Private Guided Ancestry Tours

Price: €725 up to 7 persons

Book Your Ancestry Tour

John Ducie our founder, as well as being an Irish Tourist Authority Approved National Tour Guide and university-qualified Genealogist and Family Historian. John is also joined as required by other experts recruited through his contacts built up over many years of his working within The National Trust movement.
John’s Tours of Ireland acknowledges the needs of clients who wish to visit Ireland, undertake research and seek out authentic, genuine family records and/or actual authentic experiences of where their ancestors lived or worked. We also understand that researching family history may only be part of the reason for visiting Ireland and that you will want to take in all the sites and experiences that make a visit to Ireland so special. There may also be a need for repeat visits to follow up leads and because of strong emotional connection. Guests may have need to:
  • Access valuable historical information
  • Experience the journey of your ancestors
  • Connect with like-minded individuals
  • Explore Irish identity and its modern significance
  • Visit the National Archives in Dublin
  • Explore the Special Collections Department of the National Library in Dublin
  • Discover the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland in Belfast
Recognising that many people may have some research done on their family history already and come to Ireland with the intention of connecting to their Irish heritage. We can provide three one-day trips to enhance your knowledge of what being Irish is all about.

Tailormade Ancestry Tours in Ireland

We work with you to produce expert Genealogical Research for your Irish family and devise an itinerary for your holiday that will bring you walking in the footsteps of your ancestry. Tours are very personal and focus on understanding the meaning of being Irish as well as exploring your own family history. We also understand that researching family history may only be part of the reason for visiting Ireland and that you will want to take in all the sites and experiences that make a visit to Ireland so special. We are well qualified to guide to all of these as well. Or when individual family research is completed and an itinerary agreed we can assist by providing.
  • An escorted motor tour with a guide to any part of Ireland and overnight lodgings with breakfast.
  • Transport is by E-class Mercedes Car (seats 3 – 4). Larger groups can be transported by arrangement by minibus
  • Email for a quotation.

Family Trees

When research is completed we can produce for you a detailed report on your Irish Ancestors accompanied by a family tree. We can also search for your relatives that remained residents in Ireland.

Background information on Ireland and its people

The Gaelic Irish

These are thought to be the original inhabitants that settled on the island from in the Stone Age (c4000 bc onwards). The Irish or Gaelic language belongs to this group and it is thought to be one of the ten oldest continuously spoken languages on earth. They largely did not participate in the protestant reformation of the 16th century and overwhelmingly remained adherents of the old Roman Catholic faith. The majority of the Irish people today are descendants of this group with 90% of the population of the Republic of Ireland and 48% of Northern Ireland descended from them. Surnames often have Mac, Mc or O” in front of them. They are frequently referred to, as “Celtic” like the Welsh and the Scots but included in this group are also the later Viking peoples who became assimilated into them.

The Anglo-Irish

These are the descendants of the settlers who came to Ireland from the 12th century Norman Conquest of Ireland onwards. Among them, the English language was born in the 14th century at the same time as in England and this is the language of the majority of the people of Ireland today. They further divide into two great groups.

The Old English

They largely remained Roman Catholic but loyal to the kings of England in the 16th century. They frequently lost power and lands due to their refusal to become protestant to a new wave of English settlers in the 17th century and also often threw their lot in with the Gaelic Irish becoming assimilated into Gaelic Ireland and rebelling with them. Names are often of Norman origin with prefixes like “Fitz” or “De” e.g. Fitzgerald, DeBurgo (Burke) etc.

The Anglo-Irish Protestant Ascendancy

These families came to Ireland from the 17th century onwards and the final defeat of the Gaelic Irish. Numerically they are the smallest group but they have had a huge effect on Irish heritage. They ruled Ireland in the days of the British Empire and were frequently rebelled against by the other groups. Most of the great aristocratic families have bloodlines from these settlers as well as many professional and urban dwellers today as well as some farmers. They are majority protestant, mostly Anglican (Episcopalian) with various other protestant faiths also represented.

The Ulster-Scots Irish

Ulster, the northernmost Gaelic kingdom was the last to be defeated in the early 17th century just as the crowns of England and Scotland became united. As a result, it was settlers from Scotland particularly Lowland Scots who came to colonise this part of Ireland with names like Alexander, Armstrong, Hamilton, Paisley etc. a significant group were also Scottish Gaelic who also used the Mac or Mc prefix as in MacDonald. They are overwhelmingly Presbyterian by religion like the mainland Scots and loyal to the British Crown. It is they that give Northern Ireland its distinctive history with approximately 52% of the population descended from them with the remaining 48% being Gaelic Irish and Roman Catholic. In addition to the three major groups, there are also many other Irish ancestries to be told such as that of the Jewish, Quaker, Huguenot, German Palatines etc.

Whatever your Irish ancestry we can assist you in tracing their records and finding their homes.

Tracing Irish Family History

There are many and varied information sources, including:
  • Census Returns
  • Old Parish Records
  • Local Newspapers
  • Records of local societies.
  • Poor Law Records
  • Trade Directories (Post Office Directories)
  • Trade Societies Records
  • Hearth Tax Records 1652
  • Registry of Deeds (Land Transfers)
  • Confirmations and Inventories (wills).
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Official records of former burghs and councils.
  • Maps
  • Local Archives
  • Registration Offices (births, deaths and marriages).
  • General Register Office for Ireland
  • Burial Grounds Records
  • Local Family History Societies
  • Irish Genealogy -official Irish Government source of genealogical data.
  • Professional genealogists (ancestry researchers).

Complete Your Ancestry-Themed Tour of Ireland

When individual family research is completed and an itinerary agreed we can assist by providing.
  • An escorted motor tour with a guide to any part of Ireland and overnight lodgings with breakfast.
  • Transport is by chauffeur-driven E class Mercedes Car (seats 3 – 4). Larger groups can be transported by arrangement by minibus
  • Email for a quotation.
Sample Full Family History Report available (Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the client)


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What Our Clients Say

Day tour with John We had a full day tour with John and it was defiantly the highlight of our 5 days trip to Ireland, John is very knowledgeable and very familiar with the Irish history, he is very pleasant and will answer all your questions patiently, the ride was very comfortable, there were 5 of us in a 7 seats van, I would highly recommend John to everyone that wants to visit the surrounding of Dublin.
Daniel G
Daniel G
Great tour in Ireland. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we hired John Ducie as our guide for a 10 day Ireland trip starting in Dublin. John was a fantastic choice! He is a genealogist & historian with years of tour guide experience in Ireland. His professionalism, thoughtfulness, knowledge & passion is unmatched. We were hesitant to plan a trip on our own, but John was such a great asset helping us develop an itinerary & working through logistics over several months. He was available for Zoom calls & was very responsive to texts & emails. His hotel, restaurant & pub recommendations were perfect. He was very flexible & willingly made last minute scheduling changes. He deftly answered all our questions, at times he put historical events in such context that we couldn’t help but be emotionally moved. Needless to say, John has our highest recommendation. Thank you John for a most memorable trip!
Terry S
Terry S
Great tours awesome guide John is so knowledgeable and a pleasure to be with. He is a good driver which mattered to me. The two day long tours with him were the best ever!!
Great Day - Private tours are the only way to go! Book directly with John and you will definitely be glad you did. John was a friendly and very knowledgeable tour guide. When we stopped any site, he told us so much of its history. He even took the time to take pictures of us that we can share with our family and friends. What a great day!
Phil Gilbride
Phil Gilbride
Private Garden Tour We did a one-day tour of Killruddery and Powerscourt gardens with John as our guide. John's knowledge and enthusiasm are infectious and insightful. You really need a guided tour to understand the garden's history and fully appreciate what your looking at. John is also a lecturer at the Garden Design Academy of Ireland and is a fountain o horticultural information!!
If you want to experience authentic Ireland and truly understand its history, we give John Ducie a 5 star rating With 5+ days touring Ireland with John, you'll gain an authentic understanding of Ireland's history, while also fully experiencing the country's culture and beauty. We preferred a more immersive experience rather than choosing to see every possible sight -- and John helped us narrow our focus and then shared his expertise on nearly every facet of the country. He recommended excellent restaurants, and also the Castlewood and Heaton's in Dingle, both providing an amazing unique small hotel experience in Dingle, Ireland. IWe stayed at Castlewood, our friends stayed next door at Heaton's -- both are owned and operated by the Heaton family. We reviewed the Castlewood separately and give it our highest reviews -- simply amazing). John's pride in his home country and the Irish shine through, with indepth knoweldge in nearly every facet of Ireland's past and life in Ireland. He monitored the later October weather closely to optimize our experience, well recognizing that experiencing certain vistas required sufficiently clear skies. He adapted to our appetites/culinary tastes, demonstrated extremely safe driving skills, and made certain that we had the level of information we required when deciding whether to forego a particular activity (e.g., did we wish to tour a particular castle or manor?). Thanks to John, we fell in love with this breathtaking country and its people. Indeed, Ireland's beauty is surpassed only by the extraordinary and friendly Irish people who make every visitor feel welcome and at home.
Outstanding Our party of four booked a full day tour of Powerscourt and Glendalough, including a drive through Sally Gap and terrific lunch at a beautiful Irish pub. John is a fountain of knowledge on a vast variety of subjects, ranging from horticulture to genealogy and of course the history of Ireland. Highly recommend John for both is intellect and driving skills around the Irish countryside.
Powerscourt Gardens and Kilruddery House and Garden Tour A group of us with an interest in Gardens took a private tour with John to visit Kilruddery and Powerscourt Gardens. With John's expert knowledge of both history and horticulture the experience was excellent, he made each part of the day and every element of the gardens interesting and a great learning experience.
Private Wicklow and Powerscourt tour We had a fabulous day with John driving south from Dublin through beautiful coastal villages to Powerscourt and then up into the Wicklow mountains with the final stop in Glendalough. He is a wealth of knowledge and we learned about Irish history, politics, society and flora and fauna. We would love to travel more with him when we are back in Ireland which we hope will be soon!
Sarah E
Sarah E
Fantastic Day with John was wonderful. His horticultural knowledge and historical knowledge were fascinating. I would highly recommend and would definitely ride with him again on my next trip to Ireland.

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