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A 7 night 8 day deluxe train, coach and accommodation tour package aimed at the stay-at-home holidaymaker has been launched by Dublin-based Railtours Ireland First Class Limited in association with Iarnród Éireann for an inclusive price of €1,899 per person.
Marketed under the alluring title and imagery of ‘The Emerald Pullman’ – with all of the Oriental Express-like echoes of luxury and exclusivity that its name suggests  - the tour begins and ends in Dublin, taking in all of the mainline ,and other   destinations and the majority of the Ireland’s leading tourist sights and attractions.

A feature of the package is that guests living outside Dublin can shape their plan according to their preference joining the tour in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Belfast, while guests boarding in Dublin can, for example, do segments of the tour, say 2 nights/3 days to Belfast,  from €699 pps.
 Joining forces with Iarnród Éireann, the Railtours ‘Emerald Pullman’ package offers domestic holidaymakers the unique opportunity to experience what they charmingly call an all-island ‘staycation with a difference’. Designed by them as a response to the absence of overseas visitors - and as an even more inviting departure from their normal rail tours offering - it provides what they themselves term: ‘hosted railtours for the independent traveller’.  
Travelling throughout on a fast, comfortable private intercity train exclusively allocated to Emerald Pullman clients – supported by luxury coach sightseeing travel and hotel transfers at each destination – holidaymakers will have a chance to enjoy guaranteed overnight four-star hotel accommodation ( in almost all cases, a short walk from their train) with breakfast provided.
Enjoying a fully-hosted, car free, carefree vacation, and the chance to see much of what our island has to offer, holidaymakers will be transported from Ireland's Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Way, Cliffs of Moher and more, the rugged landscapes of  Connemara and onwards to experience Belfast’s city and the Causeway Coast.
According to Railtours CEO, Jim Deegan: “Reaching into almost every travel destination accessible by road and rail, our tours will depart Dublin on Sundays from Sunday August 9th until Sunday August 23rd inclusive.”  
“Working in association with Iarnród Éireann - with all of the comfort and reassurance that provides - our ’Emerald Pullman’ package offers holidaymakers the chance to sit back, relax and absorb all of the scenic attractions that has made Ireland the top-ranking tourist destination it is” he added.
Respected Irish-owned tour operators with over 22 years experience behind them, Railtours Ireland prides itself on their first-class standard of customer care and on their commitment to offering unparalleled tours of Ireland by rail and luxury coach.
Further details of their Emerald Pullman offering can be had at www.railtoursireland.com <http://www.railtoursireland.com>  .


5 Minutes with........ Patrick Murphy,  The Hardiman General Manager

How long have you worked in hospitality and why did you choose your career?

“Technically” my first job in the industry was at the age of 7 when I used to do the bottle skips and stock the shelves for a small but fantastic pub in Galway, which is still there incidentally and hasn’t changed very much in the past 40 years!  I would go to the farmers market every Saturday morning with Dad (to sell our spuds & veg) and it was just something to keep me entertained.  Payment was always a mineral and a bag of Taytos, which for a 7 year old was just the best thing ever! Loved doing it. 

I chose the career for many reasons; in part because of the buzz you get from it, which is difficult to explain to those not in the industry, there’s a real social aspect to it in that you’re generally working with people that are themselves really social, outgoing and fun, you’re meeting guests staying with you that are there to relax and unwind, and / or have a good time.  There’s obviously a very serious side to the job also in that it is a business and we have to deliver on expectation and service, but it’s fun, fast paced, social and no two days or two guests are the same, especially in The Hardiman which is in the heart of the action in Galway City Centre in Eyre Square


What is your typical workday like from start to finish?

It’s very diverse and busy, generally an early start at 7.30am where I’ll “walk the floor” to review the operation, meet the team and work through any issues that might arise with them.  It can be “hands on” in that if needed when the rush comes that I’ll work in the operation, to serve breakfast in our Gaslight Brasserie, work reception, guest relations, etc.  It’s a great way to meet directly with the guest and also see where the challenges are in the day to day running of the business.  There’s a significant amount of office time required which again is very diverse and involves every aspect of running a business, from reviewing the revenues, costs, contracts, labour costing, forecasting.  It involves working with our Sales and Marketing on our initiatives, promotions & strategies.  It can be in a guest relations capacity when interacting with our guests on future bookings or indeed feedback on previous.  There’s a significant human relations element to the role also, we work with a relatively large team here and although it’s a bit cliché to state it but our business is the hospitality business and it doesn’t work unless the team are aligned with you on it.  It is a business at the end of the day, where decisions are like any other financial based but we’re first and foremost hoteliers and the two have to marry.


What is a favourite memory (or more than one) from your job?
I’ve many great memories and making more all the time, but as I meet my wife Catherine through work and we’ve now three lovely children, I guess it would have to be the day I met her on the ground floor of Choice Hotels Clarion IFSC property, in front of the guest lifts.

For you, what is the best part of your job?
Again a little cliché perhaps but it is genuinely working with the team to deliver an exceptional experience for our guests in The Hardiman, in particular when it’s an improvement in our service or product offering and where you see a member of the team grown and develop as a consequence.


Has anything unusual taken you by surprise at work?
I returned to Ireland relatively recently, after living and working overseas for almost a decade and I’ve personally been surprised by the changes in culture in the approach of the Irish customer.  It’s not a negative, but rather something I’ve personally had to adapt too.  My perception is that there’s certainly a lower tolerance for error and a greater propensity for feedback as a consequence.  It just means we have to be much sharper and continue to look to improve. 


Have you encountered any famous faces over the years?
Many, I’ve worked in some really nice places where we would have had “celebrities” staying but industry decorum is that we are very private and discreet about our guests.

If you didn't work in your current industry, what kind of career would you have?

I’d be a farmer! Well, I’m actually already a farmer when I’m not working in hotels, but regrettably it’s not possible to make a sustainable living now from this industry, unless you’re very big, and the requirement for off farm income is all too real for me and others like me.  It’s a great lifestyle though and it certainly sets you up for life in the hospitality industry.



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