Dublin: A Dream Incentive Travel Destination
Looking for a destination year after year that appeals to your stakeholders is a constant challenge we face. If you want to take your group to an impressive bucket-list destination, consider Dublin, Ireland! We recently returned from taking a group of top performers on a Dublin incentive trip, and it reminded me why I became a meeting and event planner.
I first experienced Dublin and Ireland in 2015, when my mom and I took a vacation there. We drove the entire island, which is an excellent, fascinating, and slightly terrifying way to see the whole island and its many different regions and topographies; I highly recommend it! The people are some of the friendliest and welcoming you’ll find, and the US Dollar is currently doing very well against the Euro.
For those who haven’t been to Dublin, it is a large city but has the feel of a large village. It is entirely walkable, has fantastic restaurants and food, and is especially rich with history. Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland located on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. On the south, it’s bordered by the Dublin Mountains, which are part of the famous Wicklow Mountains. Wherever you are in Dublin seems to look like a fairy tale brought to life!
An Incentive-Quality Hotel with History
Our Dublin incentive travel group stayed at The Shelbourne, a gorgeous, 5-star, historic hotel looking out onto St. Stephen’s Green and centrally located. The almost 200-year old hotel has recently undergone a renovation and oozes classic Old-World elegance all the way!
When the group arrived, we offered a hospitality suite with sumptuous bites to eat and created a nice respite while waiting for rooms to be ready. Later that evening, we had an Irish Welcome Reception & Dinner replete with an Irish feast, a Whiskey Tasting, a Waterford Crystal Master Engraver, and a lovely Irish duo.
Incentive Trip Activities: Exploring Dublin
The next morning, the entire group participated in a Dublin Delights tour where we went to Trinity College and received a private viewing of the Book of Kells, the most famous artifact on display in Dublin, and tour of the gorgeous Trinity College Library. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing four Gospels of the New Testament and created by Celtic monks sometime around 800 AD. It is a beautiful sight to see, as is the magnificent library! Afterward, we toured the renowned St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were serenaded by an enchanting soloist. We had an amazing lunch and gave the group free time in the afternoon.
Dinner that night was at the famous Guinness Storehouse + Gravity Bar. The museum is seven stories tall, and the group got to shop in the store for about 30 minutes. Then with whisper headsets, they were given a tour of history and memorabilia covering 3-stories ending up on the 4th floor in the Academy Room, where we had Guinness pint pulling lessons and a cocktail reception. From there, we headed up for dinner to the stunning 7th floor, round, glass-sided Gravity Bar with an incredible 360° view of the city of Dublin. It’s quite spectacular! We had an Irish trio, and Irish Dancing and the group just had an absolute blast.
The next day we offered a choice of individual activities, many uniquely Irish. Golf at K Club, a Whiskey Trail Tour, spa, an authentic Irish farm and cookery school where they made scones and had a delicious lunch, or a day trip to visit a 19th century Irish Castle followed by lunch in a pub and time in a charming fishing village. For a few more non-Dublin specific activities in Ireland, check out this blog post!
Christ Church Cathedral Farewell Dinner
Our farewell dinner that night was the pièce de résistance! We had it at Christ Church Cathedral, a gorgeous cathedral that dated back to around 1030 and was founded originally as a Viking church. I did tell you Dublin is just steeped in history. The group first were led down one floor to the Crypt, where many oddities are housed such as a preserved heart of a famed Archbishop, a stockade made in 1670, and the mummified remains of a cat and a rat who got stuck in the pipe of an organ when the cat was chasing the rat! It also houses a stunning collection of rare silver as well as a copy of the Magna Carta, and docents were on-hand to speak of this history to those interested. We had uplights and a harpist; it looked like an elegant cave and made for a fabulous couples’ photo backdrop.
After an hour, we led them upstairs, across the outside courtyard. And the next moment just makes my soul gleam every time I think of it. When we opened the doors to the cathedral, the shocked looks on the faces of the attendees were just priceless. They just stood gaping and in awe as it is only a magical venue as it is, but once you add lighting, a king’s table with gold chargers and cutlery, huge candelabras with gorgeous flowers and candles lit, it was a breathtaking sight to see! After they took their photos and eventually took their seats, we had the Christ Church Cathedral sing, and when they sang Handel’s Messiah, chills went up our spines.
An elegant 4-course dinner was served, and after dessert was presented, the 3 Tenors sang, which was hauntingly beautiful due to the acoustics in the cathedral. They also sang songs that had all the attendees waving their white napkins in the air! I can guarantee you, this is a night these guests will not ever forget, and as planners, these are the events that remind us why we do what we do.
If you are looking for a dream destination, Dublin is an enchanting city and one seriously worth considering!