On Location in Britain & Ireland
February 2016 | By Susan Milne | 7 minute read |
We caught up with Siobhan Byrne Learat, Founder and CEO of Adams & Butler, to find out what’s happening in the world of personalized travel. You’ll be enthralled by the many unique experiences our On Location partner can arrange in Britain and Ireland. Opportunities well worth taking advantage of!
Q: Tell us about the services Adams & Butler can provide in Britain and Ireland.
There is nothing that we cannot do! We are a small team of nine based in Dublin and our highly qualified and dedicated professionals have collectively several lifetimes of experience at the very top end of luxury travel. Demanding clients are our specialty – royalty, rock stars, Oscar winners, brides’ mothers, company presidents, prima donnas and we rise to challenges with relish - you are in a wheelchair, traveling with your dog, need a spa experience with hot stone Chakra balancing - no problem!
Q: What are some of your favorite specialized itineraries?
In truth, all our itineraries are special as every one of them is tailor-made to the clients’ specific wishes, whether that is a tour of Ireland’s historic castles on the back of a Harley Davison or a glitz and glamour tour of Dublin involving nightclubs, cocktails and limousines! I love our gourmet trips and they’re consistently popular. Ireland has a rich and unique cuisine. Whiskey, beer, seafood, venison, beef and lamb are all shaped by Ireland’s natural environment and our gourmet tours are designed to get you in touch with the raw ingredients. We introduce our clients to local artisan producers, meet local cheese makers and visit a smoke house in the west of Ireland. Our gourmet tours give you a real flavor of Ireland!
Q: How would you describe your driver guides?
Quite simply, our driver guides are the best in the business. They’re enthusiastic, knowledgeable, easy to be around and most importantly, they’re flexible. They’re quite happy to put on a pair of wellies and trek across a muddy field to find a cottage to find the ancestral home of one of their clients. And of course, they’re equally at home sharing anecdotes about Ryan’s Daughter in the elegant library of a 5 star castle hotel. This kind of flexibility is really important to us as quite often, a client will start off wanting one kind of trip and end up doing something completely different! Some of our clients will even organize their vacation around their favorite driver guide’s availability and we love it when that happens!
Q: What special interest tours can you arrange?
That’s a good question and there’s quite a short answer. Anything! We’ve done everything from Whiskey, Cookery and Architecture tours to Literary Giants of Ireland, Ghost Tours and Gay Dublin. As all our tours are customized, we have to listen to what the client wants before we commit to anything. They might start off looking for a golfing trip and end up deciding they would like to see the Aran Islands with a local fisherman or have a tour of Jewish Dublin!
Q: Do you offer shore excursions for those cruising around Britain and Ireland?
We certainly do and we love doing it. One thing we’re fanatic about is that the shore excursion really adds to your enjoyment of the cruise. For a start, you will be met off the ship by your own professional driver guide and enjoy the luxury of traveling in a high-end vehicle. And, we will match your excursion to what you want to do. Active tours could be anything from water sports to zip-lining, hiking or horse-riding. They might feature a day at the spa or the beach, wine or food tasting, a cultural performance or a visit to a museum. We can organize a full-day tour to see the highlights of a city or to a destination outside the port city. A popular one for visitors to Dublin is a trip to the monastic city of Glendalough.
Q: Tell us about the unique rail journeys you can provide.
Good timing. We’re absolutely delighted to be the ground-handling agent for Belmond in Ireland and new for 2016 is the Belmond Grand Hibernian, which will take you to destinations all over Ireland including Belfast, Cork and Galway. Belmond has a collection of iconic trains – the Venice Simplon Orient Express being the most famous and the Belmond Grand Hibernian is the first luxury rail experience of its kind in Ireland, enabling clients to see the enchanting beauty of the country in absolute comfort. On-board travel is exactly what you would expect from Belmond. The train’s beautiful cabins mix modern luxury with traditional design to sumptuous effect. The train offers 16 twin and four double cabins for truly indulgent train ride vacations. All cabins are en-suite and large windows let you admire Ireland’s beautiful landscape.
Q: What castles and manor houses can you arrange for travelers to rent and what services would be provided?
Goodness, where to start? We have many properties ranging from castles to tower houses and ultra-modern designer houses. I’ll give you a few examples… We have a lavish 5 star Regency mansion at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains where magnificent reception rooms include the Gold Drawing Room with its French-inspired decoration and beautiful ceiling of rich stucco work. Or we have a Gothic Revival castle, only an hour from Dublin. It’s situated in its own private valley and many famous people have stayed there over the years including Mick Jagger, Van Morrison and U2’s Bono. As well as the usual services you would expect, we can provide you with a top-class chef, a butler, a nanny, whatever kind of staff you require. If you need a private tennis coach, an expert local fisherman, a clown to entertain your children, we can do that. Oh, and we’re rather good at firework displays!
Q: For those wanting a game of golf at a links course, what do you recommend?
Ireland and Scotland are famous throughout the world for their links courses. In Ireland there is the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale, County Cork which has a spectacular location, built on a 220-acre piece of land, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. In Scotland, the Old Course at St Andrews is the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world and features, like the Swilican Bridge and Hell Bunker, are recognized across the globe. Don’t miss it!
Q: Are there any special features of your travel services you would like to tell us about?
We can arrange visits with members of the aristocracy such as Dukes, Countesses and Earls. The Irish aristocracy remains a notoriously shy group of individuals, so just imagine having a chat over lunch with the Earl of Rosse – the brother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II? Or stopping off to have a glass of whiskey with the descendants of John Jameson, the founder of the famous Jameson whiskey brand. Or you can join Charles MacLean for a private whisky tasting and dinner at the members-only Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh. Charles is Scotland’s leading whisky writer and The Times of London describes him as "Scotland’s leading whisky expert". We can even get a viscount to drive you around Ireland or a lord to drive you around Scotland! And how about lunch or dinner with the former owners of Dromoland Castle – as they’re descended from Brian Boru, who once ruled Ireland as High King, they’re the equivalent of Irish royalty!
Wine-tasting in the Barossa Valley, swimming with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, and heli-hiking over glaciers in New Zealand? Yes please!