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The Tours…and me!

The tours are a fun way to walk your dog, in the company of other dog owners.  No matter what the weather our four legged friends need walked, so the tours will get you out and about.   The tours are not designed to be history lessons – they have been created as a light hearted, fun, friendly and informative activity, taking in the local dog friendly establishments in the area, meeting some of the locals, and enjoying local food and drinks as we go.  They are also great to help with socialising your dog or puppy.

Each tour will take in several dog friendly establishments where you will enjoy a warm welcome, and hear from the business owners and staff who just love our four legged friends. The walk is not strenuous, however a decent level of fitness is required in order to keep up with the group.

The weather in Northern Ireland is very unpredictable, but no matter what it brings the tours will go on!

At the moment, all tours are for over 18’s only, but before all you Mums and Dads start giving out, I am planning a family friendly tour too, so hold your horses (or dogs!) for the meantime!

Portrush Dog Friendly Food Tour

This tour is approximately 5 kilometres in distance covered over a 4 hour period with stops at 7 venues.  All dogs receive a custom Dog Friendly Tours bandana at the start of the tour. During the tour you will enjoy fresh scones/cakes with tea/coffee, Guinness, local breads, cheeses and meats, local delicacies, local ice-cream and fudge, local craft beers and whiskey, a light lunch with glass of wine.  Its a tasting tour so if you haven’t tried something now is the time!  You certainly won’t go hungry and you will be sure to walk off any of the calories.  The total number of steps is approx 7000 (for the health conscious dog walker!).

The tour will meet at the East Strand Car Park and will start at exactly 10am (so don’t be late!!) and will end a short distance from the car park along the promenade.  At the end of the tour you will be welcome to stay on and enjoy more food, drink and craic if you wish.

Your four legged friends will also enjoy a special treat at the end of the tour with plenty of watering holes and treats en route.

Belfast Dog Friendly Food Tour

This tour will take place on Sunday’s in the Cathedral Quarter meeting at 11.45am and covers a distance of approx 3km.   The tour will visit 5 Dog Friendly venues including points of interest stops where you will enjoy local meats, cheeses, breads, craft beers, local craft spirits, fudge, ice-cream and chef’s specialities at each venue. No breakfast required! The tour concludes with lunch in the Dirty Onion followed by a whiskey and beer presentation and live traditional music.

Winter Walks

For the end of year in 2018, I’ve introduced some shorter #WinterWalks in venues around Northern Ireland.  They are basically a short version of the tour where you will enjoy a good walk (approx 5km) followed by local food and drink in a dog friendly venue, with great chat and craic.  The winter months can be a bit lousy for many, so pull on your walking boots, come on out with fido and enjoy yourselves for a few hours – you know you will feel better for it afterwards!

The 1st of the Winter Walks are fully booked for Finnebrogue Woods, with other venues also currently planned for January and February 2019.  Then I will start some #SpringStrolls too!  The walks will run alongside the full tours, so if you want a taster of a full tour book a Winter Walk online.

About Me… your Tour host!

A native of Northern Ireland, with a love of the coast, walking, food and my dog, I decided to combine them all to create Northern Ireland’s first Dog Friendly Food Tour.

After achieving a Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and living in the USA for a few years, I subsequently spent the majority of my career in the hospitality sector in Sales, Marketing and Events roles, undertaking several post-graduate qualifications as I went along and have recently completed Level 2 Tour Guiding qualification and Pet First Aid Course!  This year also saw Dog Friendly Tours reach the final three of the Dog Friendly UK awards for Best Days Out with your dog!

I love the outdoors, and am rarely found watching the TV!   I have been fortunate to walk part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, averaging 25km a day – yes I do like a dander!!  This was one of the most memorable and enjoyable journeys I have travelled and turned out be a life changing trip.  I enjoy finding out about the places I walk with my dog, and it was while out on my usual dander around Portrush that I had the ‘lightbulb’ moment of creating a ‘Dog Friendly Tour’. Food and Dogs unite people.  Having people around a table enjoying the ‘craic and a few wee toots, is what irish hospitality is all about.  Being on the Camino sharing stories, food and drink with new people was refreshing and fun.  Combine that with the presence of a dog/s and people relax and engage in conversation.  The notion of creating a Food tour had hit me about a year earlier while in Fermanagh, so I put my brain into overdrive, and put all my ideas down on paper… and so the Dog Friendly Tour story began, following lots of research and meeting people.

Whether you are on your own with your dog, book as couple or as part of a group, everyone chats to each other.  You will be made very welcome.  There is an emphasis on great local food and drink on the tours, and it is wonderful to have so many local food and drink producers on our doorstep.  Walking is an important part of staying fit and healthy, and that not only means physically but mentally too.  A good walk and a good talk are great for the soul.  Dogs make wonderful companions.  They are another heartbeat in the home.  With a huge love for my wee ‘Georgie’ – I wanted to bring her with me wherever I go.  Creating a Dog Friendly Tour enables me to bring her to work with me on tour!   Not only does a walk help to reduce blood pressure and reduce mental stress it burns calories too.  The first year of my tours saw me supporting four local charities:  Willies Orphan Fund, Rosies Trust, RNLI Portrush and Belfast Cathedral and donated over £250 to these super organisations.  in 2018/2019 I am continuing my support with Rosie’s Trust with Tour Gift Voucher donations to help with fundraising.

I love Northern Ireland and I am so excited to share the Dog Friendly venues we have with fellow dog walkers on tour, with more destinations already in the pipeline, so watch this space.

Have a look at some of the videos to see what we get up to on Tour…

Belfast Tour Apr 18

Portrush Tour

 


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