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Rob Johnson, Best Travel Designer was one of the Top 10 travel consultants for Trafalgar Tours and won a tour to Ireland.

“I was delighted to win this fantastic eight-day tour that included Singapore Airline flights, coach transport, accommodation and amazing meals. As Trafalgar Tours includes everything travelers need and have a good balance between structured activities and free time, they are popular and easy to promote,” says Rob.

The tour started in Dublin taking in the recently refurbished historic dockside and Dublin’s smaller version of the London Eye. “I loved Dublin. It’s a bustling pretty city. It’s certainly on my list of places to visit again.”

The group spent most of the time touring through Ireland but a daytrip to Belfast, Northern Ireland was a highlight. “It was interesting to hear the commentary about ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. As soon as our guide started speaking you could have heard a pin drop, everyone was fascinated in hearing the details as we drove past prominent local landmarks.”

One of the places visited was Waterford, home of the Waterford Crystal. “A factory tour was included and shopping of course was optional.” Rob recalls seeing Cinderella’s stunning crystal coach for a mere €30,000! ($NZ60,000). “Will you take a cheque?”

The Banratty medieval castle dinner stands out as another highlight for Rob. “This is really turning back the clock. It’s a traditional three course meal with huge portion sizes and a lot of meat. It’s served on wooden plates with only a knife so you have to use your hands. It’s the real deal including jesters and actors in full medieval dress.”

Full to the brim, the group visited Killarney, home of the Ring of Kerry, a scenic peninsula of diverse landscapes. This popular tourist spot has breathtaking views, easy walks, rugged beaches and numerous restaurants. “Killarney is a must see. It’s beautiful, rustic and intriguing. It’s a simple self-drive route for people wanting travel freedom or there’s the option of organised bus trips,” says Rob.

Trafalgar Tours prides itself on providing insight into the real Ireland and most coach travel takes place on back country roads. Tours are limited to 50 passengers per coach; most meals are provided, with additional highlight dinners providing the best of Irish cuisine. Rob found the Irish very welcoming and polite, particularly with their Guinness and Irish coffees.

The tour concluded with a popular ‘Last night dinner’ and then Rob made his own way to London and Paris. “I wholeheartedly recommend Trafalgar Tour Ireland. This is Ireland for everyone – those wanting structure, independent travellers, couples and families. It was an honour to receive this prize.”

Published in Best’s December 2010 newsletter

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