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Category Archives: DMC

Some old Irish Pubs

There are so many great pubs in the island of Ireland that we thought we would show you some of the older ones.  Just in time for St. Patrick’s day (please don’t say St. Patty’s day – it never was and never will be…).

THE BRAZEN HEAD, DUBLIN

brazenThe Brazen Head has been in operation as a tavern since 1178.

Among the famous names who have indulged in a tipple in this famous pub include Wolfe Tone, Michael Collins, James Joyce and Brendan Behan.

 

SEAN’S BAR, ATHLONE, WESTMEATH

seansIt is thought that Sean’s Bar dates back as far as 900 and even the Guinness Book of Records has decreed that it is the oldest pub in Ireland.

During renovations in 1970, the walls of the bar were found to be made of wattle and wicker dating back to the ninth century.  Old coins were also found and dated to this period and are now on display in the National Museum.

 

McHUGHS,BELFAST

mchughsDATING from 1711, this is the oldest pub in Belfast. 29-31/33 Queens Square was constructed at this time as part of the Hanover Quay development undertaken by Isaac MacCartney between 1710 and 1720 and given that ‘not even one standing wall of pre-1769 development was previously known to have survived anywhere in Belfast, it is particularly fortunate to find that this building (McHugh’s) is not only essentially intact, but also represents such an important part of the early town of Belfast.

 

THE OLD THATCH, KILLEAGH

old thatchThe present owners the Sweeney family can trace ownership of The Old Thatch as far back as the mid 1700’s.

At Castlemartyr Quarter sessions in 1867 the then owner of the premises, John Conway applied for a renewal of his licence. It was refused on the grounds that the premises were being used to harbour Fenians. He stated in his submission that his house had been licences for over two hundred years without complaint. Nevertheless, the presiding magistrate withheld the licence. The present owners the Sweeney family can trace ownership as far back as the mid 1700’s.

To see more unique venues for your next meeting or incentive in Ireland contact MICEport at inspireus@miceport.com or visit us at www.miceportdmc.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in DMC, Ireland, MICEport, MICEport DMC

 

Nice Bankside London!

thumb_IMG_2172_1024London, UK. MICEport DMC was in London recently with our DMC in England and Wales, Metier (just as an aside – what a great team – they know EVERYTHING about London).  As part of the site inspection, we visited The Hilton London Bankside. To be honest, I was thinking that this would be just another hotel – oh was I wrong!

The Hilton London Bankside is a gem in this area of London, it has incorporated the service of a global hotel chain while remaining true to the local area. The Hilton London Bankside has 292 rooms, with over 10,000 sq ft of meeting space for 750 guests. The hotel is located on Great Suffolk Street in south east London, close to HMS Belfast, Tate Modern, Borough Market (which you must not miss!), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The London Eye, The Tower of London and so much more…

thumb_IMG_2176_1024The OXBO Bankside restaurant and The Distillery bar are really worth while visiting and would be great for a welcome reception for a meeting or incentive group. The OXBO Bankside restaurant has some really interesting artwork from the local area and make a real London statement.  The Distillery bar is also full of history and is located on the site of the old Stevenson & Howell fragrance factory, which distilled essential oils and manufactured essences, flavorings and garnishes during the 1800s. Now  they have been inspired by this local history, the bar has become an alchemist’s laboratory of sensations mixing signature cocktails using homemade aromatics, infusions and bitters to accent drinks. Take a quick look at the penny wall in the bar, featuring pennies dating back to the early twentieth century, it is inspired by a rumour that the building was once a coin warehouse for the Bank of England.

The meeting space is very cleverly constructed and feels very airy and comfortably lit, despite there being no natural daylight and in this case it is a plus. The largest meeting space is 9,600 sq ft and the smallest 336 sq ft.

If you have never held a meeting or incentive in London or if you have held multiple meetings and incentives in London, The Hilton London Bankside has so much to offer that is unique and authentic.  Contact MICEport DMC to see the programs that we can create for your next meeting or incentive with our fantastic London based DMC, Metier UK DMC, Claire and her team are amazing  and will truly create something special for your next London program.  Email us at inspireus@miceport.com

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The Origins of Halloween

Haloween

Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition and is now characterised by community-based child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season.

samhainHalloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

If you want to see some magic in your meetings or incentives in any of our 12 international destinations, contact MICEport DMC (www.miceportdmc.com) at inspireus@miceport.com

Have a good Halloween!!

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in DMC

 

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Are you crazy? Let’s talk cents.

Well the title says it all…. You must be crazy if you are not taking advantage of some of the great MICE offers in  Europe and the Middle East.

Morocco

Morocco

Okay – we know how beautiful the destinations are and we may need to learn some new places in the destinations etc but that is why we work with a quality Destination Management Company (DMC) – someone who really is the expert in the destination and brings our programs to life – that is a subject for another blog….We are talking Dollars and Cents in this blog post!

  • Did you know, if you were to run or purchase a program in Europe this year compared to last year – you would save about 20% in exchange rates alone.
  • Did you know, if you were to run or purchase a program in the United Kingdom this year compared to last year – you would save about 10% in exchange rates alone.
  • Did you know, if you were to run or purchase a program in Morocco this year compared to last year – you would save about 17% in exchange rates alone.
  • Did you know, if you were to run or purchase a program in the UAE this year compared to last year it would be the same because the UAE Dirham is pegged to the USD.

So you can see, now is a great time to look at Europe and the Middle East for some fantastic meeting and incentive programs purely for financial reasons.  We could write all day on motivational and experiential reasons, but from a purely financial point of view – it makes sense to do a program in Europe and the Middle East.

MICEport has some of the most respected DMCs in the world with an average of 27 years in business as a Destination Management Company from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Monaco, Morocco, Germany, Austria, Italy, UAE and Oman  who will create a great program for your group. Contact MICEport to see how we can bring something new to your international MICE programs as well as our hedged USD rates that we offer to clients inspireus@miceport.com

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Please note this is for informational purposes so please contact your financial department or your accountancy firm for specific requirements related to your company situation.  This is not constituted as advice but rather for illustration purposes.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in DMC, Exchange rates, Incentives, Meetings

 

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ITALY: A Unique Restaurant Experience for Groups

Italy is all about history, exquisite, unique and authentic experiences, love and food! Well experience all this and more with MICEport DMC partner in Italy, Studio ITER. As an example of this, North American groups can visit a very special and unique Roman restaurant in the stunning 1 star Michelin restaurant, AROMA.

AROMA is located within the premises of the enchanting Manfredi Palace (Palazzo Manfredi) where Chef Giuseppe Di Iorio brings his modern cuisine, choosing the freshest ingredients while keeping an eye on tradition.

AROMA has a contemporary dining room overlooking the Colosseum and Emperor Nero’s Gardens and is quite simply a magical rooftop garden restaurant.  Before dinner, guests can enjoy a cocktail on the lounge bar terrace overlooking the Colle Oppio (Emperor Nero’s gardens).  The stylish decor is welcoming and relaxing, whilst the glass observatory offers an all-year round dining experience, perfect for North American incentives and meetings.

Contact MICEport DMC for your next incentive or meeting to Italy with our DMC partner, Studio ITER at inspireus@miceport.com or go to our website at www.miceportdmc.com

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About MICEport

MICEport is a strategic sales and marketing firm partnering with Destination Management Companies in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Italy, UAE, Oman and Morocco. Our DMC Partners can ensure that that your program not only works within your budget but more importantly fits in with your goals and objectives of your program while offering a truly unique and authentic experience. Our DMCs throughout Europe and the Middle East have an average of 27 years in business and are all owner managed companies  Learn more about our DMCs at www.miceport.com.

 

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New Year – New Look – New Concepts – New Business – Old Values

New Year 

Happy New Year and I hope that it will be a successful, happy and healthy New Year!

2015 has started with a bang here in MICEport and we are really excited about the changes that are coming down the line for international meetings and incentives from North America.

New Look

We have redesigned our website (www.miceport.com) to reflect the changing nature of our international meetings and incentives Scotland websitebusiness from North America. Our new website reflects our business divisions and services as well as hopefully making it clearer and easier to navigate.  We are hoping that it will allow you to get the information that you need quicker and easier and if not, let us know.

Our largest division is MICEport DMC which is a collection of international boutique destination management companies (DMCs) from Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Italy, UAE, Oman, Germany and Austria.  MICEport’s DMCs are in business an average of 26 years, so they have seen and created some of the most amazing incentive and meeting programs in their respective countries.

New Concepts 

anymeetingWebinars – We worked with our business partner, Anymeeting.com last year to test out some webinars and the response from North American buyers was fantastic! So we have invested in the technology to bring 30 minute webinars to the North American market including “Meet the DMC” series as well as city and country specific information plus unique program ideas in their respective destinations.

We do not expect this to replace face-to-face meetings and we will continue to be active throughout North America visiting meeting and incentive professional but it allows MICEport and our international DMCs and clients to get to know each other. This will give clients and partners better understanding of objectives as well as showing the great quality and experience MICEport and our partners have to offer.  It also enables us to create a relationship with each other – which is obviously the starting block for any successful business.  There are many more new concepts for 2015 and we will share them with you in future postings. Click here for up and coming webinars.

New Business – Old Values 

Matthew McElroyDespite all the changes that are happening within MICEport such as webinars, tradeshows, new offices etc, we are still sticking to our core old business values of quality, respect and service to  customers and partners alike.  We want to be PARTNERS with select buyers and suppliers to ensure that goals are achieved and exceeded in all aspects of any program

Have a wonderful 2015!!

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in DMC, Incentives, MICEport DMC, Technology, Webinar

 

Ireland: Ashford Castle Glorious Restoration

Ashford

MICEport’s DMC in Ireland – Wallace Travel Group – suggested that we look at Ashford Castle and we are so glad that they did… Wallace Travel Group has worked with Ashford Castle for many years for incentives and meetings from North America.

Ashford 1An extensive restoration and enhancement program is underway at Ashford Castle in County Mayo to return this stunning, historic building to its former glory. Having acquired the castle in June 2013, Red Carnation Hotels a family-owned collection of 16 luxury award-winning hotels is meticulously working to preserve Ashford’s history and charm while enhancing its guest facilities and levels of luxury and comfort.  The program takes a three-phased approach and the first magnificent, all-new eight guestrooms have been completed and can now be revealed.

The eight rooms, in the Victorian and East Wings, include the grandest suites in the castle. The rooms have been lovingly furnished by a dynamic design team headed by Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, Founder and President of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and her daughter Toni Tollman. Each room is individually decorated and designed, featuring a luxurious mix of furnishings and original artwork, fit for any King or Queen. With carefully sourced antique furniture, exquisite fabrics, bespoke carpets and marble bathrooms, the luxurious rooms have been sensitively conceived to complement the ambiance and tradition of this iconic property.

Ashford 2The second stage of the refurbishment is now completed. This stage focused on the hotel’s existing public areas and 30 further guestrooms. In true Red Carnation style, no detail will be missed and meticulous attention is being brought to this important project.  Behind the scenes, the castle’s kitchens will be moved and completely rebuilt on a different level closer to the dining room, facilitating a more efficient and timely service for future diners.  The already stunning 350-acre sprawling estate will also receive tender love and care as required, from the walled and herb gardens, to the tennis courts, falconry center and stunning nine-hole golf course, the drainage of which will be completely overhauled to ensure that guests can enjoy it all year round.

The third and final phase of the renovation will take place from October 2014 – March 2015, during which the remaining guestrooms will be completed. Subject to planning permission approvals which are still pending, the subsequent renovation plans for phase three also include the installation of a 32-seat indoor cinema, a billiard room and a cigar terrace, as well as a children’s game room, further increasing the hotel’s appeal for all ages and seasons. These new facilities will help to ensure that the castle, with its array of enhanced outdoor activities including falconry, horse-riding, water sports, clay pigeon shooting, catch-and-release fishing, hiking, golf and tennis, is also a haven of indoor enjoyment and decadence for all ages.  The hope is, also subject to appropriate planning permission, that a magnificent, full service spa and large indoor heated pool will be part of the ambitious enhancement of the castle and will reinforce Ashford Castle as the most luxurious destination hotel in all of Ireland.

Ashford 3

To support the enhanced offerings at the hotel, the staff levels will be significantly increased, boosting employment within the local area. Remaining a constant throughout the entire refurbishment program will be Ashford’s award-winning General Manager Niall Rochford and his fantastic team. Mr. Rochford has presided at Ashford Castle for nearly 12 years and was recently awarded the prestigious “Hotel Manager of the Year 2013” by the Irish Hospitality Institute Founders.

Ashford Castle celebrates its 75th anniversary as a hotel in 2014, so it is timely that a significant part of the comprehensive restoration program will be complete for this auspicious landmark. The renovation will protect and enhance this iconic property for the next 75 years, and beyond.

For more information on Wallace Travel Group and all the opportunities that exist for groups, meetings and incentives in Ireland, contact MICEport in North America on (215) 253-8924 or inspireus@miceport.com www.miceportdmc.com

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in DMC, Ireland, Wallace Travel Group

 

IRELAND: Authentic Incentive Experiences – Ballyknocken Cookery School

Ballyknocken House and Cookery School

Catherine Fulvio is a TV chef, food writer and owner of the Ballyknocken CatherineHouse and Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. I had the pleasure to first meet Catherine in Ireland in 2005, while I was working for Tourism Ireland in New York. Catherine introduced me to her cookery school and beautifully restored the Ballyknocken Guest House, which dates back to the 1700s. That tour of the property and culinary experience still resonates with me, as I have recommended it as a unique travel destination. Catherine’s expertise and hands-on insight on Irish cuisine, melded with the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside, is an impressive experience for any visitor to Ireland. Almost a decade since my introduction, Ballyknocken House and Cookery School remains a wonderful destination and overall experience for the North American MICE market.

Incentives and Meetings Ballyknocken House

teamMICEport’s DMC in Ireland, Wallace Travel Group, has worked to create wonderful fun-filled team building days at Ballyknocken for North American clients. Travel groups can experience the beautiful countryside of County Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’, (about 45 minutes from Dublin City Center) and participate in cooking classes in the converted Milking Parlour on the farm (pictured here). Ballyknocken offers a spacious setting for team building activities, such as bodhran (traditional Irish drums) workshops, tin whistle classes and Irish Dance demonstrations. These activities, coupled with the culinary world’s “Taste of Ireland”, illustrate a very real and authentic experience for groups.

Two Programs in One

Many incentive clients operating programs in the Dublin area sometimes seek a ‘town and country experience’, while remaining close to Dublin airport. Wicklow offers that freedom for the group. Some clients schedule three days in Dublin city, followed by two or three days in the countryside. There are some great properties in the Wicklow area for medium and large groups, such as the new Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection and Druids Glen Resort, just to mention two.

Ballyknocken’s St. Patrick’s Day Gift ~ Luck of the Irish!

Brown Bread imageWith St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken House was so gracious to send a little bit of Ireland to North America with her Great Grandmother’s Brown Irish Soda Bread recipe – Download Ballyknocken Soda Bread Recipe. How lucky are we to have such an authentic Irish culinary experience right in our own kitchens? Please send us a photo of your bakery delight to our Facebook page. Thank you Catherine!

More Information

For more information regarding incentives and meetings in Ireland, please contact MICEport at inspireus@miceport.comwww.miceportdmc.com or our USA office at Tel: (215) 253 8924.

 

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It’s Time … Address to a Haggis!

Each year on 25th January, Scotland and its diaspora marks the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, through the ritual of the Burns Supper.

Robert Burns is one of Scotland’s most important literary figures and is best known for his famous, and often humorous, songs and poetry. Burns is regarded as Scotland’s National Bard. Robert Burns is to Scotland what Shakespeare is to England.

burnscottageMore commonly known as Rabbie, Burns was born to a poor family in Alloway, Ayr, (about 40 minutes south of Glasgow) on 25 January 1759 and began his working life on the family farm. As Burns grew older, his passion for Scotland and his dynamic, contemporary vision played an important role in inspiring the founders of liberalism. His literary fame began when his first work Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, later known as the Kilmarnock Edition, was published in 1786 after which his writing career flourished.

Despite Rabbie’s short life (37 years), he enjoyed an eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.  Burns is famous for his political views, revolutionary behavior and his love for the lassies, all of which can be seen in his extensive catalog of work.

bill-addressing-haggisBurns was also inspired by the beauty of Scotland, particularly the breathtaking scenery of Ayrshire, his birthplace, and the romantic setting of his later home region of Dumfries & Galloway.  Although more than 200 years have passed since his death, Burns remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night celebrations held across the country on 25 January each year.

The Address to a Haggis is one of Robert Burns’ most famous and regularly performed poems.  No Burns Supper is complete without this pomp and ceremony in tribute to Scotland’s national dish. Luckily for any incentive groups coming to Scotland, they are in safe hands. MICEport’s DMC in Scotland, Hello Scotland’s own Bill Thomson is a master of the Address to a Haggis and delivers it with enthusiasm and gusto.

The end of any celebration in Scotland is rounded off by a rousing version of Auld Lang Syne, another well-loved Rabbie Burns influenced piece of prose. If an incentive or meeting group comes to Scotland, Hello Scotland can recreate the “Address to a Haggis” for an unforgettable final night gala.

Happy Burns Night!

For more information and unique Scotland experiences for North American groups, contact MICEport at inspireus@miceport.com

Click here to find out more about Burns night maybe you can have your own celebration

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in DMC, Hello Scotland, MICEport DMC, Scotland

 

Small Things Count …

I think that it was Vincent Van Gogh who said  “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”. This was definitely exemplified when I was recently in the United Arab Emirates with MICEport’s newest DMC based in Dubai, Incentive Connections.

Dubai airportThe team at Incentive Connections really do think of everything.  When I came off my transatlantic flight at 11.00pm local time, they were there to meet me – not a driver – but 3 team members! Incentive Connections always have a minimum of two people to meet and greet their groups.

Once outside the terminal, our car was parked very close by with a cold towel and ice cold water. I am not saying this to be a highly demanding person, rather it was so appreciated because there was nothing else that I wanted other than an ice cold drink and to feel refreshed. I really did feel like a VIP but I was quickly told by the team that “this is the way we meet all our groups” – wow…this is a partner who really knows clients and superior customer service.

hyatt-regency-lobbyWe made the short transfer to Hyatt Regency Dubai where the Incentive Connections team gave me a welcome gift of a silver scroll and the loan of a cell phone while in the UAE. Once again this is standard practice for the team who present these two items to a group leader.

A cell phone may appear to be a small thing but it was an invaluable item because it enabled us to be in contact with each other when we were not together or needing to co-ordinate. This was a great experience by Incentive Connections who really do believe in the small details to create a unique and exceptional experience in the UAE for incentive and meeting groups from North America.

MICEport is proud to be a partner of Incentive Connections in North America.  For more information or to submit an RFP please email us at inspireus@miceport.com

IC Gift

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Creativity, DMC, Dubai, Incentive Connections

 
 
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