Dublin: The small capital with the huge reputation

Dublin: The small capital with the huge reputation

According to the award-winning author Roddy Doyle, Dublin “is not a place, it’s a sound”. In fact, he says Dublin is “the city that never shuts up”. While Doyle is being wickedly humorous about his home city, the point is serious. It’s his way of encapsulating the buzz and sizzle of this most welcoming and appealing of cities.

Why Dublin? A place to do business

Fun and friendliness is all very well but there are some deeply practical reasons that make Dublin a great conference destination. First and foremost, it is the gateway to Europe, accessible by sea or air. You can fly to Dublin from more than 170 destinations, including Dubai and New York, and the airport is only 10km from the city centre – or 15 minutes to The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) via the Port Tunnel. For events with heavy equipment or kit that come from overseas, Dublin Port is only ten minutes away from The CCD. 

Dublin is a serious business location. An English-speaking city, of course, it is now home to 1,700 international businesses, including many in the tech, innovation and pharma spaces. “Ireland is a great place to do business” says Mike Beary, the Ireland country manager for AWS. “The country’s creative culture and diverse pool of technical skills make it an ideal location for our rapidly expanding business.”

Cultural capital: explore the city 

The CCD is situated in Dublin’s Docklands area, on the banks of the River Liffey and close to the Samuel Beckett Bridge, named for one of Ireland’s great literary figures. You’re right in the heart of the city centre.

From the cultured O’Connell Street north of the river, down to the bustling Grafton Street, from Temple Bar and the Cathedrals to Trinity College, it’s all within easy reach as you admire the Georgian architecture. 

In terms of accommodation, there are 20,000 competitively priced bedrooms within 10km of The CCD and 6,000 within walking distance. 

Dublin is a multicultural city with a huge range of cuisines to try including Thai, Brazilian, Mongolian and much more. And there’s the traditional Irish pub and the obligatory pint of Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse, to sample or simply learn about Ireland’s iconic drink, is well worth a visit and can also host events.

If there’s spare time away from the event, there are some hidden gems in the suburbs such as Dun Laoghaire and the fishing village of Howth.

“I love sampling all the amazing restaurant options we have in Dublin,” said Suzanne McGann, director of marketing and communications, The CCD. “The food scene has evolved so much in recent years and there’s always somewhere new to try. But my absolute favourite thing to do is getting out in the open air – taking a long walk or run in Phoenix Park or tackling Howth cliff walk. There are plenty of free things to do in Dublin if you have the time.” 

Great and small: inside The CCD

In the planning process for an event, clients can visualise how the spaces will look using The CCD’s virtual reality modelling that can be tailored to the client’s specifications so little needs to be left to the imagination. 

The CCD has hosted more than 2,100 events since its opening in 2010, ranging from intimate meetings for 50 up to grand events with 5,000 delegates. The main tiered auditorium is complemented by six flat-floored exhibition halls, six light and airy foyers and 22 multi-function room spaces.

In April 2023, the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) brought their three-day annual conference to The CCD. With almost 3,000 delegates, it was its largest event since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Planning began 12 months out from the event and the ESGE’s event manager, Bridget Barbieri praised the virtual venue tool as “unique and fantastic”, allowing the ESGE to host a successful initial virtual industry site visit.

The ESGE’s sustainability plan, Green Days, is a priority for them and The CCD was able to assist the organisation minimise any environmental impact through collaboration with the GrownForest project. The result was the planting of almost 600 indigenous trees on protected land. In addition, they took advantage of the venue’s recently upgraded signage. “We were also able to work closely with the digital signage department to create a bespoke solution, reducing the amount of printed signage we needed,” added Barbieri.

Support network: how to bring a conference to Dublin

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, offers a range of support and incentives for organisations wanting to bring their business events to Dublin. The support ranges from bidding processes and site visits through to the execution of the events themselves. 

Government initiatives also include the removal of travel tax and a well-established Conference Ambassador Programme. Dublin Convention Bureau can also assist with bidding processes, provide local expertise, accommodation advice and site inspections.

The Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO), a non-profit founded in 1999, works closely with Failte Ireland, and other partners to develop Ireland into an international conference hub.  

“The Dublin Convention Bureau team will work with you to showcase the best options for your event across our city. Working with our industry partners, we can help you to find the venues that will work for you, ensuring you can achieve what you need from hosting a business event in Ireland’s capital. We are your local connector, bringing honest and unbiased advice,” said Sam Johnston, manager, Convention Bureaux of Ireland.

Read more about Dublin as the ideal conference destination, and why The CCD is the perfect venue for your next event here.

This article is produced in partnership with The Convention Centre Dublin.