Information about Emerald Custom Tours.

Garreth Cooke - Managing Director

Garreth Cooke is well known as a leading travel expert in UK and Ireland. His eye for detail and creativity in planning private tours is second to none. Garreth overseas all aspects of the company he founded in 2004 and is actively involved in all client tour planning.

Before establishing Emerald Elite Group, Garreth spent ten years living and working in Boston for Thomson Reuters as a Key Account Manager. In this role he was responsible for multi million dollar contracts for blue chip companies including IBM, Bank of America, United Technologies, Sprint, Raytheon and Analog Devices. Garreth studied at Dublin Institute of Technology, Boston University and Northeastern University.

Garreth has a keen interest in travel and adventure and is a leader in this field. Planning a trip for clients is a passion and he has a unique ability to understand a clients interests and present a customized trip. Garreth is recognized as top travel agent and destination expert for Ireland, Scotland, Italy, England and Wales.

Sporting interests include golf, soccer, Tae Kwon Do and keeping fit. Garreth plays golf at The Island Golf Club in Dublin.

Valerie Cooke - Director of Sales

Valerie Cooke is a originally from Boston but moved to Ireland in 2003. Valerie is originally from Brookline, MA and studied at Clark University where she also captained the swim team. In 2003 Valerie moved to Ireland and helped setup Emerald Elite in 2004. Before joining Emerald Elite in a full time capacity, Valerie worked in biotechnology. In recent years Valerie completed an MBA from Dublin City University.

Valerie has excellent knowledge of Ireland and the UK and helps create customized tours for our clients.

Emma Quinlan - Director of Client Services

Emma Is responsible for client experiences and ensuring our guests receive the best hospitality available. Prior to joining the team at Emerald Elite Group, Emma spent several years in the entertainment, working with global music artists and high net worth individuals within Motorsport. Working in this environment took Emma around the world opening her to numerous cultures and developing her love of travel and food.

Emma has a love of writing and regularly contributes to National and International Publications, in which time she has become particularly fond of travel writing, in turn giving her a unique ability to “suss out” new and somewhat ‘off the beaten track’ cultural and culinary treasures wherever she goes.

In her spare time Emma teaches mountaineering and often leads groups up the hills here in Ireland and in the UK.

Her hobbies are Yoga, Horse-riding and Mountaineering

Eamon Hegarty - Chief Tour Guide

Eamon Hegarty is the Chief Tour Guide at Emerald Elite and is widely considered as Ireland's best tour guide. Eamon has been with Emerald Elite since 2006 and is highly sought after by our clients. As well as being very versatile to our clients preferences Eamon has an an extraordinary knowledge of Ireland  Sometimes when we get returning visitors it becomes clear that they are not just returning to see another part of Ireland but that they long for another vacation with Eamon as their host.

Peter Byrne - Tour Operations Manager

Peter has worked for Emerald Elite Group in various stints since 2008. He returned earlier in 2017 to a full time role. As well as leading our tours throughout Ireland and Scotland, Peter manages our fleet of vehicles. Peter is an Approved National Guide and prior to entering the hospitality industry Peter was in law enforcement. 

Its fair to say that Peter is one of the most likable characters you will ever encounter and he has all the local knowledge to back up this charm.

Andra Ianco - Reservations Manager

Most of our clients will be fortunate to be in regular contact with Andra as she has the pivotal role of being the 'Minister for attention to detail'. Andra has almost 10 years experience in similar roles within the hospitality industry and tour operations. Andra has worked in London for several years where she was reservations manager with a company specializing in wine tours.

John Sheridan - Tour Guide

John is a proud Dubliner who has been touring Ireland for 25 years. He is a National Approved Guide and well known for his charming tour guiding. With a can do attitude and being easy to get on with it is no wonder John is so popular and requested by returning guests.

Conor Deegan - Client Experience Manager

Conor joined our team in May 2018 after spending several years working as a PGA Professional at several clubs. Conor worked previously in the US in the travel industry and he brings great experience and exemplary customer service management to this role.  

James Johnstone - Chief Tour Host Scotland

Jim is Scotland's most sought after tour host for private chauffeur tours and leads our team of experienced guides based in Scotland. As well as hosting tours (book Jim well in advance) Jim overseas the planning of itineraries for our leisure tours in Scotland. Jim and the Scottish team are all born and bred in Scotland and very passionate about Scottish culture and heritage. Jim has hosted royalty and distinguished guests. What we read in the feedback received on Jim is that he treats all our guests to the the trip of a lifetime.