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Secret Street Tours – Discover the Liberties with this unique walking tour led by homeless people

Secret Street Tours Logo
photo credit: personal archive

Secret Street Tours is a non-profit organisation that was set up by Founder Tom Austin in October 2018. The company officially launched on the 3rd of December last year with their first walking tour, which is based in The Liberties area of Dublin. This unique business is led by tour guides who are either currently homeless or have been affected by it in the past.

The idea was adopted after Austin discovered a homeless walking tour in Vienna, and was immediately “intrigued by the concept”. Speaking about the reasoning for starting the company, he said “I thought, given the homelessness crisis that we have in Dublin, it’s just something that we have to bring home.”

Their current tour is led by Liberties resident Derek Maguire, who grew up in the area. “Each tour guide will have their own individual tour based on their own experiences. Derek takes you on a tour of places that are important to him, as well as being important to Dublin.”

The company is partnered with the Dublin Simon Community, who help them to source tour guides. They have two tour guides at the moment, with the second tour set to launch in early April. “Our next tour will be a North Inner City tour, so focusing on the Smithfield area.”

Austin stressed how the guides are very much at liberty to control the route of the tour, “It’s their experience that we’re trying to help them shape, we’re just here to facilitate and give them the skills to express that.”

Speaking about the future of the business, Austin hopes to eventually see the start-up being predominantly led by the guides themselves, “We’re unique because we can give them experience in a lot of different areas that they might not otherwise get. For example, Derek now has excellent presentation skills, and what we’re focusing on for him next is his leadership skills.” Austin added that he hopes to see the “concept expand in the future”.

Secret Street Tours run their current Liberties tour 3 times a week. It is roughly 90 minutes long and costs €10 per person. To book online visit secretstreettours.org/

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