A big Irish Experience thank you to independent travel blogger and life lover Aideen who writes her blog over at Ireland, My Island.  It’s definitely one to keep an eye on 😉

We were delighted to take Aideen and her other half out on one of our first Mountain Explorer Experiences of the season. What a day it was! Here’s what Aideen had to say…

 

The Irish Experience – Mountain Explorer

It was that Saturday in March whereby the weather completely forgets what month it is and fast forwards to Summer – a gloriously warm, clear day. Myself and the other half had signed up to a Mountain Explorer Experience with The Irish Experience. An eco, adventure tourism company founded and based in the Sunny South East.

Mountain Explorer Experience
L-R Willy, Graham & Me

 

The day started in a café of a service station in Lemybrien, Waterford. Here we met our guides for the day. Graham Doyle – owner of the Irish Experience – a ball of enthusiasm and energy, a clear passion for adventure and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. William Nolan – mountain guide, a wealth of knowledge and experience on all things mountaineering and climbing, an impressive resume of climbs and a really nice guy. A ten-minute orientation on what to expect for the day with the group (5 of us on this particular day) and then we were off up the road to park at the foot of the Commeragh mountains.

The Crew

The walk was going to take up and around the edge of the Coumshingaun lough. We each got a map and compass and Willy took us through some map reading skills so we could find where we were and the lay of the land and then off we went.

Fitness wise I would say a moderate fitness level is required but we did stop frequently to take in the surrounding views and to do a little bit more map reading – leaving plenty of time to take a breather.

Trek to the Top

Both Graham and Willy are passionate about the ‘leave no trace’ movement towards ensuring that the countryside should be left exactly as you find it – Eco tourism is a big part of what The Irish Experience is all about – this was evident throughout the day as they picked up and pocketed any bits of rubbish that they came across for proper disposal later.

I have done my fair share of hillwalking over the years and I had expected that this would take me a bit out of my comfort zone – I wasn’t disappointed and to be honest I think I left the comfort zone back on the first steep bit of slope! As we got further up the mountain there were a few sections of scrambling – requiring both hands and feet to negotiate up the rocks. The section just before the summit is the toughest bit of the climb. The mountain is steep and there no room for overtaking. Willy reminded us to put our trust in our feet and they wouldn’t let us down. Despite the fact that the trail is narrow, rocky and steep I did take on what he said and it is amazing how quickly you build that bit of confidence in yourself when you know you have two guides with you as experienced as these two looking after you. The views of the lake on the way up are just spectacular and you really have to remind yourself that you are less than a half hours drive from Waterford city and about an hour from Wexford.

There were a few points where a helping hand was needed when my legs weren’t quite long enough to reach a grip and when we finally did reach the top there were smiles all around as we got to take in what we had just climbed and the spectacular views across Carlow, Wexford and Waterford.

All the way up we had been learning how to recognise the different landscapes and terrains on the map, seen features you may remember from Geography in school and learned tips and tricks for making the most out of your hill walk.

Graham – owner of The Irish Experience

At the summit we found a sheltered spot and sat for lunch. Now, there is dining alfresco and then there is alfresco dining at the top of a mountain in the Irish countryside. What a view! We had packed our own lunch and this was added to by Graham who rustled up hot chocolate for everyone along with a flapjack  – the most enjoyable hot chocolate I think any of us had ever had!

Making the hot choccies!

After lunch we learned how to use the compass with the map, how to measure distance and some other things which I will look forward to putting into practice on my next outing.

The decent down the other side of the lake was not quite as strenuous and the lads told us some local stories such as that of a man who returned from war and lived for 40 years in the mountains here as he couldn’t bare to be around people and the busyness of the towns.

Snowballs!!

The whole loop covered about 7.5km and we completed it in about 5.5 hours and we had a bit of a sit-down and debrief once back at the carpark. As well as some fantastic photos, great laughs and a confidence boost we took away some skills that we can work on and develop for future adventures into the mountains!

As the saying goes, ‘tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember but involve me and I will learn’. The knowledge, passion and genuine excitement at showing people this fantastic landscape and teaching them is a wonderful thing to witness and I would highly recommend Graham, Wille and the Irish Experience as a great way to get a foot out the door and into the surrounds of the South East countryside and coastline.

The View

A reasonable level of fitness would be recommended. Walking boots are a must and plenty of water and snacks. Graham sends an email in advance of the day with everything that you will need.

Pricing: This particular excursion costs 59.95 low season and 79.95 per person in the high season, which starts on May 1st. Group sizes are small to ensure safety and enjoyment for all.

About The Irish Experience:

The company was founded in 2016 by Graham. They are a Wexford based outdoor adventure company and as well as the mountain experience (which is new for 2017) they offer a range of outdoor activities including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and coasteering in the stunning surrounds of the Hook Peninsula. Catering for corporate, private group, families, hens/stags and students the team are happy to work with you to ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience for all.

The Irish Experience can be contacted through their website: theirishexperience.com

So why do it? Why go up the mountains, out of your comfort zone, learn something new and enjoy breath-taking experiences? In the words of guide Willy Nolan “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible”.

Get out, join the Irish Experience and Make it Mór!

We did it!

Beached On Baginbun

After deciding to select a permanent base for our Mini Sea kayaking Tours and Kayak rental we just could not look past Baginbun Bay on the Hook Peninsula in Co Wexford as the prefect location. Baginbun bay ticks all the boxes, it has so much to offer in terms of sea kayaking. It boasts beautiful sandy beaches and incorporates a dramatic rugged coastline including sea caves, coves and marine wildlife which are perfect for exploring on a sea kayak.
Importantly, Baginbun Bay is mostly a very sheltered bay, protected by a large outcrop of land which jolts out to Baginbun point. The main beach sits low down protected by the cliffs above and is an ideal place for novices, families and the kids to take to the water safely.

‘Mini Sea’ Kayaking ExperiencesKayaking with kids

Maybe you feel that our Half Day and Full Day Experience Tours might be too much for you just yet…

This week we are delighted to announce the launch of our Mini Tours! This coincides with our presence in Baginbun Bay on a regular bases. The Mini Tours are designed for folks who just want to get out there and give it a go in a guided and safe environment. Kids and adults alike are very welcome to come out and Experience the best of what the Bay area has to offer.

The Mini tours have a duration of 1.5 hours on the water and are fully guided by a Sea Kayaking Coach who will provide tuition along the way.

Safety equipment including Buoyancy Aids and Helmets are provided as part of the tour. We do recommend that you take a bottle of water with you and some footwear you don’t mind getting wet! We don’t advise that you bring your phone but don’t worry we’ll take a bunch pictures that we’ll share with you afterwords.

*Subject to minimum 2 Adults per tour

Prices :
Adults €25
Kids (U12) €15
Wet-suit rental (optional) €5

Child travelling with 2 Adults on a Tandem Kayak – Free of Charge

 

Kayak Rental

Just rock up and hit the water! Some people just want to get out there and do some exploring with friends and family without a qualified guide. If you have the knowledge and confidence to paddle independently, then we encourage your adventurous side.

Personal safety equipment included with your kayak rental.

Prices:
Single Kayak €12 per hour
Double/Tandem Kayak €20 per hour
Wet-suit rental (optional) €5

You’ll find us on these dates :

Wednesday 24th Aug 11:30am – 5.30pm
Thursday 25th Aug 11:30am – 5.30pm
Friday 26th Aug 11:30am – 5.30pm
Saturday 27th Aug 11:30am – 5:30pm
Sunday 28th Aug 11:30am – 5:30pm

Monday 29th Aug – 11.30am – 5.30pm

EXTRA DATE ADDED :

Wednesday 31st Aug – 11.30am – 5.30pm (Sea Kayaking Mini Tour @ 12.00pm)

 

More dates to be announced soon… keep up to date on our facebook page!

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Progress

This time last year I was sitting at a bar in San Diego with my good friend Nat, we had burst our asses that day after a long slog of Kayak guiding for little reward. It was something like a scene from the tv show only fools and horses….. “this time next year Rodney!! This time next year”… Now, whether Kayaking Wexford or hiking in Waterford its all just a click away!

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to announce that the big “GO LIVE” switch has been turned on and we now actually have our brand new website!

After a lot of cooking in the oven, planning, bunches of creativity, throbbing headaches, happy smiles, irritated frowns and no shortage of hard work and perseverance by myself and the 2cubed web design team,  I am very proud to say that our beautiful website has been born and that I am the daddy!

Website Launch

I now invite you to get stuck in, check it out and even feel free to offer feedback to me personally (Graham@theirishexperience.com), you wont hurt my feelings. I know we can always improve in every aspect of this new business and that is the reason we will always continue to grow to our full potential over time. We will never claim to be perfect, but we certainly strive towards perfection in every possible way.

There has been many trials and tribulations since I have undertaken this adventure venture. But now as the sun beats down on us across the country, and I sit here in the garden listening to the mistle thrush sing at me from the trees, I just can’t help but let my naturally optimistic self get carried away!  It can’t be a bad thing!  Can it?

Enjoy the website everybody and I hope to see you on an adventure with us soon 🙂

Make it Mór

Graham

 

The Road To Adventure

The road to success is a long and winding back road, full of pot holes and fallen debris. The reality of travelling on this road is you never can be sure that you will ever reach your destination. But for most of us who do take this road we share one common denominator, belief! belief in ourselves and in our goals, belief that with sheer determination and grit that we will eventually arrive at our destination relatively unscathed.

For anybody who has followed us over the past few months or year you won’t be handing us out any medals for a speedy business start up. I don’t want to use the term “Rome wasn’t built in a day”………ah feck it, Rome wasn’t build in a day! At the end of January this year I essentially finished my management degree in adventure tourism, all but one semester of work placement that is. Since the start of February this year I have been given the opportunity to channel 100% of my time and effort into The Irish Experience Eco Adventure Tours. It is living the dream, but without the benefit of being able to wake up during those hairy moments when you know you need to get the hell out of there! Of course it has been hard going at times, issues such as finance, public liability and insurance have been major sore points of late, we have took many a heavy blow to the upper body but haven’t yet been knocked out. Just to give you a taste of what we are up against, after our purchase of our gorgeous new 9 seater Nissan adventure wagon a couple of weeks ago, we have yet to actually secure insurance to actually use the wagon for business purposes. Phrases such as “this isn’t one for us”, “this is outside risk appetite” and “this would not fit our criteria” have been heard no less than 18 times from a variety of insures across the country. The case is now going to the insurance federation of Ireland for review.

But don’t worry we don’t do dome and gloom here at The Irish Experience! Its even in our tag line, we just “make it Mór”! ( Mór is Irish language for Great/Large). We are very proud announce that we are launching our website in less than a fortnight! We have secured a deal for a fleet of brand new kayaks and everything we need for transportation the kayaks! Purchased our amazing “Adventure Wagon” and have deals set up with various accommodation providers to deliver an outstanding experience, The Irish Experience.

Keep up to date with us across social media, we will announce our tour options next week. This s*** just got real 🙂

Graham

Kayak Tour Sneak Preview

 

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Last Friday marked the end of a fantastic educational adventure at the hands of Institute of Technology Tralee. But only in exchange for another more practical and real world adventure that I believe has the raw potential to make my life ambitions come true. This forthcoming adventure arguably has a hell of a lot more riding on it…

In 2013 I returned to beautiful green Ireland after living abroad for a number of years. Travelling was the name of the game and I can never be accused of not maximising my opportunities for adventure during those crazy years. I could probably write a whole book about it, but instead I’ll just leave a few pix here  😉


Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia were of particular interest to me on my travels.

 

Returning to Ireland was a well planned and structured process that was essentially plunging myself back into the world of full time education! Now, I was never a study geek, but the prospect of completing a management degree in ‘Adventure Tourism’ just seemed too good to turn down, it just had to be as fun as it sounded!

I was 27 at the time of starting the degree program, I knew by the time I completed it my 20’s would be behind me. This did not deter me but I suppose it did play on my mind from time to time before the course started. I told myself ‘you are only as old as you feel’ and I felt like I was 18 again, full of enthusiasm and excitement for what was to come. I may have felt 18 at heart, but my mind had the benefit of experience and life knowledge, this let me clearly define and outline ambitions and goals which I could have only dreamt about doing in my late teens or early twenties.

Now, two and a half years on, and after amazing stints in Scotland and America gaining as much experience of the adventure tourism industry as I could pack into my head. I now couldn’t be more ready to push this adventure into the real business end of things and get my company on its feet.


Two semesters studying and practical training @ The University of Highlands and Island in Fort William, Scotland.

Summer 2015 @ Hike Bike Kayak Adventures, an eco adventure tour company in La Jolla, San Diego, Sunny California.

 

Last weekend marked the end of college exams, assignments and lectures and signalled the beginning of my final preparations needed to finally launch “The Irish Experience” Eco Adventure Tours!

So whether you’re seeking some adventure therapy to get away from the stresses of life, or you just want to get outside and try something new, you can stay up to date with “The Irish Experience” launch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. I am currently working hard on getting the website off the ground and it will be online soon!  🙂

I hope to see you all on an adventure experience with me shortly, Sláinte chugat.

Graham Doyle

Founder

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The Irish Experience

Make It Mór