Our Company

Our Company

Irish Byways Tours have a flow of their own…

Irish Byways LLC was born on the Irish soil, recognizing the need for a unique and highly personal exploration of remote and rich landscape of early history and mythology in Ireland. The tours are planned with brilliant guides who take you via professional bus and ferryboats to sites of national significance and also to sites well hidden and known to be guarded by the fairies.

Each tour has a flow of its own, designed to allow for a more relaxed pace mostly off-the-bus and onto the land. Ample time is given to create your own journey within the larger journey.

We value eco-tourism by supporting Brigits Garden and planting trees in the west of Ireland.

IRISH MUSIC: We take extraordinary steps for you to hear the best of local music talent…most internationally acclaimed. Recognizing that most music in local pubs begins after 10 pm, we arrange for five festive evenings  beginning with dining together about 6 pm and followed with performances by Irish musicians.

Whichever traveler you are, we understand that this is your tour as much as it is ours. We look forward to sharing the very best of Irish Byways with you.


Carolyn Germaine and Randy

Carolyn Germaine and Randy Ryder, 2017

Tour Owner/Managers

In 2004, with Dave Hogan,  “Landscape & Lore, Music & Myth” , the first Irish Byways tour was born on the Irish soil.

Carolyn, M.A., CPCC,  With her training in spiritual guidance through The Shalem Institute and decades of involvement in environmental issues she blends her passion for the Earth, her love of poetry, and playing the Irish Whistle into the tours.

Randall, Ph.D is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he served as a campus administrator and education professor for three decades. He is currently writing a book of poetry expressing the relationship between the natural landscape of Ireland and its inhabitants.

Randy and Carolyn look forward to hearing from you!


Marketing Manager

Richard (Dick) Rettke

Entrepreneur, Humorist, Thespian, Speaker, Poet, Reader, Blogger, Former Caregiver, Technology Savvy, ‘Apple guy’ with some Windows knowledge for good measure.

Owner of Rettke Resources, a multifaceted entrepreneurial adventure. I also am the Marketing Manager for Irish Byways, Provide business support services for International Leadership Development Global, am active in my Church, am active with 2 Parkinson’s Support Groups and the Wisconsin Parkinson Association, am developing a Blog for caregivers, and drive the bar scene with Uber & Lyft.

I first traveled with Irish Byways in 2005, along with the love of my life, my wife Barbara, and my mother-in-law. We found it to be an absolutely awesome experience, enjoyed it immensely, made great friends and fulfilled some life long dreams.

I was honored when Carolyn called me to see if I would take on the task of Marketing Manager for Irish Byways, most specifically dealing with the web and social networks. So, here I am.


POEM – Randall J. Ryder, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus – September 2018

I’m on a pilgrimage to the otherworld.
Seeking to gather strength from the memories
Of those I have lost
Those who have been lessened by
An affliction.

I know not what I will discover
I know not how long I journey
Or what resources I need to get
To my destination.

The soft lights that have shown me
The way in the past
Have been muted
And new lights seem to be
scarce and of a different intensity
It is difficult to find my way

For now, I need to rest
I need to close my eyes and image
the comfort of
being able to draw from
the past
Using the light from within to imagine
The path before me

I will survive although my soul has lost so
much of what feeds it
And it is beginning to feel hollow
It feels so fractured
I don’t like the pieces
I want to feel whole

Indeed, I will now rest
And gather my energy
Gather my faith
that the pilgrimage
ends with peace
ends with a realization
I have had a good journey.

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