DUBLIN—Engage!22 The Ireland Experience brought together nearly 300 event industry pros from Oct. 17-20 in the Emerald Isle. In partnership with Tara Fay Events and with support from Failte Ireland (the national tourism authority), Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts—a Celebration, Fla.-based event planning and consulting firm—once again produced an inspirational environment to promote networking and idea generation among industry peers.
The three-day event featured presentations and small-group sessions with speakers including David Stark, Marcy Blum, Rishi Patel, Lynn Easton, and David Beahm, as well as elaborate parties and immersive experiences like clay shooting and archery. And as usual, the look and feel of the conference was inspired by the location—the Irish countryside.
“As much as possible we wanted to showcase Ireland as a progressive location with world-class suppliers but also with incredible locations and natural history,” said Tara Fay of Tara Fay Events, who assists the national tourism board in developing Ireland as an international wedding destination.
Back in 2018, Engage! hosted one of its yearly summits in Ireland at Adare Manor, located near the Cliffs of Moher. This time, organizers wanted to celebrate a different area of the country, hosting attendees closer to Dublin in County Kildare, with events taking place primarily at K Club, Carton House, and Luttrellstown Castle.
“It was really important to highlight a specific region within Ireland. From a tourism point of view, there are four distinct tourism regions within Ireland. For the last Engage! we hosted in Ireland, it took place along the Wild Atlantic Way,” Fay explained. “This year, all three venues were located within a 20-kilometer radius of each other within Ireland’s Ancient East where there is a huge amount of history. ... We wanted guests to spend time not just in their host location but also explore the distinctive areas around the venues.”
Fay explained that even though each host property was located a short distance from the other, “we still had a lot of transport to organize. This has been one of the biggest challenges for any event planner in Ireland this year. Post-COVID, we have dramatically fewer coach drivers and chauffeurs.” She said that there are also very strict time limits for drivers, which meant bringing in drivers from other parts of the country to accommodate the transport needs.
In addition to highlighting the region, Fay also wanted to showcase local talent, including Irish television presenter Síle Seoige who served as conference emcee and Grammy-nominated artist Méav who performed during the gala dinner. “We wanted people to have a taste of Ireland, without it being overpowering,” she said, adding that gala entertainment was also provided by U.K.-based ALR Music.
Of course, organizers also had to consider one expected but unpredictable feature of Ireland: the weather. “We are used to having four seasons in one day,” Fay joked.
The next summit will take place Dec.12-15 at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., just outside of Tucson.
Scroll to see key vendors and more from Engage!22 The Ireland Experience...
Branding & Stationery: TPD Design House
Catering: With Taste, Cove Cake Design
Design: GK Design
Entertainment: Elan Artists
Event Planning & Production: Tara Fay Events
Florals: Mark Grehan
Guest Planning: Bruce Russell Events
Lighting & Staging: Gorilla Design
Linens: Nuage Designs
Rentals: Total Event Rental, Whitehouse Event Crockery
Transportation: Goldstar Chauffeur Drive