One tour operator packs more of its award-wining itineraries into August than into any other month.
Rob Rankin, owner with Amy Rankin of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, offers his top six reasons.
- No Sweat. Temperatures average a comfortable 66℉ with perhaps up to three inches of rain. But heh! No rain, no green. We love our rain!
- Escape the Crowds. Unspoiled, underpopulated and unbothered by crowds and queues; Ireland’s off-the-beaten-path villages, coastlines and mountains are left beautifully empty, even in August. If you want to be poked with a selfie stick, try the south of France.
- Fetes & Tetes. For sure there will be a few tetes (wigs) at our many local festivals where locals who are characters in their daily lives take center stage. Here are a few for 2019.
- Kerry sets itself up every year to honor a wild goat. Puck Fair annually (for 400 years) crowns a bearded beast as King Puck as throngs dance to live music. This year’s dates are Aug. 10-12.
- Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann (pronounced flaa kee-ole na hare-on) celebrates traditional Irish music in a different town each year. In 2019, ‘the flaa’ will be in Drogheda from Aug. 11–19.
- WaterfordWalls draws world-renowned artists to Ireland’s oldest city to create total mayhem and amazing graffiti on Aug. 22-25.
- Cape ClearIslandInternational Storytelling Festival now in its 25th year brings tall tales to Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
- Dublin Horse Show is all about the coveted Aga Khan trophy from Aug. 7-22.
- Get Stuffed. August is by far the best time to eat your way to the soul of Ireland. Clean oceans deliver delicate scallops, delightful seabass and delicious mackerel. We call these “the bacon of the sea.” Veggies, not all green, explode from gardens. Those distinctive hedgerows abound with wild blackberries and elderberries. Maybe it’s time for some local foraging? Wild venison now appears on menus. A summertime classic, the 99, is a soft-serve ice cream served in a cone with a Cadbury-produced 99 Flake (chocolate) bar.
- The Games are the Thing. Gaelic Games (GAA, or gaaah) are Ireland’s national sports. August provides the exciting preamble to September’s All-Ireland finals. If you’re in Dublin, don’t miss the riot of color and atmosphere that is a GAA championship match at Croke Park. It’s one of Europe’s largest, noisiest stadia. When we’re out and about, almost any town and village we pass will be hosting Gaelic football or hurling matches.
- By the Sea. Some Vagabond itineraries call for ferry rides to nearby islands such as The Skelligs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site commemorating the ruins of a one-time monastery (and a filming site for Star Wars); Scattery Island, with deserted village, monastic ruins and stone round tower hinting of Napoleonic-era battlements; and the world-class gardens on Garnish Island. While water temps top out in August at around 64°F, travelers love to stroll the beach and enjoy the sun that shines this time of year from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Following are three tours the Rankins recommend, especially in August:
- 8 Day Vagabond Wild Irish Rover https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/ireland-trips-award-winning-8-day/
- 7 Day Vagabond World Tour of Ireland https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-days-in-ireland/
- 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/
Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland offers two styles of culturally immersive travel. Vagabond Adventure Tours (which include the three tours mentioned above) are for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. And Driftwood Journeys of Discovery which follow similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.
On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4x4 Mercedes 'Vagatron' that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/. Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: [email protected].
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
In 2013, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 the company was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.