Reviews

What visitors on our Camino have to say…

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, USA)

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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, USA)

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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, Ireland)

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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, USA)

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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 sendoff 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, USA)

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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, USA)

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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, Ireland)

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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, USA)

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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, Israel)

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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, Ethiopia)

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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, Ireland)

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We did a one day gentle Camino with Phil and Elaine in July. We initially arranged this for my dad who’s nearly 70 to give him a little day out. Little did we know we were all going to absolutely love it, from my nephew who’s 15 to myself and my sisters all in our 30’s… we had such a fun day. The tour itself was so relaxed, we got to see so much even with the plans changing slightly to suit the Irish weather. It was memorable from start to finish. Aside from the beautiful scenery, Elaine and Phil made everyone seem so at ease we could all just be ourselves and enjoy every minute. We laughed all day!! (Liz, Ireland)

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I completed the five-day St. Declan’s Way pilgrimage with a huge sense of personal satisfaction and triumph thanks in no small way to Phil and Elaine Brennan. The logistics were impeccably organized, freeing me to engage fully in the pilgrimage experience. Phil and Elaine were there throughout to pass along their knowledge, provide encouragement when the walking became challenging and to enjoy many a laugh with us. They are well-connected with both the local landscape and the local people, sharing these connections freely. St. Declan’s Way in itself is a spectacular walk. But, it is the warmth and kindness of the Brennans that made it such an enriching experience for me. (Margaret, Canada)

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Had a wonderful week walking St. Declan’s Way with Phil, Elaine and Iain. They were terrific hosts/guides and great company. We were an international bunch but bonded during our walks and chats. Highlights included our stay at Mount Melleray Abbey, the musical evenings (luckily no pressure to sing) and our guided tours of the Rock of Cashel, the Knockmealdown Mountains, Lismore Cathedral and St. Declan’s Abbey to name but a few. A truly memorable week. Would definitely recommend. (Renee, England)

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Phil , Elaine and Iain provided an organized, activity packed journey through the heart of Ireland. True to their description of the Camino we traveled from Cashel to Ardmore in the footsteps of St. Declan. We learned about each other and ourselves on this week long journey. I could not have asked for a better chance to learn about the history of Ireland while dipping into the spiritual riches and frienships along the way. I highly recommend this experience. Thank you to all who made it happen. (Melissa, USA)

 

 
 
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The Waterford Camino was an experience I did not expect. I thought I was going away for a few days holidays with the girls but it was much more than that. I came back a more relaxed person. I would like to thank you both for an amazing 4 days. I have been on a lot of holidays over the years but these 4 days I will never forget. I will always hold on to the memories of the stunning places you brought us to and the nuggets of history really brought these places to life. The whole experience gave me an inner peace and made me appreciate family and friends. I hope to do another Camino with you both. (Breda, Ireland)

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In September 2020, we had the pleasure of spending a weekend away in Waterford organised by Waterford Camino Tours. It was such an amazing action-packed weekend. It was perfect in every way; we walked a number of sections of the Waterford Greenway, mountain trekked to Mahon Falls, had ice-cream on Tramore Beach, jumped in off the diving board at the Guillamene, swam with the seal in Portally Beach, walked the coastal path in Dunmore East, dinners, lunches and drinks, and finished off with lunch on a boat with the lovely Brendan from Dunmore Boat Trips where we caught lobster and released them back to the sea. While fitting so much into 2 days, there were plenty of moments of pure relaxation where we soaked up all the beauty around us. It was no trouble to Phil and Elaine to cater for gluten-free meals at all cafes and restaurants we stopped at along the way. They couldn’t do enough for us. They are a wonderful couple to be around and it was my absolute pleasure to spend the weekend with them. I am looking forward to doing the St. Declan’s Way Camino with them next Spring. (Audrey, Ireland)

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Without question our weekend with Waterford Camino Tours was one of the most enjoyable, inspiring, fun and thought-provoking experiences in my life. 3 weeks on and I am still on a ‘high’, enjoying even more my hikes and time in nature and excite about my plans to expand my career horizons in a new, fulfilling direction. We went to Waterford as great friends and we left with an even closer bond strengthened by shared experiences, adventures, inspirational stories and anecdotes, lots of laughter and even a few (joyful) tears. I would highly recommend the Waterford Camino for anyone who wants to re-new, re-focus, re-energise, re-connect through inner connection and time in spectacular scenery and nature. Oh yes and the food and craic is mighty. This is a recipe for wellness and happiness. Get in on the secret sauce… (Sinead, Ireland)

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Well what can I say about our Waterford Camino experience. From the warmest of welcomes given to our group from Phil and Elaine to our sad farewell on the Sunday evening to meet again in the future! We walked, sat, chatted, laughed and were still together so many times throughout the weekend. What better way to spend your weekend travelling the beautiful treks of Waterford surrounded by the beauty of nature and listening to such inspirational thoughts and words so appropriately gathered by Phil. We cannot forget the plentiful coffee and cake, wonderful lunches, exceptional boat trip with tapas and meeting the lovely locals of Tramore, Dunmore East and Kilmacthomas. We all need days like this and I for one am planning on making it an annual event! (Cathy, Ireland)

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St. Declan’s walk August 2022. This was a unique and wonderful experience made all the more enjoyable by the personal care, understanding, attention to detail and flexibility shown by the organisers Phil and Elaine. The guides Mark, John and Conor were brilliant. Their local knowledge and good humour contributed to the group’s enjoyment and we benefited from other local expertise organised (and occasionally spontaneous) along our way. We enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers, a diverse, friendly and interesting group and the accommodation and food were excellent. We came back from the break physically and mentally refreshed.
This break is the perfect antidote to our fast paced, device-controlled lives and we look forward to meeting again with the Camino team. Conor’s maxim of “ keep it simple” included by Phil and Elaine in the beautiful photo album kindly given to us as a memento, will resonate for a long while. (Jim and Gráinne, Northern Ireland)

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It was an absolute pleasure doing our lovely walks and listening to your knowledge of the local history. We really enjoyed it and left us with a peace and a sense of wellbeing with the world. We saw beautiful places and we all came home refreshed and relaxed. You couldn’t have looked after us any better. I haven’t stopped talking about our Camino with you since we came back. Can’t wait for the next one. (Angela, Ireland)

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I have been thinking back on all the wonderful days we’ve had thus far with the Peace Choir and all the memorable places we’ve been. It has been such a great voyage. All were a Camino of sorts and the memories are a great source of comfort in these difficult times. I’ve really experienced the strength and support there is in numbers and yet how we are all so individual. The Camino we did during the summer was a very enjoyable day despite my physical limitations at that time. With the encouragement of Phil and Elaine, I was able to let go of the struggle of trying to keep up. I accepted instead where I was and it took me down a different path with another group of fabulous people. I truly had a magical day. With warmest wishes and gratitude. (Mary, Ireland)

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Saving the best ‘til last, our final day sees us fall head over heels for the Comeragh mountains, or more specifically, our guides, husband and wife duo, Phil and Elaine of Waterford Camino Tours. We take on a gradual 4km climb, from the base of Crough Woods up to the Mahon Falls, where bleating sheep and shaded hillsides open up to an amphitheatre of age-old rock, the star of which is the cascading waterfall… closing my eyes and allowing the water to lap gently around my toes it is very much an ‘eat pray love’ moment. I feel centred, still. And this is to the core of what this wonderful couple do. In their own words “it is not about covering vast distances; it’s more taking the time to soak in the beauty and peace of all that we pass along the way.” Guided by this power couple, we then laughed our way along the old railway line which runs against the towering backdrop of the Comeragh mountains and opens up the stunning vistas across the Celtic Sea… it was very much the company that made our experience all the more enjoyable. We’ve even promised to go back to sample the plethora of walking trails Phil and Elaine offer. (Denise Smith, Travel Writer ‘Sunday World’)

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The Waterford Camino was an experience that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. There are so many hidden gems of nature’s beauty along the way that you would never discover alone. Surprises around every bend. This combined with Phil’s reflective readings and meditative music allowed nature to come alive in us. On the boat trip, Elaine’s smoked salmon along with the freshly cooked chicken sandwiches went down a treat. The gentle caring atmosphere created by Phil and Elaine left us feeling very secure and relaxed. Everything was taken care of. Walks were tailored to the ability of each participant. The guidance of Phil from a historical and spiritual aspect was moving and uplifting and led to a sense that we are part of something bigger and greater than ourselves. We were completely overawed with the whole experience and look forward to April 2020 when we will return for more. (Anne and Mai, Ireland)

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We had an amazing 2 days with Phil and Elaine. They are the ultimate hosts. They bend over backwards to make sure our every wish was exceeded. We saw the most beautiful views and went on an incredible bike ride on the Waterford Greenway. They also treated us to some fabulous meals. I cannot recommend them enough. They are truly wonderful people. Our time with them was the highlight of our vacation in Europe. (Julie, U.S.A.)

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Thank you for a rejuvenating few days. I enjoyed everything and I have a bank of films of each event which I can re-run at will. I had no idea Waterford county is so beautiful; I find it hard to choose what I enjoyed most. I think you have put together something very unique. Your enthusiasm and your vision were catching. I loved the inspirational stories, the reflective pauses and the music. Elaine, I enjoyed our chats. I came home refreshed and more in touch with my inner self. I wish you all the best with a very worthy venture. Thanks for the extra kindness to me. (Anne, Ireland)

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Absolutely wonderful experience. Phil and Elaine were incredible tour guides. Very knowledgeable and friendly. They went out of their way beyond the scheduled tour to share stories and the history of the area. The Greenway was lovely and views were amazing. Their passion truly shined through. Best tour of our Ireland trip. (Sue, U.S.A.)

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Throughout our Camino, we listened to the most apt, insightful quotes, so true to the busyness of people’s lives today in contrast with the peacefulness and tranquility evident in the beautiful places we passed along the way. Stories of times past were articulated so well that you could almost hear the sounds of the history of the place come to life. I found that it was possible to visualise how things must have been long ago, especially as we were looking over the rusty railway and the wide river. Adding to the whole experience was the lovely nurturing food and laughter at every stop. Later, we strolled through Crough Woods, paused for reflection and we had quiet, personal time by rushing waters – allowing the torrent carry all our troubles downstream. All in all the whole experience for me was surreal and I felt that I had a ‘brain shower’ which left me feeling like Seamus Heaney once said, “walking on air”. Thank you Elaine and Phil. (Annette, Ireland)

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Walking the Waterford Camino with Elaine and Phil was a unique experience. Gentle, stunning walks were interspersed with meaningful and insightful reflections. I continue to benefit from the spiritual medicine dispensed on our Camino experience. (Frances, Ireland)

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“Wow, I cannot say enough good things about this excursion and the company that runs it. My husband and I arrived on the ‘Celebrity Silhouette’ Cruise Ship. We really wanted to get away from the generic tours and mass crowds so we found this little gem of a tour on Viator. Talk about an authentic experience. Phil and Elaine are the friendliest tour guides I have ever had. They are very knowledgeable and passionate about Waterford and had every detail in planning worked out meticulously for us prior to our arrival. Their ‘Cycle of Life’ experience on the Waterford Greenway was first class from the location to the bikes to the food. As we set out along the Greenway by the river, it was so tranquil and beautiful; exactly what I hoped and pictured Ireland to be like. As we peddled, we were able to see more magical places along the old railway line which I won’t mention because you have to experience them for yourself. We also stopped for lunch in an adorable little pub, Kiersey’s, in Kilmacthomas. We had a very authentic lunch of bangers n’ mash and bacon n’ cabbage. My husband was raving about the lunch for days. If you want to REALLY experience Waterford, its breathtaking scenery and the friendly accommodating locals, you have to do this tour. It well exceeded our expectations. (Chantelle, U.S.A.)

 

 
 
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