James

James

Locations: Ireland

About James

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Ireland, studied in Ireland and have spent most of my life here. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 17 years before I started up my own company but spent all my spare time hiking the hills of Ireland, cycling the coast lines and all our family holidays were spent in Ireland so I know Ireland really well. In terms of travelling outside of Ireland, I’ve hiked in Nepal, travelled through Mali and trekked the 2200-mile-long Appalachian Trail in the US. Even though I’ve travelled to many places, I still would encourage people to explore what’s on their back door. All the places you visit, you will find something amazing, every place will give you a new experience, but personally my heart truly lies in Ireland.

What inspired you to work in travel?

My heart is in adventure, at my previous job in pharmaceuticals, I was always looking out the window and wanting to Go Beyond the Glass. That desire to be outside has always been strong and it wasn’t a question of whether I would turn my passion for walking into a career, but simply a matter of when. It makes sense for me to be doing what I am doing now. My friends used to joke that I would set up an outdoor company and I suppose that it has just stuck with me. I have always had a deep appreciation for the outdoors, I was a 20-year-old like any other but on the Sunday morning I’d get up with my hangover and go for a walk.

What makes your experiences special?

I’m very passionate about Ireland, it is no simple thing, it is full of folklore stories, landscapes shaped both by nature and man and by exploring on foot and on bike you get a really good overview of the culture and history of the country. Not only will I show you my expertise in the outdoors, but you will get to know the country through your own adventures. On the hikes and cycles, I take you to places where there aren’t other tourists so you will be meeting the local people. Sheep’s Head is a really beautiful peninsula and one of the places where the tour hikes and, although you may come across the odd walking tourist, busloads of tourists do not come here. You will get to go to places that you won’t get on the main tourist routes. We don’t skip over the main tourist destinations by any means, Killarney National Park is not something to be missed, but even then, if you know where to look, which I do, you’ll find spots that are untouched. You’ll even hear people speaking Irish in the smaller towns, there’s a really lovely feel about going off the beaten track. My knowledge of Ireland and the areas where I do the guided walks is a result of being outside, I have learnt what there is to know by personally exploring and I want to offer that opportunity to other passionate hikers and cyclists. During the day you will get in your exercise and wanderlust and then during the evenings you’ll get to relax with a nice pint of Guinness. I will give my all to ensure that people get the experience that I think they deserve. There’s no back to back hiking, you will be tested a little but there is no use in being exhausted because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to take in the views and the history of Ireland

What do you love about your location?

I love the wild nature of Ireland. When you strip away the media surrounding Ireland today, and actually step on the ground and walk the coastline, only then can you truly get in touch with the landscape, its history and its wildness. You can’t put a filter on actually experiencing and being present in the landscape. People may have their preconceived images of Ireland, but everyone experiences the country differently when they get outside into its nature.