Coastal Guiding

Coastal Guiding, (6N20280 – QQI Level 6 Special Purpose Award), is aimed at people who are passionate about their environment and exploring its coastal landscape, heritage, culture and ecology with an enthusiasm for getting outdoors and sharing this with others. This course will provide you with the relevant knowledge, skills and competencies to provide a variety of guiding experiences to others in a safe and professional manner in accordance with relevant statutory guidelines.

This Course meets the criteria to be included in the Fáilte Ireland Industry Qualified Tour Guide Directory and the Regional Tour Guide Badge (yellow) is issued to you on successful completion of the course.

Achill VTOS is located in An Corrán, Achill, in the heart of the Gaeltacht, along the Wild Atlantic Way and beside the Great Western Greenway. Achill is an ideal location for this course, it offers an unrivalled diversity of ecosystems, habitats and cultures to explore and learn about. It has a rich maritime culture and heritage, spectacular mountains, beaches, blue ways with regular sightings of cetaceans, basking sharks, seals. Achill has a well-established tourism industry, with a particular focus on ecotourism, flora, fauna and the outdoors.

As part of the course, we also travel to other areas of County Mayo and beyond for field trips, training and guiding opportunities. For example, this year we visited heritage, cultural, ecological and archeological sites, throughout Mayo as well as in Kilmovee, Tulsk, Conemara, Derry, the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway, Derry as well as visiting Clare Island, Inisturk, Inis Gés and Rathlin Island.

Participants can also apply to the Erasmus Programme to travel abroad: accommodation, travel and living expenses covered.

A work placement in a related field will be an integral part of the programme.

Course Content

Module 6N20229 – Irish Tour Guiding

  • Tourism and Tour Guiding.
  • Structure of the Irish Tourism Industry.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of a Tour Guide.
  • Tourist Markets and Digital Marketing
  • Tour Planning
  • Customer Service
  • Communication Skills

Module 6N20230 – National Tour Management

  • Tour Management – administration, scheduling, itineraries, logistics –
  • Group Management and Team Working
  • Health and Safety
  • Communication and Management Skills

6N20257 Coastal and Maritime Ecosystems and Culture

  • Coastal Ecosystems and Habitats
  • Coastal Birds, Fish Species, Marine Mammals, etc
  • Fish Farming and Aquaculture
  • History, Uses and Culture of Traditional Boats
  • Coastal Field Monuments and Lighthouses
  • Human Settlement and Culture
  • Organisations responsible and statutory legislation
  • Roles and Resonsibility of a Guide/Outdoor Leader
  • Sea lore, mythology, sea shanty, ballad, story, legend.
  • Seaweeds and Foraging
  • Logainmeacha – Irish place names
  • Interpreting Maps, Sea Charts and Marine Weather Forecasts
  • Health and Safety Procedures and Policies

For further information on this award go to:


In addition to qualifying as a Coastal Guide, you will also be given the opportunity to gain additional accreditation and skills in other related areas. These include:

  • Lowland Leader Award – Accredited by Mountaineering Ireland
  • Leave no Trace (Awareness and Trainer course)
  • Art
  • First Aid (REC 3)
  • Irish language – TEG and QQI
  • Seaweed Foraging and Harvesting
  • Dark Sky Ambassador Cert
  • Digital Media and Marketing
  • Safety and Health at Work

This course will include classroom-based learning, online learning, as well as regular field trips, site visits, guest speakers and workshops from regulatory bodies, local Agencies/Service providers, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Wild Nephin National Park as well as relevant tour operators and industry experts. It will also include a work placement in a related field.

This course is particularly suited to people in the Outdoor Sector, Ecotourism and Guiding Sector who want to upskill and gain additional qualifications and competencies during their off-peak season. On its completion you will be ideally placed to source employment or self-employment in a number of outdoor education, guiding and tourism related sectors.

Am I eligible?

Achill VTOS provides unemployed adults with the opportunity to return to full-time education while retaining their social welfare entitlements. See for further information.

However, if you are interested in this course and do not fully fit the criteria as outlined above, contact Thérèse, the VTOS Coordinator in Achill, to discuss further. Exceptions can be made, subject to availability and individual circumstances.

• This course is free of charge
• Course Materials are provided.
• Meal and travel allowances are provided.
• Childcare support through the CETS Scheme
• One to one meetings with an Adult Guidance Councillor
• Learners under 26 who move from an age-related reduced rate of Jobseekers Allowance will receive a rate of €208 per week
• Participants can work part-time, at evenings and weekends without loss of benefit.

To apply for this course or to find out more about it, contact Thérèse at [email protected] / 086 703 6033 or make an application online now. It’s that simple and guaranteed you won’t regret it! We look forward to hearing from you … Ag súil go mór éisteacht uait!

Applicants will be contacted once an application is made and interviews will be arranged.

    Subscribe Now