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Sean Quinn

  • Company Website

Guide at a Glance

  • Company

    My Ireland Family Heritage

  • Locations

    Antrim, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Ireland

  • Activities

    Heritage-History Tour, Sightseeing

  • Languages

    English

  • Favorite Trip

    Historic Meath Tour

Guide Bio

Get To Know Ireland Heritage Guide Sean Quinn

Having been involved in tourism for 40 years and with a diploma in Family History which he regularly upgrades, government approved national tour guide, Sean Quinn, started his own company, My Ireland Family Heritage, 10 years ago. Guiding people around family heritage sites and researching their ancestors to give detailed reports, Sean prides himself on finding the exact spot where clients’ ancestors lived and can give them the true facts about the country he loves, Ireland.
How did you get into guiding in Ireland? How did you make the transition to becoming a tour guide?

I love sharing what my country is all about. I have an original fourth century name in the clan system, O’Quinn, and I suppose I like people to see where they fit into our society if they have immigrated. I did a lot of research about 10 years ago on this project. I actually pride myself on finding, and that’s what we look for in this company, the exact spot for somebody when they come back.

Ireland is broken down, like the medieval system, into counties and baronies and unions and churches and then finally townlands, which in Ireland, are not marked, and can be one acre to two thousand acres. So basically, I think I saw a niche about 10 years ago and said that I could be people’s eyes and feet on the ground before they ever got here.

Going back as a young person, I was involved in the hotel industry and that’s something that you either love doing or you don’t. I think as I progressed very quickly, especially when I was working in Dublin Airport, where I was management level with direct responsibility for all the passenger tourists going through, and tourism in general, I very quickly knew I had a feel for what I was doing.

What does a typical tour day look like for you?

A typical tour day would start at approximately 7:30 am and ends when the folks say they’ve had enough. In Fáilte Ireland, we’re always told, “Make sure you do your talking in the first part of the morning because people get tired.” A typical tour day would involve all of the high spots of the area, and if I’m doing a tour, say, of County Meath, which has huge history, I would put 40% more into that tour than all of the tour operators, because they don’t walk the backroads, but I do. And I try to make sure that I can get to places that everybody wants to see, and the day doesn’t usually finish until 8 or 9 pm.

When it comes to a family history itself, we have a lot to cover; the exact townland where the people would have had their house, the church, maybe if I’d met ancestors prior to the visit, a meeting with the people, the local schools and the important things in an area, like hill forts. I try to find them long before people come.

What is the best part of your job?

I suppose the best part of my job is finding the exact area for a client, the exact homestead or family settlement. It’s very easy to say, ‘My family was from Cork’, or ‘They were from the Union of Mallow in Cork,’ but I go further than that. We as a team try to find the exact spot where the homestead would have been and that is probably one of the best things I can do. If I can find exactly where they’re from, and build a history up, I also enjoy meeting them, seeing it through, and seeing their enjoyment when it’s all finished. You’d be surprised, people cry, people laugh.

What’s the most interesting or strangest fact you’ve found out about a client’s family history in Ireland? 

One that sticks in my mind, it was a great one a couple of years ago. At best, you usually get back to the late 1700s in Ireland but I was able to trace these records to 1645 back because they are so good around Londonderry. The most interesting thing about this ancestor and his family was that at a later stage, he became Brigham Young’s (the Latter Day Saints leader) bodyguard as he travelled across America. That is a very true story, it’s on TripAdvisor, and it’s a wonderful story that I was able to take that family back so far.

Ever had any odd requests from clients?

I had a woman one time that was always chasing skeletons in the family. I got her to Lifford, in a courthouse, and as we walked in, there was a skeleton standing there. She said to me, “Sean, I presume this is the nearest I’m going to come to a skeleton in the family history,” and I said, “I have a court record for you down below and you can make up your own mind.” That’s something that sticks in my mind – this woman actually was looking for skeletons, I think because she was doing the history for her husband.

As an experienced guide, can you explain to our readers what the benefits of hiring a guide are?

When you take on a proper registered guide, you get the facts, you don’t get opinions or false information. As part of Fáilte Ireland, you must provide the information as per the facts. Also, if a person asks you a question, if you don’t have the answer, you must come back and give them the answer. When a client has travelled to Ireland, I believe they want to see the exact place where their family has lived, and they need all the facts in relation to that as well, and we do all in our power to find this. We don’t just believe it’s enough to see the church or the county, I think it’s very important to see how the families would have lived. It’s exceedingly important to see the likes of a famine house, the importance of what part the famine played in Ireland and its devastation and to get the facts behind that. 

In your view, what makes a good tour guide?

I think that a good tour guide is again someone who knows the facts, but someone who also cares and has a love of this country, who wants to make sure that everything is prompt and correct for the folks that are here, because after all, they’re on a vacation and it has to be seen as a vacation. I believe that they don’t need to waste time in doing stuff that they don’t like doing.

I love what I do. I love meeting people, as I have always done for 40 years, I love bringing this country and its facts and its heritage to people.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like Explore Ireland and Explore Dublin.

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With more than 30 years experience in the tourism sector, I have a deep love and knowledge for genealogy and Ireland’s history. After hearing from many tourists how they would love to know more about their Irish ancestry, I began the My Ireland Family Heritage group. With even the smallest bit of information of your family, I will find your ancestors’ background and take you on a path to your past. With a diploma in Family History and as a Government Approved National Tour Guide, I enjoy helping people discover their Ireland. My Ireland Family Heritage now gives you the chance to experience this and walk in your ancestors’ footsteps and learn the history that is unique to you.

Before your trip to Ireland begins, a member of our team will discuss your desire to uncover your family’s background and gather any information from you. That’s when your journey to the past begins. We begin with a visit to your ancestors’ townland to research the local churches, cemeteries, town archives and speak with local people that may have information on your family. All research is verified by a professional qualified genealogist. During this process, your team member consistently communicates all found information with you so you are part of the journey.

Once we have collected the information, I will await your arrival to help you see first-hand your Irish roots.

Sean Quinn's Reviews

  • Bobbie Quilty-Kahn
    Reply

    What an incredible thrill it was to meet Sean Quinn and his team at My Ireland Heritage this past September 2016. A family run business with incredible integrity and heart. I am so grateful I had the God-given-good-senses to hire Sean to help me research my family history. A decision that I will forever be grateful for.
    I held this dream all my life to trace back my history and that time finally arrived. With that said I knew I had to do it right. That was when I found a mention of Sean Quinn of “My Ireland Heritage Tours” tucked within the pages of Rick Steves travel guide book.
    My family history dates back to the early 1800′s and my Grandmother had traced a family tree to Limerick Ireland. I was curious to learn that nobody in our family had ventured over to Ireland to trace the steps of our ancestors. I just had to finish what my Grandmother started all those years ago. I could only offer Sean minimal information and surprisingly he delivered profound findings. Sean not only researches your history he will physically visit those places before your arrival. He literally ventures all over the country and links together your family history. I was absolutely thrilled to learn that he literally walks his talk. He doesn’t just say I found the graves of your loved ones, he was standing at the foot of those sites. His research is so thorough and relevant and as precise as he can get it, I actually felt like I walked in the shadows of my ancestors. I still pinch myself that I was there. Sean found a living relative and arranged a meeting and what a delightful experience that was. I was beyond grateful that I was met with open arms. Thanks to Sean who made that possible for me I will have my forever connection to my family who still reside in Ireland.
    I was taken to the villages of my ancestors were they were born and met and married. Sean had visited these locations prior to my arrival and researched the area on my behalf what an intensive search. Not just to know the family history but the history of the land as well and what life was like for my family back then. That was priceless!!!!!!
    Sean goes above and beyond your expectations and does so with an exuberance and tirelessness that I admired and deeply appreciated. His passion and joy was only surpassed by his depth of knowledge. While traveling with Sean and Ian there was no shortage of laughs and captivating stories told like only the Irish can do. The knowledge they shared was rich and endless and delivered with such passion. You simply can’t get enough. We found that Sean and Ian were walking talking history books…what a delight they were.
    My highlight was finding the ancestral home that they lived in before emigrating to Canada and the United States in 1846. That simply took my breath away I did not expect that. The land has now reclaimed the old farm and the stone house that once housed my ancestors and their children was now reduced to the haunting reminder of a dark time in our history, that being the potato famine. They left their home to find a better life…
    As I stood inside the walls that they once called home I thanked them for giving the future generations a chance at a better life.
    …I realized then…I am the dream that they dreamed.
    Sean, Aisling, Ian, Pauline…how can I thank you for this realization.
    Your diligence and passion and integrity have contributed to my dream of a lifetime coming true.
    You memorialized my experience in a beautiful book that I can cherish for the rest of my life and my family. I gifted this treasured book to each of my siblings who are just as awestruck with all your findings.
    I am forever grateful for all your efforts and the tireless hours upon hours you put into researching for me…I will call upon you again and I am so pleased to call you friend.

    Hats off to you my friend….well done indeed!!

  • Don C
    Reply

    Our group of five had the pleasure, in July, 2015, of accompanying Sean Quinn on a joyous, fun-filled and, at times, emotional tour of the great island of Ireland. Sean and his group personalized the entire trip around our desire to ‘connect’ with our Irish heritage and to see the great sites of the island.

    We hoped to visit the churches where our great-great grandparents were married and to tour the area where they lived. We were not prepared to see the exact spot on which they farmed. Nor were we prepared to visit locations that establish the long history for our family name on the island and the many off-the-beaten-track trips that allowed us to experience the beauty and culture of our ancestors and the present-day Irish. All these extras were due to the hard work of Sean and his staff.

    We also enjoyed the humor and personality with which Sean greeted us each day and that helped keep the entire day interesting and eventful. I would highly recommend My Ireland Heritage to anyone looking to visit Ireland and wishing to “see” more than just the tourist sites.

  • Denise Galyer
    Reply

    Well what can I say different to the comments above about this awesome experience. Nothing really but to have experienced the love and passion of Sean’s for his country and it’s history was once in a lifetime experience.
    I had recently just discovered that my grandmother on my Dad’s side was born in Ireland, my dad was one of 15 and he died 38 years ago so my frustration of not being able to find out much was high. One day while surfing the net I came across a website “My Heritage Tours” and because we were considering a trip from down under (New Zealand) thought I would give them a whirl. Well that was my first step into a truly amazing experience. From first contact right throughout our tour and heritage day we felt like royalty. They did everything in their power to make our experience about my family. It was truly about me , the research, the pre visits to the area every detail was researched with the utmost care for details. No stone left unturned to get as much details as possible.
    He also found a cousin of mine which was an incredible story in itself. I can’t thank Sean and his family enough for the experience.
    My bound book given to me at the end is a memorial of all the research they did and is something that I treasure deeply.
    While there we also did a day tour of Meath with Sean. He was a real enthusiastic guide, knowledge second to none and was sure to include our 25 year old son in the things we did by keeping the pace up all day so we could visit a site that he practically wanted to see.
    Thank you Sean and your lovely family for being yourself and showing us things that the average tourist doesn’t get a chance to see. Your love of your country and it’s history is second to none. You made us feel so important and privileged to have experienced this with you.
    Memories of a lifetime.

  • Roy D
    Reply

    Planning for our July 2015 trip to Ireland, we had hoped for a good genealogy connection and got MUCH more! Our experience with Sean Quinn and his My Ireland Heritage Team, greatly exceeded our highest expectations! The entire journey was personalized, by planning with Sean and Aishling well in advance. They took time to understand our objectives and interests, then offer options/advice that was assembled into a plan to assure that the wishes of all 5 members of our party would be addressed. Sean was able to orchestrate an experience at our pace, which was to cover about as much as one could, in only 7 days. From the Day of our arrival, it was clear that Sean was well-organized, professional, and able to keep us moving on a pace that let us take everything in. We have never met a man so sincerely passionate about history, his country, and for making this the best-ever experience for his clients. Positive energy, all the time!

    From the genealogy side, Sean did a tremendous amount of research to help connect the missing dots on the who, what, when of our Irish ancestors… all paying off in us being able to see the specific land they worked, the actual churches where the great-greats weddings & baptisms took place and even enabled us to talk to distant cousins who live there still today. But, more than that, Sean was a fountain of knowledge on Irish history (from ancient, to recent), cultural evolution, fair/balanced views of Irish politics, and everything on the natural beauty of Ireland. Facts, figures, and insight rolled off his tongue throughout the experience, enriching the context of all we did. As he had emphasized while planning, it’s much more than just putting together family trees… it’s also about understanding what leads our ancestors to live as they did and make the choices they made, which ultimately led to OUR existence… he was both entertaining and educational. What a wonderful resource!… Without a doubt, Sean could have been a great history professor!

    From a touristy side of things, he got us through all the more-famous sites (castles, cliffs, monasteries, famine ship, etc.), with planning to miss the long lines, but even more impressive was his insight on out-of-the-mainstream places and personal connections that granted us access, even off-hours (original building the Book of Kells was written in; tour of privately owned defense tower; and more).

    We could go on, but suffice to say that Sean, Aisling and Ian made our journey through Ireland among the best possible experiences of our lives. They not only delivered professionally, but throughout the considerable time we’ve spent with them, we’re also happy to call them friends! WELL DONE!

  • Margaret Thurgate
    Reply

    My journey to my ancestral home in Ireland began in June 2014. The purpose of flying to Ireland, a country that is as far away from Australia as one can possibly get, began with a story told to me by my grandmother, and one that I knew that one day I would have to explore for myself to test its validity.
    My grandmother, Margaret Telford, always maintained that her father, John Telford, was a red haired Irishman who came from a small town in Northern Ireland. Nothing so remarkable about this, but she also claimed that my paternal ancestors came from the same small town. My father could never confirm this, but felt that they had migrated to Northern Ireland
    from Scotland. Could this be true? Could, by sheer coincidence, descendants from these neighbouring families have met and married in Australia? My grandmother certainly was convinced.
    ….and this is where I had the very good fortune to come across the services that are offered by Mr Seán Quinn, a genealogist with a passion for his trade. After I had provided Seán with as many details as I possibly could, I arranged to travel to Ireland for a week exploring all the homelands and places of interest to the family history. Seán had already visited our destinations before my arrival, and had organised for me to collect records, meet people and visit the places where my ancestors had lived and worked. Seán was as excited as I was as my story unfolded in often the most unexpected ways, sharing my joy and delight as detail after detail was revealed. Collecting me daily from my hotel we would travel the length of Ireland visiting the places where my ancestors had lived, and revealed the reasons for their emigration to Australia. Was my grandmother correct? Almost. Very close. In Australian terms they would be considered to be living as neighbours – in the terms of the homelands of Ireland they were close, but not the same.
    After a week of remarkable discoveries, including finding the original ancestors who had passed down my own first name to me, Seán provided me with the transfer to the airport, and a collation of all his research presented professionally to me .
    What a week! What a story I now have to pass on to future generations. None of this would not have been possible without Seán Quinn, whose geographical knowledge of his country is only surpassed by his knowledge of the history of Ireland, and his commitment to his clients to research their own cases far beyond what one would expect.

My Ireland Family Heritage

My Ireland Heritage are dedicated to assisting you in your search for your roots and records of your family history of past generations as well as providing you with a once in a life time tour experience to visit your family's homeland and walk in the footsteps of your Irish Ancestors. We will personally guide you on a journey into your past.

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