Lough Ree Islands Tour Guide Training Programme

Lough Ree Islands Tour Guide Training Programme



In 2011 the three Local Development Companies with responsibility for the administration of the Rural Development Programme (LEADER) in Counties Westmeath (Westmeath Community Development Ltd), Roscommon (Roscommon Integrated Development Company) and Longford (Longford Community Resources Ltd) commissioned a research project on the islands of Lough Ree. The main islands were surveyed to identify how best their tourism potential could be realised for the benefit of the island owners and their families.

About Lough Ree and the Islands:


Lough Ree “Lake of Kings” is the second largest lake on the Shannon and links the three counties Westmeath, Roscommon and Longford. Lough Ree is a special place for birds and wildlife and is protected through both national legislation and EU designations for both birds and its habitats and wildlife.  The lake contains numerous islands, bays and inlets and is steeped in heritage, history and legend. Notable associations of Lough Ree and the islands include Queen Maeve, the Vikings and St. Ciaran. Although tourism has developed in many areas around the lake with cruising & angling being primary activities for visitors to the area, there has been no significant tourism activity on the islands.

Practically all of the islands are in private ownership and were well inhabited up to the 1950/1960s with farming and specialist fishing for eels being the activities which sustained many of the island families. The evidence of past civilisation accompanied by the history and folklore of the islands together has the capacity to captivate and educate visitors to the islands thus creating a new tourism offering.  The ability to relay the “story of the islands” in a professional manner by knowledgeable personnel will be crucial in creating this new “saleable” tourism offering. Such an offering will not only have economic benefits for island landowners but should also have a positive impact for other tourism providers such as accommodation providers and boat operators in the Lough Ree area. The islands and “peninsular” islands identified as being of particular Heritage, Cultural and Ecclesiastical significance are Inchcleraun (Quaker), Hare, Rindoon and Temple.

The Tour Guide Training Programme

In the context of the above the three companies (WCD, RIDC and LCRL) now wish to engage suitably qualified individuals to co-ordinate and deliver a bespoke Tour Guide Training Programme for the Islands of Lough Ree.  The Training Programme should focus primarily on the islands that have been identified with the most potential ie. Inchcleraun (Quaker), Hare, Rindoon and Temple.

Programme Content:

The Programme should include the following: 

  • Product Knowledge
  • General Information on tourism to include Lough Ree/Athlone and environs.
  • Specific information should relate to the islands &peninsular islands  encompassing the Cultural/Folklore, Historical/Heritage and the Ecclesiastical significance of the islands. Topography/Geography including the specific flora and fauna of the islands, geology and agricultural significance should also be covered).
    • Communication Skills
    • Guiding Skills
    • Boat Handling Skills  
    • Health & Safety/Remote emergency care
    • Familiarising Trips
    • Project Work
    • Assessment


Due to the special status of Lough Ree, experts (National Parks and Wildlife Services) should be engaged to outline potential risk of habitat destruction, potential risk of archaeological damage and possible dangers of wildlife disturbance.           

Participants that have completed this Programme should be in a position to obtain “credits” towards the National Tour Guide Programme. 

Delivery: It is envisaged that this Programme would be delivered over a period of 10 days with approximately 40 hours in total. Delivery may be evenings and/or weekends at times to suit majority of participants. Delivery of expert/local knowledge will be identified by the contracting companies (WCD, RIDC & LCRL).  

No of participants & Selection: 15-18 from Counties Westmeath, Longford and Roscommon to be selected through an application process and interview primarily drawn from island landowners and their families &/or persons nominated by them who would act as tour guides to the islands. Garda vetting may be required of the candidates. 

Outcome: 15-18 trained individuals with the appropriate skills and knowledge that would enable them to act as tour guides on the islands of Lough Ree.

Guidance on Presentation of Tenders 

Tenders should contain the following information:

  1. Details of relevant experience
  2. Demonstrate how the individuals/organisation meets the requirements and including CV’s of individuals who will be involved in the delivery of the contract
  3. Demonstrate how the contract will be managed. This should cover
    • Identification and management of any potential conflicts of interest
    • Professional indemnity insurance
    • Tax Clearance Certificate (valid throughout duration of project)
    • Details of daily rates for everyone expected to be involved in the contract (costs should include travel and any subsistence costs anticipated)
    • Details of any other organization to be used in this contract.


Fees: Proposed budget will not be greater than €20,000.00 inclusive of vat and all expenses related to this contract. 

Award of Contract

1. A selection panel will be established to review the bids received.  Potential deliverers may be requested to attend an interview to discuss their quote.  

2. The contracting companies (WCD, LCRL & RIDC) shall be under no obligation to accept the lowest, or any tender, and tenderers shall submit offers on the basis of so doing at no cost to the contracting companies.


3. Tender value is the final value and cannot be adjusted.


Completed tenders should be submitted to:

Bernie Leavy,

Rural Development Programme,

Westmeath Community Development Ltd.,

Enterprise, Technology and Innovation Centre,

Clonmore Industrial Estate, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Reference: Lough Ree Tour Guide Training Programme

Closing Date for receipt of tenders is:  Friday, 25th January 2013