Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula and Connemara National Park.
Shamrocker Adventures is also a wonderful option for younger travelers or those who are “young at heart.”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: erm, a tour for 18-35 year olds means a tour filled with young kids.
No, don’t worry about being bussed around Ireland with fifty crazy teenagers. The average age on this tour was closer to 25/26 than 18/19, and believe me, those couple of years made all the difference in the world. I made some great friends on this trip and keep in touch with a few of them to this day.
Granted, if you’re a super independent traveler, you might not like the fact that you need to sacrifice some of your self-sufficiency for the sake of the larger group. But overall, taking a Shamrocker tour is a great decision to make.
Who Will You Travel With?
As a solo traveler, Shamrocker Adventures is an awesome option simply, because of the other people you’ll meet on your trip.
Shamrocker Adventures is marketed toward the backpacker crowd and the demographics on the tour reflects this breakdown. My own seven day tour attracted a huge chunk of solo travelers, which was very beneficial for since I was also traveling alone to Ireland.
Shamrocker Adventures is heavily marketed in Australia. You’ll have a lot of Australians traveling with you (and they are super fun), as well as people from a variety of other countries including Canada, the USA, and United Kingdom.
During the first day, everyone gradually made friends with one another and all the solo travelers bonded to form our own little merry band.
And like I already said, the average age was much closer to 25 than 18. So don’t feel like you’ll have to “babysit” on your trip.
Small groups of friends and couples were part of the group, too, but due to the budget friendly and free-spirited nature of the tour, everyone pretty much got along well.
So, if you’re nervous about meeting people on your solo travels, then I would highly recommend a Shamrocker tour!
Where Will You Stay?
Shamrocker Adventures is a budget-based travel company. Therefore, in order to keep your costs low, you’ll stay in high quality hostels located throughout Ireland.
All hostels are clean and centrally located. Which makes life easier for you. You don’t have to waste your precious time researching reviews of hostels.
Keep in mind your hostel costs are not included in the cost of your Shamrocker Adventures tour. So you’ll need to set aside money for accommodation.
You don’t even need to stay at the pre-selected hostels if you don’t want to. You’re more than welcome to book your own hotels nearby and join the group at designated times. However it’s much easier to just stay where the group is staying. I had no problems with any of the chosen hostels.
Do you feel too old for hostel dorms? No worries. On you tour, you can upgrade to private rooms at any of the hostels. However, I would personally contact Shamrocker Adventures ahead of time to make arrangements since private rooms tend to sell out well in advance.
What Will You Guide Be Like?
Eeee! Shamrocker Adventures guides are fantastic!
They’re insanely passionate and knowledgeable about their country, and want visitors to feel at home there. My guide, Kim, was excellent. She was funny, outgoing, entertaining, and just a blast to hang out with.
One of the perks of taking a tour like Shamrocker Adventures is that you deeply appreciate the country by hearing all about it. For example, I loved learning about Ireland’s history, especially the conflict in Northern Ireland, as well as listening to the Irish myths and legends. In particular, the stories of fairies fascinated me. I never knew they were so territorial.
What Activities Will You Do?
Depending on your tour, you’ll have a variety of fun activities planned for your adventure around Ireland. These excursions are thoughtfully chosen and worth your while.
Now keep in mind the guides don’t force you to do anything, which I think is especially nice about Shamrocker Adventures. You’re allowed to be as independent as you want while part of a structured tour. It’s a perk.
However, I still recommend doing all of the activities, because, as I’ve said, they are thoughtfully chosen and a ton of fun. Plus they give you a chance to bond more deeply with your tour group.
The following activities were part of my Shamrocker Adventures tour. Your own experience may differ depending on the tour you pick.
1. Kiss the Blarney Stone
Mwah! Kissing the Blarney Stone will probably be included on your Shamrocker Tour. I know, I know. Some people think giving the Blarney Stone a kiss is a tourist trap, and I’m not even gonna touch the rumors about people urinating on it, but this is a quintessential Irish experience. Meaning you ought to pucker up!
2. Tour of Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. Taking a horse ride throughout the park was a magical experience, especially in the early evening hours with the ruined stone castles looming in in the background.
3. Biking on Inis Mor
One of the coolest activities we did was bike riding around the picturesque island of Inis Mor. Inis Mor is the largest of the Arran Islands where the Gaelic language is still actively spoken. Um, we can pretend I didn’t fall off said-bike, though.
4. Walking Tour in (London)Derry
Okay. If your tour includes Northern Ireland and (London)Derry, then you’ll be able to hear all about the city’s intense recent history with City Walking Tours. This tour is, without a doubt, one of the best walking tours I have ever taken on my travels. The touching stories reduced me to tears.
5. Black Cab and Mural Tour in Belfast
You can’t visit Belfast without taking a black cab tour and learning about the most significant murals. The stories behind these murals were interesting and I came away with a much deeper knowledge of The Troubles.
Would You Recommend Shamrocker to Solo Travelers?
Shamrocker Adventures is a great way for solo travelers, especially those who feel anxious about traveling alone, to experience Ireland without thinking too hard about logistics.
I’m still friends with a few people from my tour. How wonderful is that?
Just to reiterate: Shamrocker appeals to backpackers so you’re bound to make friends with other solo adventurers on your tour. You won’t be stuck with large groups of friends, families, and couples.
Are There Any Drawbacks to this Tour?
Hmmm, I think the drawbacks come with any guided tour.
You’ll have to stick to the predetermined itinerary. Meaning if you fall madly in love with, say, Galway, you can’t extend your stay when the group moves onto (London)Derry.
Additionally, there are days where you need to spend a decent chunk of time on the bus. The lengthy travel times are necessary, but are draining when all you want to do is explore.
Despite these small quibbles, the positives outweigh the negatives in my book.
I hope you enjoyed my Shamrocker Adventures review! Would you ever take a guided tour? Why or why not? As always, feel free to write your thoughts in the comments.