You may have heard something about this little annual event we have coming up, here in Dublin, Ohio.  It does draw a few people to town. Okay, DIFboatenough of the downplay. The HUGE annual event that I’m referring to is, of course, the Dublin Irish Festival.  And–after 21 years–it has grown into such an AMAZING event, that it draws nearly 100,000 people to town for its 3-day run. 

If you’ve never been, you really need to put this on your bucket list. Lucky for you, this weekend (July 31-August 2) marks the 22nd anniversary of the Festival.  It features 7 stages of nonstop music, Irish dance, a Marketplace with imported goods, cultural activities (bet you’ve never been to an Irish Wake before–circa 1800s?!), food, drink and much more.  The Dublin Irish Festival  has TWICE been named a “Top 100 Event in North America” by the American Bus Association (2005 & 2009)–and for good reason.  You’ll be hearing more about DIF (as we’ve come to refer to it) this week … here on our blog, on the Festival’s blog, and in the local and regional media.

Now that you have DIF on your calendar–we want to remind you to bring your camera.  Not just for the many great photo opportunities, but because one of your shots just might earn you a free weekend getaway in Dublin or some other cool prizes.  Our “Capturing the Irish Attitude” photography contest ends next Monday, August 3 — giving you time to send us your top photos from the event or from any place in Dublin, Ohio.  You can submit up to 5 entries per person.  See additional contest rules.  (Entries should be emailed to: piccontest@irishisanattitude.com.)  Check out the entries we’ve received so far.  Need more incentive? Here’s what you could win:

Grand Prize:
-Weekend overnight stay for two at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin (plus breakfast)
-$20 gift certificate from Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland
-$20 gift certificate from MJ’s Candy Bar
-A Dublin Irish Festival T-shirt and visor ($32 value) from Two Rivers Logowear, LLC

Individual prizes for Honorable Mentions:
-A gift card to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
-A gift card to Sisters Sweet Shoppe
-A gift card to TehKu Tea Company
-A gift card to Our Cupcakery

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-post by Mary

 

Dublin OH Irish Festival While undergoing the rebranding process a couple of years ago, we gleaned lots of great information about our visitors via strong research. One of the main things we learned was that, with a name like Dublin, visitors want and expect more Irish.  Some of that was easy–we just refocused our messaging to highlight what we already have … one of the nation’s largest and best annual Irish Festivals (okay, THE best fest, in our minds); world class golf (including links style courses designed with the British Isles in mind); Irish pubs and restaurants; Irish imports and a Historic District surrounded by rolling rock walls that put one in mind of a quaint village in Ireland.

With the huge shift in tourism to hands-on experiences, we began developing Irish experiences for group tours and business groups. These include Irish dance and Penny Whistle classes, afternoons with an Irish fiddler in a pub–or a storyteller at a tea room. We even created a Four-Leaf Clover Scavenger Hunt through the Historic District for overnight groups. These experiences were so well received within the first 18 months, that we created a second wave of new experiences like Irish “Tastings and Toastings” and “Manor House Meals” programs.  These, too, have been well received … with the group markets.

The challenge for us is to create (or inspire among local businesses) new products for the leisure traveler that are available on any given day of the year. Most of the experiences we developed for groups require a large number of people for it to happen–making it difficult to convert that into an experience for an individual, couple or family.

We’ve come up with several Irish offerings for visitors. Many of our restaurants have added Irish-inspired products to their menus. (So we’re doing the food thing really well.) Ha’penny Bridge Irish Imports welcomes visitors. The owners will gladly (upon request) offer a walking tour of their store with a little education about Irish collectibles, travel and more. 

But–here’s where we need your help. What kinds of Irish experiences would YOU like to do in Dublin? What kinds of Irish cultural activities or exhibits or activities would entice you to make a weekend trip to Dublin, Ohio?