When it comes to luxury experiences, it’s hard to beat a five-star Irish stately home, castle or historic house. From garden parties and tented villages to artisan foods and craft beers, not to mention chartered boat tours — it’s luxury like you’ve never experienced it before.
Long established Destination Management Company, A Touch of Ireland was tasked with designing and delivering a luxury incentive programme for a US Insurance Company. The itinerary chosen was a 5-star castle experience for 500 guests over four days.
Due to the number of guests attending, more than one venue was required. The challenge was to host the group across three sites while ensuring each location had the same high standard, offering and level of comfort so all guests would have the same authentic experience — while also embracing the unique facilities of each historic property.
The DMC carried out several detailed site inspections and the decision was made to privately book the medieval and victorian Ashford Castle, the spectacular neo-Gothic Adare Manor and one of one Ireland's finest historic hotels, Dromoland Castle, all in the west of Ireland.
The programme began with a decadent garden party — historically, the opening night for group’s annual event always took place outdoors and Ireland was to be no exception. Food barrows, buffet stalls, artisan foods, craft beers and 5-star field kitchens kept the group fed while festival bunting, mood lighting and sound systems as well as wandering musicians and performers kept them entertained.
The DMC also made a contingency plan for bad weather; in two of the castles, this would involve moving everything into a beautiful function room. In the third hotel, where no indoor alternative was available, a tented village was built from dawn.
On day two, guests were offered a choice of seven tours or activities from each property and excellent local guides as well as a fleet of 25 luxury coaches to take the group to “Secret Escapes”, behind the scenes experiences, visits to private homes, tailor-made foodie tours and chartered boats to view the Cliffs of Moher.
That evening, guests had the chance to experience a real local Irish pub — with no more than 40 guests per pub. In what turned out to be one of the most successful evenings, the group mixed with locals, listened to Irish music, ate authentic pub food and took part in singsongs.
For the final night, the guests enjoyed an amazing gala performance complete with pipers and Riverdance Troupes and the crème de la crème of Irish entertainment at all three castles on the same night. The evening presented a series of capacity and space issues but thanks to the DMC’s experience and long list of contacts and suppliers, they rose to meet the challenge.
On the fourth day it was confirmed that the event was seen as one of the best Incentive trips the company had ever done. Feedback for the DMC included: “We just wanted to reach out and send our sincerest thanks for an excellent job by you and your team in Ireland. This was a massive undertaking running three individual programs simultaneously and overall everything was a huge success!”
Thinking about planning your next MICE event in Ireland? Contact a member of the Meet in Ireland team today — we can provide you with guidance and support at every step along the way.
Images courtesy of Adare Manor and Ashford Castle.