Our Annual Lookback Post with a Twist…
We’ve said it before, and you’ve heard it A LOT. It’s been a wild, wild ride of a year. One we didn’t see coming, yet one we’ll remember for a looong time. This year has tested us, upset us, made us angry and almost ended us! But here at VTT we’re tenacious and we adapted. We had to remember to stay positive, remind ourselves that we’re all in this together and know that one day it will all be behind us and we’ll be back to doing what we do best – making tea and sharing stories,
And so to end this year on a high and to remind ourselves of funny, brilliant, heartwarming and laugh out loud moments we’ve decided to do a look back post on our last 4 years as a business. 2020 did have its highs of course, but it was our wonderful customers and their kind words, brilliant pictures and memories that got us though the lows. So this post? This post is for them! We hope you enjoy!
One of our favourite moments on board (and one where we had to reach for tissues) was down in Cork in July 2019. On board we had a secret to share. We had received a letter for our guests Sarah and her mother who were coming on board with us. The letter was from their sister and daughter Lydia who’s living in Calgary, Canada. She had BIG news to share and allowed us to be a part of it. Truly one of the most beautiful moments we’ve ever had on board and one we were honoured to be a part if.
Take a look at the video by clicking here.
Another beautiful moment we had down in Cork that makes us smile every time we think of it was when we paid a visit to Cramer’s Court Nursing Home in Feb 2020. We took the residents and some staff out for a drive out to Kinsale. For once on board we weren’t the storytellers, instead the residents shared their stories of their lives while we sat transfixed laughing, listening and sometimes crying. From stories of runaways, to finding love in the army, from tips and advice on life to sing songs it was a trip we’ll always remember. One resident took quite the shine to our driver and had us in stitches! Something she said on board always has stayed with us “Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo arís” – “May we be alive this time next year”. Fingers crossed we’ll take a trip to Kinsale again in the new year.
Laugh Out Loud Moments
We have many different tour groups from all over the world come on board with us. One memorable group was a from Indonesia. They came on board late after missed and delayed flights. We fired up the kettle to have tea and coffee on ready and waiting. However, not s stitch of jet lag was to be found. Instead they were selfie ready and we felt like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian with the amount of selfies we took with them. We even FaceTimes their families back home to say hello and show the bus!
This was their first glimpse of Dublin and we were ready to share our knowledge of Georgian Dublin, O’Connell Street and answer any questions they may have on our culture. The questions they had? Who was our favourite member of Boyzone? Why did Brian McFadden leave Westlife? Had we ever been to a Boyzone or Westlife concert? Etc., etc. Who knew our Irish boybands were so popular in Indonesia! We had such a laugh singing our favourite boyband songs with them! I know that if I had just come off a delayed 18-hour flight the last song I’d want to hear on repeat would be World of Our Own! But I suppose that’s the magic of tea and chats – worries are soon forgotten!
We’ve had groups of ladies on board and let me tell you the raucous laughter heard from these is like no other. From hen parties, to reunions, to birthdays we’ve seen (and heard) it all. Sure, just last week someone asked if their birthday surprise would be our Santa doing a little strip tease! Don’t worry – there were no children on board. One that always sticks out though involves a lost lemon drizzle. There were four Dubs on board laughing, singing and probably would have been up dancing if it was allowed!! Anyway, we got to a stop on O’Connell Bridge and who stops right beside us – The Dublin Fire brigade. The windows on our bus are finnicky enough even for us when using them but my God I have never seen them opened so quick. They were straight away winking, waving and flirting with the firemen who kept pointing at the tasty treats! Well, out flew a lemon drizzle that unfortunately ended up squished on O’Connell Bridge. Brilliant ladies but definitely need to work on their aim!
A tour with us is a unique experience, I mean, where else in Dublin can you have afternoon tea on board a fully restored 1960s Routemaster bus! But really, it’s our wonderful passengers that truly make each tour memorable a
nd unique. In October 2018 we had the absolute pleasure of having Anna, a bride to be, and her friends on board with us. They are all members of the Edinburgh Phoenix Choir and well… click here and watch.
This was just one type of party on board. Each party especially hen parties are truly unique in their own way. We’ve had hen parties where we’ve played 90s pop from start to finish, where they’ve been so hungover that they drank us out of orange and apple juice and where they were dressed up in everything from vintage clothing, to tutus and neon to animal prints and more. But there’s one hen party that we’ll never forget. In the middle of the tour we were pulled over by a stern looking man in uniform. He hopped on and immediately the bus went silence. We were confused as to what we did wrong until the music started and the dancing began. He wasn’t a guard at all, at all and our poor bus Pauline saw more than she bargained for! You’ll be happy (or sad) to know that we don’t have a photo of the particular unique moment on board so we’ll have to just leave it your imagination!
Weddings are one of our favourite events to host on board. The bus becomes filled with love and joy all geared towards the happy couple. Some couple book us a surprise for their guests and when we turn up the points and confused faces are priceless. It’s truly a unique way to transport your guests.
The tea and cakes are a welcome treat before the day continues on with pints, prosecco and dancing. We are so lucky that we can bring the guests around Dublin, often stopping at places that mean something special to the happy couple. We’ve gone to Howth Head for a picture at the Summit, shown the couples family who were over for the wedding from Brazil around their new town and stopped in Phoenix Park for some beautiful photos under the Autumn leaves. To be asked to be a part of people’s special day is a huge honour for us.
One of our favourite private hires that we’ve now done twice is with the men and women from St. Michael’s House. St Michael’s House provides a range of services for men and women with intellectual disabilities. Vicki Casserly, a South Dublin councillor, came to wave us off and have a chat with the people who benefit from SMH services. At the time she was also Mayor of South Dublin. Her gold collar was adored and was passed on to try around. During the tour we began to take requests for songs and we sang and danced in our seats to ABBA, Queen and of course Irish legend himself, Joe Dolan.
Another exclusive hire was with the ladies of Kenilworth Bowling Club. We did a coastal route with them. Robert our driver had great fun plotting and planning the route so that we took in the beautiful coast around Sandymount. We did what we do best on this trip made tea and had the chats. We learned everything about bowling and they gave is advice on tips on everything from love to travel. We had our eldest ever passenger on board. A 98-year-old lady who insisted on sitting on the up front on the top deck! For the first time in their history, I think they would have allowed a man to join their club – they all took a fine shine to Robert. We had to almost drag him out of the club. He would happily have stayed the whole day chatting away!
One of a Kind Events
Hiring a bus from the 1960s for your event is special in its own right, but one that serves tea and cakes as well? Well that’s just on a whole other level! We’ve been so lucky to host so many amazing events with brands such as FujiFilm, Bollinger, Harvey Norman and Bank of Ireland. We’ve also been asked to be a part of events within Dublin – the highlight was being a part of Pride Parade in June 2019.
We had the absolute pleasure to join the parade with Outhouse Dublin . The love and pride felt from everyone on the streets was immeasurable. We look back on it as one of our favourite days on the bus listening to peoples stories, dancing to Spice Girls and waving out to everyone as we passed through. While we always usually dance in our seats on a moving bus for once we could dance in the aisles as the bus passed slowly through the streets!
Another fantastic event we had the pleasure to host was Aimee Connolly’s launch of her Sculpted by Aimee Custom Palette. Aimee is a make up artist turned business woman who is continually going from strength to strength. Xpose were on board as were a number of influencers and bloggers who giddily tucked into afternoon tea while testing out the new range. Aimee’s skills were put to the test as she performed a demo on board a moving bus. Not a bother to her though – she’s an absolute pro! Pauline, our bus, was decked out in flowers and rose gold arrangements and she’s never looked better!
You Said It Best
Whether there’s 2 people or 32 people on board each tour we strive to put on the best experience every time the key turns in the ignition! When we get beautiful reviews and such kind feedback it honestly makes our day. So while we could talk about our favourite memories on board we wanted to share our guests words and feedback as these make the hard work and bad days all worth it!
We got this beautiful email in December 2020 after we hosted a wedding on board. This was the only wedding we had on board during Covid. There were 23 guests, and it was brilliant to escape lockdown just for a little while –
“I just wanted to say thank you so so SO much for the wonderful time we had on our wedding day on the tour bus! I just wanted to send you a message that you can pass on to your team to say thank you for the amazing job. I can’t remember the names of the people that served us or drove the bus (sorry!) but they all did an absolutely amazing job.
I don’t think anyone in our party had ever been on the bus before and most of them were very apprehensive about the whole thing but everyone afterward told me that they had such a great time. The food was delicious, the selection of drinks was quite astonishing to be honest and the patience of the staff was unreal. I don’t know if you heard about my cousins, but they brought a speaker on the bus, insisted on singing some questionable songs and even shouted down to turn the lights off when they decided to blare Maniac2000 on the way back into Clontarf Castle, a request which was obliged, much to the horror of the photographer!
I will forward on our pictures when we get them from the photographer and I will definitely recommend the bus to everyone I know, for all of their special occasions! I can’t wait to do the tour again and once again, thank you so so much. You and your team are all stars!!” Nadine Foran, Wedding November 2020
Here are a few of our favourite reviews we’ve received. Receiving reviews like this really warm our heart as this is exactly what we strive for with each trip. It’s about everything coming together to create an experience like no other – Afternoon Tea the Irish Way.
While we can’t fit all our favourite memories in we decided to end on a few of our favourite photos. These guests made a real lasting impact on all of us here. Photos include birthday parties, communion parties, Galentines celebrations, wedding anniversaries, charity events, moments with loved ones and of course Pauline and Kitty as the best prop for photos!
And so just like that the year is over. We want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and fantastic New Year. It wasn’t the year any of us had planned. While we ended it on a high with our Santa Experience we cannot wait to get back to our regular schedule in 2021 and making some more brilliant memories. Bookings are now open for 2021 and who knows, you may be featured in our favourite memories in next years lookback post!