That’s a wrap for 2023…what our visitors have to say!
It’s good to take that leap into the unknown. You’re not quite sure where you’ll land, yet you sense all will be well. Nature has a way of reassuring you when you need it most. You’ve got to trust the life force that has guided you along the way. We’re 7 years into our adventure with Waterford Camino Tours yet it feels like a new, as of yet untrodden pathway, is opening up before us. We’ll need the elements to smile favourably on us as we make the transition. Celtic Ways Ireland feels like it has been destined to be from the start. The universe has led us this far…it will not let us down!
We estimate we’ve led in excess of 1,000 people along age-old trails since we started out. No two journeys are the same. Everyone you share the path leaves their own imprint in the land… each with their own wisdom, their sense of fun, their indomnitible courage, their love of the great outdoors. It is they who have been our guide, who have nudged us gently out in the direction of where we need to be. It is they who have inspired us to dare to dream and believe in the opportunities this moment presents.
Our Celtic Ways Ireland builds on all that has gone before. The pathway may change but the journey stays the same. We invite our visitor to enjoy all that this corner of Ireland’s Ancient East has to offer; a mystical walk by the water’s edge of Bannow Bay in South Wexford, an age-old pilgrim path out to St Mullins in Carlow, a boat trip in Dunmore East or Greenway cycle in Waterford, the enchanting Derrybawn Loop in Glendalough… each inviting us deeper into the soul of our Celtic past. All that has shaped us lies around us. This discovery starts with one single step.
St Declan’s Way has been and will always be our signature Camino experience in Ireland. Over the past few years, we have led 18 groups from Ireland and beyond on this 1,500 year old pilgrim trail. We’ve learned from our fellow travellers and adapted our programme to reflect what works best for everyone. These are some of the reviews we’ve received for our St Declan’s Way Camino in 2023…
Take the plunge and go – you won’t regret it! Phil and Elaine Brennan are wonderful human beings and superb owner/operators of Waterford Camino Tours – soon to be known as Celtic Ways Ireland. The St Declan’s Way walking tour strikes a perfect blend of camaraderie, exercise and relaxation, fun and laughter, reflection and serenity, and learning. If your likes include music and singing, history, and nature…you shall be rewarded!
I went on the tour to reunite with a group of friends living across the US. That alone would have made this a special time, but thanks to Phil and Elaine, it was much more. They handled logistics with ease and flexibility, and are clearly experienced and prepared. Our entire group loved the hand-picked local experts they brought in to spend time with us along the way. The team’s passion and knowledge about the significance of the route, and, more generally, Irish history and culture shone through. However, what really set the tour apart was Phil and Elaine’s genuine interest in each person, and their personalized efforts to make the tour fun, meaningful and memorable for all. They also took initiative to assist me and others to prepare for other parts of our stay in Ireland – above and beyond the call of duty! Thank you!
(Jeanna Holtz, USA)
I am still in awe of my experience walking ‘The Way of St Declan’. All the walking, laughter, meditating, and singing created an atmosphere of camaraderie and lasting friendships. Phil is the ultimate tour director. My husband wanted to join me but not to walk – just fish. Phil connected him with the experts in the area and off we went to Ireland. Phil and Elaine are exemplary tour partners who demonstrate their love of the profession.
(Mary Andrulewicz, USA)
I completed the Camino St Declan’s Way with a group of 15 other people. I arrived with no great expectations of the walk other than I’d get some exercise and fresh air! It turns out Dr Phil and Elaine had organised pretty much every detail of the trip down to my Gluten free sandwiches. They were with us all the way and had some extra local guides to add a deeper experience to our days. The weather was “mixed” as they say but it didn’t impinge in our enjoyment of the Camino. Some of the days were challenging but we got through them and felt a real sense of achievement on completing them. The group got on well and we had many good laughs along the way. Overall, I would recommend this trip as everything is done for you (except the walking), just turn up and get stuck in, you won’t regret it!
(Marian Brady, Galway)
If I could leave a million stars I would! Not usually one for tours or guided anything, I typically prefer to explore on vacations in private, but we were after something specific in looking for a walking experience of Ireland this time, and I could not imagine a better trip! Everything was so personalized, thoughtful, tactful and authentic. Plenty of options, no pressure, to give everyone a chance to get what they want out of their trip. We most enjoyed our interactions with the various local guides and individuals we met, hearing about the history as we went along, but in a way that was relaxed and easy. Phil and Elaine are the most attentive, wonderful hosts – the care and thought they provided at every step is unmatched – I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone! Every good wish to them both with Celtic Ways Ireland.
(Alana Clapp, USA)
We had a wonderful experience with Phil and Elaine hiking/walking the St Declan’s Way Camino. Not only were the scenery and sites beautiful and rich with history, but we had amazing chemistry with the others on the trip. Credit to Phil for fostering and leading the group to create an atmosphere which was like we had all been friends for years. From the addition of local guides to add their interesting stories to the many enjoyable surprises throughout the week (e.g. after dinner singing, spiritual moments and music, welcoming us to their home for homemade scones and biscuits, a personal send off for each of us on our last night, etc) made this trip enjoyable from beginning to end. Phil and Elaine sought out feedback from each person many times a day to ensure everyone was not just good but “happy”, and made immediate adjustments based on what the group wanted to do most. Overall, a very special memorable experience with a great mix of active exercise (walking), rich Irish history, beautiful scenery, charming cafes and best of all, many new friends and lots of laughing!
(Wendy Cook, USA)
WOW run don’t walk (you can walk when you get there) to Waterford Camino Tours soon to be known as Celtic Ways Ireland! Phil and Elaine are truly the best. Every need we had, every desire we sought, every moment was fulfilled to the highest level. Not to mention the fun we had every day. They are the complete package of knowledge, joy and comfort. You will feel completely taken care of if you join Phil and Elaine on ANY tour! I am still reeling with the memories of each day’s highlights. The special surprise guests throughout the tour made it perfect. They will make your vacation one of the best. I truly cannot say enough about my wonderful experience.
(Missy Radcliffe, USA)
So happy to have completed St Declan’s Way with the wonderful Waterford Camino Tours. Phil and Elaine made sure everyone’s expectations were met. The walking, the guides, the adventures along the way, the accommodation and the food were all fabulous. Even the weather obliged! Phil and Elaine work hard to make these walks special and it shows. Thanks also to Conor and all the other marvellous guides along the way. Highly recommended.
(Dee Murphy, Dublin)
Had a wonderful St. Declan’s Way in August 2023 with Waterford Camino Tours. Phil and Elaine were informative, enthusiastic, engaging and so much fun! They took care of our every need – we were well fed, stayed at incredible locations, and met the most amazing people along the way. They provided experiences on the trip that I will remember and cherish. I highly recommend them and I will not hesitate to contact their newly formed Celtic Ways Ireland for my next trip to Ireland from the United States.
(Cindy Payne, USA)
What an amazing week l had with you and everyone in the group! The walking was spectacular, to be honest l didn’t imagine myself walking an average of 17 kms a day, but you made it so easy and the company and stories were so good, l often forgot ..I must also mention the special guests along the way, Conor who l spent much time with! Mark, who l learned so much about the natural fauna along the sides of the track were just two. The attention to detail and care of the group made this Camino (my first) truly exceptional.
Thank you with all my heart.
(Racheli Wolfson, Israel)
We are a family of 5, including 3 teenagers and wanted to do St Declan’s Way but were initially not considering using a tour company. We found this logistically difficult and going with Waterford Camino Tours was a great decision. They went out of their way to make sure it was a memorable experience for everyone in our group. We would use them again in a heartbeat.
(Liam Garvey, Ethiopia)
A very big thank you to Phil & Elaine (and Conor & others) for the wonderful Waterford Camino experience which I did in early May 2023. It was so good to get away from ‘everything’ and we were so well taken care of – nothing was left to chance and nothing was too much trouble. We finished on Friday afternoon in Ardmore in beautiful sunshine – a perfect end to the week.
Go on, take the time out for yourself and do it. I’m glad I did!
(Angela Hogan, Dublin)
When you’ve the right companion on the journey, you’re home before you know it! We all need words of encouragement from time to time. No matter how strong or how assured you may be, there will be moments in life when everything does not flow as favourably as you would like. Read the signs and be ready to adapt. It’s amazing the power of a kind word. It can lift you up and help you to appreciate what matters most. We’ve been privileged to share the path with really sound people. They lead us in ways they do not even realise. For that we are truly grateful. Time now to take that leap!
Dr Phil and Elaine will roll out our Celtic Ways Ireland tour offerings from Spring 2024. We tailor everything to suit our visitor from iconic walking trails to memorable cultural experiences to the best that Ireland has to offer in terms of food and accommodation. For further information on our Celtic adventure through Ireland’s Ancient East, check out www.celticwaysireland.com or email Phil and Elaine directly on firstname.lastname@example.org