Reflections on TBEX 2014: Dublin, Ireland



Last year, TBEX came to Dublin.

It came, it saw, and it most definitely conquered. Hundreds of the world’s most influential travel bloggers brought their unique vision and vibe to Dublin in 2013, shared their love with every connected corner of the world, and left behind an amazing sense of possibility.

For one wonderful week, it seemed like anything could happen.

This year, we want you back. Before or after TBEX Europe in Athens, we want you to pick up where you left off, to sample the startling energy of this island of Ireland, to sense the craic and creativity in the air.

In short, we want you to come home.

Wild Atlanitc Way 2

Last year, Ireland was gearing up to launch a ground-breaking tourism proposition. Many of you experienced taster trips along the Wild Atlantic Way during your visit, but you’ll be blown away at the fully formed route.

This Wild Atlantic Way is now up and running as the longest defined coastal touring route on the planet. It’s a salt-in-your-face, spray-on-your-windscreen immersion tracing every nook and cranny of the coastline from Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula to the sizzling kitchens of Kinsale in Cork.

The Wild Atlantic Way isn’t just about the great outdoors, of course. It’s about the lifelong memories you’ll pick up along the way – in the midst of traditional music sessions, exploring coastal towns, or living it up during shindigs like the Fleadh Cheoil or Galway’s Arts and Oyster festivals.

Dublin is changing, too. The buzzing cafés, pubs and clubs you loved last year are blossoming into fully-fledged scenes. The food scene is going from strength to strength. You’ll not only find the best pint of Guinness here. You’ll find killer coffees and tunes, too.

Wanna party?

Time your Dublin visit to coincide with Dublin’s New Year’s Festival – a three-day party that’s going city-wide – or the mother of all get-togethers… the St Patrick’s Festival. It’s the perfect time to go green. Bloom in the Park, Ireland’s largest Gardening show is the social occasion of the year, with food also featuring prominently or Bram Stoker Fest, in October, when the City takes a look at its darker side and celebrates the Dublin-born horror novelist and his creation – Count Dracula.

Another city enjoying a new lease of life is Belfast. The Northern Ireland capital is the birthplace of Titanic, and the interactive Titanic Belfast is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s must-see attractions.

Belfast’s music and food scenes are making waves, too. The home of Van Morrison and Snow Patrol is crammed with cracking bands, venues and a new generation of restaurants is taking the hottest of local produce –and turning them into a very appetising prospect.

City doorsteps

When you’re done touring the city, head north to the Causeway Coast. Sights like the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, The Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour may look familiar… they’ve all served as locations in HBO’s fantastical Game of Thrones, much of which is filmed in Northern Ireland.


Meanwhile, history is hooking up with the here-and-now in Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford. Ireland’s ‘Sunny Southeast’ has long been known for its beaches (Steven Spielberg shot the opening scenes for Saving Private Ryan at Ballinesker), but more and more visitors are dipping into what’s emerging as one of the hottest heritage destinations around.

Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile is a magical strip running from Kilkenny Castle through the ancient city centre to St. Canice’s Cathedral. Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland, has been celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of its foundation by Vikings. The replica Dunbrody Famine Ship evokes journeys made by countless emigrants, including the ancestors of President John F Kennedy.

It’ll be a whirlwind visit – and an unforgettable one.

Enjoy TBEX Athens, and remember your motto for 2015:  Let’s make Ireland happen!

Author Bio:  Pól Ó Conghaile is a travel writer based in Ireland.

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