Welcome to Essential Ireland Tours



VIP Tours for the young-at-heart
Cost-effective, small groups & big experiences

Essential Ireland


Award-Winning Adventures by Ireland's Leading Tour Guides

Essential Ireland

You may only visit Ireland once: experience the Essential Ireland

We bring over 20 years Experience Offering Life Enhancing Tours of Beautiful Ireland

Our tours

‘Essential Ireland Tours’ emphasizes history and culture, and we travel in comfort. We guarantee great music, food, pubs, and fun on every journey. You may only visit Ireland once; it’s important you experience the Essential Ireland.

’Essential Ireland’ offers 4 specialised tours:

Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland’s True North

Private Tours

Castles & Classics

Essential Ireland is the brainchild of one of Ireland’s leading Tour-Guides, Stephen McPhilemy, and
Irish-American Entrepreneur, Patrick Wade,

20% off all tours

We have a special discount code for you to celebrate the launch of our new website and VIP tour. It's valid until January 6th. Enter the following code in the checkout when booking your tour to get 20% off


Win a once in a lifetime tour of Ireland

Visit our Facebook or Instagram page to enter the competition. All you have to do is like, share and leave a comment as to what you'd most like to see on your visit to Ireland. Enter before February 1st to be in with a chance of winning a place on our April 2019 Wild Atlantic Tour.

Click Here to Enter

Black Friday special Offer

Get €150 off your next Wild Atlantic or Castles & Classics Essential Ireland Tours with this Black Friday special offer code: Ireland‍ or €115 off the True North Tours with this code: Ireland-North

Limited places so Book Now! Offer valid until 4 December

Dingle Fishing

Guests of Essential Ireland Tours enjoying some Dingle Fishing with skipper Rory O'connor. What we catch, we cook, across the Marina in John Bennys pub
Essential Ireland

Our travel philosophy

Our concept of cost-effective VIP travel for small groups, metamorphosised in response to the hundreds of travel requests from international friends, our clan and families, and people in our extended networks who desired:

LUXURY TOURS: with an affordable price

SMALL-GROUP TOURS: 8 to 16 people on average

LIVELY TOURS: Itineraries framed by Stephen & Patrick’s unique travel style; relaxed, insightful, fun and focused on essential experiences

TOUR-TIME & FREE-TIME: 60/40 tour-time/free-time philosophy, freedom to enjoy your own free time and also maximising your tour activities.

100% IRISH EXPERIENCES: A tour that emphasises authentic Irish experiences, meeting the Irish people, everyday!

Your Experience

We aim to have you experience life like a local for the week  (except of course you’ll sleep in luxury hotels and B&B’s). Our  tours immerse you in the local culture for a week

About US

Who We Are

Stephen McPhilemy and Patrick Wade are the co-founders of Essential Ireland Tours. One Irish and one Irish-American, they met 20 years ago while Patrick was backpacking through Ireland and Stephen was his tour-guide.

Two decades later they (and their Irish Wolfhounds) are experienced and respected figures in the Irish tour and hospitality scene with a passion for providing high quality tours. Authentic Irish experiences for unbeatable value.



"We loved our tour with Essential Ireland. Stephen was an excellent tour leader — professional and organised, a passionate Irish patriot and what really impressed us was the amount of local Irish characters and personalities he was able to introduce us to. The small group of 15 people was ideal for us and made our vacation a more authentic experience"

Brooke and Brad Antonioni

"Fantastic tour. Thanks to Patrick, Stephen and all the team. Oh and can't forget Seamus their gentle-giant Irish Wolfhound and handsome mascot. My family and I loved every minute of our Irish adventures. We will definitely return and we'll be sure to take your tours once again. Thanks for going the extra mile helping us reconnect with our Irish ancestry"

Ash Kelly and clan

"Great service and fun times in Ireland. Bravo to Essential Ireland Tours!"

Rob Sheridan


Catch up with the latest news from Essential Ireland Tours


Nov 2019

Marvel at the Grandeur of the Cliffs of Moher

Stories and legends of the Cliffs of Moher

Stephen McPhilemy


Mar 17

Seamus the Irish Wolfhound gets a new playmate!

Seamus the Irish Wolfhound, and our mascot at Essential Ireland tours, gets a new playmate!

Stephen McPhilemy


Nov 17

Epic 2018 Ireland Tour Series Launch

Essential Ireland Tours are proud to present our epic 2018 tour series.

Stephen McPhilemy
Contact us


If you have any queries or questions, or would like to custom build a special itinerary for your own private group of family or friends, drop us a line here

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