Ireland had always been on the wish list of the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts as a destination for the annual Kennedy Centre Trustees and Donors Event. This year, the 29th of May 2017, marked the centenary of the birth of President John F. Kennedy — an extremely important date to the U.S-based organization. Where would be better to celebrate such an event than in the ancestral home of J.F.K?
Dublin-based Event Partners Ireland was challenged to create a high-end, unique incentive programme for the Kennedy Centre Trustees and Donors — one that would showcase Ireland’s vibrant culture, world-class food scene, colourful history and cutting edge art scene, all in one.
To prepare the best itinerary, Event Partners Ireland carried out in depth research into John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. They also met with Culture Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland for advice and support. Meet in Ireland provided financial support for a crucial advance site inspection.
Dublin’s luxurious Shelbourne Hotel was chosen to accommodate the attendees, while the Iveagh House team provided a gourmet meal based on an original menu served to John F. Kennedy when he dined there in June 1963. A private tour of the Hugh Lane Gallery was followed by an exclusive reception at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with dinner and entertainment hosted at the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar.
The Kennedy Centre group’s interest in heritage was catered to on a private, after hours tour of Kilmainham Gaol, while a behind the scenes tour of the historic Abbey Theatre highlighted the vibrant history of the arts in Ireland.
The final day of the incentive experience included a trip to the Design & Crafts Council in Kilkenny, a private tour of the Liminal Exhibition, a stop off at Stephen O'Briain Furniture, and a visit to Ceadogán, producer of handcrafted rugs. A tour of renowned Kilkenny Castle was followed by a gourmet picnic lunch with Susan Mosse, Director of Nicholas Mosse Pottery, at Kilfane Glen and Waterfall.
The programme finished with an elegant gala dinner and the 11th Annual Gold Medal in Arts Ceremony at Farmleigh House, the official Irish State guest house. Guests on the night included then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, members of the Arts Council of Ireland, Irish actress and director Fiona Shaw, musician James Galway and singer Sir Van Morrison. Events Partner Ireland succeeded in creating an impressive showcase that resonated with every member of the Kennedy Centre group, and left them with lasting memory of their experience in Ireland.