Myles Courtney – Tour Guide
Myles Courtney is a tour guide based in the town of New Ross County Wexford. A town steeped in 800 years of history. It is strategically located between Waterford City, Wexford Town and Kilkenny City. The town was founded by the William Marshall and his wife Isabella, daughter of Strongbo. Marshall is known in history as the greatest knight. Building New Ross to become one of the busiest ports in Europe at one time. New Ross is a walled town with many historical structures, most notably the imposing St. Marys Church built by William and Isabella perched above the town overlooking the river Barrow.
Myles offers three different tours around New Ross:
- Medieval Tour
- Rebellion Tour
- Kennedy Footsteps Tour
Find out More at his website at: http://history.visitnewross.ie/
1. When did you decide you wanted to become a tour guide? Was there a particular “Aha!” moment?
Shortly after I retired I got involved with a local group that organised the erection of 18 historical plaques and a walking guide map of New Ross. I was tasked with looking after the social media pages which posted daily snippets of historical facts for the town. This involved a lot of research and it wasn’t long afterwards that I was asked by a local school to provide a walking tour for a Transition Year class. I readily accepted and got hooked on the guiding immediately. I had no training but my background was from a marketing environment so it was a matter of selling the “history product” of New Ross to locals and visitors alike. I was lucky enough to secure work with the OPW as a seasonal guide in Ferns Castle where I learned a lot from my fellow more seasoned guides.
2. What makes a great tour group for you?
It becomes quickly obvious if a group is open to learning something about the history of the town or if they just want to have preconceived opinions confirmed. My motto is that we should learn from history not live in it. So a group that displays an open minded approach to the culture of their predecessors who walked the streets of New Ross with their numerous personal concerns, beliefs and obligations is the ideal group for me.
3. What parts of your tour still excite you?
The banter. History and the stories are not all serious. A bit of fun, a bit of craic. In addition it is a poor day when I don’t learn something new myself from tour participants.
4. Every guide brings unique strengths or special interests to their tour. What are yours?
I would hope that my enthusiasm for the history and heritage of New Ross is evident on my tours and also my sense of humour.
5. Where in Ireland do you want to travel that you haven’t gone yet?
I am happy to say that I have visited all 32 counties but I have an affinity for west Cork particularly Gougane Barra and also Connemara/Aran Islands. I plan to revisit ASAP.
6. Here’s what “this tour guide” won’t tell you…but his customers will:
Myles is literally a walking and talking encyclopaedia on this wonderful town which dates back from pre-Middle ages He explains these historic times as you walk with him, and you suddenly realise that you are literally walking in the footsteps of your forefathers… You pick up on the energy of the place!!…
(Stella Purcell Bates)