I live in the village of Blarney (famous for its old castle) but was born and raised in an Irish speaking area in County Cork in the south west of Ireland. I started to learn English when I was 7 years old - so I am fluent now! My mother’s parents, Curtis and Hooper, were from Cork city while my father’s Murphy family came from beautiful West Cork. I have visited every corner of Ireland and love the culture, language and music of the country. The stunning landscapes, visitor attractions and best places to eat and drink are all part of my extensive local knowledge.
I love to travel, explore and see the world, as well as my home country. I trained as a teacher of Food Science and Irish but shortly after college I went to sea on an Irish Sail Training Vessel, Asgard 2, where I was catering officer and trainer for 4 years. I sailed around much of Europe, the east coast of the USA and Canada and Australia gaining great experience of dealing with boats of all sizes. It’s no surprise that water sports are among my major loves as well as walking the hills of west Cork.
My other great love is the food of Ireland and in recent years the country has seen huge expansion in artisan food production, craft brewing and whiskey and gin distilling. County Cork produces 70% of the artisan foods in the country and I can direct you to many of the best small producers and eateries who use the finest of local ingredients. I now conduct my own food tours both in Cork city and in the wider county.
On my return to dry land, I worked with the Irish Tourist Board before turning to teaching in a County Cork school for many years. I ran cookery courses for parents and each year I took my cookery students on tours of the famous English Food Market in Cork city. My Curtis and Hooper grandparents have lived in Cork city for generations and I regularly visits my Murphy relatives in beautiful West Cork.
I met my husband Bob on Clare Island in the West of Ireland, and we travel to his home county of Meath regularly. A walk on the Hill of Tara, in the Boyne Valley or a visit to Newgrange are regular family events in Meath. His father was the local expert on these and we have both inherited his love of a good story. As you can see genealogy and family are important to we Irish as well as our history as a people which is written across the landscape.
I set up my adventure and experience Tour Company 4 years ago having operated an award winning self-catering house in West Cork for 10 years. My company Curtis and Hooper provides the visitor to Ireland a detailed planning specialist who can organise the trip and a wide range of activities with local expert guides. I love getting off the beaten track, getting close to nature and sharing my love of the country with visitors, whatever their interest.
Share a unique Travel Experience.
‘When sailing I used to sit in the nets (widows weeds) under the bowsprit and enjoy the view of the dolphins as they played in the bow wave. The flying fish for breakfast on a transatlantic trip or a visit to Skellig or Blasket Islands off the west coast of Ireland were regular treats. The morning a whale scratched her back on the keel of the ship as I prepared breakfast was an experience I will never forget. Her calf swam happily beside her. It was then I realised we have something special and unspoilt along the coast of Ireland and throughout the country. We can take you to the quieter places and if you want to visit the ever popular Blarney Castle or the Cliffs of Moher we can suggest how to see them without the crowds.’