We engaged Michael as a tour guide driver for two day trips in June 2023, (Connemara and the Burren) for 4 of us, my wife and I with my parents (both in their 60s). We are from the US and were visiting Ireland for the first time. On the first morning, Michael picked us up in Audi Q7 that comfortably sat the 4 of us and was stocked plenty of supplementary materials for the trip ahead. He then spread out a map of the region and talked through the plan for the first day, indicating the ways in which we could change the itinerary as we went along, depending on how the day progressed.
Michael has a unique mix of qualities that make him an exceptional guide to the sights around counties Galway and Clare. On the one hand, he’s a native of Connemara and speaks Irish as his first language, so he’s truly a local who knows the area inside and out, and is able to talk in great detail on everything from historical uses of local plants to the evolution of local boat building practices. On the other, he has spent many years living abroad (Europe and Asia) and travelled extensively to more places than he could name (ask him!). Because of that, he intuitively knows how to structure a tour and communicate that knowledge to people with vastly different backgrounds and experiences. He was quickly able to suggest some modifications and added stops to the itinerary to fit what my parents were enjoying—a detour to a valley for better look at a local farm, a store specializing in Irish-style cold smoked salmon, a natural spring well off the side of the road used by bicyclists in the know. These added details, and the casualness with which we could alter our plans throughout the day, is what made the choice of a local driver-guide among the best travel decisions we’ve made. I strongly and unreservedly recommend Michael Reaney as an exceptional guide for anyone visiting the West of Ireland.