The story of Celtic Private Tours
The acorn of what would grow into Celtic Private Tours was planted back in a small semi-detached house in Scotland on Christmas Eve almost 35 years ago.
Growing up as a young boy in the South Side of Glasgow I always looked forward to hearing stories of my Great Uncle Martin’s life in America. Each Sunday when we visited my grandmother I would always ask if she had heard from Martin that week and if there were any new tales to relay about his exciting life in Brooklyn funded by the proceeds of his career in the somewhat legally complicated area of professional gambling!
Aside from the legend of Martin ‘the outlaw gambler,’ the only ‘facts’ I knew of the man were that he never joined the rest of my family when they emigrated from Donegal in Ireland over to Scotland. In 1940, although the Republic of Ireland remained neutral during the war, he had volunteered to fight the Germans. However, instead of returning home in 1945, he instead elected to jump ship and stow away to America. Of course, I had never actually seen my great Uncle in real life, the tales of his exploits mostly lived through my seven year old imagination, that is, until that Christmas Eve 35 years ago.
My father answered the door bell to find Martin standing there in the crisp December night. It was now 1984 and the figure who entered the house was significantly older than I had imagined him to be (he must have been in his mid 60’s by this point). However his broad Irish accent had remained unaltered from his time in the States. My Sister and I gathered at his feet while he sat on the sofa and we began asking the thousands of questions we had stored in our heads over the years, “Have you been to Hollywood?”... “Have you ever seen Michael Jackson?”... “Do kids get Coca-Cola in school over there?”
Martin was only here for a few hours before he had to dash off again, and sadly that was the first and last time I’d ever meet him in person, but before he left he gave both my sister and I Christmas presents he had brought over from America. I tore the wrapping off mine to reveal the most beautiful black Cadillac replica car I had ever set eyes on. Long after I grew out of playing with my toy cars that Cadillac remained, taking pride of place on my bookshelf.
I credit that gift along with the exotic tales of Great Uncle Martin’s American adventures with my desire to form my own driver-guided tours company - specialising in providing tours that reveal the genuine and authentic side of Ireland and Scotland to our American clients.
Fast forward 35 years and Celtic Private Tours has a fleet of luxury cars and a selection of highly experienced chauffeurs and local guides ready to make sure that the history, tradition, local intricacies and charm of our two wonderful nations are explained to you as you travel through the fascinating cities and awe-inspiring natural beauty that our countries are so justifiably famous for, as you experience the Irish and Scottish guided vacation of a lifetime.
Who knows, maybe on your tour you will pick up a gift for a young relative that could spark their imagination for generations to come!