Mark Stapleton – Tour Guide Qualification ‘Instrumental’ in Securing Role at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Tour Guide


Mark Stapleton spent most of his career working in financial services but he always had a passion for history.

He recently completed a BA in Archaeology and Greek and Roman History followed by a master’s in Classics and felt that taking a course in Tour Guiding was a logical step as he wanted to develop his storytelling and tour guiding skills.

He is now working seasonally with the Office of Public Works (OPW) a role he has secured thanks to his qualifications.

“My current role is a seasonal Tour Guide with the OPW from May to November which suits me ideally as I have other commitments outside of that. Currently, I am a Tour Guide at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham which is an incredibly interesting and diverse site.

“My role involves bringing people on guided tours of the grounds and museum and generally giving them a greater appreciation of the area which is just across the road from Kilmainham Gaol.

“The National Tour Guiding qualification was instrumental in me securing my current role. My previous qualifications had all been in financial services up until 2019,” he said.

Mark chose to study at Portobello Institute to help follow his passion.

Portobello Institute had an excellent reputation and was well known for providing top tour guides. Even though my background was advising clients on investments and retirement planning I was always reading history books on Ireland and ancient civilizations.

The course content was really interesting and varied, it was delivered at the right pace by our lecturer Jim Dempsey who is very experienced, personable and a man who operates at the top of his game.

“He was also able to give us great advice on storytelling and how to deliver a great tour. We were encouraged to role-play and ask questions and use the previous experiences that we had gained in our previous careers. Jim was always available to us if we needed course guidance or support.

“It was really enjoyable, there was a great bunch of people on the course from varied backgrounds, we all got along really well and had great fun during the course,” he said. 

Mark says he would highly recommend Portobello Institute and the Tour Guide course.

I would certainly recommend Portobello due to the quality of the webinars and the course content which had the right balance between theory and scenario-based learning. We also had great craic on field trips which were really well organised. The course also gave me a greater knowledge of my own city which was hugely beneficial to me. 

“I found it an excellent course which was delivered at the correct pace with really informative lectures. I can say that the course gave me a deeper understanding of Irish history and a greater appreciation for my country and where it stands on the world stage,” he said. 

Describing his career now, Mark enjoys how each day is different.

No day is the same, most days we have set tours at certain times during the day and outside those times are usually taken up with showing guests around the museum or gardens both of which the Royal Hospital is famous for. 

I feel that my previous career was of huge benefit to me as I was used to speaking in front of groups and doing presentations. My interest in history and talking with different people from diverse backgrounds is also an advantage to me in the role,” he said.

Get in Contact

If you are interested in any of our Travel & Tourism degrees or courses, you can check out our department page.

If you are interested in choosing the course for the career you want, you can book a consultation call with our expert Travel & Tourism advisor Brandon McLean here, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0035.

Mark Stapleton – Tour Guide Qualification ‘Instrumental’ in Securing Role at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham Mark Stapleton – Tour Guide Qualification ‘Instrumental’ in Securing Role at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham