Founder & Director of Connemara Adventure Tours - I have lived the Adventure of our 35 years in existence! Sailing to America for our honeymoon in a 26’ boat, working on an 80’ ocean racing yacht whilst sailing 30,000 miles around the world – all before starting up Killary Adventure Co. in 1980. I have travelled far and wide by boat, bicycle & walking but have yet to find anywhere better to live and work than Connemara.
Having grown up around the Adventure business, we are now joined by our children who have also travelled widely but chosen to return to Ireland to live and work - what better testimony to the power of the Connemara landscape!
Our team look forward to welcoming you to see for yourself, the place where the Wild Atlantic Way meets the Wild Mountains & a warm Irish welcome awaits you.
Founder & Director of Connemara Adventure Tours. The real Adventurer in the company – he has sailed the Atlantic in a 23’ boat, Skippered Ondine around the world, sea kayaked around Cape Horn, sea kayaked in the Islands off Guinea Bisseau, re-enacted Shakleton’s small boat voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia & most recently led a three month sailing, climbing and sea kayaking expedition to Greenland. It is exhausting just listing them all!
Our trips aren’t this hard-adventure but we offer people the chance to explore a more remote part of Europe, knowing they have the comfort of a reliable and well organised backup team.
Manager of Connemara Adventure Tours since 2009 and a native of France, Chloe is the brains, beauty and energy behind our tours! She started her career in Ireland as an outdoor instructor in Killary Adventure Centre as a way of learning English 7 years ago and then she moved to the bright lights of Dublin to work in a “real” job, which quickly had her mind drifting back to the west. She missed the easy, friendly pace of Leenane, the stunning views which are different every morning and the people. So you can imagine her delight when the job as Tours Manager became vacant and she had her chance to move back west. It was a match made in heaven – the small village in the heart of all that staggering beauty and a vibrant, glamorous and very enthusiastic French woman to help sell it!
But the story does not end there. Chloe then managed to fall head over heels in love with a rugged, well-travelled Irish man who was equally passionate about the outdoors and his new-found home in Connemara. They married in Leenane in 2013 and have made a home there and together they help to make Connemara Adventure Tours the amazing and unique experience that it is.
Ciara finished 2nd level education and headed off to explore the world for 4 years visiting Australia, New Zealand, South America, Central America, Africa and Asia. She returned in 2006 to complete a degree in Marketing and Events Management. She then returned to Connemara where she grew up, with her husband, to run the marketing office for Connemara Adventure Tours. Most days she can be found running or cycling the hills of Connemara during her lunch break!
Born and raised in the West of Ireland Shane has been playing in the outdoors since he was born. In between living in New Zealand and Argentina he has fostered a love of wild places. Only sated by various trips across the world in search of out of the way places such as Georgia and the Connemara mountains. The lure of Greenland has bitten him hard after 2013 sailing and kayak expedition, this will only be sated by many more visits to this stunning location.
Conor is the Connemara Adventure Tours bike mechanic, overhauling and servicing the entire fleet of high quality bikes throughout the season. He is also the person who will meet you at the start of your tour, make sure all your equipment is right for you, answer your questions and provide you with much local knowledge and tips for getting the best out of the route you have chosen. He is a vital part of the company and brings all his finest qualities to the role. He is calm and patient and entertaining with that droll Irish humour which will have you at ease as soon as he meets you.
A well-travelled and adventurous person, Conor has spent much of his free time exploring the Connemara area and knows all of the hidden treasures of this magnificent place and what is more he is delighted to share them with you. After experiencing the most spectacular fjords in New Zealand, climbing the highest peaks in South America, biking all the way through America from San Diego to Florida (more than 5500 kms without counting the detours!!), he did not expect to fall in love with a tiny little place in his own country called Leenane. But he did and for that we are all especially grateful. Now married to Chloe he looks forward to welcoming you to his new home!
Lorna was the newest member of the Connemara Adventure Team in 2013. She started out her career in the hotel & restaurant industry but always heard the outdoors calling her. She eventually made her way west to Connemara and became an outdoor instructor at Killary Adventure Centre 8 years ago. She is now a Tours Coordinator.
She has travelled all over the world (even nabbing herself a Chilean husband on her travels) and has learned a huge amount about what people love to enjoy and experience on their travels around Ireland. And by bringing her customer service skills along with her, she goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone has an amazing experience.
She will always greet you with a smile and will be there to answer any queries you may have - ask her anything and she will not give up until she finds the answer! She loves the Emerald Isle and wants everyone to have a once in a life time experience while they are here!
Gabriel joined the tours as Senior Guide in 2012. He is husband of Lorna – yes the one she bumped into on her world travels and brought back with her to Ireland! His background is in the outdoor instructor industry and he has worked back home in Chile as a hiking, rafting, kayaking and fly fishing guide. You might wonder at his willingness to uproot himself and live in a remote part of the west of Ireland but there were a couple of incentives he will tell you. His love for the Irish girl who captured his heart and also the discovery of a country where he felt at home and where he could indulge his passion for adventure and the outdoors were the main ones. Gabriel guides mainly our French and Spanish group tours and has developed an immense knowledge and enthusiasm for the places all around Ireland which he brings them to. Gabriel is one of those people who never gets flustered, is always in good form and willing to help out in any way he can. And if you are looking for a good meal you cannot go wrong – with roots from Italy, Chile and now Ireland, you are always guaranteed a tasty hearty meal!
Just don’t get him talking about fishing or you will never hear the end of it! Sorry Gab...
This is a happy story, a successful story and a positive story which, let's face it, we all really enjoy hearing nowadays. It is the story of a family and a small village and the belief and energy and adventurous spirit which has prevailed amongst them. This is the story of a tour company which is unique for creating the tours they love to do and loving the tours they create.
Connemara Adventure Tours is part of Killary Adventure Company and was created over 30 years ago by Mary and Jamie Young who came on holidays to what was then a very remote part of the west of Ireland, saw the immense beauty of it, and decided to stay. Ireland in the 1980s was in the grip of a recession but this did not stop this adventurous couple. Jamie had participated in the 1976 single-handed race to America and then was joined by Mary when they spent their honeymoon sailing to America in a 26ft boat designed for single-handed sailing. In 1979 they once again took to the water spending a year working on the famous 80ft ocean racing yacht Ondine. There's was a life of travel, adventure and discovery and they brought this huge interest and experience to their new business.
They created a home here in wildest Connemara, they learned how to be self-sufficient and to work with the environment around them in a respectful way. They had 3 children, 2 of which are now working full-time in the business and the third and youngest, Kim is carrying on the family tradition of travelling the world. Ciara is the Marketing Manager for the Killary group of companies while Shane coordinates social media, and is a constant part of all maintenance, outdoor logistics and planning work. Both Ciara and Shane have spent years travelling and experiencing far-flung corners of the world in between college and work. They both agree that this “university of life” has been in many ways as valuable as all of their years of study combined!
The current management team at Connemara Adventure Tours have added their own chapter to this story. Chloe Lefebvre came from France via the city life in Dublin of which she had quickly grown tired, and on her travels she discovered Leenane 5 years ago and she has never left. She took up her position as manager and not only that but she met her future husband and world-travelling companion, Conor Bolger, in Leenane. Their love for the west of Ireland and this tiny village can only be surpassed by their love for each other (and they will both happily tell you that)! Conor who has travelled extensively is now the person who will meet you at the start of your tour, answer all your questions, prepare your equipment and look after your luggage – he is a busy man. Chloe and Conor got married right here in Leenane in 2013 and have made their home here also – for which we are all very glad.
Connemara Adventure Tours, originally named Killary Tours has evolved in many ways over the years as the market has changed and the customer base has shifted. Through further recessions and through the boom years there has been a steady growth and a very positive trajectory associated with the company. This is a story which is far from over!