RTÉ One, Sunday, 8.30pm
Francis Brennans Grand Tour

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Francis Brennans Grand Tour
Francis Brennans Grand Tour
Francis Brennans Grand Tour
Francis Brennans Grand Tour
Francis Brennans Grand Tour


Francis Brennan is taking 12 paying tourists from all over Ireland on the surprise trip of a lifetime. They have no idea where they're heading, it's only when they meet up with Francis in Dublin Airport that they'll discover their destination.

In tonight's programme the 12 tourists meet each other, and Francis, for the very first time. And their mystery destination is revealed - India!

Francis has organised an epic 10-day journey of India's 'Golden Triangle' taking in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. It's going to be quite a journey - how will Francis's 12 guests cope with the heat, food and culture shock?

Francis will have his work cut out to keep his tourists happy - before they leave hairdresser David Martin from Co Wicklow admits: "India wouldn't be somewhere I'd like to visit ...". Meanwhile, B&B owner Josephine Walsh from Bantry phones her family from the airport, proclaiming: "India? India? You'd never book a holiday to India!".

Francis's Grand Indian Tour kicks off in the capital city, Delhi, where he's arranged an exhilarating rickshaw ride along the thronged city streets and through the hectic Chandni Chowk market. The 300-year-old market is one of Delhi's busiest spots and the surrounding roads notoriously chaotic - Francis's guests are quickly immersed in the real sights and sounds of the city.

In this programme the group also visit India's most potent symbol of nationhood, Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. For Garda Edel Corcoran from Co Dublin, who signs off all her emails with a Gandhi quote, it's a moving and memorable experience.

Francis Brennan's Grand Indian Tour is underway...


Before leaving Delhi, Francis takes the group on a street tour with the Salaam Baalak Trust. The charity helps provide a safe and caring environment for Delhi's street children. To raise funds they take tourists on walking tours through the back streets of the old city. The trip is an eye opener and many in the group are moved when they meet some of the young people for whom the Trust has been life changing.

Financial Advisor Sean O'Mahony from Co Cork admits: "I'm going to go home a changed person". Pre-school teacher Kathleen Macdonald from Co Dublin admits being taken aback by the poverty, saying: "I didn't think it would be as poor . it was quite shocking".

Later the group is on the move and Delhi is left behind as they take a 4 hour coach journey to Agra, home of the world famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal.

But first stop is the impressive Agra Fort. Agra was once the capital city of the Mughal Emperors, who ruled India from the 16th to 19th century. However, not all of Francis's group are impressed by a trip to a fort. Surely the next port of call, the majestic Taj Mahal, won't disappoint!

One of the world's most famous buildings, the Taj Mahal attracts over 8 million visitors a year. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a monument to love following the death of his beloved wife.

The monument visit evokes deep emotion from the tourists. Eddie McDaid from Donegal has thrown himself into work since the death of his wife Christine, but now says that he will return home and make some big changes; "I'm going to retire and have a life". Cancer survivor Deirdre McDonagh from Co Dublin said; "The fact that I am alive and here is great". The Taj Mahal is rightly one of the highlights of Francis Brennan's Grand Indian Tour.


Francis is keen for his travellers to experience all that India has to offer and has arranged a 6am Yoga class, but the group struggles to keep up and ends up in a fit of giggles. Hairdresser David Martin from Co Wicklow couldn't keep it together, "I was falling over and the giggles set in - then everyone's laughing".

Next on Francis' itinerary is a visit to the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, where the group falls victim to the soaring midday heat. Until it was abandoned in 1585, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the great Mughal Empire, but not everyone in the group is that impressed. Financial Advisor Sean O'Mahony from Co Cork admits, "Once you've seen one fort, you've seen them all".

It's clear that Francis has his work cut out for him, the group is a hard bunch to please as not everybody is impressed with the accommodation for the evening. Francis has chosen something a little different for his guests' stay in Jaipur - a traditional Indian hotel known as a Haveli - which is smaller, and less modern; and Garda Nollaig Mc Andrew from Co Mayo is not impressed with the hotel's level of security, "Never had a padlock as a key before".

The next day the group visits Jaipur's top tourist attraction, the ornate 16th century palace - Amber Fort! Francis has arranged for the group to take an elephant ride up to the palace.

Hairdressing husbands David Martin and Andrew Mc Kenna from Co Wicklow struggled with the elephant ride. Andrew explains "We were veering towards the drop an we had our first domestic on top of the elephant", as David admits he is terrified of heights, at one stage he thought he was going to fall off and die!

Thankfully there were no casualties apart from Francis Brennan himself. After a long day, things have got too much for Francis, "And I'm as tough as old boots. I suppose the Delhi Belly just got me. Please God I'll be fine tomorrow". Here's hoping he'll be well enough for the rest of tour!

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