/  Tour Guides   /  Arran Henderson – Tour Guide

Arran Henderson – Tour Guide

Aran Henderson is a tour guide based in Dublin. Unlocking the exciting stories of Dublin’s past with his Dublin Decoded tours. Specialising in a wide range of different types of history tours. A full look in to specific tours are available on the Dublin Decoded website.

Find tours on Dublin Decoded at:

1. When did you decide you wanted to become a tour guide? Was there a particular “Aha!” moment?

As well as working in the arts, in journalism and the film business,  I often worked as a teacher for many years (a mix of Art History and English language, mostly) and designed museum tours and city tours for a few schools.  Once I was leading tours for schools, I dsicovered a real love for it.  So I wondered “Why not for other people too?”    The rest is history!

2. What makes a great tour group for you?

I reckon there are three ingredients.  First, a fascinating part of the city (there are so many!) full of great buildings, with layers of history and a few hidden, unknown stories. Second, a group that is fully engaged, interested and curious, maybe even, hopefully, with a sense of fun! And finally  a guide who knows the city inside-out, with its complex layers of historyand who can create a sense of energy, curiosity and fun on the tour!

3. What parts of your tour still excite you?

There are so many.  I deliberately run quite a large programme of tours so there’s plenty of variety: things never get stale.
But to give some stand-out highlights, I love discussing religious and mythological symbolism in old master paintings at the National Gallery.  Our guests get a real kick out of that, the way we’re able to make it accessible.
Also, on our walking tours, going around the full circuit of the medieval walls of Dublin is always fantastic.  These walls were begun well over a thousand years ago, by the Vikings,  then rebuilt by the Anglo-Normans in the Medieval period, and were mostly still standing in the late 17th century.  That’s a lot of history!  By the 1400s to 1600s, different towers and gate houses in the walls were sometimes rented by various ancient trade guilds, like the Bakers Guild, who were in Saint Auden’s gate on Cook Street or the Barbers and Surgeons in the Pole Gate, on Werburgh Street. People find these connections fascinating, like a window into another, vanished world.
We are probably best known for the architecture we feature, in nearly all our city walking tours.   We talk a lot about how to read Georgian buildings and Victorian buildings, about their different types and styles and features. We consider it quite an honour that many guests use Dublin Decoded tours to learn more about architectural history.   Including, it has to be said, quite a lot of architects!  But we always keep it highly accessible.  That is the key for us, always.

4. Every guide brings unique strengths or special interests to their tour. What are yours?

Some people work on advertising or marketing their tours. We’ve probably neglected that aspect, to some extent.  We’re more likely to be found at an academic conference or symposium, attending a lecture or researching in one of the great research libraries and archives that Dublin has. Because basically,  we try to be as well informed as we possibly can be, when preparing a tour. When we design and introduce a new tour to our programme, we’ve generally spent a month to eight weeks working on it, and even prior to starting that process, we were probably gathering ideas, materials and images for at least 3 to 4 years before that!

5. Where in Ireland do you want to travel that you haven’t gone yet?

I suspect the midlands are under-appreciated and full of hidden gems.  Dunamase is an incredible site, I haven’t been for over eight years, and am now well overdue for a return visit!  There are also fantastic walks in the Slieve Bloom mountains. In the last 5 years or so my family and I have really started to explore the SouthEast.  I love the architecture of Bagenalstown in County Carlow. The museums of Waterford are remarkable. The Blackwater Valley is incredible, stunning: canoeing down the river is an absolute eye-opener! The historic towns of Youghal and New Ross are also fantastic in my opinion, I’d like to see more of them, and learn more about the entire area. It’s harder these days, with very young kids. When they are older, I’m looking forward to dragging them into museums and historic churches and abbeys. And into a canoe!
Elsewhere in the country, and further west,  I also think both County Sligo and Sligo Town are magical.
Back in the east, Drogheda is full of fantastic buildings, sights and history.


6. Here’s what “this tour guide” won’t tell you…but his customers will:

Build your visit around these tours!

“I recently took a “Georgian Grandeur” tour led by Dublin Decoded’s Arran Henderson. I can’t praise it enough — electronic earphones, perfect for social distancing; fascinating route and places of interest; and best of all, Arran is a dynamic guide and an apparently bottomless well of information. I was impressed that the group seemed to be all Dubliners, and many repeat customers (as a New Yorker, I was the only foreigner.) If I lived in Dublin, I would organize my schedule around Arran’s tours!”
John L. New York City, New York,

Post a Comment

Follow us on