TBEX Speaker Post: Dublin, City of Storytellers


Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin (photo by Aaron Parecki)

Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin (photo by Aaron Parecki)

It’s so fitting that TBEX is coming to Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature. Has there ever been a city more influenced by its writers and shaped by the arts? The renowned Irish literary tradition, boasting four Nobel Prize winners, is constantly looking forward, embracing new styles and forms of writing. And now a new generation of storytellers are descending on the city, inviting the deep-rooted legacy of Joyce, Wilde, and Yeats to shape their budding manuscripts.

While in Dublin, take the time to acquaint yourself with the founding fathers and mothers of Irish literature – and reap the benefits of their inspiration!

The Book of Kells

The written word has dominated Ireland for over a thousand years. Take a step back to 800AD and revel in one of the most beautiful books ever created. The Book of Kells is four volumes of lovingly illustrated vellum pages containing the Latin texts of the Four Gospels. You will find it on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin.

Bonus! The Book of Kells is only one of the highlights at Trinity College Dublin. Marvel at the many exhibits in the Old Library and wander the cobblestone paths of the campus to find other treasures.

Dublin Writer’s Museum

Swift or Sheridan? Shaw or Wilde? Yeats, Joyce or Beckett? If your time is limited, the Dublin Writer’s Museum will help condense centuries of history into one magnificent collection of books, letters, art work, personal artifacts, and more (see if you can find Mary Lavin’s teddy bear!) The stunning museum architecture will encourage you to linger, as will the Chapterhouse Café, whose scones I can heartily vouch for!

Bonus! If you plan on also visiting the James Joyce Center, you can take advantage of a special combined rate to enter the two facilities.

The Abbey Theatre

As the first state-subsidized English theatre in the world, the Abbey has always stood out as a unique institution. Founded by Lady Augusta Gregory and WB Yeats, the Abbey courted controversy at a very early age. One of its first productions was John Millington Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, whose unprecedented portrayal of scandalous events in rural County Mayo caused riots in Dublin in 1907. Never one to shy from a little drama, the Abbey has been a steadfast supporter of Irish playwrights ever since.

Bonus! William Butler isn’t the only Yeats in Abbey history. His brother, Jack, illustrated Synge’s books, designed sets for the Abbey, and had three of his own plays produced there – yet he is most distinguished as an outstanding painter. You can see his work at the National Gallery of Ireland, including The Liffey Swim, for which Yeats earned Ireland’s first Olympic Medal for painting – an exhibition event at the 1924 Paris Games.

Famous Footsteps

While writers may spend endless hours at their desks, in Dublin you can pound the pavement instead! Take to the pretty cobblestone streets on a literary walking tour (or pub crawl, as it may be). The James Joyce Center offers Dubliners guided audio tours, ranging from 2 hour mini-excursions to 10 hour epic adventures. For those looking for a little lager with their literature, The Duke Pub is the launch point for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. I join this tour every time I’m in Dublin – it’s always fresh, entertaining, and even a wee bit educational.

Bonus! Irish literature is celebrated throughout the city through public art. The statues of Joyce and Wilde are the most famous, but dedicated fans can find even more.

Irish Writer’s Center

Wrestling with Writer’s Block? Looking to do some writing of your own? The Irish Writer’s Center welcomes visitors, who will surely appreciate a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city to concentrate on their own work. A 50 Euro membership (25 Euro for students) comes with perks such as free wi-fi, coffee & tea, private writing rooms, computer use, archive access, and special events.

Bonus! Feeling inspired with the gift of gab? The Storytellers of Ireland and Milk and Cookies Stories offer artistic events celebrating Irish storytelling in Dublin and across Ireland.

No matter where you go, there’s always a pocket of Dublin steeped in literary history, awaiting your discovery. Dublin is the perfect city to reflect on what it means to be a writer and a storyteller, and I’m hoping that you will draw on the city’s rich cultural legacy to create some new masterpieces of your own!

vanessachiassonAuthor Bio: TBEX Dublin speaker Vanessa Chiasson is the founder of TurnipseedTravel.com. She is passionate about getting great value – the best possible travel experience for your limited time and money. Speaking at TBEX Dublin marks Vanessa’s third visit to Ireland. In previous visits, her graduate studies in the Irish political economy were oft disrupted by a passion for art, culture, history – and bakery visits!

TBEX Sponsor Post: 3 Dublin Visitor Tips from Real ‘Dubliners’


Viking Splash Tour in Dublin. Creative commons photo by Andrew Parnell.

Viking Splash Tour in Dublin. Creative commons photo by Andrew Parnell.

How are you going to make the most of your time and experience the real Dublin when you visit for TBEX?

Here at Homestay.com our motto is ‘Don’t just visit, live it’, which is why we asked some of our Homestay.com hosts in Dublin to tell us how they would advise people to spend their free time during the TBEX conference.

Our host families are the people with local knowledge which means that guests who book on Homestay.com get the chance to see beyond the usual tourist trail and quickly find their feet in a new place, whether it’s help with local orientation or places to eat.

Here we list some tips and advice given to us by real ‘Dubliners’ featuring everything that a good blogger needs to enjoy their visit.

Visit an Authentic Historic Dublin Pub

This one always makes the list – visiting a Dublin pub is a must. However, they are not all found in Temple Bar! Try ‘Grogans Castle Lounge’ on Castle Street for a pint of Guinness and one of their famous toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. Established in 1972, Grogans became a favoured meeting place for cutting-edge Irish writers of the time. An establishment full of history and character.

Chester Beatty Library

Think communicating with hashtags is cool? Visit the historic ‘Chester Beatty Library’ in Dublin Castle and view the precursors to hashtags – cairographics and sand scripts – which date from about 2700 BC to the present century. Enjoy a free guided tour and then relax in the Silk Road Café, one of Dublin’s best kept secrets, which overlooks the grounds of the castle.

Tour Like a Viking

A tourist activity that Dubliners also love to do! Hop aboard the ‘Viking Splash Tour’ and experience Dublin by land and water. Roar like a Viking at passers-by (yes really) and hold onto your Viking helmet for this fun way to see Dublin city. Ending in Grand Canal Dock – this tour will allow you to see where the Google and Facebook offices are based – you might even catch the employees having a party on their roof garden!

Author Bio: Alan Clarke is CEO of Homestay.com, an Irish company that are building a cultural experience into the travel experience by having established a trusted global network and community of homestay hosts, each of whom welcome visitors to stay in their home. This offering is an affordable alternative to ordinary tourist accommodation and allows visitors to share a meal, learn customs, hear stories and enjoy traditions with the people that really make the place what it is. Homestay.com can also match visitor’s interests with their hosts to ensure that they have the best trip possible. Visit Homestay.com for more information.

Travel Blog Exchange: The Ultimate Guide to TBEX 2013 in Dublin


Speed Dating floor at TBEX in Toronto

Speed Dating floor at TBEX in Toronto

Are you joining us in Dublin for TBEX? If you are, then this is the post you need most. Here, you’ll find all the information about TBEX 2013 in Dublin, either listed or linked below, so you’ll make sure you didn’t miss a single pre-conference announcement.

The Conference:

  • TBEX 2013 in Dublin runs from October 3-4, and the conference venue is the DoubleTree Burlington Road, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4. (Tel: 353-1-6185600)
  • TBEX Dublin is totally sold out! If you didn’t get a ticket to this one, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter (form in the right-hand column) so you don’t miss out on future TBEX conferences.
  • Who will be speaking? See the complete list of Dublin speakers here.
  • The complete conference schedule is available here.
  • Our newbie guide to TBEX is available here.
  • None of this would be possible without our sponsors. Check out the full list of TBEX Dublin sponsors and be sure to thank them when you see them in Dublin!

DAY ONE – Tuesday, October 1, 2013: Pre-BEX Dublin Day Tours

  • Tour departure times and locations vary depending on the tour.
  • Some tour activities are weather-dependent. Organizers will notify participants via email if things get cancelled, so please be sure to check your email.
  • You needed to sign up ahead of time for these day tours, and they are sold out.
  • More information about Dublin tours on October 1 is available here (including the departure times and locations).
  • For those of you in town early, check out the Travel Massive Meetup on October 1 at O’Neill’s Bar & Restaurant, starting at 7:00pm. You must RSVP to attend, which you can do here.

DAY TWO – Wednesday, October 2, 2013: Pre-BEX Dublin Day Tours & Workshops + Opening Party

  • TBEX registration is open from 12:00pm-5:00pm.
  • Tour departure times and locations vary depending on the tour.
  • The Writing Workshop is from 12:30pm-4:00pm at the DoubleTree Dublin. The WordPress Workshop is from 12:30pm-3:30pm at the DoubleTree Dublin. The Photography Walk & Workshop is from 12:00pm-3:00pm and will meet at the DoubleTree Dublin in the lobby before heading out into the city.
  • Some tour activities are weather-dependent. Organizers will notify participants via email if things get cancelled, so please be sure to check your email.
  • You needed to sign up ahead of time for these day tours and workshops, and they are sold out.
  • More information about the Pre-BEX Workshops is here.
  • More information about Dublin tours on October 2 is available here (including the departure times and locations).
  • Our opening party is hosted by Failte Ireland at The Guinness Storehouse from 7:30pm-12:00 midnight. This event is open to registered TBEX attendees only. Badges are required. If you have not registered for TBEX yet but will be in Dublin in time for the opening party, we will have a registration table set up at The Guinness Storehouse from 6:45pm-8:30pm so you can attend the opening reception

DAY THREE – Thursday, October 3, 2013: TBEX

  • TBEX registration is open from 7:00am-5:00pm.
  • The Opening Session with Rick Calvert and Keynote with Chip Conley starts at 8:45am.
  • The breakout sessions start at 10:45am.
  • There will be a break for lunch (served in the hotel restaurant) at 12:45pm.
  • Speed Dating (see more below) starts at 4:00pm.
  • Our evening event is a “Get Wilde Party” sponsored by Expedia, which will be at Odeon from 8:00pm-11:00pm. You’ll find all the necessary details here, and don’t forget to use the #ExpediaTBEX hashtag along with the #TBEX one for this party. This event is open to registered TBEX attendees only. Badges are required.

DAY FOUR – Friday, October 4, 2013: TBEX

  • TBEX registration is open from 8:00am-12:00pm.
  • The Morning Keynote with Alastair McKenzie intervewing Irish photographer John Minihan starts at 8:45am. John Minihan’s appearance is made possible by sponsor Kildare Village Chic Outlet Shopping.
  • The breakout sessions start at 10:45am.
  • There will be a break for lunch (served in the hotel restaurant) at 12:45pm.
  • Open Marketplace (see more below) starts at 2:30pm.
  • The Closing Session with keynoters Audrey Scott and Dan Noll starts at 4:45pm.
  • Our closing happy hour reception hosted by the DoubleTree Dublin starts at 6:30pm-8:00pm.
  • There are some Dublin tours available on Friday evening. You needed to sign up ahead of time for these tours, and they are sold out. More information about the October 4 evening tours (including departure times and locations) is available here.

DAY FIVE – Saturday, October 5, 2013: Post-TBEX Dublin Day Tours

  • Tour departure times and locations vary depending on the tour.
  • Some tour activities are weather-dependent. Organizers will notify participants via email if things get cancelled, so please be sure to check your email.
  • You needed to sign up ahead of time for these day tours, and they are sold out.
  • More information about Dublin tours on October 5 is available here (including the departure times and locations).
  • Post-TBEX FAM trips (see more below) also depart.

DAY SIX – Sunday, October 6, 2013: Post-TBEX Dublin Day Tours

  • Tour departure times and locations vary depending on the tour.
  • Some tour activities are weather-dependent. Organizers will notify participants via email if things get cancelled, so please be sure to check your email.
  • You needed to sign up ahead of time for these day tours, and they are sold out.
  • More information about Dublin tours on October 6 is available here (including the departure times and locations).

Important Announcements:

  • Our hosts at Failte Ireland have put together TBEX welcome packs for all attendees who are arriving at Dublin’s airport. Look for the TBEX Welcome Desk (there’s one in the arrival halls of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2), just after baggage claim. In your welcome pack, you’ll find not only a Dublin city map but also a 3-day Dublin Freedom Pass. And you’ll be able to use that Freedom Pass right away, since it’s good on that Airlink express bus that will get you from the airport to the city center! The TBEX Welcome Desk will be staffed from 8:00am-7:00pm, September 28-October 2. You’ll find more details here.
  • You must have your TBEX badge with you for entry into all events, including parties and conference sessions – no exceptions, and we won’t be reprinting badges if you lose them. So hang onto that badge!
  • All TBEX events are for registered attendees only, unless it specifically says otherwise in a party or meetup announcement. This means no “plus one” or guests will be allowed entry.
  • Bringing a child to TBEX? Check out this important information.

Pre- & Post-TBEX Dublin FAM Trips:

  • The FAM trips (“familiarization” trips, AKA press trips) run from September 28 through Wednesday, October 2 and then from Saturday, October 5 through Monday, October 7.
  • These FAM trips were by application only, and these trips are already booked.
  • If you’re going on one of the FAM trips, information about departure points and times is listed here.

Dublin/Dublin’s Doorstep Day Trips & Experiences:

For everyone who has signed up to a Dublin/Dublin’s Doorstep day trip or experience, please note the following:

  • Your tour provider will email you directly with information about the tour you have signed up for – please make sure to check your email regularly.
  • If you have requested additional places on the tour for your family, please confirm this with your tour provider when they email you.
  • If you are unable for any reason to show up for your tour, can you please email, contact Shauna at Failte Ireland to let her know, so they can inform tour providers, as a courtesy.
  • If you have signed up for a Dublin Pass, you can collect it either at the Dublin Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 (just off Grafton Street) OR you can collect the pass during TBEX at the Visit Dublin desk.
  • There will be a Visit Dublin desk at TBEX if you have queries about the day trips and experiences. If you have not yet signed up for your Dublin day trip or tour, you can check with the Visit Dublin desk at TBEX regarding last minute availability for tours to see if your request can be accommodated.
  • The overall contact for these Dublin trips is Shauna Cunningham, Failte Ireland. Please email Shauna if you have a specific question about a day trip/experience or stop by the Visit Dublin desk at TBEX.

Speed Dating:

Open Marketplace:

  • Open Marketplace on Friday does not have appointment scheduling.
  • It’s the perfect time to browse the show floor and talk with anyone you might not have been able to schedule a meeting with during Speed Dating.

About Dublin:

Dublin Attendees on Twitter:

Follow TBEX via Social Media:

Don’t forget to use the #TBEX hashtag when you’re posting about TBEX-related events on social media! That means FAM trips, day tours, conference sessions, parties, meetups, etc.

Expedia Invites You to Get Wilde at TBEX Dublin


Expedia Party invitation

Bring your brilliant selves for a night of Irish temptations at TBEX Dublin’s Thursday night party, sponsored by Expedia, at Odeon.

This is a chance to sip, nosh and celebrate with fellow TBEX attendees. Live music will be provided by guitar duo Proud Mary with DJ entertainment for the rest of the evening.

Hashtags for the evening are #TBEX and #ExpediaTBEX

Here are the details:

Date & Time:  Thursday, October 3rd, 8-11 pm

Location:  Odeon, 57 Old Harcourt Street Railway Station, Harcourt Street

Will we see you there?

NOTE:  This event is open to registered TBEX attendees only. Badges are required.


Acclaimed Irish Photographer John Minihan to Keynote at TBEX Dublin


John Minihan keynote at TBEX Dublin

Irishman John Minihan is one of the greatest portrait photographers of our age and we are honored to bring him to the keynote stage at TBEX Dublin.

Born in Dublin in 1946, and raised in Athy, County Kildare, he moved to London at the age of 12, eventually becoming an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. He remained in London for 30 years, returning to his hometown every year where he photographed local people in their daily lives. He shoots solely in black and white.

You may not recognize John’s name or face, but chance are you’ll recognize his body of work. He’s probably best known for his photos of Nobel Prize winner (Literature) Samuel Beckett. One shot of Beckett, taken in a café in Paris in 1985, is often described as the photo of the century. Or, you may recognize photos of some of his other subjects from the worlds of fashion, music, theatre, literature and celebrity, including Al Pacino, Andy Warhol, Seamus Heaney, and a young Diana Spencer.

John’s work has appeared in numerous publications and hangs in galleries and museums around the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

This Friday morning keynote will be in interview style, facilitated by Alastair McKenzie. Lovers of photography, of art, and the commitment to excellence in craft should set their alarms early to get a good seat.

John Minihan’s keynote appearance at TBEX Dublin is made possible by sponsor Kildare Village Chic Outlet Shopping. John will be leading a master class for attendees participating in the post-TBEX trip, The Art of Seeing: Photography and Fashion in Kildare, the Thoroughbred County. He’ll also be providing a portrait of one lucky attendee as part of an Instagram contest.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Patrick Bolger

TBEX Dublin Welcome Bag Provides Airport Transportation


Dublin Terminal 2 airport

I hope you’re all getting as excited for TBEX Dublin as we are! Our team is hopping on airplanes over the weekend and get wait to meet up with you.

We’re very pleased to provide you with information regarding an additional amenity offered to all registered TBEX attendees.

Upon your arrival in Dublin, please locate the TBEX Welcome Desk, located in the arrival halls of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (the international terminal), just after you pass through baggage claim. The desk will be staffed by the wonderful staff from Failte Ireland, who are very excited to welcome you to their city and country. Don’t worry about missing the desk, there will be good signage as well as messages on the screens in the terminal to point you in the right direction.

At the  TBEX Welcome Desk you’ll sign for and pick up a welcome bag that includes a free map of Dublin and a 3-day Dublin Freedom Pass. The Freedom Pass will cover a free Airlink journey (city centre express service bus) from the airport into the city, 72 hours of free bus travel in the city, and a free pass to the Dublin Bus Tour Hop On Hop Off service.

The TBEX Welcome Desk will be open starting Saturday, September 28th through Wednesday, October 2nd, from 8 am to 7 pm. If, for some reason, the desk is unstaffed during those hours, you should head to the Tourist Office located in that same area of the airport.

We know that you’ll appreciate this free transfer from the airport into the city, along with the opportunity.

Photo credit:  Doyler70 via wikimedia

Invitation to Tea with the Lord Mayor of Dublin at the Mansion House


You are cordially invited to meet with Former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Andrew Montague for tea at The Mansion House, the official residence of Dublin’s first citizen. Learn about the Mayoral office and its historic connection with the Mansion House. The Mansion House is said to be haunted and the Lord Mayor himself has witnessed the ghostly happenings first hand while living in this famous house.

The Mansion House, residence of Dublin's Lord Mayor, Dawson Street

The Mansion House is one of Dublin’s finest and most loved buildings and has been at the heart of city government since 1715. Original construction started on the project in 1705, and was intended as a townhouse for Joshua Dawson, the developer of Dawson Street and Nassau Street. Joshua Dawson seldom lived in the house. Ten years later and still partly unfinished, it was sold to Dublin Corporation for £3,500 (€4,444), in addition to an annual rent of 40 shillings and an agreement to provide a loaf of double refined sugar, weighing six pounds at Christmas.

The Mansion House’s most famous features include the “Round Room”, where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence. On 21 January 1969 a special fiftieth anniversary joint session of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann assembled there and was addressed by the then President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera.

Some additional notable facts about the Manor House:

  • It is the only mayoral residence in Ireland which is still used for its original purpose
  • It is the oldest Mayoral residence in Ireland and in Britain (Dublin preceded London by 15 years in providing an official house for its mayor)
  • It is the oldest free-standing house in Dublin
  • The first Dáil met in the Mansion House Round Room in 1919 and cabinet meetings of that Dáil were held in the Dining Room.

The invitation to tea with the former Lord Mayor of Dublin is limited to 30 people.

Date:  Saturday, October 5th at 11 am

Place:  Meet at The Mansion House, Dawson Street in Dublin

Sign up here.

TBEX Sponsor Post: Turn Our Audience Into Your Audience



Maybe you write traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Well, here’s your chance to write for us in a more official capacity.

TripAdvisor for Business is coming to TBEX Dublin to find content creators for our popular new travel marketing blog. TripAdvisor Insights has over 155,000 page views in its first month alone. In fact, some of our most popular pieces so far have been from guest bloggers we met at TBEX Toronto earlier this year. You can see examples here, here and here.

As a TripAdvisor Insights partner, you can put your engaging content in front of a hospitality audience ranging from:

  • Executives at major hotel chains to B&B owners in Killarney
  • Cozy pub owners to managers of 4-star fine dining restaurants
  • And people who run attractions all around the world.

Your experience as a travel blogger means you’re a valued source of insights for the hospitality industry. You’ve seen and done it all. You know what travelers want. It’s time to share your expertise with the 2.7 million hoteliers, restaurateurs and attraction owners on TripAdvisor so they can better understand how to connect with their guests.

So if you want to join our community of travel bloggers, come say hi to the TripAdvisor for Business folks you’ll see around TBEX Dublin:

  • Dianne – Charming and welcoming, much like Dingle
  • Keith – The closest thing we have to a leprechaun

And for those of you who attended TBEX Toronto, yes, we’ll be bringing amazing chocolate bars again – with a chance to win awesome travel tech prizes! Keith promises to eat only a few chocolate bars on the flight to Dublin.

TIP: It’s shaping up to be a busy few days at the TripAdvisor TBEX table (lucky number 14). It’ll help if you bring a quick pitch that identifies a new trend or tips for hospitality businesses. All we need is your name, contact and blog information, and a three to four sentence summary of your idea – nothing too formal or fancy. We look forward to meeting you!

Important Announcements: TBEX Dublin Badges & Speed Dating Schedules


TBEX Dublin is nearly upon us, and we wanted to take a moment to remind attendees of some very important things before everyone descends on Ireland and starts taking advantage of that famous Irish hospitality.

TBEX badges

TBEX badges

You Must Have Your Badge At All Times

You’ll pick up your badge at registration or, if you’re unable to get to registration on Wednesday, at the opening night party at the Guinness Storehouse. You don’t need a printed ticket in order to pick up your badge, you’ll just need ID so we can verify that you are who you say you are. After that, you must keep your badge on your person for all TBEX events – including parties and the conference sessions. If you’re asked to show your badge at an event and you don’t have it, you’ll have to leave the event. This also means there are no “plus ones” allowed at events – if someone isn’t a registered attendee with a badge, they can’t get in. And don’t lose your badge, either, because we won’t be reprinting lost badges. In other words? That badge is truly your ticket into everything TBEX-related. Don’t lose it, and make sure you have it with you at all times!

TBEX Speed Dating

TBEX Speed Dating

You Must Print Your Own Speed Dating Schedule

We’re not pre-printing everyone’s schedules for Speed Dating this time. You’re responsible for printing your own Speed Dating schedule to bring with you, or for getting it onto a mobile device you can access on-site. If you have a smartphone, you can open BloggerBridge online right from your phone to see your Speed Dating appointment schedule. Keep in mind that although the conference venue does have WiFi, when every TBEX attendee is trying to access their Speed Dating schedules at the same time it may get bogged down. If in doubt, print it and bring a hard copy with you. Also note that Open Marketplace on day two has no appointment scheduling feature. It’s a chance to walk around, meet and greet people, and have casual conversations. So you’ll only need to print out a schedule for Speed Dating on day one.

No Exceptions

These are strict rules, folks. Please remember – we are sold out for TBEX Dublin, so we won’t be able to make exceptions. Thanks for your help in making TBEX Dublin run smoothly!

Travel Blog Exchange: TBEX Preview on Travel Coffee Break G+ Hangout


Just before we all hop on planes headed for Dublin, TBEX CEO Rick Calvert and Conference Director Mary Jo Manzanares joined Alastair McKenzie’s Travel Coffee Break Google+ Hangout with a few other TBEX Dublin speakers to talk about the upcoming event. Along with Rick and Mary Jo, Alastair also brought in Gary Arndt, Gary Bembridge, Kerwin McKenzie, and Laurence Norah – and there were a couple of questions from the live audience, too.

You can watch the whole thing below.

Read Alastair’s post about the chat here.