Course Details

Delivered through a combination of online webinars and field trips, this QQI Level 6 course in tour guiding gives you the opportunity to train and qualify as a tour guide.

Start Date
22nd February 2022
QQI Level 6
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
3 months


Are you interested in becoming a tour guide? The National Tour Guiding Programme is a QQI Level 6 qualification for those who wish to train as a Tourist Guide. This course combines practical tour guiding skills with the theoretical knowledge to enable learners to provide guiding and tour management services for tourists. You will explore the historic, cultural and social aspects of the city and the region. You will learn how to provide a commentary and organise and manage a tour. Practical experience will be gained through a series of simulated guided tours. This course meets the criteria for the Failte Ireland Industry Qualified Tour Guide Directory. The National Tour Guide Badge is issued to successful students upon graduation.

The delivery of this programme is by interactive webinar sessions and online learning allowing you the flexibility to study from a location convenient to you. Webinars are recorded allowing you the opportunity to catch up should you miss a session. As well as webinars you will gain practical experience by attending a number of guided tours with your classmates. There is an easy payment plan designed to make this course affordable for you.  These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

Why should I study this course?

The Tourism industry is one of the largest and ever-changing sectors in the world. It accounts for a third of global services trade and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The industry and employment opportunities available are wide and varied if you like travelling, meeting new people every day or working outdoors.

This programme is ideally suited to a person seeking flexibility with a career where they can choose the times of the year they wish to work. The main tourist season is from March to October however with rising tourist numbers, tour guides can now avail of employment opportunities all year round.

Portobello Institute has been training professionals for the Travel & Tourism sector for over 25 years. Our QQI level 6 award gives you the opportunity to learn from a range of experts. The tutor team are all experienced industry professionals who can offer superior insight into what it takes to gain employment in this exciting industry. Portobello Institute supports students with their efforts to gain employment as tour guides by introducing them to the major tour operators. Many past graduates have been recruited directly from this programme by the main tour operators in Ireland.

“A tour guide takes you to world’s you have always dreamt of visiting."

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completion of this programme you will hold QQI Level 6 Special Purpose Award in Dublin Tourist Guiding.

Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.

What will I study during this Tour Guide – Starts Feb ’22 course?

The primary focus of this programme is to prepare you for employment in the travel and tourism sector. This course is broad based with opportunity to gain an insight into the many facets of the sector from tourism to the operation of an airline, working in a travel agency to being a tour operator are all covered during this programme.

The purpose of this programme is to provide you with the knowledge, skill and competence to work effectively as a tour guide. You will gain a strong understanding of the role and responsibilities of the tourist guide in the context of the Irish tourism industry and develop key skills in customer care and interaction. You will also develop an understanding and appreciation of Irish cultural, built and natural heritage, which is key to your future role as a tour guide.

You will gain the knowledge, skill and competence to manage tours including all travel and transfers within different tour contexts. You will study the principles of tour management and devise commentaries and itineraries for coach and walking tours including a range of different contexts throughout Ireland. You will gain the practical skills needed to manage tours to a professional standard, implementing appropriate administration procedures and demonstrating appropriate safety procedures.

During the course you will complete the following modules;

Module 1 – Irish Tour Guiding (6N20229)

  1. Irish Tourism.
  2. Roles & Responsibilities of the Tour Guide.
  3. Professional Guiding Skills Group Management.
  4. Practical Experience.

Module 2 – Irish Natural Heritage and Culture (6N20231)

  1. Ireland’s Cultural Heritage.
  2. Ireland’s Built Heritage.
  3. Ireland’s Natural Heritage.
  4. Contemporary Ireland.
  5. Principal Tourist Attractions and Activities.
  6. The role of the Tour Guide in promoting sustainable tourism.

Module 3 – National Tour Management (6N20230)

  1. Background knowledge
  2. Tour planning and preparation transfers and arrivals
  3. On Tour hospitality desk operation
  4. The self-employed guide-tour manager

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Joanne Power

You can’t start a lifelong journey without investing in a good map of the world!”

“I never tire of hearing people’s stories about where they are from, where they have been and where they want to go to. For me, travel is the most exciting industry in the world and it is a privilege for me to share my knowledge and experience with students who share this passion.”

“At Portobello Institute we strive to open a whole world of possibilities to learners who want to pursue a career in travel, the airlines or the tourism business.”

About Joanne

I have been a tutor in Portobello Institute for 15 years and I am also programme manager for the Travel and Tourism department. I teach Airline Studies, Customer Service, Travel Agency Service Skills, Tourism Principles and Practice and Personal Development. My own journey in the Travel and Tourism industry has been wide-ranging, working in USIT, Failte Ireland and Aer Lingus. I have held positions in customer service, sales, marketing, recruitment and training. It was while working in Aer Lingus Training and Development that I discovered my true passion for teaching and education. My style of teaching is to engage and motivate each individual, encouraging them to become confident in their own skills and abilities. Classes are fun and involve groupwork, presentations and simulations of real-life scenarios. I want to instil a value in the importance of excellent customer service and I am constantly amazed at how much I learn from my students as we share our stories and experiences. My goal for each of them is to have the courage and self-belief to follow their dreams.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

As programme manager it is so important to me that each learner is fully supported throughout their time in Portobello. Class sizes are small so each tutor can offer individual support with assignments and assessments. We place huge value on getting to know each student individually and we are acutely aware that from time to time they will have personal challenges in their lives. Part of my role as program manager is to support and encourage each student to stay on their learning journey. There are always options available so learners can be assured that the teaching team and I will work through finding a solution to each and every issue.

Why Portobello?

At Portobello we want to help students to achieve their goal of a career in the Travel and Tourism industry – we pride ourselves on creating new experiences for them by visiting tourist attractions such as EPIC, Viking Splash, or The Guinness Storehouse. This also includes trips to Industry Expos, Airports, aircraft simulators and we have informative onsite and offsite guest lectures from industry professionals such as DAA, Aer Lingus, Tour Operators and Tourism organisations. Our tutors are a passionate team of industry professionals who constantly keep us up to date on industry developments. We have established links with many organisations, many of whom employ graduates of Portobello Institute. It is through these links that we have successfully placed students on work experience, internships and in full time-positions. It is always a great joy and personal pleasure to meet a past pupil whether it’s touring around Ireland, checking in at the airport or onboard a fight. We have graduates working with Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Sky Handling, TUI, Club Travel, Fáilte Ireland, The Travel Department, Guinness Storehouse and the OPW.


  • Train the Trainer QQI
  • Higher Certificate in Travel and Tourism DIT
  • Advanced Diploma IATA/UFTA

Research / Industry Participation:

  • Involved in Programme validation projects in Portobello
  • Worked on several customer experience projects in Aer Lingus






Personal Academic Tutor

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.

This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.

Jonathan Meakin

Position: Tour Guide Lecturer

“I thoroughly enjoy teaching the Tour Guiding course; I continue to meet interesting and enthusiastic students.  Even though I teach the same curriculum over and over, it always amazes me how each class has a different approach to the material, making it fresh and interesting. My advice to students taking this course would be to wear a comfortable pair of shoes!”

About Jonathan

For the last three years I have delivered the part time Tour Guiding course in Portobello. I have spent the last 25 years in the Irish ICT Industry, mainly as a class based and online trainer, helping people use computers, software and resolving issues. This has included delivering training in customer service skills and career guidance.  I’ve also spent several years as a tour guide in Dublin city centre, creating and delivering my own tours.  Additionally, I have an MA in International Relations.

Jonathan’s Teaching Philosophy 

With my extensive training background, customer handling skills and hands on tour guiding experience, I deliver entertaining, informative and student focused classes.

My approach to teaching is to involve the students as much as possible, for them to leave a class with more knowledge than they started with.  My classes are not a passive experience, for someone to learn, they have to do!

The tour guiding class involves students researching and delivering their own presentations to their fellow students both in the classroom and out and about.

We go to numerous sites, both inside and outside, around Dublin City centre, with the students practicing the guiding skills they learn in class.

Students also have to deliver a portfolio of work, using my academic experience I am able to provide direction on written content, format and presentation.

The main attributes that students have acquired when they complete the course include the need to understand topics thoroughly, the need to practice, practice, practice their tour scripts and to approach their careers with professionalism.


  • Train the Trainer.
  • QQI Level 6 Tour Guide Certificate.
  • BA (Hons) History and Politics.
  • MA International Relations.

Industry Participation

  • Conducted my own tours.

How will I learn?

Delivery Mode

This course has been specifically re-designed for delivery by online learning with live interactive webinar sessions. It is very suited to you if you have a busy work and home life and want to fit study around this. During the induction, you will be given your log-in details to the online portal, “ePortobello”. Here you will find course notes, reading lists, articles of interest and assessment guidelines. The content is structured in an easy to “find and follow” format. You will need basic computer skills such as searching the internet and typing a word document. The webinars are scheduled two evenings a week on the same evening to give structure to your learning journey and encourage you to continue to progress through the programme.

Alongside webinars there are also 5 weekend dates (either Saturday or Sunday) where students participate in practical tour guiding sessions to gain experience delivering and managing a tour.

Course Structure

Webinars take place two evenings a week for the duration of the course. Webinars are recorded and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to. There are also six sessions that take place on a Saturday. These sessions are for field trips.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed e-learning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question of the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with “break-out rooms” where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the “classroom”. Webinars are recorded during each session and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to.

Tutor Support

You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion.  This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced sports therapy practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.

Field Trips

There are five tour guiding sessions in all.

The first is often a common tour delivered in a common area such as a walking tour of your closest major city. It will go through the main sites along a planned route and will give you the how and why a route such as that was selected.

The second might be a lesser known tour in the event that your regular route is cut off by unforeseen circumstances (city roadwork) or a foreseen but unavoidable situation (a parade).

The third may go through guiding a tour indoors and the differences required in how you port yourself in a museum-like setting.

The fourth and the fifth will bring you on a coach tour outside of your regular area and go through not only delivering a tour on a coach, but also keeping groups together, giving strict deadlines for return, meeting points, etc. The fifth tour will repeat much of the fourth, by design, since the role itself will require repeating the same information many times over. It is also important to reinforce this type of tour since it is by far the most common.

Course Schedule

This course runs from 22/02/2022 – 11/05/2022

Webinars take place Tuesday & Wednesday evenings, 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

There are also six Saturday sessions which will be used to deliver virtual tours (and Dublin field trips if covid-19 restrictions allow). Saturday classes run from 9am – 2pm.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Career prospects

The role of a Tour Guide

  • Manage the experience in a positive and safe manner with control over important aspects of the tour and put redundancy plans in place.
  • Inform through storytelling and tactile involvement in what should be an honest but favourable picture of the country/area.
  • Entertain your guests and leave them with a memorable and enjoyable experience they will share with others.
  • Safety is paramount so keep it in mind throughout your planning and the execution of your tour.

Speak to an expert

Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to other programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.

It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.

How do I apply?

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.


Without a Leaving Certificate

There are no previous academic requirements however good communication skills and a genuine interest in people are needed to be a successful tour guide.

Fees & Payment Options


Course Price

Per academic year.


Full Payment

Total amount payable.


Easy Payment Plan

Deposit of 30% on booking. Balance to be paid in 2 instalments due on the 1st of the month commencing the month after the course starts. Protection for Learner insurance is included in the Easy Payment Plan.

Deposit + 2 Instalments

Deposit payment (€658.20), followed by 2 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €195.00.

  • €767.90 due on 1st March 2022.
  • €767.90 due on 1st April 2022.