About Canola Tours

My name is Catherine O’Connor and I set up Canola Tours, a small Irish touring business to meet the needs of tourists who wanted independence from mainline tourism, a more personalised holiday among local Irish people and real Irish experiences but needed someone on the ground and in the know, to help organise it with them.
This is the initial part of my offer, to help personalise and co-create unique home from home all-inclusive tours which are realistic in achievement and get the absolute most from your visit. Canola Tours is located in the heart of the Irish Boyne Valley, in Ireland’s Ancient East and very close to Dublin. This is a one stop offer for your stay in the Ancient Eastern Region, from here all your needs will be catered for, you can visit all the most important and most Ancient sites in The East of Ireland, while returning every day to a real and relaxing homely Irish country setting with home cooked food and evenings to relax in or out.  Avail of authentic local traditional, music and dance, an Irish oral tradition still alive in these parts, without the tourists twists added.
So when you are planning your Irish dream holiday remember the Ancient Eastern Regions have many beautiful wonders to offer, after or before you explore the West and Wild Atlantic Way.

When and Why Canola Tours was started?

I established Canola Tours in 2017, encourage by guests, as a result of many enjoyable experiences as an Airbnb host, sharing my love of Irish life and folklore. Visiting many wonderful hidden places and showing guests around my neighbourhood and beautiful historical counties alone the Ancient Eastern Regions of Ireland.

Canola Tours Location

Canola Tours operates from my home, Macetown, Tara, (See Photo Gallery)  which is situated in the heart of the Boyne Valley, close to the Hill of Tara, the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Newgrange Neolithic world heritage centre, Glendalough in the heart of the Wicklow Hills and many more beautiful and interesting places.It is situated 40 min from Dublin City Centre and 30 min from Dublin Airport which makes it ideal for a first or last stop in and out of Ireland.

Immersion in Local life and Tradition

Today’s tourists want more authentic experiences of the local culture they are visiting and it became clear from feedback over time, sharing the love of local history, storytelling, Irish songs, local traditional music and the fun of Irish set dancing, that this was something visitors and friends enjoyed most.  So this became the inspiration behind the whole package of Canola Tours offer.  Where visitors get to see all the sights and then relax and be part of the local chill out time as well. See more, Stress Less, Touring Celtic Ireland.

Historical Sites and Modern Day Fame

Of course there are a host of local ancient and amazing Neolithic sites, like the 5,000 year old site at ‘Newgrange’, (which is older than the pyramids in Egypt or Stonehenge in England), Knowth and Dowth.
The ruins of the Round Tower in Kells where the famous ‘book of Kells’ was found, (now in Dublin’s famous Trinity College).
Trim Castle the first Norman stronghold in Ireland, steeped in history and also the site of the famous ‘Braveheart’ film, starring Mel Gibson.
The Hill of Tara, seat of the high kings and after which Tara in ‘Gone with the Wind’ is named.
Glendalough the beautiful setting nestled in the Wicklow hills with St Kevin’s monastic settlement  and 12th century round tower (one of the best examples remaining today ) and is also the film set for many seasons of the American Series ‘Vikings’.
Another beautiful spot featured in Vikings is Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow, where Aslaug the future wife of Ragnar is first introduced in the Film.
Also featured in the Vikings is the Boyne River when you are watching scenes for the Seine in Paris. The Boyne River where Newgrange is situated, is also very close to where the Famous Battle of the Boyne Site of the 16th century is located. This battle is still celebrated today every 12th of July in Belfast.
Then there is the 18th century Slane Castle only a few miles away, known not only for its lovely castle and restaurant but also for hosting the world’s biggest open air concerts with some of the greats like Bono and U2, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, the Clancy Brothers, Oasis, Metallica and the great Bob Dillon, amongst countless others, (lots of pictures on display in the bar/restaurant).
Ireland is a place where the past meets the present in a wonderfully relaxed way.  Many historical places from ancient times link us to recent times, all of which are now accessible and interesting in beautiful settings in the unspoilt natural rural landscape where visitors can relax and get a real feel for the ancient past.

Along the Eastern Coast

For those planning a longer stay there is a host of beautiful sites and ancient history to be explored along the Coast.  Places like Glendalough nestled among the picturesque Wicklow Hills.  A 12th century monastery in the middle of the most beautiful natural countryside.  Kilkenny the ancient city with the Butler family castle and grounds, the ancient mile with cobble stone streets and buildings full of history and folklore. There are beaches that could match anything in the Mediterranean in all beauty and nature but sadly not the weather, expect for special days of glorious sunshine, which do actually come and more often these days.

Are the options fixed?

The type of holiday options on offer are developed to meet your needs and interests as a tourist and to get the very best of your holiday time schedule.  Whatever you feel is most important will be considered and every effort will be made to make this the best possible experience for you and your friends/family (not equipped for children under 12 at the moment I am afraid).

What makes Canola Tours Unique?

This rather unique type of co-created holiday, which is all-inclusive and personalised was developed over time.  Few tour operators offer accommodation and personally guided or planned tours.  None offer the opportunity to become integrated into the local community.  It is the feedback from guests positive experiences, needs and personal wishes that are the corner stones of Canola Tours holidays.

Most popular aspects of staying here.

The types of experiences that were liked most were:

  • People liked being immersed in the authentic local community.
  • They liked seeing the tourist spots: ancient historical sites, castles, museums and areas of interest in a relaxed stress free and enjoyable manner.
  • They liked having help making a personalised tour which meant stress free and relaxed visits and getting the most of the time spent here.
  • When people got help to see what was possible to visit within their time frame, they avoided unrealistic expectations and disappointment.
  • People liked visiting the off the tourists track sites and seeing special, sometimes quite hidden places of interest and hearing the local stories associated with them.
  • They liked hearing local folklore and interpretations along with the official historical information.
  • For many people the really important aspect of the tours was that they were stress free. As they wished to drive on the Irish roads, it made a big difference having help with a plan and route.  Not wasting time getitng lost, frustrated and missing out on places.  While at the same time they remained independent in when and where to go.
  • Everyone really enjoyed being included in local events; talking to local people in the pub, joining in traditional music sessions if they wanted to and trying things like set dancing or just joining in on whatever was happening.
  • They also liked staying in a real Irish home and making real friends.

 

The name Canola Tours

The name ‘Canola Tours’ was inspired by the Celtic Goddess ‘Canola’.   She was the Goddess of Music, Inspiration and Creativity.  This is a suitable emblem for the aspiration of Canola Tours which supports visitors in having a really inspiring and creative holiday.  Creating your dream holiday with music, relaxation and fun as it’s close companion.

Canola Tours was created to package these wishes and put together an option of possibilities to suit the needs and hopes of the individual group of visitors.

As the tours are co-created through Skype or WhatsApp calls we can ensure a trip which is possible within the chosen time frame.  The groups are small units – 6 people usually per group – made up of family, friends or people who start as strangers and leave as friends.  All with one common aim:  to relax and experience ancient Ireland culture in a modern rural and welcoming environment.