When you think of Ireland, you may think of historic castles, rugged coastlines and beautiful landscapes. However, Ireland offers so much more, especially for meeting planners and delegates. In recent years, Ireland has been rejuvenated, and is now a dynamic, modern destination that offers luxurious accommodation, purpose-built conference facilities of the highest quality and exhilarating incentive activities, all in its unique regional setting.
A member of the EU, Ireland is easily accessible with five international airports, and direct flights from all over the world.
Ireland delivers great value to those attending conferences, meetings and for incentive planners with tight schedules. Most conference venues and incentive destinations are closely linked to each other and the main airports, making it easy for delegates to enjoy an action-packed itinerary. Your conference could host a visit to the Titanic quarter of Belfast, enjoy a day in the charming Craft Village of Derry-Londonderry or awe at the lush Irish countryside and the stately manor homes of Kerry. These magnificent locations offer an ideal backdrop for gala dinners or receptions.
Ireland is an island of just over 6 million inhabitants, with 1.7 million living in the greater Dublin area.
A progressive country, Ireland provides sophisticated amenities and facilities. Wifi is complimentary in most hotels and venues, even parks and public spaces. Our cities are cosmopolitan and innovative, as appreciated by the top international companies that have a presence here: LinkedIn, Twitter Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and eBay. Ireland’s business-friendly environment led to Forbes magazine naming us as the best place to do business in the world in December 2013.
Ireland has more than world-class professionalism, however. Those who visit often come back, and cite our warm hospitality as one of their main reasons for returning. This year, three Irish cities: Dublin, Cork and Galway were named as the friendliest cities in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, offers further insight: “again and again, our research shows that the friendliness of our people is one of our unique selling points. The warm welcome…is what resonates with our overseas visitors.”
Ireland has made significant investment in tourism and conference facilities. Infrastructural projects such as the additional T2 terminal of Dublin Airport, the award-winning Convention Centre Dublin, the extension of the LUAS light rail tram system, and the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s first long distance scenic route are all evidence of Ireland’s focus on the future. In addition, ‘Meet in Ireland’, the highly dedicated and experienced MICE team, has ensured that Ireland has become a premier international conference destination.
For the many reasons outlined above, hundreds of international companies choose Ireland as their overseas location for conferences, corporate meetings, and incentive trips every year, with many of them returning time and time again.
Come and discover how Ireland manages to combine business and leisure seamlessly, and mix tradition and modernity in an extraordinary way. As the Irish say: “céad míle fáilte!”- a hundred thousand welcomes!
The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD)
Located just 20 minutes from the airport in the finance and technology hub of the Dublin Docklands, the Convention Centre has hosted over 1000 events since it opened in September 2010. It is also the recipient of 27 industry awards to date, including the Gold Award for Best Overseas Conference Centre from UK Meetings and Incentive Travel (M&IT Awards) for three years in a row.
World renowned, Pritzker prize-winning architect Kevin Roche designed the landmark building, the largest convention centre in Dublin. It occupies almost half a million square feet (44,000 sqm), and is equipped with a 2000 seat auditorium, exhibition areas of about 4500 sqm, two banquet halls and 22 purpose-built meeting rooms.
The building is also the world’s first “Carbon Neutral” constructed conference venue.
The Aviva Stadium
Among an eclectic mix of boutique shops, hotels, restaurants and bars in south Dublin, you will find the futuristic-looking Aviva Stadium. A spectacular event space frequently used for international sporting events and concerts, the Aviva offers a unique conference experience. It also has the amenities to support this: a centre with capacity for 1,000 delegates, a superior audio-visual services team, and 15 different sized break-out spaces over three levels.
Even more prestigious, a stadium tour can be incorporated as part of your conference.
The Belfast Waterfront is firmly established as one of the world's leading conference centres. Its architecturally stunning multi-purpose design is suitable for a variety of business, conference, arts and entertainment events. Since opening in 1997, the venue has welcomed more than five million visitors and hosted more than 2000 national and international conferences. The Main Auditorium can host up to 2223 people, but in 2016 it will open an extended conference centre, boasting 7000 sqm of event space with two interconnecting conference and exhibition halls.
The Millennium Forum of Derry/Londonderry is one of Ireland’s largest purpose built theatres with a seating capacity of 1,000. Opened in 2001, it boasts the country’s largest theatre stage. With its stunning entrance and marble floored piazza, the Millennium Forum doubles as an ideal meeting and conference venue for a wide range of events ranging from seminars, exhibitions, lectures and business meetings, big or small.
The Killarney Convention Centre (KCC)
Killarney is ideally located; close to Shannon and Cork airports, and just a 40 minute flight from Dublin airport. What’s more, the Killarney Convention Centre is a meeting venue like no other in Ireland, set against the picturesque backdrop of natural scenery with charming shopfronts and cobbled streets.
The convention centre hosts over 200 Irish and international events annually, and occupies 4,500 sqm with a capacity of hosting up to 2,500 delegates. The site was designed to include two conference on-sit hotel properties offering 500 bedrooms- there are another 2,000 bedrooms with a one-mile distance.
The award-winning convention truly has it all: location, infrastructure and breath-taking scenic beauty, allowing delegates to mix work and pleasure, all while recharging their batteries.
The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE)
On 18-20 September 2014, about 3,500 scientists, clinicians, nurses, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers came together to experience a cutting-edge scientific programme at the 3rd Annual ESPE Meeting, held at the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD).
ESPE is a leading international scientific community of paediatric endocrinologists with interest in a wide range of hormone related issues in young people. They hold their annual meeting, widely recognised as one of high scientific and educational quality, in a different European city each year.
The successful bid to bring ESPE 2014 to Dublin was put forward by Professor Hilary Hoey, President of ESPE 2014, and was supported by Fáilte Ireland and the CCD, the first time that Ireland was chosen to host the event.
The CCD was selected as the venue because of its spectacular architecture, appropriate size, city centre location and efficiency of staff. Delegates explored the latest developments in research on many topics, including obesity, diabetes, bone disorders, cancer syndromes, growth and regenerative endocrinology. This took place within a programme of plenary lectures, symposia, meet-the-experts and e-poster sessions throughout the CCD.
CCD Hospitality produced 10,000 ‘grab and go’ bags, the largest ever for an event, working closely to ensure the bag was prepared to the taste of organisers.
ESPE 2014 marked a milestone in the history of the CCD, its 1000th event since September 2010. Nick Waight, CEO of the CCD, marked the occasion, celebrating the “incredible four years” and thanking ESPE.
Kate Sargent of Bioscientifica LTd, the official PCO for ESPE 2014, was quick to compliment the CCD. “The venue has been truly amazing to work with. We are most impressed with the dedication of all the staff at the CCD and the very warm welcome we have had, not only onsite, but during the planning process over the past year. We…hope to return at some point during the next 1,000 years!”
The delegates were equally satisfied. Professor Hoey was delighted with the success of the event, saying, “we are very grateful to all the staff at the CCD for their expertise, efficiency and courtesy. This was very much appreciated by the ESPE council, Bioscientifica, and all the delegates who enjoyed an excellent scientific programme and a very memorable meeting.
It’s never been easier or more affordable to go to Ireland: the five international airports (Dublin, Cork, Knock, Shannon and Belfast) cater to over 170 direct routes from 20 countries by 60 airlines.
Dublin airport, the 8th largest in Europe, is by far the largest and most connected airport in Ireland. Along with Shannon, it welcomes flights from the U.S., Canada, the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East. Cork, Knock and Belfast have flights from most UK destinations and major European cities.
However, due to Ireland’s compact size, your next adventure is never far away from any of the airports, with excellent transport links of rail and on road. The flight time from London to every airport is between 50-70 minutes.
Travel from Australia, New Zealand (24 hours) and South Africa (13 hours) is generally via London or another European or Gulf city.
There are smaller regional airports that operate a limited network of domestic and UK services, including Belfast City, Derry, Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Sligo. Ireland is also connected to England and France by ferry.
A number of historical and natural attractions have been transformed into remarkable venues for meetings and events, suitable for incentive trips or excursions during your conference. The Old Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse, both centrally located in Dublin, invite you to celebrate a quintessential Irish evening.
The former is great for cocktail receptions or networking events, catering for 25-300 guests, who can learn the fascinating history of one of the finest Irish whiskeys- with tasting, of course. The same goes for the latter, the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s No1 tourist attraction located at the legendary St. James Gate. As an event destination, it can host up to 2000 people. Its seven floors showcase the rich heritage and the brewing process of the world-famous Irish stout. Be sure to check out the Gravity Bar, where you can sip the perfect pint of Guinness and survey Dublin’s skyline.
Any visit to Belfast is incomplete without visiting Titanic Belfast, the birthplace of the Titanic ship. This top visitor attraction, located in central Belfast, is the perfect location to offer delegates a unique Belfast experience. The architecturally stunning building offers panoramic views over the slipways, the exact site where the Titanic was built over 100 years ago. The SS Nomadic, the tender ship of the Titanic, has been restored to its former glory, and is now available for hire as an event venue, ideal for receptions and VIP dinners.
Crumlin Road Gaol may seem like an unusual venue for meetings, but it has become a very popular attraction since closing as a working jail in 1996. Delegates can take a guided tour where they learn what life was like in “the Crum”, visit the underground tunnel that connects the Gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse and see the Execution Room on their breaks from meetings in the Governor’s Boardroom or from seminars in the Forbes Boardroom.
Located opposite the Belfast Waterfront, St. George’s Market is the last surviving Victorian market in Belfast. Built between 1890 and 1896, it is renowned for its fresh local produce, arts and crafts and great atmosphere, and was named the UK’s Best Large Indoor Market 2014. The market has hosted a range of events including food festivals, press conferences and art initiatives. The venue can host up to 2000 people, catering for events large and small.
Cork, one of Ireland’s festival hotspots, boasts venues steeped in tradition and heritage. Located in the heart of the city centre, the historic surroundings of Cork City Hall represent a perfect setting for conference and corporate events. The Concert Hall, boasting luxurious settings, can accommodate up to 1000 guests for a reception type event, 1,500 delegates seated theatre-style, or 600 for a formal dinner. The Millennium Hall caters for smaller, more intimate events.
The Cork Opera House is another iconic building of the southern city. A vibrant and sophisticated venue, the building can host meetings of up to 1,300 people, all while offering unrivalled views of the River Lee.
In recent years, Ireland has seen a mixture of traditional Irish hospitality, known for its historic private houses, manors, guesthouses, castles, mansions, B&B’s, inns, with modern international and domestic brands.
With about 20,000 bedrooms, Dublin is home to many global hotel chains, such as Hilton and the Conrad Hotel- named Ireland’s Leading Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2013. Double Tree by Hilton on Burlington Road, the largest hotel in Dublin city with 501 rooms, is located just minutes from the city centre. Completely refurbished in April 2014, the hotel boasts an impressive 1200 sqm ballroom for up to 1,400 delegates and a dedicated floor with 18 meeting rooms.
Other five-star properties in Dublin include The Marker Hotel, a luxury design hotel on Grand Canal Square with cocktail bar and brasserie, a spa and a rooftop bar, and the Ballsbridge Hotel, which features a ballroom for up to 1,000 delegates and 12 flexible break-out rooms.
Belfast has 7000 bedrooms available to prospective delegates. Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland’s premier hotel group, operates six luxurious hotels across the province, including the historic Europa Hotel and the four-star Stormont hotel. The Europa hotel features 272 bedrooms of elegant décor, 17 meeting rooms and a Euro Business Centre, catering for every sized event, up to 1200 guests. Few hotels could match the indulgent grandeur of the Merchant Hotel, Belfast’s only AA 5-star rated hotel with sumptuous Victorian-style bedrooms and a sleek Art-Deco event floor.
Exceptional hotels found in Cork include the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, with ultra-modern conference and banqueting venues to cater to 1,600 people and the four-star Rochestown Park Hotel, popular among many leading Irish and international organisations. There are a number of five-start boutique hotels such as the Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, a grand 17th century country manor house adjacent to the ruins of a 1000 year old castle; and Hayfield Manor Hotel, a family-owned property discreetly nestled within beautiful walled gardens.
Killarney showcases modern hotels with 19 century architecture in a sumptuous country backdrop. The Malton Hotel Killarney, a Victorian-style hotel dating back to 1854, features tastefully decorated self-catering apartments and houses. Killarney Park Hotel, another deluxe hotel, offers spacious rooms overlooking wide gardens, the mountains beyond, or Killarney itself, with church and cathedral steeples.
In Limerick, the urban centre of the Shannon region, the centrally located ultra-modern Strand Hotel looks over the River Shannon, close to Thomond Park, Limerick Milk Market and King John’s Castle. For golf enthusiasts, the Adare Manor House, located 25 minutes from Shannon airport, is the ideal location, offering 62 elegantly decorated bedrooms, a golf clubhouse, bar and restaurant, conference rooms and more.
When it comes to hospitality and professionalism, what Ireland offers is second to none. Your stay is sure to be inspiring and unforgettable.
Supported by the European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) and the Union of International Associations (UIA), Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organizing worldwide congresses.
Supported by the European Management Assistants Association (EUMA), European Cities Marketing (ECM) and Site, MIM Europe is designed for corporate meetings and incentives planners based all over Europe.