The Irish do not just welcome you with 1 little welcome, but with 100,000 and this is how the ambassador of Ireland, Mr Eamonn Mac Aodha, welcomed all the guests at the Meet in Ireland Flagship Networking Association Event, which was held in the KBC building on the Grand Place in Brussels. All the guests dined with a view onto the Grand Place itself. Top of the line!
We learned that Meet in Ireland pulls out all the stops to win association conferences. Even including financial support, e.g. 10 euros per participant, starting from 1,000 delegates to 2,000 delegates. That alone is reason enough to lend your ears to business tourism executive Orla Kraft and her colleagues in Meet in Ireland, who will also help you, to the finest detail, with your bid.
It goes without saying that the capital is an obvious choice for your conference in Ireland. No less than 60 airlines fly to Dublin from 180 destinations. 20,000 bedrooms await conference delegates. The Convention Center Dublin is an obvious venue choice − but you also find large stadiums or universities with sizable capacities in Dublin. Lonely Planet says that Dublin 'oozes personality'... and with our last visit to the city in mind, we agree wholeheartedly.
You fly to Cork via 50 direct access routes from the UK and Europe. There are 10 flights a day to London and Cork is less than 2 hours from Paris or Amsterdam. Smaller than Dublin, but even finer. Especially in the kitchen − because Cork is Ireland's food capital, with scores of talented young chefs who prepare culinary delectables with respect for all of the local products. Cork is the venue for the smaller mid-quarter meeting, or the board meeting in which a bit more emphasis can be placed on gastronomy. The 8,500 hotel rooms in Cork City and Cork County are also fully deserving of their numerous stars.
The Kerry Convention Bureau represents a region that is easily accessed by 3 international airports (Cork, Kerry, Shannon) and features the purpose-built Convention Center with 4,500 m² floor space and a main plenary for 2,500+ delegates arranged in theatre, banquet or classroom style. The second plenary space − for 500 delegates, including stage − rounds out the offering. County Kerry is also home to picturesque Killarney and there are smaller intimate venues in idyllic locations throughout the region.
Shannon Region is without doubt the home base for markets. And that means business markets too, because the city is a true epicentre of activity with numerous multinationals housed there − from pharma and IT to banking and aviation ... you name it! Whether you need space for 5, 50 or 500 people, you will find some of the most unique conference and gala dinner spaces in Ireland − ranging from university campuses to 3, 4 and 5-star hotels, to castle properties and historic sites. In a flash, you can set business concerns aside to play golf or go fishing.
You can't go further west than Galway in Ireland. This is the destination for incentive activities in their purest form, or for meetings for 130 to 170 people in the most mystical castles of Ireland. But don't think of this as a remote corner of the country, because you find up to 3,000 conference accommodation rooms there, with truly buzzing prime locations like the Meyrick Hotel (97 rooms), the G (101 rooms), the Clayton Hotel (195 rooms) and the Ardilaun Hotel (125 rooms). So, go wild, go west, go to Galway!
This was merely a brief sampling from the 5 destinations that were presented during this evening event. Whichever one you choose, you can count on the 100,000 welcomes. But choose Ireland first of all, and go talk to the business team in Brussels to plan your event. You'll be astonished at the support you receive and the speed with which bridges are built and professional expertises are paired. Take the Conference Ambassador Programme, for example, in which the Irish member in an association receives even extra support.