Created to deliver a real indigenous Irish experience to visitors from around the globe, Chieftain Tours was founded by lifelong friends Brian O’Donnell and Joe Greene.
Born and raised in the Donegal Gaeltacht region of Ranafast, a region where the Irish Celtic language is the spoken first language, Brian and Joe have firmly planted their roots here. Both are fluent Irish and English language speakers.
“We love it here and contentment is wealth” explains Joe. “Being here on the edge of a continent we live in harmony with the mountains and the rolling waves of the wild Atlantic Ocean. Life is just that bit simpler here. People that come all the way to Ireland and that don’t experience the Northern Headlands and the Wild Atlantic Way guided by the inside knowledge of locals, have largely missed out on the real jewel. Chieftain tours was founded on the back of delivering a package to visitors where we can visit the main landmarks that people want to see around the country, but in between we can also explore those secrets and hidden gems on the road less travelled”.
Brought up in the tradition of native Irish hospitality where hundreds of people from all over the world attend the Irish language College in Ranafast annually, both have secured lifelong friends through their respective talents. Both qualified engineers, their real passion is for their homeland. They are both accomplished traditional Irish musicians – and All-Ireland Band Championship winners.
Brian and Joe are dedicated to showcasing Ireland’s proud traditions and rich cultural heritage enshrouded with inspiring histories, spectacular locations, famous music, energetic dancing, haunting song and more.
Brian, a qualified civil engineer, runs the Bus Feda fleet a family-owned coach company founded by his father Feda O’Donnell that has been serving Donegal and beyond for more than 50 years. He has travelled the world, working with many nationalities and experiencing different cultures.
“This is our forte, it’s what we do. Chieftain Tours was forged as an entity to deliver the authentic ‘local’ Irish experience to travellers from throughout the world. We are giving people unique opportunities to experience Ireland’s hidden gems as well as its top attractions. We want people to experience the traditional night time culture as well as to host fantastic day time activities. I suppose we have a real passion for our county and our country and would love the world to see the very best that we have to offer”. continues Brian.
“When visitors book with us, they put their faith and trust in us to make their vacation a memorable one and that’s the reason we always go that extra mile to personalise and tailor to the customers requirements”.
Joe, a qualified product development engineer, can be found regularly playing concert flute, whistle or the accordion in Leo’s Tavern – home of world famous Clannad, Enya and Moya Brennan and often frequented by artists of the calibre of Altan, Phil Coulter, Dervish or Daniel O’Donnell.
“You could find us playing music or speaking with local heroes and famous names in Leo’s Tavern on any given weekend”.
Extracts of Interview by Ian Cullen for Gnofuse 2021