Reviews

READ ARTICLE FROM TRAVELLER AUSTRALIA by Rob McFarland

 

What visitors on our Camino have to say…

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, Blanchardstown)


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, Celbridge)


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, Dublin)


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 Gaynor, Gaynor Training and Development Limited).


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, Dublin)


I left the busy city behind and met people I didn’t know

But this was brave for me, but I sought something different, something new

A myriad of options appealed but a beach walk invited me most

We gathered, were welcomed and set off on our way

We didn’t introduce ourselves, I liked that, we stopped at points of interest

Our host, a font of knowledge, was informative yet unassuming, passionate but with pace

Suddenly I was intrigued by those around me, we each had a story

Our voices were swept by the wind to a busy blue sky

Soon we smelt the salt, right there and then time moved from mood to moment

The sand was warm and comforting, the breeze was cool and kissed our faces

I was awake, I was aware.

We didn’t need to sing, we had music in our hearts

Our souls were now tuned by the salty touch of empowerment.

Alarms wake us, cities call us, like the tide being tugged towards the moon

I become aware of all I forgot to value. I’m glad I have, for me.
(Pat, Waterford)


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, Leixlip)


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, Tullow)


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, Offaly)


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, Ottumwa, U.S.A.)


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, Shannon, Co. Limerick.)


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, Texas, U.S.A.)


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, Waterford)


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, Waterford)


“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, North Carolina, U.S.A.)


Early crisp morning by the river for meditative silence to start the day, stories of Cromwell and history of the train travel in bygone days led by a walk on the Waterford Greenway. Exploring the woods with inspirational words from Phil to lead into contemplative observation of birdsong and mindful walking. An adventure into the Mahon Falls with invigorating mountain air led to stops at tearooms to refresh and chat with the Camino group. Historical input of landmarks by a local historian, Garvan Cummins, complete with photographs of local happenings. A world I never knew existed until that Camino day. Thank you Elaine and Phil.
(Grace, Waterford)


Thank you for a wonderful day. Memories that will stay a lifetime for all the right reasons. Life affords us every now and then the opportunity to meet and share our journey with others. Starting out our journey on a wet November morning and ending up friends at sunset. These are memories when the darkness visits our lives will bring hope as we all know daybreak and sunrise always comes.
(Caroline, Kilkenny)


As an Australian in Ireland, the Waterford Camino was the highlight of my year. We had all the beauty of the places we visited, a really fine group of pilgrims and 2 inspiring leaders. There is no better way to spend time close to God than surrounded by nature and in the company of faith-filled and spiritual people. The story of the Golden Buddha would have to be one of the all-time greats. Look at the people around us and there is gold in everyone. Loved the Waterford Greenway because I have biked it twice, on foot you see parts again with added meaning. All the organising is so worth it, Phil and Elaine. 100% recommended.
(Br. Gerry, Mount Sion, Waterford)


We had a wonderful time and feel privileged to be part of your first Camino. The sights were breathtaking. Everyone should put it on their bucket list… 3 wonderful days of reflective walks, cycling and fishing. I would highly recommend for mind, body and soul – memorable on so many levels… The highlight for me was fishing in Brendan’s boat off Dunmore East, the thrill of catching mackerel and seeing the lobster in the pots as we raised them from the sea… Another unique ingredient to what was an already magical Camino. One for everybody’s bucket list.
(Bridie, Cellbridge)


We enjoyed our sumptuous dinner together in the Tower Hotel on our return. A group hug in the foyer of the hotel afterwards signified the end to what had been a most satisfying and therapeutic experience for us all, the best of which was the friendship we had all created with one another.
We came seeking a few days of enlightened relaxation in the company of experts. We were not disappointed. Dr. Phil and Elaine are unassumingly wise and alert to what really matters. They both love what they do and their enthusiasm is infectious. We are looking forward to joining them again next year.
(Dennis, Dublin)


We loved when our Waterford Camino led us to the Mahon Falls. Here, you feel you’re on hallowed ground, a cathedral of stillness carved out of rock that dates back over 300 million years. It takes 20 minutes to walk out to the thundering Falls. They cast a mystical spell, like a dimmed oasis in a cauldron of stone. We slowed down to soak in the vast kaleidoscope of contour and colour that opened up before us from the Falls to the sea beyond. This ‘compass point’ on the Waterford Camino is one that we want our Grandchildren to experience. Spellbinding!
(Mary, Maynooth)


The Crough Woods trail is memorable on so many levels. All the senses come alive. The sounds of the cascading waters, the birds chirping, the autumnal light seeping through the trees, all combine to carry you through this mystical forest trail as you take the 6km Camino uphill to the Mahon Falls. Certainly gives you plenty to chat about as the sun sets over a creamy pint of stout.
(Kevin, Cork)


We feel honoured to have been part of the Waterford Camino tour. What can we say; fabulous, fun, scenic, breathtaking, inspiring, generous, kind, loving. Everyone needs to experience this amazing tour through Ireland’s Ancient East in this hidden corner of this beautiful country.
(Jo, Wexford)


Was it the beauty of Mahon falls or the water rushing through Crough Woods or the walk in Durrow Tunnel on the Waterford Greenway or the lovely boat ride in Dunmore East? I’m not sure but something on this unique Camino changed me that day…. Somehow the dark cloud lifted, if not completely, enough to see the beauty around me, enough to revive my hope. The people I walked the Camino with had become my wounded healers who shared their light with me. Nature inspired me to see that all need not necessarily stay the same. Somehow I am not scared to go the hard route to climb my mountain. I have started to dream again.
(Jas, Kilkenny)


Mother Nature shows off in full force along the Waterford Greenway. Easy nearby jaunts include the fishing village of Dungarvan, the stunning beaches of Tramore, the peaks and waterfalls of the Comeragh Mountains, and the crown jewel of Dunmore East. The scenery here rivals any vista of the renowned West Coast. Whatever type of holiday you dream of, I highly recommend making a pilgrimage with Waterford Camino Tours.
(Stephanie, New York)


Dunmore East… where have you been all my life? We love you! The trail from the harbour to the picturesque Portally Cove and back will stay with us forever. It is simply breathtaking in its beauty. We even spotted the occasional seal basking in the sun. Hook Head lighthouse simmered against the sparkling waters on the horizon. The descent into the photogenic fishing harbour of Dunmore East reminds you of something from times past. The Camino by land extended to the sea as Brendan brought us out to the Bay after lunch. We caught mackerel and lobster, no mean feat over a few hours. We had to celebrate when we got back to dry land. Dunmore East from the cliff to the sea is a sight to behold.
(Ann, Gorey)