Advantage DMC won the contract to manage Meitheal 2016 through a competitive tender process. The workshop element of Meitheal took place in the RDS, with three networking evenings in Croke Park, the Merry Ploughboy pub and Teelings Whiskey Distillery.
Meitheal is Fáilte Ireland’s largest in-Ireland event and is hosted on an annual basis. Meitheal 2016 was the 41st edition. Over 300 International buyers attend a two-day workshop with pre-arranged scheduled appointments between Irish trade partners and overseas buyers. Meitheal also comprises a number of informal evening networking opportunities.
The largest of the networking evenings, with 600 attendees incorporating both buyers and Irish trade, took place in Croke Park stadium. Our brief was to provide an experience of Irish culture, showcasing Irish food and creating an opportunity for buyers and trade to network and engage.
Advantage DMC designed an evening event in a tight timeframe (7.30pm-10.30pm) that would appeal to both audiences. The buyers arrived by coach transfer through the GAA Museum, experiencing the culture of the GAA, and the majesty of Croke Park Stadium, and continued pitch side to view a demonstration game put on by schoolboy and schoolgirl members of Na Fianna GAA Club. Whilst they viewed the game, the Trinitones sang a medley of Irish songs a cappella from the Hogan Stand. The buyers were then lead through the Green room and Dressing rooms to meet the Irish Trade on level 5 of the Hogan stand. 8 Interactive characters assisted in entertaining the guests along their journey. They comprised Dancing Fish, 1916 Soldiers, Molly Malone characters and Gardaí on horseback. The Irish Trade arrived directly into the Hogan, and enjoyed taking photos beside the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy cups.
We had distributed coloured wristbands to both Irish trade and International buyers as they entered the stadium. Guests were catered for in the Canal and Hogan stands, and the two groups were distributed equally between the two areas to achieve one of the key requirements of the brief; facilitating networking and engagement. We worked with the catering team in Croke Park to showcase the best in Irish produce, featuring Irish shellfish and cheeses in particular. A DJ was in place in each area, overlaid with Fiddle in the Canal Suite and a Saxophone in the Hogan Suite. There were stilt walkers topping up wine in the Hogan Suite and magicians table-hopping along with the 8 interactive characters.
The main stage in the Hogan Suite hosted the key entertainment of the evening. MC for the night was Gráinne Seoige, as a native Irish speaker, the perfect choice when showcasing Irish culture. Gráinne introduced speakers from Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Croke Park itself, and then it was party time! Damhsa dance troupe with a specially commissioned “hurley dance” kicked off the evening, accompanied by 9 Bodhrán players. Gráinne then came back on stage to announce Seo Linn. They played a 30 minute set and the Hogan Suite was rocking! Their finale piece was their 1916 Commemoration song “Music Makers”. They were joined on stage by a local gaelscoil choir, the Bodhrán players and the Trinitones for a high octane end to a wonderful evening.
Guests were presented with Croke Park branded sliothars before they boarded their transport home.
IAYMH - OCTOBER 2015