About Solas Ireland

Solas is an Irish (or Gaelic) word meaning ‘light’. The image of a lighthouse represents the beacon or light that guides the way to a safe haven, ‘Ireland’s light’. Solas Ireland is a Japanese-Irish partnership, formed through a mutual love of Ireland’s wild and ancient places. We specialise in eco-tours inspired by the nature and the cultural heritage of Inishowen and the North West of Ireland. We have a passion for what we do, and a desire to share that passion, and the best of the North West, with you!

Let’s meet the Team….

Sharon Porter, Founding Partner

A native of Inishowen, Sharon is an avid traveller and ‘outdoors’ lover. She has travelled extensively: exploring, working and hiking in many parts of the world. Being a ‘local’, Sharon knows where to find many of the Region’s hidden gems. She has been walk leader with the Magee Hill Walking Club (www.hillwalkers.com) since 1993 and is always searching for new destinations and routes. As well as helping to ensure your tour goes smoothly, Sharon is one of our tour consultants for Inishowen and a Regional hiking expert.

Masashi Naito, Founding Partner

Masashi was born in Osaka, Japan. He began his overseas experience in Australia in the early 1990’s before coming to Northern Ireland as a post-graduate student. Although Masashi loves travelling, he considers Ireland his spiritual home and seeks out ‘Irish touches’ wherever he goes. Masashi worked in the financial industry for many years before ‘the pull’ of the Irish landscape enticed him to share his love of Ireland with other travellers. Masashi is our Japanese customer liaison and tour interpreter (Japanese and English) and also manages daily operations at Solas.

Dr Liam Campbell, Tour Development Consultant dr_liam_campbell

Also from Inishowen, Liam grew up in the shadow of Grianán Ailigh, one of Ireland’s most important ancient sites; something that may well have influenced his career path. Liam is an expert in Irish landscape, heritage and cultural identity. For many years he worked as a researcher and producer of ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’, a prime time cultural heritage series shown by national broadcasters, UTV.

Kenneth Mackenzie, Tour Development Consultant kenneth_mackenzie

Kenneth is an archaeologist & medieval scholar. Fluent in German and English, Kenneth has been living in the North West of Ireland for several years where he has developed a passion for Ireland’s Golden Age of Saints and Scholars. His research interests include the origin myths of the peoples of early Britain and Ireland; mystical use of the Sutton Hoo ship-burial; Irish monastic settlements of the North West Atlantic Islands, and the commemoration of Irish saints in the landscape, particularly St Brendan, St Brigit, and St Columba.

Rosemary McClafferty, Approved Local Tour Guide Rosemary McClafferty

A native Irish speaker, Rosemary is from Carrigart situated in the Gaeltacht Peninsula (an Irish speaking area) of Ross Goill, North West Donegal.  A keen hill walker, she is a Fáilte Ireland Approved Local Tour Guide and affiliated with the Association of Approved Tour Guides of Ireland.

 

Martin Monaghan, Approved Local Tour Guide martin_monaghan

Martin is a Fáilte Ireland Approved Local Tour Guide for the North West Region and affiliated with the Association of Approved Tour Guides of Ireland.  A historian and researcher of local interest for many years, Martin has written several articles on various aspects of Irish life and culture.  He has a passion for tour guiding and welcomes the opportunity to share his local insight.

 

Dr Peter Smith, Tour Development Consultant

Peter is a Celtic scholar and folklorist. He began collecting folklore and folksong in the North West of Ireland at the age of 15.  He is a well-known Gaelic singer and has studied and lectured in Old, Middle and Modern Irish in Germany, the United States of America and more recently in Ireland and Norway.

 

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