What I Learned about Storytelling from a Cheesy Ghost Tour in Ireland

 

Who knew that a somewhat corny night full of screaming at ghosts could teach me something about blogging? You can’t walk very far in downtown Dublin without seeing some reference to their ghost bus tours. I signed up to have a little scare-yourself fun. I walked away with some important blogging tips about storytelling. The tour itself was a mixed bag. I know some people who loved it, and I know some people who didn’t. But the storytelling made the experience well worth my time.

It was a dark and stormy night

It was a dark and stormy night

In the United States, most of the “ghost tours” I’ve been on have been all about the fright factor. Around every corner, there’s someone waiting to jump out at you. You can’t walk two steps down a haunted trail attraction without shrieking. A town in Pennsylvania even tried to host “Shocktoberfest,” where you are naked the entire time you go through their haunted house (yes, really…though it’s since been cancelled).

The ghost tour here in Ireland was completely different. It was all about telling ghost stories, and building up the suspense. It was about history and folklore, not about cheap jump scares. Well, it was a little about cheap jump scares. It was a ghost tour after all.

But I digress. What I really want to tell you about is the techniques our guide used to make his stories extremely effective, and how you can use these same storytelling techniques on your travel blog to captivate readers. It seems rather fitting that I learned so much about storytelling while in Dublin, as this really is the City of Storytellers.

A Story doesn’t have to be Loud to be Exciting

The charismatic social butterfly making people laugh at a party tends to be loud, not just in voice volume, but also in storytelling technique.

But sometimes, the quiet moments matter too. Our guide was a bit corny, it’s true, but he was an expert at knowing when to lower his voice, making everyone lean in  to listen closely. Some of the most emotional parts of his stories really hit home because he wasn’t shouting; he was almost whispering.

If you have a podcast, this is definitely a technique you can employ…but what if you’re a blogger. How can you “whisper” when story telling via text? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow a captivating image to stand alone, without comment.
  • Keep the tone of the story subdued.
  • Tell the story at a slower pace.
  • Avoid distractions, like links, during the meat of the story.

Of course, this “quiet” storytelling technique doesn’t work for every single post you write, but it can help your “loud” moments stand out in comparison. On our ghost tour, this translated to jump scares, but on your blog, this can translate to calling attention to specific details.

Repeat Yourself

Repetition can also be a very effective way to bring attention to a specific detail. On our tour, I remember standing in the graveyard and our guide mentioning, in a somber voice, how many people had died during a specific time period in Dublin – and how many people’s bodies were never claimed. He repeated the number several times for effect.

It brought chills to my spine.

At another point in our tour, he told the story of a Catholic priest caught having mass during a time period in Dublin where this was not allowed. His punishment was execution (and a particularly gristly one that I won’t repeat here in case any of you have just eaten). He repeated the gory details several times to let it really sink in.

Usually, we’re taught to edit ourselves when storytelling, but editing doesn’t mean that you can’t use repetition. Use it sparingly, or you’ll start to sound like a broken record, but don’t shy away from it completely. If you can give your readers those same chills I had, they’ll keep coming back for me.

Set the Stage

Before every story, our tour guide gave us a scene to imagine. At one point, he even had us close our eyes to imagine it. The drizzle of the rain. The whip of the wind howling in the night. The distant crying of a mother who is burying her dead child. The shuffling of feet through the puddles.

These details were not important to understand the story he was going to tell, but by setting the scene, he brought the tale to life. We felt like we were there. We could see and feel what he was describing.

The small details matter. You can report the facts or you can tell the story. Storytelling is an art as much as it as a skill. So paint that picture with your words. Make your readers feel as though were there, standing beside you, having the same experiences you had.

If you get a chance to go on one of the Ghost Bus tours while in Dublin, do so, even if spooky stuff isn’t really your thing. Go for the storytelling experience, and examine what the guide does to bring you into the tales he or she is telling. Take those lessons back to your own blog, so you can use your unique perspective to keep readers hungry for your travel stories.

Video: TBEX Sponsor Homestay Says Bloggers Can Create Great Content

 

Michael Collins interviews Homestay’s CEO Alan Clarke about why they think working with bloggers is a good choice for their company. (Hint:  It’s about creating great content.)

More Than Social Media: Costa Brava’s Instagram Plans

 

girona_nighttower

Instagram is the perfect platform for sharing holiday photos – and you won’t miss home if your stay is punctuated with Insta-lovehearts. But one tourist board has bigger plans for this visual social media platform than a few holiday snaps. Instagram is fast becoming part of Costa Brava’s worldwide marketing strategy, with the aim of changing outdated perceptions of the region.

If I say Costa Brava, what would you say? Sun, sea, or sand? If, like me, you missed last year’s TBEX Conference Girona you might call to mind a beach strip studded with white high rise blocks, and restaurants offering menus with pictures instead of words. I did. And what did I base that opinion on? Pre-social media memories of orange BBC TV travel presenters sipping on sangria, 70s news reports of a boom in Spanish resorts that my parents couldn’t afford to take me to, and glossy brochures on travel agent shelves in the days when a ‘Trip Advisor’ was someone who sat at a desk in the shopping mall.

A region that has moved on

Perhaps that’s what the Costa Brava was then. But I know from a recent visit that’s not what it is now. Sure, you have your Lloret de Mar resorts filled with Brits that have turned an off-putting shade of tomato. But nowadays the region delivers cosmopolitan cities like Girona, cultural experiences like the Dali Museum, artist enclaves like Cadaques, and world class sailing and diving marinas like L’Estartit. And apart from one blip when all the food critics went to Copenhagen, it has continuously held the title of ‘best restaurant in the world.’

Held back by the past

Yet when I returned from Costa Brava, people only asked if I’d enjoyed my beach holiday. The region may have embraced the future, but the old image remains, hanging round like yesterday’s paella. For the Costa Brava Tourist Board this might be seen as something of a problem. But Jaume Marin, Marketing Director at Costa Brava Girona is upbeat. He believes most tourist boards have an outdated image or legacy to change.

“The most important thing about marketing is the perception. More than the reality. And every destination has problems with perception. Even places like New York have a mountain to climb,” says Jaume. “I think Barcelona has one of the strongest images for a destination in the world. Yet tourism is focussed on one part of the town, overloading the capacity of that part of town.”

A marketing man with a plan

Jaume is putting his belief in social media into action – or, more specifically, into a catchy little hashtag. In the time it has taken me to write this post someone will have probably looked at an image tagged #incostabrava. By the time you’ve read this article someone else is likely to have used that hashtag on a new image. Many of these pictures have sun, sea, and sand woven into the mix, but many others do not. There are pictures of spires and statues. Of alleyways and arches. Of markets and museums. Of forests and farmhouses. Of tall towers and top tables.

When I last checked there were 76,640 images on just that one hashtag. Jaume Marin believes that over time, hearts and minds can be changed through these single snaps that, together, make an almighty holiday album. But why would Instagram be more effective than leaflets and brochures? He argues that new generations are being influenced by social rather than traditional media and publicity.

“It’s no good if I say ‘The Costa Brava is more than beaches.’ Somebody else has to say it,” Jaume tells me. “If someone local says it, then it’s not the tourist board creating brand, but our own community creating it.”

Another part of his strategy is to bring expert bloggers and travellers out on a regular basis. “They have a big number of followers and people rely on them and believe them. In the past the tour operators were important and there were millions of brochures produced. But that is the past. Who creates the perceptions now? A campaign like Instagram is real and it’s authentic. Local people are part of it. And they are proud of it. This is a growing community.”

jaume_instagram_quote

Instadays filled with instalikes

The tourist board has been facilitating the growth of the hashtag by organising free Instagram days – free guided photo walks with Instagram experts on hand to offer tips – across the region. I attended one in Cadaques. It was a sunshine fiesta of 200 snappers and I was still looking at pictures of it on my phone several weeks later. And this free Instagram day was then repeated somewhere else. By the time I met Jaume in England in June, he had clocked up 14 of them, with another 18 in the pipeline.

But I was curious. Did he put so much faith in social media platforms that they were becoming central to his marketing strategy?

“Yes. We are switching,” he said, nodding. “We are a public administration and we don’t switch from one day to another, but in the end it depends on the people who are involved, and if I’m still there, we are going to switch.”

A measurable marketing expense

One of the advantages, he explains, is that social media is measurable, unlike other channels where he could put his marketing budget.

“The circulation of a newspaper might be 100,000. But how many people read it? I don’t know. And my advert might be on the 38th page. I don’t know how many people read the 38th page. With a blog I know how many people read it and for how many minutes.”

But he’s also aware that figures aren’t everything, even in tourism, and that sometimes accountability is taken a bit far.

“Are we going to measure how much people enjoy an exhibition? Is a hotel going to ask what the return is on changing the chairs? Or how many people benefited from changing a light bulb?” he asks with a shrug.

Expanding the network

Before he left England, Jaume was keen to track down UK Instagrammers.

“I would like to set up an Instagram day with the igersLondon and igersCostaBrava communities. If we met for a day and it was a failure then we would still have a great weekend. And if we met for a day and it was a success then Instagram days could be expanded all over Europe. And we would be the pioneers.”

Author Bio: Kirstie Pelling is one fifth of The Family Adventure Project, a website all about families getting active and having fun together. Along with husband and co-founder Stuart Wickes and their three children, the family have cycled more than 12,000 miles, across more than 20 countries. And with 20 years of journalism and travel experience under her belt, Kirstie is an expert in inspirational adventure writing. You can follow her and the family on Twitter @familyonabike, Facebook, G+, Instagram and YouTube.

The Priceless Lesson I Learned About Interviewing Technique

 

Okay, I’ll admit it. I talk a lot.

I’m kind of introverted and definitely deal with a bit of social anxiety, which I mentioned on a recent post about becoming a better blogger by taking risks. But once I get to know you, I will “talk yer ear off” as my mama would say.

While being friendly has opened amazing doors for me, during one press trip, I learned a really important lesson about interviewing technique: sometimes, to get the best interview, you really need to just shut up.

John Minihan and Alastair McKenzie

More Questions = More Content

When I was in high school, I took a journalism class where we learned the basics of interviewing other people. We talked about formulating interviews so we got answers to the “W Questions.” The interviewing technique our teacher drove home most was (and I’m paraphrasing):

“Always ask as many questions as possible. More information is better than less information. You don’t want to sit down to write a story and realize that you don’t have a crucial piece of information, and you really don’t want your competitors to have the edge on you because they asked a question you didn’t.”

So, when I started interviewing people for blog stories, I took that same approach. Ask, ask, ask. In my mind, more questions meant more content, and that meant more opportunities to tell stories.

I don’t think that journalism teacher told the whole story, though. I love the idea of having as much content as possible for a story, but I do think sometimes it is important to stop asking questions and start allowing people to tell you their stories, the way they want to tell them.

The Art of the Ask

On the press trip in question, I got the amazing opportunity to meet and interview a high-level personality who rarely agrees to speak with press let alone bloggers. I had a notebook full of questions I wanted to ask him, but before I got the chance, one of the other bloggers on the trip asked for the opportunity to record a video interview.

So we all had to take a backseat and just watch while this happened.

Once I saw the interviewer work, my entire philosophy on interviewing changed. Recording more content isn’t about asking as many questions as possible. It is about asking the right questions. This is an art form.

While I was forced to quietly watch the video being recorded, I stopped thinking about what I was going to ask next and instead just listened to the person telling his story. If you are quiet, people will talk. We were interviewing this person primarily about tech and his latest start-up, but he talked about being a young boy in the military, about his struggles as a budding entrepreneur, and about his thoughts on life and the world in general. His stories were fascinating.

The interview asked a question here or there, but his interviewing technique was not not about getting an answer to a specific question. The questions were simply meant to encourage the person to keep talking.

The interview went on for at least 30 minutes, and we were all simply captivated by his tales. Now, was everything the person said going to make it into the final cut? No way. But that half hour was filled with gold.

Shaping an Interview

What I also realized was that because I was going into interviews trying to ask as many questions as possible, I was shaping an interview based on my perspective. When you only ask the questions that pop into your mind, you’re potentially missing valuable information that the person you’re interviewing just doesn’t have the opportunity to tell you. This interviewing technique might get you answers, but will it get you the whole truth?

Stop to listen, and suddenly they’re giving you answers to questions you never asked, and you are allowing their perspective to shine. This is truly authentic content at its best.

Shaping your interviews structurally is important because what you present to your audience has to make sense. However, when you have pre-set questions in mind, you run the risk of presenting a somewhat skewed or dishonest story. This kind of shaping is no good! You’re almost coaching the person to give you the answers you want to hear, instead of the truth. I don’t believe that most interviewers, including myself, go into interviews with those intentions, but that’s the result.

Bottom Line: This Interviewing Technique is About Have More Conversations

Instead of continuing to think about interviews in the traditional sense, I want to encourage you to instead have conversations with people. Tell them about your experiences, and then ask them to share theirs. On camera, this is a little trickier, because you want to be able to edit together a video that makes sense, but it isn’t impossible.

The key is to ask questions that make the interviewee feel comfortable. Smile and allow them to speak. When there’s a pause, don’t jump on asking the next question. Be a friend.

The less your interview feels like an interview, the more people will tell you, so focus on just talking with people instead of a formal interview where you’re throwing question after unrelated question their direction.

Above all, remember to always have fun. Interviews used to stress me out, but more and more I’m realizing that when you’re having a good time with it, the person you’re interviewing will be more at ease and willing to tell you their story.

What is your best interview tip? Leave a comment!

Video: Stephen Oddo Talks About TBEX Dublin

 

Stephen Oddo, Co-founder of Walks of Italy and longtime TBEX supporter, talks about TBEX, Dublin, and Italy.

Video courtesy of Michael Collins

 

How to Connect with Your Travel Blog Readers on a Personal Level

 

If you’re interested in learning how to write blog posts that really resonate with people, Christine Cantera is the teacher you want. Not only has she written for several travel publications, but she’s also ghostwritten dozens of ebooks, articles, and blog posts.

Christine Cantera at TBEX Dublin

Christine was part of an excellent workshop at TBEX 2013 about tone, voice, and direction. She said something that really resonated with me, and that can help you as a blogger, no matter what your specific travel niche:

“Write specifically to someone as if you were sitting and talking to them across the table. I find that is how you get people the most excited and get people to come back and read more about what you have to say about a destination, because you’ve made that connection with them on a very personal level.”

Some of the best tips Christine gave to help with this process include:

  • On press trips, try to negotiate daily social requirements instead of daily blogging requirements. Being able to sit down and write your blog posts afterward helps you organize your thoughts about the experience so you’re writing to that specific audience.
  • Don’t write for someone. Write to someone. It can even be someone you know, like your mom or a certain friend. Keep that single person in mind and pretend you’re writing your post just for him or her.
  • You can’t be all things to all people, so don’t try to be. Your voice has the best chance of being heard if you find your niche within the world of travel and write to the people who respond to your unique personality.

When you write, do you have a certain person in mind? If not, it might be the time to start! Or do you disagree with Christine’s advice? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

My 10 Favorite Tips for Stress-Free Blogging

 

“I’m a little high-strung.”

Recently, on a way-too-long roadtrip from Pennsylvania to Alabama, I found myself saying this to my boyfriend and co-pilot as we were navigating through heavy traffic on a four-lane highway. I thought he was going to swerve off the road trying to stifle laughter.

stress free travel blogging

“A little? Ya think?”

Okay, I admit it. I’m a planner to the point of obsession at times. I get anxious when I don’t know what’s going on. I like things my way or the highway. I’m easily stressed.

Blogging as a career hasn’t helped with my stress levels. This isn’t exactly a walk-in-the-park-type of job (though few are…we all have our work problems!). Over the years, I’ve learned that only through managing my stress am I able to publish the highest quality content. So today, I wanted to share a few tips on how I personally keep stress about my blogs and work in general as low as possible. I hope you’ll share your own tips in the comments sections!

1. I create a schedule – and stick to it.

One of the turning points in my career was when I began to schedule out my days so I could use my time more wisely. Deadlines (even self-imposed ones) aren’t a big deal if you understand they’re coming and schedule your work accordingly.

Scheduling all of my blogging tasks has also shaved time off of my work day and has allowed me to have a better work-life balance, which is always great for relieving stress. And of course, if you’re hopping a plane to Paris or boarding a cruise ship tomorrow, it’s good to have your time scheduled so that when you do have Internet access, you get your work done instead of wasting time on Facebook. (Also, here are 4 more tips on keeping your travel blog going while traveling.)

2. I work with people who are reliable and drama-free.

It’s amazing how one person can make your stress level jump from one to ten. When you’re working with others on guest posts, interviews, etc. always remember that you can say no. Part of the reason why people travel (and blog) is to get out of the office environment. What’s the point if your virtual “coworkers” are creating just as much drama?

3. I give myself permission to fail.

Listen, no one is perfect. I always shoot for perfection, but when I do fail, I’ve learned that it’s okay. Sometimes there are typos in my tweets. Sometimes one of the links in my post is broken. Sometimes I make a mistake about a fact. I used to get very stressed out about the thought of making a mistake until I realized that they are inevitable. As careful as I am, they will happen. Why stress about something you can’t change? Instead, I focus on being as near to perfect as possible and I brush it off when I fall short of this goal. I don’t dwell, I just try to do better next time.

4. I change my environment.

I talked about how great a change of scenery can be in a previous post on the NMX blog about being more creative, but I think doing this can also help your stress levels. I bought myself some notepads and regularly get writing work done at the beach near my house. As travel bloggers, do you find yourself stuck in your hotel room way too often? Get out there and do work from a more inspiring location!

5. I surround myself with people who “get it.”

One of the major mistakes I’ve made is having people in my life (especially significant others) who do not understand blogging at all. One guy even used to call it pointless. Hearing that is not only hard on the soul, but it is also very stressful because you can’t turn to the people in your life to vent. My current significant other is not a blogger, but he has taken time to learn about it and understand it, and that has made all the difference.

I also surround myself with awesome bloggers through attending NMX and TBEX. Get involved with the community so you have a support system!

6. I keep a few almost-finished posts on standby.

Like most bloggers, there are moments when I’m feeling extremely inspired. I take advantage of it whenever this happens and crank out 5-10 posts, rapid-fire style. They aren’t perfect, but they’re 75% of the way there. Then, instead of publishing, I stick them away for a rainy day. No more stressing about what to write when I’m feeling uninspired. I pull a post from my file, I do some clean up, and I’m good to go. This is an especially good tip if you have a 9-to-5 job and there are times when you’re too overwhelmed with other work to blog.

7. I think before I commit.

I stress about lack of time and over-committing more than anything else in life, so I’ve learned that with work especially, I need to think about things before I say yes. People don’t take it personally when you need to reschedule or have to say no (at least most of the time – if they do, that’s probably not a person you want in your life anyway!). I always felt like if I said no I would miss out on an amazing opportunity, but what I’ve learned is this: being stressed also causes you to miss out on amazing opportunities.

8. I ask for help.

Who here has a hard time admitting it when you need help? I bet everyone’s hands are raised right now. It’s humbling to ask for help, but don’t stress out for the sake of pride. Reach out. Your coworkers, blogging friends, and social followers will jump at the chance to pay it forward.

9. I hire people to do tasks I hate.

What is your state of mind worth? If you hate a certain task that takes an hour per day, can you hire a virtual assistant to do that task? For a few hundred bucks a month, all that stress could be gone. It’s totally worth it.

10. I take time off.

Lastly, I make time for me. Work-life balance is SO important. I really can’t stress that enough. I absolutely love blogging, so I’ve found myself thinking, “It’s okay it I work 100 hours per week because I love what I do!” But that’s not a good way to live. It doesn’t matter if you love it, because you still need time away from blogging and work. When’s the last time you traveled just to travel, not on a press trip or other blog-related trip?

If you can’t afford a vacation, you don’t even need to go that far. For example, I’ve now made it a priority to read fiction (or nonfiction if it is not related to work) for at least 30 minutes every night before bedtime. We all need some time away from the blog. Make this a priority in your life.

What do you do to keep blogging (or other content creation work) as stress-free as possible?

Photo credit:  SXC

TBEX Dublin Video: Ian Cleary

 

Did you miss TBEX Dublin? Or perhaps you missed Ian Cleary’s great ed session, 21 Tools and Technology Tips to Dramatically Grow Your Following Online.

Thanks to Michael Collins, you can get a look at what you missed.

The slides from Ian’s session, along with all the others, will be available in the next week or so. Stand by for that announcement.

Travel Bloggers: When’s the Last Time You Did Something That Really Scared You?

My dorky "I'm so excited to have a passport" face!

My dorky “I’m so excited to have a passport” face!

“Have you received any gifts recently that you might have in your bags?”

“No.”

“Because you know, one time a boy gave his girlfriend a gift to take with her and it ended up to be a bomb. Do you have a boyfriend? Did he give you any gifts? Even for you to give to family members?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes…”

At TBEX Dublin, I felt a little out of place. There I was, surrounded by people who have seen the world…and I got my passport just last year. Yes, my first passport. Being from the United States, I had been to Canada once as a child before passports were necessary, but until October 2012, I had never been farther away from my East Coast home than California.

But although I haven’t traveled to lots and lots of places, I have checked off a destination that many bloggers still have on their bucket list: My very first international travel experience was to Israel.

To travel bloggers who are used to visiting locations like North Korea  or Yemen or Afghanistan, Israel might not seem like a big deal. But to me, the idea of packing my bags and flying half-way around the world to Tel Aviv for a press trip was enough to make me want to lose my lunch. I’m already a nervous traveler. So as I stood in front of the no-nonsense El Al Airlines interrogator employee peppering me with ridiculously personal questions, like whether or not I had any Muslim friends and if I had recently received any gifts, it was all I could do not to turn around and go home. I seriously almost had a Road Runner moment – you know, where he beep-beeps and leaves Wiley Coyote in a cloud of dust.

But I got on that plane (albeit, after all of my bags were flagged as suspicious and double-checked), and headed to a country where I didn’t know a single person. I had the cell phone number of my guide that I was to meet when I landed, but not much else. I took a lot of deep breaths to stay calm, but I made it.

And I had an amazing time. A life-changing time (and that’s not a term I throw around willy-nilly).

My second international trip would be to TBEX Dublin, and I found myself feeling oddly confident, even though I am not an experienced traveler. It certainly helped that English is a first language in Ireland, and that I was traveling with people I knew. But my experiences traveling to Israel also made me feel like I could conquer the world.

That’s an amazing feeling.

Still, I lost a little bit of that wonder I had when I was standing at the airport in Tel Aviv looking out at Israel for the first time. I certainly don’t feel like I challenged myself by traveling to Dublin.

So, my last night in Dublin, I did something scarey: I stayed up late, donned some heels, and went out dancing to experience Dublin nightlife.

Now I understand that just like traveling to Israel, this doesn’t seem scary to most of you. But to someone who deals with social anxiety, like myself, the thought of going to a super crowded club is uncomfortable at best and terrifying at worst. Every cell of my body said “Don’t go. Just have a quiet night in the hotel room and get to bed early so you’re rested for your travels home in the morning.”

There’s something powerful in doing something that scares you a little, though. You have amazing experiences that you’ll never forget. You get inspired. You see the world a little differently. You build your own confidence. And you write better blog posts.

So I’ll ask you this: When is the last time you pushed yourself to do something you you find even a little scary?

Think back to that first international trip you ever took, or the first time you traveled by yourself, or the first time you set off on a trip without clear travel plans. Remember that excitement? Remember that heightened state of wonder? Remember that moment of trying to keep your lunch down while resisting the flight part of the fight-or-flight response?

This is my challenge to you: Get back to that state again. Push yourself to not only have new experiences, but get outside of your comfortable little box and do something you wouldn’t normally do.

That might mean traveling to an area of the world that frightens you. Maybe it means facing your fears to try something like skydiving or swimming with the sharks. Or for some people, going dancing is what they find truly scarey – and hey, that’s okay! The point is to do something you wouldn’t normally do. It doesn’t matter what other people find scarey.

It’s only by pushing ourselves that we grow personally and professionally. When you take on new challenges and do things that scare you, you begin to see the world in a different way. And that, my friends, is one of the best ways to write better blog posts, no matter what your niche.

So if you feel like your blog has plateaued a bit lately, take my challenge. Go out and do something you find scary, then tell your readers about the experience!

Also, I want to invite everyone to share their plans here. What are you going to do that is scary? Or what have you recently done that scared the you-know-what out of you? Leave a comment so we can all encourage one another!

Travel Blog Exchange: Failte Ireland Says Thanks

 

Dublin city center

Fáilte Ireland would like to thank the Travel Blog Exchange for bringing the TBEX Europe 2013 conference to Ireland this year. We were delighted to host it and thrilled to meet all of those who attended over the past few days.

Dublin is a busy conference destination and it was important for us, as the national tourism development authority, to be able to not only extend a céad mile fáilte (one hundred thousand welcomes) to you but to also be able to provide each of you with unique and exhilarating experiences of Dublin and Ireland while you were here. We hope that those of you who attended the Fáilte Ireland Welcome Party last Wednesday night, and indeed those of you that took part in our trips around Ireland and across Dublin, experienced the culture and hospitality that Ireland is famous for.

We trust that you have reached your next destination safely and hope you have seen enough in Ireland to encourage you to return again soon and that your Irish experience will encourage each of you to become new ambassadors for Ireland.

From the Fáilte Ireland TBEX Team —

John, Ciara, Shauna, Marian, Grainne, and Medbh