Joe Walsh Tours 50th Anniversary

Lorna Hogg
Senior Times, June/July 2011 Issue
Joe Walsh Tours is an Irish institution – in the best sense. Whether you want to be there for a Papal Visit, or a rugby final, to take an exotic adventure holiday or a quick sun break – who do you check out? Celebrating 50 years in the travel business this year, they have changed the way we see holidays, and reflected and led in the entire travel experience.

Joe Walsh was born and raised in Bangor, Co Down, Northern Ireland, and on leaving school, he worked with the Ulster Transport Authority. On moving to London, he worked with Thomas Cook – and swiftly saw the potential in the growing travel industry. A Dublin move followed, and in 1961, set up his own business – Joe Walsh Tours, in a small office in Nassau Street, with three hard working employees.

From the start his style was evident – a family man, this showed in his management approach, and also in his philosophy and aim for his company. The personal touch was important – and sons Cormac, Barry and David Walsh now run the business. It also showed in his determination to provide affordable holidays out of Ireland at a modest price whilst maintaining close ties with Northern Ireland.

Joe Walsh Tours' success is undoubtedly due to its ability to read and match market demand. As a travel history of the nation – it shows how far we have come from those “affordable packages” in the 1960s. From the start, Joe Walsh Tours catered for the masses and offered a variety of diverse holidays. It innovated the move of Irish tour companies chartering their own aircraft, spotted a great opportunity in the religious market and specialised in travel from dioceses whilst continuing to offer a great selection of escorted tours – plus those sun holidays.

Joe Walsh Tours moved with the times – from the first computerized booking system in Ireland or the UK to worldwide packages. Sports travel – from Heineken Cup and Champions League finals, to rugby play offs and soccer finals became an important part of the business along with cruising holidays and Military and Heritage tours. You didn’t just go on honeymoon with Joe Walsh Tours - you could go away and get married with them as well. Having supplied the family and business market, Joe Walsh Tours focused on the young traveller’s interests, with School and College travel to traditional European cities and tours off the beaten track. Of course, there was also plenty of choice with music and fun tours including Paul Claffey tours and Disneyland Paris packages.

Over the years, Joe Walsh Tours has certainly proved itself to be the best option on group and specialised holidays.

The Way We Travelled…

1961
Holiday charters and packages, to Lourdes, Rome, Spain and Sorrento
1970
Canaries, Cyprus and Greece are added to the list
1973
Computerised booking simplify travellers’ life.
1975
Joe Walsh Tours goes retail - with a base in O’Connell Street
1990
Go east - and west, holidaymakers - as long haul deals offer the Far East and USA
2003
Medjugorje joins the list of available religious trips
2004
Music tours bring in a new market of traveller
2006
Concorde Travel joins the Joe Walsh Tours family
2010
School and College tours add to a new generation’s educational experience
2011
70,000 travellers - holiday makers, pilgrims, business travellers. Online booking now includes clients from USA and the UK.

 





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