We had a very special guest out on tour with us this week. Andrew Meador was our second guest ever when we started the tours back in 2013. This weekend he came back for a second trip with Donzo to see what’s changed in the last ten years.

Andrew got in touch with me in November 2022. He wrote:

Way back in May of 2013, I was one of your first tour guests ever…Paul and Mark did an incredible job (we were the only two guests) and I’ve always recalled that fondly. Fast forward ten years, and I’m looking to come back to Belfast, in August and September of 2023. I want to be able to take a tour with Mark and Paul again, and was wondering if there were days of the week that they normally did their tour. It would be an absolute highlight and pleasure to reconnect and see how the tour and city have changed over the past decade. Please let me know!
Now I knew that Andrew wasn’t our very first guest. That was a fireman called Dave, and the entire tour was conducted in pouring rain, so it was very memorable. But I looked back through my diary and it turned out that Andrew was our second guest. Donzo and I had taken him out on the tour and pointed him in the direction of a good Indian restaurant afterwards. I think it was Mumbai 27, which is still going strong after ten years too! So I comped Andrew a few tickets for our History of Terror Tour in the spirit of Northern Ireland hospitality (and because I wanted to hear how he thought the tour had changed!). I got this lovely reply:
You and Paul have definitely been more than generous to me, as the first tour was just amazing to step into and live the history with the both of you – from learning how to say the 8th letter of the alphabet, to all the random people who’d stop and say hello to you on the streets, it was an amazing time. I even remember trying this Indian place one of you suggested, and that’s the moment when I learned that chicken tikka masala in the UK is generally made with coconut milk and sugar, rather than heavy cream like here in the States.
Well of course we are always happy to help with food recommendations. But more to the point, I was amazed at the impression we had clearly made on Andrew all those years ago. It really was just the two of us back then – no website, no logo, no headsets. We literally got a load of leaflets printed, put them in hotels and handed them out to passers by. Then we just sat outside Belfast City Hall and hoped for the best. Anyway, Donzo took Andrew out on the tour and straight afterwards he left us a glowing review on Google:

I came to this tour as they started operations in 2013, and I loved it so much I just came back for a second tour! Paul was a wonderful guide both times, and clearly very memorable. The knowledge he has for the history of the Troubles, the amazing conciliatory and neutral tone he is able to project, and his passion clearly shows through. Not only are the sites visited on this tour incredibly interesting, they intersperse this with pictures and personal history as well.

I am so happy that the scrappy little tour I saw ten years ago has evolved into a full, amazing operation. I look forward to what the next ten years brings for DC Tours!

It means a lot to us that one of our first guests found the experience so memorable that he wanted to come back and do it all again ten years later. And even better, that he got every bit as much from it this time around.
Andrew sent me a few pics he took on the tour too, explaining that he was not on social media but that he was happy for us to use the photos and any of his comments. He added:
Mark – I wanted to add to my review and say that, after ten years, this was STILL the most memorable part about Belfast for me. The tour is still absolutely amazing, and you all have in fact improved upon those beginnings. I’m amazed you looked and found we were the SECOND group you ever had. I’m just so happy to have been on the ground floor of such an amazing tour. I hope the next ten years are just as wonderful for DC Tours!
Thank you Andrew, we hope so too.