Milliken Tours Ireland have taken the tour market to new heights with their bespoke experiences that take visitors to well known attractions, alongside lesser known sites and scenery.
Husband and wife team, Seamus and Bridie Milliken, are both qualified tour guides, and as locals they have an intimate, deep knowledge of The Causeway Coastal Route and The Antrim Glens area having lived in the area all their life.
“We were volunteer walk leaders with Glenarm Tourism’s walking group for 20 years and it was always something my husband wanted to pursue full time.” explained Bridie. “We did a level two tour guiding course and established the business in 2016. We both enjoy what we do – showcasing this beautiful part of the world to visitors from further afield.”
With their own vehicle they can escort up to six people, but can also offer a hire service minibus for up to 16 but always with the customer’s needs and wishes in mind.
“When somebody books us, we won’t take anyone else – it’s their own private tour,” explained Seamus. “First thing I always say is ‘it’s your day’ – you tell me when you want to stop or if there’s anything you really want to see or do – then I do my best to make it happen.”
As well as visitors from across the island their reach goes much further.
“A lot of people from North America have connections, especially here in County Antrim,” said Seamus “I’ve had people from the east coast of America – whose ancestors’ families left east Antrim way back in the 1700s and they are now coming back to trace where their family came from.
“They’re really wanting to discover their family’s story here as well as the tourist sights. A lot of people are definitely interested in their Irish and their Ulster-Scots roots.”
Milliken Tours Ireland can also accommodate lone walkers and groups on private guided walking tours.
“We have a great relationship with landowners and farmers with permission to walk on their land in The Antrim Glens, which isn’t normally accessible to the public so we can offer our guests special walks,” said Bridie.
“This adds to the current Ulster Way and Antrim Hills walks available for hikers. And we also follow ‘Leave no Trace’ principles”.
Seamus is a qualified Mountain leader and so is skilled to deal with all emergencies and is also first aid trained.
“We’re proud of where we live and really want to show off the places and things that make it special,” said Bridie. We get so much out of what we do, and we love explaining what life here is really like, covering both the past and present. Seamus is very interested in history and geography and he would have been soaking up knowledge even before we started the tours. You will always find him reading books about the area.”
As the business name suggests, Seamus can pick up guests from across Ireland, whether it is from airports or hotels to make sure that customers get the most out of their experience. Milliken Tours Ireland can also whisk guests away for a few days across the island, whether it’s coasting along the Wild Atlantic Way, or tailoring the route to feel a deeper connection with their Irish heritage.
And, of course as a local he knows the best places to stop for something to eat, a coffee, or maybe even a pint of the black stuff.
Milliken Tours Ireland also carries out a calendar of monthly community guided walks on the third Sunday of each month, organised in association with Glenarm Tourism to various locations from coast to surrounding hills, of different length and duration. Monthly walks are always publicised on Facebook, or locals can pick up the annual leaflet with all guided walks advertised.
Find out more at millikentoursireland.com.