THE GRAND TOUR
When AIDAN MORONEY was offered an opportunity to work in Bunratty Castle as part of his third year work placement on his Travel & Tourism Management course at IT Tralee, he leapt at the chance to spend 10 weeks as a tour guide in the famous Co Clare attraction.
Name: Aidan Moroney
Job: Tour Guide
Works: Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
College: Institute of Technology, Tralee
Course: BA (Hons) in Travel and Tourism Management
How did your placement at Bunratty Castle come about?
I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and that goal was absolutely achieved! I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office for 10 weeks. When I heard that Bunratty Castle was taking on work placements, I knew I had to apply.
How did you spend your day as a Tour Guide at Bunratty?
In the morning, I spent most of my time in the Great Hall of the Castle welcoming guests, answering any questions, and providing some well-needed directions to those adrift! While the other guides were on lunch, I spent my time in the Main Guard directing visitors into the Dungeon... a request accepted with caution by many! In the afternoon, I returned to the Great Hall and interacted with the tourists.
What was your favourite part of your placement?
Although it was nerve-wracking at first, the most exciting part of the job was delivering group tours. I was so chuffed when Anja, the Head Guide, allowed me to deliver the standard 20-minute castle tour to a number of groups from the large coach tour operators who visit the castle.
What attributes do you need to succeed as a tour guide?
My motto during work is ‘It’s their first time’. For a tour guide, the job may get monotonous at times, but I kept the visitor in mind and thrived in helping them bond with Bunratty Castle.
Why did you choose a course in Travel & Tourism Management?
There are three main streams that run throughout the course: travel, events and business. Not only did we learn a great deal about the tourism and hospitality industries, we also learned much about the management of events and companies. With this wide array of knowledge, graduates are very appealing to employers in tourism and many other industries.
What advice would you offer someone considering a career in tourism?
Explore your options in the Erasmus programme! Thanks to the Institute of Technology, Tralee, I had the time of my life in Madrid for five months studying at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. This experience gave me a great insight into tourism laws in Spain. One of the main reasons I chose a career in tourism is the travel opportunities on offer in this industry.
CAREER PATH: Tour Guide
As a tour guide you can work your way up the ranks in Ireland’s top tourism attractions or set up your own tour company one day.
Job: Tourism Attraction General Manager
Estimated salary: from €45,000
Job: Head Tour Guide
Estimated salary: from €25,000
Job: Tour Guide
Estimated salary: from €20,000
There are a range of tourism programmes available to help you get started in the tourism industry. Visit the The Next Level section to see a list of Higher Education and Further Education providers offering tourism and hospitality programmes.
This article first appeared in the 2017 issue of Get a Life in Tourism.