Why the Shamrocker is a Must (Paper #2)- By Courtney Kellogg
Never have I had such an experience like the Shamrocker Bus Tour Experience. Not only did the tour take us to places that we had never heard of, but we learned so much about the culture and history behind each place. Tours with the Shamrocker can be from 3-5 days. Each tour consists of a diverse selection of beautiful places in the countryside of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Giant’s Causeway, Ballintoy Habor, and Trim Castle are just a couple of attractions that our Shamrocker Bus went to. I think the path that we went on for our trip worked perfectly and I would love to try out another tour with different locations next time I come to Ireland and Northern Ireland!
I was expecting this bus to be something like a U.S.A. New York City Hop On Hop Off Bus. With a Hop On Hop Off Bus, it is a one day or multiple day pass that you can use. When you get on, you are able to hop off and explore an attraction and then get back on once you are done. With a Shamrocker Bus, you spend the night in hostels or hotels and continue your adventure each day. This type of bus also takes you out of the city depending on what type of experience you choose to partake.
I think one of the main reasons why the Shamrocker Bus Tour was such a great experience was because of the interactive tour guide that we had. Compared to a U.S.A New York City Hop On Hop Off Bus, the Shamrocker gives you a guide that explains the history behind each place you go to. It might be a smaller bus, but with a Shamrocker there is better communication. There is a two way communication between the passengers and the tour guide. With the Hop On Hop Off, there is only a one way communication. The tour guide is able to answer questions and give you more information about an area. For a Hop On Hop Off, a recording is played whenever you pass a significant landmark. Sometimes the Hop On Hop Off Bus doesn’t even finish the explanation because the bus has turned down the street already. If you want a more meaningful experience, a Shamrocker type of bus tour is the way to go.
When it comes to mass media, both buses display this correctly. They both are giving out a message or information to a large audience. On the Hop On Hop Off Bus, there is an area at the front that holds informational brochures. If you take a Shamrocker, you will be given information about your next destination 15 minutes before you arrive. The tour guide communicates over an intercom while the Hop On Hop Off Bus uses earphones to tell you about a landmark.
The Shamrocker tour guide also gives you the best recommendations for restaurants and pubs to go to with each place you stay at. These places aren’t the most touristy places to go to, but the most authentic and traditional. This tour guide also gives you the most scenic ways to see the attractions. Our tour guide made sure to tell us the best way to take a certain hike so that we could see the best views! Here are some of my favorite views and places that our tour guide suggested to us and the ones that I suggest for you to do:
The first view that I would suggest is located in Trim Town Centre. Trim Castle gives viewers an excellent view of a medieval castle. This castle is free to walk around but does cost money to walk inside the castle. I felt like we had an excellent view walking around and getting a feel of what it looked like back then. Our tour guide also gave us a suggestion of a small shop that included trinkets and small snacks to munch on before we got back on the bus.
The next stop that I would suggest on visiting is Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim. Formed by volcanic eruptions, Giant’s Causeway is an excellent view for people to see. It was so incredibly easy for us to spend more than two hours there, so make sure you give yourself enough time to hike. Our tour guide suggested that we go up the stairs from the museum to get a better look at the cliffs.
The third suggestion from my trip is the city of Ballintoy. With a population of under 100, we weren’t expecting much. However, when we walked down to the harbor, the view was unforgettable. I would highly suggest that if you are around the area, to stop by. We spent more than a couple of hours hiking the rocks and sitting down and enjoying the sunset. I will for sure and try to come back and visit sometime in my life!
Another suggestion for a destination to stop at, are The Dark Hedges located in Ballmoney. These strange but beautifully looking trees were also used in the famous T.V. show, Game of Thrones. It doesn’t take a long time to walk through these trees, but it’s something that you don’t want to miss.
One last suggestion, is the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. Our guide suggested that with only 8 pounds we face our fears and walk over the bridge. We ended up finding a beautiful view on the other side all thanks to the encouragement from our tour guide! The 8 pounds we spent were worth it!
All in all, it is worth the extra money and time to take a tour that is like the Shamrocker. You get to really know the group you travel with. There is something so special about experiencing new places with other people!