I had the absolute pleasure of hosting a wonderful group of corporate clients for an overseas incentive event from a major International Blue Chip company in Dublin recently. What a cracking few days it was.
The brief had been for a fun-packed incentive 2 days with a wow factor included and all this to a strict budget! So, we flew them over to Ireland from various parts of the UK, organised transfers accordingly and then gave them a little relaxation time on arrival at the sumptuous Morgan Hotel in the centre of Dublin.
The hotel is superbly located within minutes of the main Temple Bar area and also Grafton Street. It has a contemporary design with luxurious fabrics, fantastic lighting with funky chandeliers and quirky furniture dotted about amongst the traditional pieces. The staff are all extremely friendly and professional and my many requests were dealt with swiftly which is always important when you have guests with you.
Once everyone was suitably refreshed, the group were guided to the exclusive Penthouse Suite at the hotel which boasts a rooftop terrace with fantastic views over the city along with photos of the many celebrities that have stayed in the suite lining the stairs. A delicious BBQ was served along with drinks and, as it happened to be the night of one of the England Qualifiers, the flat screen TV and sofas along with fully stocked bar made a relaxed environment in which to view the catastrophe of England losing! To cheer themselves up, a night on the town ensued and at 04:00 the next morning there were a few attendees just making it to bed as I found out at breakfast with some very bleary eyed guests.
Unfortunately for the late comers, it was a fairly early meet in reception and I was impressed that every single one made it down to the coach on time! Always a good start!
A short coach ride from the hotel is the Guinness Storehouse which, as it is Ireland’s National drink, it would be rude not to have a tour of the factory and of course, sample the produce! It really is worthwhile going to see the awesome building and learn from day one, how they produced and perfected Guinness over the years. You can extend your tour as we did, to give guests the opportunity to learn how to pour the perfect pint and obtain a certificate to take away followed by the lift up to Gravity Bar which has breathtaking views over Dublin out to the hills and beyond whilst sampling the pint you have just poured yourself!
Having left here we went back to the Morgan Hotel where the Dublin Pedibus awaited us! This is an absolute must for anyone with a group as it allows them to see the City whilst having lunch and pub stops along the way! They accommodate 12 per bus and are have a very small engine in case we need to whip past traffic however the main leg work is done by the guests pedalling frantically. To note that for those of you that don’t want to pedal, the engine can be used more frequently and there is a seat for 3 people at the rear. I have to tell you that I can’t recall laughing so much for a very long time! Having handed out their Leprechaun Hats which I must admit they were sporting enough to wear, we commenced through the city with music blaring and lots of hilarious banter.
Our first stop was the beautiful Bank Bar and Restaurant which has the most ornate ceiling and a very relaxed atmosphere with polished wood and palm trees dotted. After the mouth-watering two course lunch was served in a private area overlooking the main restaurant we were back on the pedibus to tour the city streets and cause general mayhem. I had chosen the bus with the most ‘characters’ on board and they truly did not disappoint!! Being open to the public view and being able to hop on and off whilst moving along was just too much for a couple of them who, proceeded to repeatedly play ‘Gangnam Style’ whilst dancing in the middle and singing ‘Hey Pretty Lady, hoo, ha ha ha hoo’ at random women they passed! Absolutely hilarious and I have various video footage which I may use as bribes later. A further 2 pub stops and then we ended at the Merchants Arch on the river bank. It has a super upstairs room which we had hired to ensure no-one left Dublin without having the full Ireland experience – Irish Dancing!
Having witnessed the Pedibus antics one could only wonder what the Irish Dancing would bring however, having pedalled hard for the afternoon, they thoroughly enjoyed relaxing watching the live singer with 2 dancers perform and then everyone had a dance at the end. Once again, although they really did try, it was entertaining to watch! Stick to the day jobs boys!! A short walk back to the hotel and free time in which most went for a little nap.
The evening dinner was booked at Fire Restaurant which is approximately 15 minutes walk from the hotel. As the name suggests, it is flamboyant inside and has huge ceilings with a large iron structure in the middle of the floor. Another sumptuous 3 course meal was eaten and after coffees and liqueurs, everyone decided to go back to the hotel and visit the numerous bars and clubs on the pedestrian area of Temple Bar. It was at this point that I said my goodbyes as I had a 05:00 start the next day however I was very sad to be too sensible as not to throw caution to the wind and join them in what I know would have been a superb finish to the trip!
I really do hope that the same group hit their targets and return with us again next year! Awesome overseas corporate event.