Approved Tourist Guides of Ireland

10 Things to Know About ATGI, Approved Tourist Guides of Ireland

1. What year was ATGI established, and where is the headquarters?

ATGI was initially known as FIGI, Federation of Irish Guides Interest when it was founded in 1977. It later became AATGI and is now known and recognized as ATGI, Approved Tourist Guides Ireland. We are a nationwide Organisation and do not hold a headquarter or offices.

Guiding under all Weathers! © ATGI

2. What is the primary mission/goal of the ATGI?

ATGI was founded to protect the interests of Tourist Guides in Ireland. The founding members envisioned a membership organisation that promotes Training and represents the profession of Tourist guiding within the tourism industry and authority. It was their vision and the tireless efforts over the last 40 years that ensured that guides today have better working conditions and are a vital part of the Irish tourism landscape.

Further education, lectures, outings and other educational events are provided to our members in order to ensure continuous professional development (CPD). Insurance cover is a provided to all our members who are qualified and approved by the authority.

3. How does someone become a qualified tourist guide in Ireland?

Unfortunately, Tourist Guiding is not a regulated profession in Ireland and training is not compulsory, however ATGI only accepts members who have a completed a training course and gained the National or Local set by the state authority.

Prior to 2015 members had to take the 6-month course set by our tourism authority. Since 2015 the Educational training boards and several private educational institutes provide these training courses in either National or Regional levels. These courses usually run during winter and are a mix of theory and practical outings. All trainees must pass an exam in order to get a diploma. ATGI will only accept members who have achieved this qualification.

Did you know guides went potholing? © ATGI

4. After becoming qualified, what are some of the professional development classes that guides typically take in Ireland to enhance their knowledge and skills?

Our organisation offers a range of outings and event that our members can attend, most of them at no extra cost and included in the annual membership fee.

For example, in the past 12 months as part of our CPD we arranged a digital media skill demonstration; we visited new tourist attractions; had a communication workshop; and a lecture about the Irish economy.

Following recent political developments we had a Brexit themed familiarisation trip along the Irish boarder and into Northern Ireland.

All our qualified guides and members are keen to add new skills to their portfolio.

5. Is there an official badge that qualified tourist guides in Ireland? Also, is there an official badge that qualified tourist guides in Ireland wear?

We have National Badges and local badges in Ireland. Below are the badges currently in use, however these are being re-designed and will look different in the future.

6. How many qualified tourist guides are members of ATGI, and what are their diverse backgrounds? Also, how many languages do they guide in, and do they specialize in themed tours?

We have 457 members currently and all members are are fully qualified. Between us, we speak over 20 languages and coming from all continents from all walks of life. We have a wide range of ages, from 25 to 75 but what we all share is our love for Ireland and the passion for our profession.

Many of our guides have branched out and offer hiking tours, whiskey tours, Game of Thrones or movie set tours, Food tours, Genealogy, Arts and everything in between.

7. What are some of the top reasons for using a qualified tourist guide in Ireland?

All our guides are fully qualified and insured.

Our guides have not only the knowledge but are also up to date with new developments, trained in all aspects of guiding and will make your visit in Ireland memorable and special.

We take our responsibilities to our visitors, tourism partners, providers and environment very seriously.

We are trained and follow CPD programmes so we can take the stress out of our clients’ holidays, they can relax and enjoy a unique experience in Ireland.

Training day for Irish guides © ATGI

8. What are some of the popular places to visit in Ireland?

There are stunning places and world-famous culture on offer in Ireland.

The Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest coastal drive, offers endless opportunities to enjoy the dramatic coastline from Malin Head in the North, to Mizen head on the most southern point of Ireland.

Stargazing on Achill Island or the Kerry Coast, two UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites, and designated Dark Sky Reserves.

The Skellig Island, a retreat for Early Christian monks, with its unique architecture and heritage, attracts modern visitors and Star Wars Stormtroopers alike.

Cycling along the Copper Coast in the South or enjoying a walk through Dublin, following in the footsteps of our famous writers such as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett.

Or if you want to take it easy get off the beaten track and explore into the hidden heartlands. Whatever you do, Ireland will surprise and inspire you. Our guides are the key to unlocking all the secret sites. We have a guide for every need and interest.

9. What are some general tips you would give to potential visitors planning a vacation to Ireland?

Plan your holiday outside the peak season, June – August are the busiest months.

Less is more, don’t take day trip from Dublin to the other side of the country, you will spend most of the day sitting in a coach. Stay in one area and explore the local region.

If you require transport, ensure that you have a licenced Driver Guide who holds a valid transportation licence called SPSV (small public service vehicle licence). Make sure the vehicle is also officially registered.

Do not support unlicensed guides - always use professionals to plan your trip and guided tours. Professional service can never be free and “free” service often comes with a high price for others.

Indulge in our local produce and enjoy the variety of food and drink. Avoid the big chain restaurants and see what your local pub has on offer.

If you are going to Northern Ireland, make sure you have the correct currency which is Sterling.

Bring a travel adaptor for your electric appliances.

Book a qualified guide, you can find them here

10. Where can potential visitors to Ireland find out more information about ATGI and find a qualified tourist guide?

Our website has all the information you need.

By using you can search the database of our 457 guides using criteria such as locality or language; skills or interests; guides with a valid transport licence.