National Tour Guiding

Do you have a positive attitude, outgoing personality and strong sense of customer service together with a broad interest in Irish tourism? If so, this may be the course for you. The course offers participants the opportunity to develop the professional, technical, social and administrative skills needed to deliver a high quality guiding and tour management service for tourists visiting and travelling in Ireland.

Tour guides plan and implement tour itineraries and escort groups in many contexts throughout Ireland. Guides require the ability to retain facts, figures and folklore and present the information to tourists in an entertaining and interesting way. Tour guiding is particularly suited to people who are outgoing and who enjoy interacting with others. Communicating, planning and organising are important skills to possess and fluency in a second language is a distinct advantage.

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:
• Understand the structures and profiles of the tourism and hospitality sectors.
• Facilitate others to understand and appreciate Irish cultural and heritage.
• Employ a range of communication, information and customer care skills.
• Utilise digital media skills to enhance the tour experience, promote potential products and
services, and exploit employment opportunities.
• Manage and conduct tours on behalf of a tour operator/provider or as a self-employed guide.
• Implement best safety and environmental practices.
• Implement tour management skills and techniques.

  • Induction – State the role of the Education and Training Board and the planned outcomes and conditions attached to the course. Individual learning techniques and styles will be identified. The application of good safety, health and welfare practices will be explored. The policies and procedures of the training location will be advised. The emergency evacuation procedures and the importance of equal opportunities will be examined.


  • First Aid Responder (FAR) –  Describe the role and responsibilities of the first aid responder, assess patients, deal with respiratory emergencies, act as a cardiac first responder using both CPR and AED, and deal with different types of injuries, altered levels of consciousness, musculoskeletal injuries, burns, scalds, chemicals, poisonings and electric shocks.


  • Customer Relations/Interpersonal Skills – Use a variety of communication and problem solving techniques to foster good customer relations and deal effectively with a range of customer situations. Employ personal presentation techniques for introductions, presentations and day-to-day dialogue with customers. Utilise effective time management techniques. Perform customer care administration tasks, e.g. tour reports, incident and accident reports, invoicing and other.


  • Irish Tour Guiding – Develop the knowledge and skills to carry out tour guiding activities within a range of different contexts.  Explain the role and responsibilities of the tourist guide. Explain the structures of the tourism industry and the role of tourism in the Irish economy. Identify notable features of a range of regions and localities. Identify key features of accountable and sustainable tourism. Research information for use in clear, concise commentaries.  Evaluate the main markets for Irish tourism. Evaluate all health and safety considerations when planning and conducting tours. Develop and demonstrate the skills to lead and manage tours. Demonstrate the ability to deliver effective and engaging commentaries. Demonstrate effective group management. Demonstrate appropriate communication, social, decision-making, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Develop digital media skills to enhance the tour experience, promote potential products and services, and exploit employment opportunities.


  • National Tour Management – Develop the knowledge and skills to manage tours including all travel and transfers within different contexts. Describe the location and layout of Ireland’s principal gateways.  Explain the principles of tour management. Devise commentaries and itineraries for tours in a variety of contexts. Manage tours throughout Ireland to a professional standard. Demonstrate appropriate safety procedures to include planned and unplanned stops, embarkation and disembarkation, seat allocation and rotation, rendezvous times and locations. Demonstrate appropriate procedures for air and sea gateway arrivals, transfers, accommodation and departures. Demonstrate effective group management. Explain all relevant legislation and regulations impacting on tour management. Apply procedures to check group itineraries. Demonstrate effective public speaking, communication and team working skills. Define hospitality desk operations at a variety of venues and function.  Devise contingency plans and implementation procedures for all potential incidents and emergencies.  Reflect on own skills to identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement.


  • Irish Natural Heritage and Culture – Develop the knowledge and skills to facilitate an understanding and appreciation of Irish culture and heritage. Define the role of cultural heritage products in Ireland and make international comparisons. Evaluate a range of current issues in relation to sustainable heritage conservation. Discuss the work of the main bodies involved in supporting, developing, protecting and promoting Irish culture, heritage and natural resources.  Summarise key aspects of Irish history. Explain the origin, antiquity, key literary genres and status of the Irish language. Identify international cultures and traditions which have been influenced by the Irish and link these with visitors’ origins. Outline Ireland’s archaeological heritage and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Outline the evolution of Irish cuisine and beverages. Explain the history and status of Ireland’s agriculture, forestry and maritime resources. Describe significant natural and physical features of Ireland. Examine the development and location of arts and crafts and associated industries in Ireland. Summarise the major phases, styles and examples of Ireland’s architectural heritage. Analyse Ireland’s cultural heritage across different genres and its perception internationally. Create an information bank of topics likely to be of interest to tourists. Demonstrate how other nationalities and ethnic groups have influenced the development of Ireland’s culture and built heritage.


  • Business Start-Up Overview – Understand the processes involved in starting up, operating and evaluating a business. Identify appropriate agencies and sources of information to assist in developing a business. Establish the relevant strategies and research techniques used when developing an enterprise. Examine the statutory legal requirements when running a business. Outline the main elements of a Business Plan.


  • Digital Marketing Tour Guiding – Utilise digital marketing to promote a tour guiding business.       Describe how search engines work and identify how to optimise a tour guide website for marketing purposes.  Set up a Google account and run a Google ad campaign. Shoot and edit marketing videos using a smartphone. Use Facebook ads and a twitter account to promote and market a tour guide business.


  • Career planning and job seeking skills – Plan and achieve realistic employment goals.


  • Work Practice – Transfer, practice and further develop the knowledge and skills needed to be a competent tour guide in a work environment allied to the occupation.

This is a full-time course of 26 weeks duration.   A number of training methods are used to enable the participants perfect the standard of knowledge and skills required of tour guides.  These include instructions, presentations, demonstrations, one-to-one tuition, supervised practice, practical work training, discussion groups and role plays.  Participants are required to actively participate in the learning process.  They must complete a number of practical and written assignments throughout the course.  A number of methods are used to assess the participants’ progress and for certification purposes.  These include assignments, theory exams, practical assessments, skills demonstrations and a portfolio of work.

  • Reached the statutory school leaving age.
  • Leaving Certificate or equivalent qualification and/or relevant life and work experience.
  • Good communication skills including good verbal and written English language skills.
  • Good numeracy skills.
  • Self-motivated, eager to learn, outgoing and friendly.
  • Able to integrate and relate to a variety of individuals and groups.
  • Fluency in a second language is desirable.
  • Some relevant experience in the tourist industry is desirable.
  • A full class B driving licence is desirable.
  • Basic computer skills are an integral part of completing this course.

Participants who successfully complete this course will seek positions as tour guides employed directly or on a freelance basis with tour operators and tour guide companies.