Our History | J. Barter Travel



We are privately-owned, reputable and the longest established travel agency in Ireland. Since 1865 creating miles of smiles and great memories.

Check out the Timeline of J.Barter History below!




"Joseph Barter my great-grandfather started this business in 1865. If he was alive today, I wonder what he would make of Travel Industry Communications and the Internet.

Joseph sold bicycles, sewing machines, bound books and as a side sold passages on ships thereby becoming what was then known as a Shipping Agent. At that time the sea, as it had been for ever before, was the only mode of worldwide transport. Some of these passages would have been from Ireland, but in many cases travellers had to tranship/transit through the UK for onwards travel. Some of these clients would no doubt have been victims of the Famine – but also there were many who travelled for leisure and a few who did the Grand Tour of Europe including Italy, Greece or the Nile.

With the development of the railways he added Railway Agency, and that was followed at the middle of 1880’s by forming an association with the Thomas Cook Company. My grandfather Thomas made a deal with John Mason Cook son of the famous Thomas Cook, on the basis that as Cooks did not have any representation outside of Dublin we would look after the rest of the country as required. We thereby became an Authorised Representative of Thomas Cook & Son and this agreement was made on the basis of a gentleman’s agreement and remained like that for 40 years until somebody in Thomas Cook thought we should formalise it!

Being an Authorised Representative of Thomas Cook meant we had to present our premises just like any other Cook offices and this included us having a Cook’s Man. This uniformed gentleman complete with Thomas Cook cap meet and greeted Cook Clients in Ireland from passengers ships, cruise liners or trains and escorted them to their cars or directly to their lodgings - when you think of a package holiday today, what’s changed?

Our business was devastated in both of the two World Wars as naturally nobody travelled. My Dad Clement told me that once WW2 was over travel started up overnight. Of course the aircraft which was in its infancy during WW1 was a very much the new mode of transport after 1949. The rise of the airline business was accompanied by the gradual demise of shipping."

The Director - George R Barter



"Talking about shipping – as we all know the Titanic’s last port of call was Cobh, then known as Queenstown – I was fascinated to find in some old files a copy of the cabin class passenger list of this unlucky ship, which had been preserved by my Grandfather

If you ever have time to visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, in the Cunard Line/ White Star Line section you will see an original passenger contract (ticket) signed by the Agent – my Grandfather. It actually looks more like the deeds of a house than what we know as a ticket.

The one great thing that airlines did was to make fast air travel accessible to lots more people. With the advent of inclusive tours, package holidays became available to people who would previously never been able to afford to travel abroad. This trend of ever reducing travel cost has opened up markets all over the world and this can be seen right up to today with the advent of the low cost carriers.

And where did Joseph Barter’s company founded so long ago fit into all of this? In one word it adapted. It did this by maintaining the concept of agency and sold it products backed by the knowledge and experience gained over so many years.

The internet is a wonderful tool and allows all access to vast amount of information and data that is available and it’s there for all and not just a privileged few.

Today we can termed more as a company of Travel Consultants – no longer just taking instructions and being paid by the supplier – today we create holidays of all types. This can range from a wedding on board a cruise liner, to an exotic honeymoon in Mauritius or a cruise in the Galapagos or the Nile. We also organise a lot of group travel - maybe it’s a group of doctors doing some medical research or a company incentive for its dedicated clients or a past pupils annual weekend away or just a group of guys off on a golfing weekend."

The Director - George R Barter


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