Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Ireland, can host seated dinners
for up to 300 and cocktail receptions for
up to 1,000. The recently renovated Lady
Chapel provides a more intimate setting.
In Trinity College groups can see the
famed Book of Kells—an illustrated manuscript from the 9th century—then move
upstairs to the barrel-vaulted ceiling Long
Room Library for drinks before crossing the
cobbled courtyard for dinner in the Dining
Hall, according to Johnston.
Just as prominent on the city’s landscape, Dublin Castle offers groups use of its
conference, reception and dining facilities.
The city’s National Gallery of Ireland also
caters to groups for receptions and dinners.
Among the city’s updates, the former
Old Jameson Distillery recently underwent
a major refurbishment and reopened as
Jameson Distillery Bow Street.
Citywest Hotel is undergoing a multimillion-dollar upgrade, and the Hilton Garden
Inn is adding an additional floor of 85
rooms to take it to 324 in total. Trinity City
Hotel is adding an extra 60 rooms.
Whether it’s a fiddler on a high-wire serenading pedestrians below with a rendition
of Fiddler on the Roof or a three-piece belting out traditional Irish folk tunes, bustling,
bohemian Galway is a group magnet.
Walking the city is a prime attraction, including the promenade along Galway Bay
and to the city’s renowned Spanish Arch,
dating to 1584.
For group venues, the Galway Arts Centre showcases national and international
contemporary arts. Its 82-seat Nun’s Island
Theatre is open for receptions.
Nearby historic sites include 15th century
Cloonacauneen Castle, which offers space
for group functions, as well as Ross Castle,
located on the shores of Lough Sheelin,
which can accommodate up to 40 guests.
Cork, home of the famed Blarney Stone at
Blarney Castle, is the international gateway
to Ireland’s Ancient East heritage region
and the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s first
long-distance driving route, stretching
from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal
to Kinsale in County Cork. It is also home
to the largest natural harbor in the world.
Groups can take advantage of Cork’s aquatic setting.
“We host some of the best whale-watch-
ing in Europe,” said Seamus Heaney, man-
ager, Cork Convention Bureau. ”Groups
can even kayak right into the city center,
New for the city’s small group venues is a
space called Republic of Work, an air-
port-style business lounge.
Groups can also arrange day trips to the
iconic Cliffs of Moher, a prime spot for boat
tours as well as day hikes.
With the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of
Kerry on its doorstep, Kerry offers delegates both modern-day amenities and
a link to an ancient world, according to
Becky Hargrove, sales manager for the
Kerry Convention Bureau.
“Easily accessible, Kerry is a safe and
friendly destination serviced by three
international and one regional airport,”
Hargrove said. “Unrivalled facilities in
idyllic locations include the purpose-built
Killarney Convention Centre, Ireland’s second largest, with a capacity for up to 2,500
The center offers 500 on-site bedrooms.
Area activities include trips to Gap of
Dunloe, during which attendees travel on
traditional boats across the triple lakes of
Killarney and through the mountains on
pony traps (carriages). Lunch is accompa-
nied by stories of Irish folklore.
Groups can also arrange journeys to Star
Wars film location Skellig Michael—rugged
offshore islands once inhabited by monks.
For another other-worldly experience,
attendees can join Steve Lynott for celestial
tours at the Dark Sky Reserve.
“Ireland’s Shannon region in the heart
of the southwest of Ireland has long
been famed for its scenery—the Atlantic
coastline and beaches, inland waterways,
castles, the historic city of Limerick and
the Irish welcome,” said Karen Brosnahan,
general manager, Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau.
Within its vast expanse, resort hotel
Adare Manor will reopen in September
after an 18-month refurbishment. Additions include a 42-bedroom wing, bringing
the total room count to 104 guest rooms. A
ballroom will also be added for 350 guests,
as well as a new spa. There will also be a
complete redesign of the golf clubhouse
and golf course.
The grand Dromoland Castle hotel is
undergoing a $20 million-plus renovation,
according to managing director Mark Nolan.
“Working with the architects and con-
servationists, we have sought to carefully
integrate any new features with the original
historic structures of the castle,” he said.
Aside from golf, the castle offers group
activities such as horseback riding and
an introduction to falconry, during which
attendees can get up close and personal
with trained hawks, falcons and a variety of
MEET IN IRELAND
Ireland extends a warm
welcome with its colorful
past and present