Meet the Team

Garreth Cooke Managing Director

“Epiphanies spring ideas”

Garreth overseas all aspects of the company he founded in 2004 and is actively involved in all client tour planning. Before Emerald Elite, Garreth spent 10 years working in Boston for Thomson Reuters where he was responsible for multi-million dollar contracts for blue chip companies including IBM, Bank of America, United Technologies, Sprint, Raytheon and Analog Devices. Garreth studied at Dublin Institute of Technology, Boston University and Northeastern University. Today, Garreth is well known to be a leading travel expert in the UK and Ireland. His sporting interests include, golf, soccer, Tae Kwon Do and keeping fit. Garreth plays golf at The Island Golf Club in Dublin, one of Ireland's Top 10 courses.

Favorite Quote?  Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.

Favorite Drink?  Red Wine

Favorite Food?  Italian
Valerie Cooke Director

“Work Hard Play Hard”

Originally from Brookline, MA, Valerie studied at Clark University where she captained the swim team! In 2003, Valerie moved to Ireland and helped set up Emerald Elite in 2004. Before joining Emerald Elite in a full time capacity, Valerie worked in biotechnology. In recent years Valerie completed an MBA from Dublin City University. With excellent knowledge of Britain & Ireland, Valerie specializes in extended tours and independent, partially guided trips. Valerie once organised a month long trip for a client! Outside of work, Valerie enjoys walking and playing golf at The Island Golf Club.

Favorite Food?  Caesar Salad

Favorite Drink?  Strong Coffee!

Emma Gerring Director of Client Services

“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the views from the top”

When it comes to career experience, Emma could write a book! Emma spent years in the entertainment industry on and off the stage before working in the planning of lifestyle activities for some high profile people. Having lived in Ireland and the UK, Emma knows these countries like the back of her hand and appreciates the opportunity to showcase our part of the world. Emma teaches yoga, reads certain books over and over and thinks Gherkins are a crime to food! Emma admires people who promote sustainability and has been actively involved with conservation since she was 16.

Favorite Food?  I love sushi!

Favorite Drink?  Tea in the morning, Espresso Martini in the evening.

Favorite Quote?  To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.

Chloe Cooney Account Manager

“One person can make a difference”

Chloe spots everything! Having joined the team in 2019, Chloe’s curious nature combined with her organisational capabilities means that she has incredible attention to detail. With several years experience in the property sector, Chloe excels at client relationship management and is a determined and dedicated team member. Chloe loves the endless opportunities that come from working with Emerald Elite, and outside of work, seeks to explore new horizons whenever she can.

Top spot? Orkney Isles, Scotland.

Favorite Drink? Diet Coke and Tea!

Conor Deegan - PGA Professional Client Experience Manager

“Carpe Diem - Make Those Memories”

Conor is an Irish man with a deep love and appreciation for travel and golf. Conor has a Tourism Marketing degree and, initially through a college internship, spent time in both Connecticut and New York City. He worked for two golf tour operators, creating and overseeing his clients’ dream golf itineraries. His knowledge of the courses in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales & Spain is outstanding and, as a PGA qualified golf professional, Conor is also the man to ask about your back-swing plane as well as the back-nine of Tralee Golf Club or the pot-bunkers of St. Andrews!

Favorite Quote? He’s a Cinderella story. A former assistant groundskeeper about to become the Masters champion.

Favorite Drink?  Guinness

Favorite Food? Nana's Irish stew!

Nikki Wan Key Account Manager

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”

Before joining the company, Nikki spent 14 years working in the music and entertainment industry. Nikki has toured internationally with global artists; catering to their individual needs and gaining first hand experience of what is expected of today's global traveler. She loves meeting new people and prides herself on bringing a smile to the faces of everyone around her. Nikki's passion points are all things food, nutrition and exercise. In her spare time, she can be found cooking or out jogging with her dog!

Favorite Quote? Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.

Favorite Drink? Alcoholic - A good whiskey sour. Non Alcoholic - Nothing beats a good cup of tea!

Favorite Food? Dim Sum (as I am half Chinese!)

Rob Wolfe National Guide

“Always plan and be on time” 

Rob is a personable, friendly and approachable person. With strong experience in sales management, Rob had wonderful opportunities to travel around Europe in his previous roles. Now, at Emerald Elite, Rob enjoys being part of a team of professionals who lead change in the travel industry here in Ireland with fresh ideas. Outside of work, Rob loves spending time with his family & friends and working on projects! He also likes playing golf as it runs in the family with 3 of his grandmother’s brothers being professional golfers. Rob used to play off low single figures.

Top Spot?  Galway City in the summer

Favorite Drink?  Guinness

Favorite Food? BBQ Food

John Clancy National Guide

“Treat others as you would like to be treated”

John joined our team in 2018 following his introduction by our Chief Tour Guide, Eamon Hegarty. John and Eamon have been friends for a long time. John has great people skills, a strong knowledge of Ireland and recently graduated from the esteemed tour guiding programme run by Vincent Butler. When not guiding tours, John is a single digit golfer and plays at Howth Golf Club. He also enjoys reading about history and is currently the President of Sutton Tennis Club! What you see is what you get with John, a genuinely reliable and wise individual.

Favorite Quote?  Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

Favorite Drink?  Coffee

Favorite Food?  Fish

John Aherne Marketing Specialist

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”

As the marketer in the company, John is responsible for writing the website bios. Therefore, John is going to stop writing in third person. I graduated from Dublin City University in 2019 and joined the team early 2020. With a strong interest in marketing and a love of travel, Emerald Elite gave me the perfect opportunity to combine both passions. It’s great to be part of a team that provides the very best travel experiences. Outside of work, I like to meet up with friends, play piano and keep up to date with all things social media!

Favourite Food?  Salmon

Favourite Drink?  Appleman’s

Top Spot?  Kilkenny

Aodan Griffin National Guide

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

With almost two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Aodan takes a customer-focused approach to everything he does. Aodan is an excellent communicator, a very organised individual and a proud Kerryman! At Emerald Elite, Aodan appreciates the opportunity to learn and grow in a multi-faceted role that combines his various skill sets. Outside of work, his hobbies include golf, watching movies and spending time outdoors. When asked who he is inspired by, Aodan said Phil Mickelson; “The man can do anything with a wedge in his hand”.

Favourite Food?  Indian Food

Favourite Drink?  Guinness (But not together!)

Top Spot?  Kerry

Joe Moloney National Guide

“May not be the best at everything but keep trying to be”

Joe worked in the financial services industry for 40 years. Following a successful career in business banking, Joe retired with a goal; to drive a bus! As an experienced, dedicated and personable individual, Joe is a valuable addition to the team. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his daughters and enjoys a round of golf. If Joe could travel anywhere tomorrow, it would be St. Andrew’s Golf Course. Joe’s got a great sense of humour but it might take a bit of getting used to so smile and nod if you need to!

Fun Fact?  One of nine kids!

Favorite Drink?  Coffee

Favorite Quote?  Life is not a rehearsal

Kevin Fitzgerald National Guide

“Do a job and do it right”

Following an enjoyable career in finance, Kevin loves working with Emerald Elite because of the different challenges that each tour can bring. Kevin is an honest, hardworking and knowledgeable guide with a great sense of humour. Outside of work, Kevin loves to travel and spend time with his partner, and would highly recommend a trip to Donegal. As an excellent tennis player, skier and golfer, Kevin is inspired by all of the sporting greats because of their ability to be the best.

Favorite Food?  Cheese

Favorite Drink?  Wine

Favorite Quote?  You are only here once

Don Harris National Guide

“I put empathy towards others at the top of my list”

Don spent 30 years in marketing, radio and people care focused communication. Don’s work focused on how people interact, listen, talk and communicate. With a passion for leading people towards discovering their strengths, Don is an excellent listener and loves a chat! Don likes working at Emerald Elite because it gives him the opportunity to meet new people and travel throughout the country. He enjoys time with his family, in his canoe and playing golf and guitar. Don has been a member of Howth Golf Club for over 40 years!

Favorite Food?  Chicken or minced beef with creamed potatoes and baked beans

Favorite Drink?  Whiskey and Orange

Favorite Quote?  Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can

Eamon Hegarty Chief Tour Guide

“Love Live Life”

Widely considered to be Ireland’s best tour guide, Eamon is highly sought after by our clients. With an extraordinary knowledge of Ireland, a love for interacting with clients and the ability to make every trip a memorable one, Eamon is a true professional. Since joining the team in 2006, it has become clear that many of our returning visitors are not only coming back to see another part of Ireland, but to experience another vacation with Eamon as their host. Outside of work, Eamon loves spending time with family and friends. His hobbies include walking, hiking, golf and travel!

Top spot?  Any of the islands off the west coast of Ireland.

Favorite Drink?  Guinness

Favorite Food?  Lobster

Peter Byrne Tour Operations Manager

“History is our future”

Peter has worked for Emerald Elite Group in various stints since 2008. He returned earlier in 2017 to a full time role. As well as leading our tours throughout Ireland and Scotland, Peter manages our fleet of vehicles. He is an Approved National Guide and, prior to entering the hospitality industry, Peter was in law enforcement. It’s fair to say that Peter is one of the most likable characters you will ever encounter and has all the local knowledge to back up this charm!

Favorite Drink?  Red Wine

Favorite Food?  Traditional Irish Food

Jim Johnstone Chief Tour Host Scotland

Jim is Scotland's most sought after tour host for private chauffeur tours and leads our team of experienced guides based in Scotland. As well as hosting tours (book Jim well in advance) Jim overseas the planning of itineraries for our leisure tours in Scotland. Jim and the Scottish team are all born and bred in Scotland and very passionate about Scottish culture and heritage. Jim has hosted royalty and distinguished guests. What we read in the feedback received on Jim is that he treats all our guests to the the trip of a lifetime.