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To celebrate 21 years in business we're launching a new blog, to share our news and vews on MICE and leisure travel in Ireland.

Our aim for this blog is to give an insight into what makes Ireland a fantastic destination. We'll be telling you all about our favourite places to stay, the trendiest venues, the most exciting activities, as well as covering some of Ireland's unique culture and heritage.

Feel free to comment on our posts, we are always interested in your feedback! And let us know if there is anything you would like us to post about.

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Stay tuned for our next post! 

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Sometimes it's great to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities and experience the tranquil countryside, and Galgorm Resort & Spa offers just that! This luxurious hotel is located in Ballymena Co. Antrim, just over 2 hours from Dublin and about 30 minutes from the lively city of Belfast.

One of the first things you will notice about Galgorm is its beautiful location, set within 163 acres of lush parkland. The Resort's sprawling grounds offer an ideal setting for a range of activities, including archery, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding and also fishing, which can be enjoyed on the spectacular river Maine flowing through the estate. 

 

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The hotel is a great choice for an incentive or an event, with 122 elegant bedrooms and a range of modern versatile event spaces; host a gala dinner for 30 guests in the Drawing Room of the original Manor building, or a meeting for 100 delegates in the Four Seasons Suite.

 

galgorm superior

 

Whether you are looking for a casual bite to eat or some fine dining there are options for all tastes, with Gillies Bar & Grill, traditional Italian eatery Fratelli, and the award winning River Room restaurant all providing great food in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Make sure to check out the Champagne and Gin Bar at The Conservatory too, which has one of the most extensive gin menus in the country!

 

Galgorm conservatory

 

Last year, the hotel launched its new Thermal Spa Village, which is the first of its kind in Ireland. It has unique indoor and outdoor spa and wellness facilities, including a full leisure pool and gym, snow cabin and sanarium, a hydrotheraphy pool, and quirky hot tubs overlooking the River Maine. It also has a luxurious private treatment suite that can be reserved for groups to enjoy some pampering!

galgorm riverside tubs

 

All images courtesy of www.galgorm.com 

 

 

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Whiskey distilling has been a part of Irish culture and heritage for centuries. In recent years, Irish Whiskey has seen a huge growth in popularity worldwide, with a particular interest in artisan whiskey. This increase in popularity has been reflected here with an extraordinary number of distilleries and craft breweries opening in the past 18 months. 

Teeling Distillery

 

One of the latest distilleries to open is Teeling Distillery. The Teeling Whiskey Company was founded by brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling in 2012, with the aim to revive the family trademark of whiskey and to bring whiskey distilling back to Dublin. The location of Teeling Distillery is therefore significant, as it is situated in Newmarket Square in the Liberties area, not too far away from where Jack and Stephen's ancestor Walter Teeling had a distillery on Marrowbone Lane in 1782.

It is the first new distillery in Dublin for 125 years, and offers a unique visitor experience. As it is a working distillery, it allows visitors to interact with the people making the product and to witness the distilling process first hand! This distinctive feature is reflected in the 


industrial design, with concrete floors, large open spaces and barrel inspired seating. There is also an event space that is available for private hire! 

Teelings

The engaging guided tour opens with a photo exhibition on the history of whiskey distilling and a timeline of the Teeling story. Upstairs, visitors will see the three pot stills and will be  guided through the process of whiskey distilling. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes a sample of some fine Teeling Whiskey. Visitors can also buy some of the Teeling Whiskey, a great way to remember a trip to Dublin!

Pot Stills

Make sure to sample the Spirit of Dublin on your next MICE programme!

Photos of Teeling Distillery courtesy of Teeling Whiskey Company

 

From rolling green hills to the wild Atlantic coastline and lots in between, Ireland's beautiful scenery is internationally renowned. It's difficult to narrow down, but here are just some of the best scenic views in Ireland!

1. The Causeway Coast & Glens, Co. Antrim

This route has been consistently ranked in the top scenic drives in the world. It covers the Causeway Coast, the Antrim Coast & Glens which includes Rathlin, Northern Ireland's only inhabited off-shore island, and the dramatic cliffs of Binevenagh.

Causeway Coastal Route

Image Credit: Failte Ireland

 

2. Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow

Set against the beautiful background of the Sugarloaf Mountain, the gardens at Powerscourt were laid out over a period of 150 years, and were designed with the aim to have a garden that was part of the wider landscape. The result is one of the most visually stunning gardens in all of Ireland. 

medium Italian Garden Powerscourt Gardens

Image Credit: Failte Ireland

 

3. The Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork

Renowned for its fantastic scenery and dramatic cliffs, the Old Head of Kinsale is also home to a world class golf course. It is also the nearest land point to where the RMS Lusitania sank in 1915.

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Image Credit: Raymond Fogarty

 

4. Dún Aonghasa, The Aran Islands

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dún Aonghasa is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts on the Aran Islands. It offers spectacular views of up to 75 miles of Irish coastline.

Dún Aonghasa

Image Credit: Raymond Fogarty

 

5. Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal

Situated on the south west coast of Co. Donegal, the Slieve League Cliffs are said to be some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. They reach almost three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, and are nothing short of stunning, particularly at sunset, where the rock is streaked with changing shades of red, amber and ochre.

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Image Credit: Failte Ireland

 

6. Skellig Islands, Co. Kerry

'Little Skellig' and 'Great Skellig' - also known as 'Skellig Michael' - are two small, steep, and rocky islands lying about 13km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry. Skellig Michael is the site of a well preserved Christian monastic settlement, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Little Skellig is the home of a thriving gannet and puffin population.

medium Skellig view 2

Image Credit: Tourism Ireland

 

7. The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are consistently ranked as Ireland's top visitor attraction. Rising to 214 metres at their highest point, they stretch for 8 kilometres along the Atlantic Coast of Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

Image Credit: Christopher Hill Photographic 2014, Tourism Ireland

 

8. Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo

There are great views on offer here in this small fishing village in Sligo. It is famous for its 'Prowlers' - waves like no other, with swells said to be up to 100ft, which makes it a great destination for surfers.

Mullaghmore

Image Credit: Failte Ireland

 

9. Glencar Lake, Co. Leitrim

This beautiful, peaceful lake covers an area of 1.15 square kilometres (0.4sq mi) and lies mostly in County Leitrim, with a smaller part in County Sligo. It is popular with anglers for trout, sea trout and salmon fishing. Make sure to visit the nearby Glencar Waterfall, which served as inspiration to W.B. Yeats and features in one of his poems. 'The Stolen Child'.

 

Glencar Lake 2

Image Credit: Failte Ireland

 

10. Gravity Bar at Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

You don't always need to go out into the countryside for great scenery, as demonstrated by the view from Gravity Bar at the top of Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Here visitors have uninterrupted 360 degree views of Dublin city, extending out to the Dublin Mountains. 

Gravity Bar View

Image Credit: blogs.iesabroad.org

Where are some of your favourite places in Ireland to enjoy great scenery?

20796 belfast city hall aerial 1Whether you are planning a conference for 500 delegates, or an incentive to reward 50 hard-working staff, the city of Belfast and the surrounding areas in Northern Ireland have all the necessary elements for a fantastic MICE programme!

 Northern Ireland is very accessible; fly in to Belfast International Airport or arrive in Dublin, which has excellent global flight access and is only a two hour drive away. The superb hotel accommodation ranges in style from boutique to luxuriously elegant; choose to stay close to city centre hotspots, or in the peaceful surroundings of the countryside. With world-class conference facilities such as Waterfront Hall and unique venues, such as Titanic Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol and Ballywalter Park to name but a few, Northern Ireland is an ideal destination for MICE

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A wide range of unique and unusual activities and visitor attractions will add extra excitement to an incentive trip. If you're a Game of Thrones fan, a visit to Castle Ward is a must, which served as the setting for Winterfell, home of the Stark family in Season One.

 Crumlin Road Gaol closed its doors as a working prison in 1996, and after extensive renovations re-opened in November 2012 as a visitor attraction and confrence centre. The Gaol housed men, women and children, murderers, suffragettes and loyalist and republican prisoners. Guests walk in the footsteps of 25,000 prisoners on this tour and experience what life was like for those who ended up incarcerated here. The Gaol Circle & Wings, the hub of the gaol, provide a truly unique setting for a gala dinner or event. 

16294 crumlin road gaolAt Titanic Belfast, nine galleries cover the story of Titanic with an insightful and innovative visitor experience. From intimate mezzanines to exclusive takeover of the entire building, there is a wide range of event space options at Titanic. 

The Ballywalter Estate is home to Lord and Lady Dunleath, and has been in the family's ownership since it was built in 1846. The versatile reception rooms offer a flexible setting for formal dinners, conferences, courses, seminar and board meetings.

Titanic Belfast

All of the delicious food at Ballywalter is prepared by Lady Dunleath and her in-house team, made with produce from the Estate and local suppliers. The food is complemented wonderfully by vintage wines from the House Cellar, and this combination ensures guests have a memorable dining experience! 

There are extensive grounds for outdoor pursuits and team building events; the house itself is surrounded by 30 acres of pleasure grounds, and it is situated within the walled demesne of around 270 acres. The total Estate runs to over 1200 acres. 

Northern Ireland is quite compact; some of Ireland's most remarkable scenery such as the Giant's Causeway, the Mourne Mountains and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are just a short drive from Belfast, and can be easily incorporated into a programme! 

carrick a rede rope bridge

 

 

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