• July 20, 2019

Former O.C. resident leads group tours to Ireland - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Former O.C. resident leads group tours to Ireland

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 10:08 am

ATLANTIC COUNTY — Lisa Carbrey’s best memories of her trips to Ireland, sometimes several trips per year, are seeing others experience the country for the first time. 

Carbrey, an Estell Manor resident who lived in Ocean City, has organized trips to Ireland in her spare time since 2004. The senior programmer/analyst works at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point. 

When she isn’t working, she’s coordinating hotels, flights and bus schedules on the Emerald Isle. 

Carbrey’s first trip to Ireland was in 1986 at age 20. She met her parents there when her father was in Europe for work. She was there for two weeks and spent most of her time on the west coast. 

Although Carbrey said she “really loved it,” she didn’t return for nine years. 

In 1995, she and her husband went to the country with a tour group. The couple returned to Ireland multiple times, trying different group tours and eventually traveling on their own. 

According to Carbrey, airfare to Ireland was much less expensive about 10 to 15 years ago, and she said she would go to Ireland for a few weeks whenever she could. 

“A friend and I, any time we felt we needed to get away from the world, we would get a plane ticket and go. So we would go sometimes two, three times a year,” she said. 

Each time she traveled to Ireland, she took pictures. After so many trips, Carbrey had accrued a collection and she decided to share them. 

She made prints and sold them at Irish festivals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When Carbrey’s friends and family learned about her jet-setting, they began to ask if they could join her. 

“It got so that everyone was saying, ‘Well, I want to go with you sometime,’” she said.

In 2004, Carbrey organized her first group trip to Ireland with friends and family. 

As interest from friends and family continued, so did the trips. 

Today, Carbrey organizes a maximum of one trip per year for about 30 people through her organization, Celtic Scenes Tours. 

She estimated she has spent time in nearly every part of the country. 

“There are so many things to see there that I think you could keep going and going and going.  You’re never going to see it all,” she said. 

According to Carbrey, Irish culture varies by region.  

Dublin is “very international,” she said. “Then if you go to the west of Ireland ... those areas are more rural and they’re actually areas that are still predominantly Gaelic speaking.”

The next Celtic Scenes Tours trip will be in August. Carbrey said they will be doing a loop of the entire country. 

However, Carbrey’s trips and their itineraries vary. She said if travelers who have been on a previous tour are going, she will try to rotate the itinerary so people do not see the same sights each time. 

She blends more well-known sites, such as the Blarney Castle and the Cliffs of Moher, with lesser-known activities, including going to a small farm to see a sheep dog demonstration. 

Carbrey said she likes to mix in activities that “allow them not just to hop on and off the bus, but have time in the towns so they can really talk to people. We don’t go to a particular place for lunch. Everyone is on their own. They can go in, they can have a conversation with people.”

Among her favorite lesser-known attractions is a stone fort in County Donegal known as the Grianán of Aileach. Carbrey said a lot of research was done about that area and she said people who visit can get a good idea of what life was like before the fort was even built, back to about the Iron Age. 

The fort is on top of a mountain.  

“When you’re there and you can climb up to the top of the fort you’re looking out over a valley and if it’s really clear you’re looking towards the north Atlantic,” she said. 

When Carbrey organizes a trip, she starts at least a year in advance. She has a tour guide and a bus company she regularly uses for trips. She organizes a Facebook page for her travelers and she updates the page to answer questions and to post information about the itinerary as she receives the information. The tours often fly out of Philadelphia.

In addition to the public tours, Carbrey also organizes private tours.    

“Since I work with computers by day ... it’s something entirely different,” Carbrey said about the tours. “So even though it seems like a stressful thing, to me, it’s relaxing.”

For more information about Celtic Scenes Tours, visit celticscenetours.com. 

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.