Ireland as a country is as diverse as its conference locations - from the Business-City of Dublin under the sign of Google and Facebook to the remote Aran Islands.
- 1. Lough Eske Castle, Donegal: Meet at the Irish Castle Hotel
- 2. Kilmurvey House BundB on the Aran Islands: Meetings on the edge of Europe
- 3. Maldron Hotel in Dublin: Meetings very close to Google and Facebook
- What else does Dublin offer?
- 4. The Hous Hotel in Galway: Pretty in Pink and Ireland's Best Hotel
- 5. Brooklodge Hotel and Wells Spa in Wicklow: Green Meetings in Ireland - organic meets culinary
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1. Lough Eske Castle, Donegal: Meet at the Irish Castle Hotel
Meets in an Irish castle - and one that belongs to Andrew Parker Bowles, the ex-husband of Camilla, who is now associated with the English royal house, and in a dreamy landscape.
Since Lough Eske Castle, like the Breidenbacher Hof in Düsseldorf, is one of the Capella Hotels, my expectations for service and ambience were comparatively high. Lough Eske Castle's history dates back to the 14th century and is associated with the O'Donnell Clan, who also founded Donegal.
Around 1470, the O'Donnells relocated their ancestral home to Donegal Castle, 7 km away, where they ruled and held court until they fled the English in 1607. Their lands came to the English captain Basil Brooke, who also lived temporarily in Lough Eske.
In 1861 the new Lough Eske Castle was built in the place of the old Brook House in Elizabeth Style built. A boundary stone from 1621 with the initials WH and IM, which can be admired in the garden, still bears witness to this today.
From the castle to the hotel
Subsequently, Lough Eske Castle changed several times the owner, was led by 1930-39 even as a hotel, but then partially destroyed by a fire. In the 80 years the lands of the castle were part of a state forestry, the interest in the building was low. When the castle was taken over by the present owners, trees grew inside.
The hotel was extensively restored in 18 months and opened in 2007 as the Schlosshotel Solis Lough Eske Castle. Andrew Parker Bowles, ex-husband of Prince Charles second, is one of the board members, who also visits the hotel again and again Ms. Camilla
Today, Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa sits in the midst of 17 acres of woodland, surrounded by the eponymous Lough Eske on one side and the Blue Stack Mountains on the other.
From the original building, however, only a part of the building consists of a modern, flat cultivation, which unfortunately does not allow any view of the Lough Eske. In the garden are several bronze sculptures, including a dolphin fountain in front of the entrance. They were made by Lloyd Le Blanc for a total of 42 million euros.
The interior is impressive: from the entrance a wide sandy staircase leads up to the lobby, while the testimony of past times adorn the rooms.
Even otherwise, the hotel is more upscale-oriented - although in some places a bit worn: The cheapest of the 96 rooms and suites are the garden rooms from 290 Euro per night, a junior suite is available from 400 Euro per night. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
The castle has three conference rooms: the 500 square meter ballroom can be divided into three parts with a trend wall. The 112 square meter Glencar Suite is also divided into two parts. Both rooms have daylight and partial views of the Blue Stack Mountains.
The 51 square meter Oak Boardroom in the lower floor of the castle has an open fireplace. It functions as an executive meeting room, theater for presentations or private dining room. All rooms could, if not already available, be equipped with the necessary equipment such as an official, screen, sound system and light. Prices are only mentioned in the context of agreements.
The dinner at the cozy Cedars Grill Restaurant can, unlike the breakfast, convince. However, it is mainly due to the heavy Irish cuisine, which is something unusual for the restaurant of an 5 star hotel.
The terrace is apparently only in use when the weather is excellent, which is rare in Ireland. I find that more convincing Concept the second restaurant, the Gallery Bar and Lobby Lounge, which offers service and taste similar to that of Cedars, albeit at one clear lower price. The kitchen is open here until 10 a.m. The second bar, the Oak Bar, is designed more as an exclusive club.
The hotel is a good starting point for hikes: the 60-kilometre Bluestack Way leads directly behind the house, and there is also a 5-kilometre loop along the lake. Bikes are also available for hire at the hotel, which is handy for getting to Donegal which is 7km away.
However, the hotel also has a very nice Spa for Irish standards with two saunas, whirlpool and for a hotel relatively large swimming pool - all indoor and in the garden of the hotel, only without covered access. There are also beauty and massage treatment rooms.
Price-performance ratio in comparison
Overall, a nice hotel in a fantastic location and tasteful, cozy atmosphere. However, one should not make the mistake of comparing it to the Breidenbacher Hof, which is also the top international standard. Even though both hotels are at the same price level, you still have to calculate that the Irish price-performance ratio is generally worse than in Germany:
Compared to German 5-star hotels, more is expected for the price. However, it is the only 5-star hotel in County Donegal and has won multiple awards, including five years in a row as the "World's Best Luxury Country Hotel" and the only Irish hotel to receive the "World Luxury Hotel Award." Condé Nast's named it one of the top three luxury hotels in Ireland, receiving the European Hospitality Awards in 2013 and the Trip Advisor “Traveller's Choice Award” in 2015.
2. Kilmurvey House BundB on the Aran Islands: Meetings on the edge of Europe
The Aran Islands are an extraordinary group of islands in the very west of Ireland: Irish is still the national language here, the landscape is barren, rough and beautiful. However, there are 400 different types of plants and 30 different types of butterflies and the smallest church in the world Welt. The meeting location is therefore kept rather simple.
Previously, the island was once self-sufficient in its own supply. Until 2022 she wants to be back in the power supply. There is electricity here only since 1975, before there was only gas. And behind the island lies nothing but the Atlantic Ocean.
On the main island of Inishmore just just 800 people, including a doctor, two nurses, twelve teachers and three guards. There are two national schools and a high school on the island. And 100.000 tourists a year.
A place with 4 bus drivers
Therefore, there are also four small tourist buses and four bus drivers. One of them is Michael Hernon, who also operates the Airport Express and also groups on the island. Since 1970, there is a small airport with machines from the mainland. Later came the ferry dock.
And in this seclusion one should Meetings and hold seminars? Yes, Kilmurvey House BundB has the space. Owner Treasa Joyce shared the house with her husband from the Family accepted. There are actually three houses that have grown together here, which gives the house a peculiar, winding character.
The house is not well designed and does not have the flair of an old English country estate. It is more reminiscent of an old farmhouse with a quaint kitchen, stone floor and creaking stairs. Then there are several small salons. The rooms are rather rustic, but very comfortable. Predicate down to earth.
The house has 15 rooms, 24 people can sleep comfortably here. 40 people can fit in the large meeting room. There is also the only room in which free WiFi is available. There is also an extendable screen. Chairs and tables are also available, but apart from that, the furnishings can be adapted to the respective requirements: "It depends on how people use the space," says Treasa Joyce.
A group of eight or more pays 40 Euro per person in bed and breakfast, otherwise one night in a single room costs 50 Euro. The breakfast is classic Anglo-Saxon, alla cart to order - and highly recommended.
In addition, Treasa can cook on request for up to 30 people and then conjures a threeCourse menu, which I unfortunately had no opportunity to try.
Excursions - The smallest church in the world
Directly behind the house you can climb up to the historic Bronze Age Dun Aengus Fort. For the residents of the BundB, admission is free. The view over the cliffs is terrific, but the danger of falling is great. There are more than 30 pre-historic and early-historical sites registered on the island.
Not far from the BundB is a picturesque white sandy beach, also you can walk on lonely paths along the sea or cycling. Picturesque is the village Kilronan, so to say the main town of the island, where there is also a supermarket, some shops and also very beautiful beaches. Not far away is the smallest church in the world on a hill.
3. Maldron Hotel in Dublin: Meetings very close to Google and Facebook
The Docklands are part of the up and coming business area in Dublin: Here are Google, Facebook and Twitter. Dublin Convention Center built in 2010. And the Maldron Hotel, which was the first in the area in 2005.
Rooms and meeting rooms
The Maldron Hotel has 304 double rooms and five smaller meeting rooms. The largest meeting room accommodates people from 25 to 55, the smallest room in the boardroom style 12 people. In the lobby there is as a nice Dreingabe a charging station for mobile terminals.
In all meeting rooms there are projectors, screens and audiofacilities. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, which can be boosted appropriately in the event that 400 people log on at the same time.
Google and Co have boosted the business
In addition, the Maldron offers a fitness center with sauna, swimming pool and whirlpool. Small drawback: The breakfast is at best average. And: There is no air conditioning, which is absolutely normal and unnecessary in Ireland, but on those rare warm summer days Problem can be.
As Sales Manager Sarah Mc Crory told me in the Conversation reveals that the influx of diverse IT-Companies like Google, Facebook or Twitter clearly contributed to that Shop to boost. It's not for nothing that Dublin's taxi drivers jokingly call the area Google Land.
The largest conference center in Ireland
If capacity does not last, the Dublin Convention Center, the only one of its kind in the country, can accommodate up to 8.000 people, offering meeting and conference rooms from 4 to 4.000 folks on the opposite side of the river - and all the extras, you want from such a facility:
Projectors, screens, laptops, lighting effects, audio and video technology, conference circuits, translator boxes - and even armchairs with their own air conditioning. There are also rooms that can be separated or connected depending on the desired room size.
The Convention Center managed 16.500 events in the first year, 28.500 in the second year – including for Customer like Microsoft, IBM or Google. The prices are set individually, as a guideline you can give around 500 euros per day in one of the boardrooms.
Dublin has many attractions. The most extraordinary is probably the Book of Cells, the oldest book in the world, in the library of Trinity College. Also worth seeing and with great views over Dublin is the Guinness Hall.
You can eat well in the following restaurants: Ely Bar and Brasserie: CHQ Building ISFC, Stack 1, Georges Dock, Dublin, Pigs Ear Restaurant: 4 Nassau Street, Dublin, Number 37: 37 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Saddle Room Restaurant in the Shelbourne Hotel: 27 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.
4. The Hous Hotel in Galway: Pretty in Pink and Ireland's Best Hotel
According to the New York Times, The House Hotel is one of the best hotels in Ireland. An assessment that I quite share, even if the price is appropriate. There are no own seminar rooms, however, the Chamber of Commerce has to be used for this purpose.
Between harbor and party mile
The House Hotel is located centrally between the Latin Quarter harbour, Galway's party mile, just a few minutes' walk from the train station and University removed. And yet quiet in a small side street.
From the outside it looks quite normal, but the first impression of the interior was a shock to me: Pink. Not everything, quite tasteful, but still the dominant color, which determines both furniture and the outfit of the staff.
Business in Pink?
So my first question for Press Secretary Aislinn O'Driscoll is, "Are business people taking the hotel seriously?" “In fact, we have a lot of businesscustomers, also from abroad.” Aislinn laughs. With its internationally renowned university, Galway has become an important industrial location in the west of Ireland.
But she knows exactly what I think: “Men whose women have booked the hotel often arrive here - and then you can see the horror on their face at first. But afterwards they are usually all the more satisfied. ”
The pink decoration has nothing special Significance: “The hotel was designed by a South African designer. We just wanted to make the hotel a little friendlier - and also the clothing of our employees," said the spokeswoman. It is a coincidence that most Employees are female: “We are simply a very female-oriented hotel with a consistently female managementTeam”Says Aislinn.
The hotel has 40 rooms in four different categories. An overnight stay costs between 129 and 169 Euro - quite expensive for a 4 star house. Each room has a rare Irish climate conditions and is individually and tastefully decorated - and expressly not in pink. Throughout the hotel there is free Wi-Fi for guests.
Meeting rooms in the Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Galway is right on the other side of the small side street. There are meeting rooms for up to 45 people and about 75 for half a day. The hotel is happy to arrange such requests for guests: “Just let us know, we will book everything!” Aislinn says cheerfully.
The service, which I in the hotel have learned - for example, when you enter the hotel personally with names addressed and the staff remembers the attitude of the air conditioning in the room - I believe that only too gladly.
Networking is very important
Also the breakfast is highly recommended: On the buffet are the usual breakfast items, cereal, bread, muffins, covering. In addition, you can order the incenses of a typical Anglo-Saxon breakfast, eggs, ham and sausages from the menu, if not the juice press is broken, there is also freshly squeezed orange juice.
Finally, the hotel also organizes events on a regular basis Networking-Events and functions and the cocktail bar is one of Galway's top addresses for going out. So if you are looking for a MICE location with a special, more personal touch, The House Hotel is warmly recommended.
5. Brooklodge Hotel and Wells Spa in Wicklow: Green Meetings in Ireland - organic meets culinary
Meetings in the countryside with organic, yet culinary outstanding food, beautiful scenery - all just 90 minutes from Dublin Airport: Brooklodge Hotel and Wells Spa makes it possible.
Eco hotel with prominent guests
The hotel is located in the spectacular Wicklow Mountains, just over 15 minutes from Glendalough and Wicklow National Park. The three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis also lives not too far. Aer Lingus offers several direct flights from Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich to Dublin, from there you can continue by bus (eg via Arclow) or with a chauffeur service.
And even if owner Evan Doyle likes to ignore it, even the big Dublin IT companies are more often his guests. In the then largely dilapidated Macreddin Village Doyle 1990 first opened the restaurant The Strawberry Tree, later a hotel. Since 1999 he runs the BrookLodge - organic bakery, grocery store, smokehouse and two restaurants inclusive.
Ireland's only certified organic restaurant
In general, Doyle's concept has above all to do with good, healthy food: The Strawberry Tree is Ireland's only certified organic restaurant and was awarded by Feinschmecker and Michelin in 2013. It exclusively offers game and natural food from local organic farmers and with ingredients that the chefs procure from the forests and fields around Macreddin. The 9-course menu that I was allowed to test shows that ecological standards and culinary delights do not have to be mutually exclusive.
The second restaurant is La Taverna Armento, which is based on a partnership with the South Italian town of the same name and offers a complete southern Italian menu. Evan Doyle is also a member of Eurotoques and has organized the National Food Forum in the last six years. He is closely associated with the Slow Food movement in Ireland, chairman of the Taste Council of Ireland and director of the Organic Trust.
Eco-hotel in country-house style
The Brooklodge Hotel and Wells Spa today has 86 country house style rooms. Many of the rooms are equipped with four-poster beds or double beds and seating by the window from where you can enjoy the landscape - or, as in my case, look out over a small river. There is also the private Brooke Hall hotel with 24 rooms, which can be rented entirely for events.
The facility also focuses on ecology when it comes to equipment and energy generation: Not only are you surrounded by free-ranging chickens while drinking tea in the garden, the hotel also uses geothermal energy, waste separation and recycling paper. “When we started with that, we had to do everything ourselves to organize, because there was no infrastructure for something like that back then. Now people recognize the pioneering work,” says Evan Doyle.
Event and meeting locations
Various rooms are available for events: The four conference suites hold between ten board-style people and 74 theater-style people. The Maccredin Hall almost up to 120 persons. The Brook Hall River Room has a capacity of up to 250 people, The White Room can accommodate up to 350 people. An extraordinary location, which is also available for companies, is the chapel with space for about 150 persons.
The entire hotel is equipped with free Wi-Fi, in the conference rooms screens, beamer, audio and lighting technology are available, some of them are also equipped with a private bar.
Team building and activities
For groups, various activities are offered, such as horse riding, but the little ecological Off Road Driving, Gaelic Games Experience or Archery. There is an 65 acre golf course, designed by the winner of the European Ryder Cup, Paul McGinley.
Among the activities, stand out the Wild Foods Masterclasses, where Evan Doyle will introduce participants to the secrets of organic cooking, and The Eco Experiences, where participants will participate in the Teambuilding-Measures Activities such as sheep shearing, pottery, basket weaving or other local crafts are introduced.
Finally, there is the beautiful, but somewhat old-fashioned spa The Wells, with several pools, saunas and water treatments.
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