We recently spoke to Becky Hargrove at Kerry Convention Bureau, to get an exclusive look into the jewel in Ireland’s crown; the unspoiled natural beauty that is Kerry…
Tell us a little bit about your role… What do you love most about being involved in the Kerry Convention Bureau?
I manage the day to day running of Kerry Convention Bureau, promoting the region of Kerry, South West Ireland to event planners from around the world. My role is extremely diverse as I have not just one, but five fantastic MICE-ready destinations to showcase and I have the pleasure of working alongside our fantastic membership whose passion for Kerry, and their commitment to delivering exceptional hospitality, is second to none. When you couple this with spending my days in spectacular landscapes, with breathtaking views at every turn and world class properties to promote, what’s not to love!
That sounds like the dream job! Can you share a couple of key interesting facts about Kerry–what sets you apart from other destinations?
We have the highest concentration of 4* and 5* properties in all of Ireland. In Killarney alone, which is a town of 12,000 people, we have five 5* hotels. Not only are we a world class incentive destination offering spectacular hotels, activities and dining experiences, but we are also home to Ireland’s second largest convention centre, with 2,500 pax capacity and 500 bedrooms on site.
Well that definitely sounds like an amazing world class experience! Any top tips for our readers when it comes to planning an event in Kerry?
If you have been asked to find a truly different destination with a real wow factor, or you have a brief where the focus is on outdoor activities, health and wellbeing – or perhaps you’re looking for a wild card to throw into the mix; look no further than the Kingdom of Kerry.
Offering unrivalled facilities in idyllic locations, the region provides the opportunity to step outside of conventional meeting locations and spaces into destinations and venues immersed in nature, history and culture. A #MeetInKerry event will awaken your delegates senses, engage their minds, reward their efforts and inspire fresh thinking and new perspectives.
From a planning perspective, talk to us first; we offer a completely free and impartial service and are here to make the process of bringing an event to Kerry as easy as possible. We will listen to your brief, provide relevant accommodation, venue and activity suggestions and facilitate connections to our passionate industry suppliers. We also have a fantastic website, designed to be your ‘one-stop shop’ and ‘go to’ resource when planning to MeetInKerry.
Can you tell us about some of Kerry’s most unique venues?
We have lots of unique venues; from historical houses, castles, island ruins and traditional farms to breweries, sweet shop pubs and theatres – all are available as conference, dining and activity venues and will guarantee something special for your event.
Standout venues ideally suited for business events include:
Killarney: JM Reidy’s, a traditional sweet shop pub with a variety of small to large event spaces and Muckross Traditional Farms; a replica of a rural town lands and working farm with event spaces including Quills Farmhouse and the Old Schoolhouse.
Kenmare: Dromquinna Manor, a waterside estate in Kenmare where delegates can arrive by boat and enjoy bespoke experiences overlooking Kenmare Bay.
Tralee: Siamsa Tire, home to Ireland’s National Folk Theatre, is an Irish cultural highlight set in an iconic round fort theatre and arts centre!
Dingle: Dingle Distillery where your group can enjoy an immersive private tour, before enjoying samples of famous Dingle Gin.
What are some of Kerry’s most unique experiences available to visitors?
When we refer to a unique experience in Kerry, we really do provide the opportunity for business events groups to experience something truly ‘out of this world’.
Signature experiences include:
- A visit to Skellig Michael; an offshore island home to a sixth century monastic settlement which featured in a recent Star Wars movie
- Stargazing in the Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve; one of only three in the world
- Stepping back in time on a horse and cart travelling through the Gap of Dunloe
- Exploring the Dingle Peninsula’s Slea Head drive, an iconic and breath-taking coastal route along the Wild Atlantic Way
Alternatively, why not incorporate one of our unique festival experiences into your event, including Killorglin’s Annual Puck Fair, Ireland’s oldest traditional festival. At over 400 years old, it is the only festival in the world where a wild mountain goat is crowned king.
Wow what a variety, who wouldn’t love to see a wild mountain goat crowned King. What about 5-star hotels – can you list some of Kerry’s best?
Kerry’s 5* properties are world class and set in idyllic locations! Within Killarney, we have the Europe Hotel & Resort, Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Muckross Park Hotel and Killarney Park Hotel. Just down the road in Kenmare, you will find Sheen Falls Lodge and Park Hotel.
Can you share an insight as to what a luxury two-day programme looks like for a day/night or weekend in Kerry?
Within each of our five MICE-ready destinations, a two-day itinerary can be filled with immersive experiences; from high adventure to rewarding luxury, in truly stunning landscapes. Diverse program options full of artisan food, craft making, and musical experiences can be found in the vibrant, creative communities dotted across the region.
Do you have any exciting developments, new venues or hotels on the horizon that we can share with our readers?
From an activity perspective, why not try out Orangeworks’ newly launched “Go Team Go Killarney Treasure Hunt” challenge or the 4WD challenge set around the Ring of Kerry. For team building activities which deliver a legacy outcome for the local community, it is possible to add a CSR component by incorporating challenges which when completed by the teams, leads to a meaningful outcome for your chosen CSR partner.
Venue wise, St Mary’s Church in the heart of Killarney is now available as an event space. Private recitals can be organised within the church as a ‘surprise and delight’ option or the large grassed area outside the church can be used for events up to 450 pax. All requests for use are considered on a case by case basis.
On the horizon, there is an exciting new venue being developed by the team at Killarney Brewing Company. Located just outside Killarney, with views towards the Gap of Dunloe, the plans are for an architecturally designed micro craft distillery and visitors centre, which will be home to the vats and stills used to create their renowned Killarney Craft Beer, as well as new Killarney Gin and Whiskey. This stunning new attraction will offer a variety of small to large multi-functional indoor and outdoor event spaces, incorporating both the immersive experience indoors, whilst being set against the spectacular views outside.