It has been six years since the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau launched a branding initiative drawing the association between Dublin, Ohio and Dublin, Ireland. The Bureau decided on “Irish is an Attitude” as the positioning line – the phrase or statement that visitors associate with Dublin. This statement makes use of the “Irish” equity that exists in the Dublin name and promotes the idea that to enjoy all things Irish, you don’t need Irish in your blood, just in your soul.
To promote this, the Bureau created a selection of 30 Irish experiences available to leisure visitors, motorcoach groups and even business travelers who are looking for activities during their conference or meeting. But a bonus of living in Dublin is that these experiences are available to residents every day. Some of the most popular experiences include a Four-Leaf Clover Scavenger Hunt, an Irish Penny Whistle Class and re-enactment of an Irish wake.
Several Dublin hotels have embraced the Bureau’s branding efforts as well. The Holiday Inn Express, 5500 Tuttle Crossing Blvd., offers an Irish welcome reception and wake-up call, as well as green guest rooms. Tour groups also receive a “local extra” – an Irish-themed item – with their breakfasts. At the Crowne Plaza Columbus-Dublin, 600 Metro Pl. N., guests can enjoy Irish beers and other beverages, Limerick chowder and themed meeting spaces. Shamrocks and Celtic décor adorn the Chase Suite Hotel, 4130 Tuller Rd., giving guests the feel of Old Ireland.
And local dining establishments also have adopted Irish attitudes, serving themed food to residents and visitors alike. The Dublin Village Tavern, in the center of Historic Dublin, has created several Irish-inspired menu items, including the customer favorite Irish Egg Roll and Irish Car Bomb Brownie. The restaurant also offers Irish drink specials on a regular basis. Enjoy a traditional Irish dinner – complete with Craggaunowen Chicken and apple cake – at Sunny Street Café on Avery Road. After dinner, treat yourself to an Irish Bomb Gourmet Cupcake or an Irish “Favorite” – chocolate cake filled with ganache and topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream icing – at Our Cupcakery’s create-your-own-cupcake bar.
You can sip an Irish tea while snacking on a green tea scone at Tehku Tea Company, purchase some Shamrock snacks at Sisters Sweet Shoppe or indulge in an Irish sundae – mint chocolate chip ice cream with mint-infused whipped cream and optional chocolate jimmies – at Graeter’s Ice Cream. Shoppers can find Irish grocery products or take a Celtic-themed cooking class at the Whole Foods Market on West Dublin-Granville Road.
A recent study conducted by North Star Destination Strategies found that visitors want more Irish product and entertainment to enjoy separately from the Dublin Irish Festival and St. Patrick’s Day events. In order to help meet this challenge, the Bureau launched two new programs this year: the Irish Experience Grant Program and the Irish Approved Business Program.
Dublin City Council supports both programs through the City’s hotel/motel tax grant fund. Through these grants, City Council funds cultural arts, beautification projects, Historic Dublin improvements, activities that encourage visitors to Dublin and other projects that enhance Dublin. To learn more about hotel/motel tax grants, visit www.DublinOhioUSA.gov/taxgrant.
The grant program awards funds to local restaurants, attractions, shops and hotels for offering Irish-inspired entertainment. The Bureau also plans to create an Irish Experience calendar to publicize these events, with a focus on creating entertainment around the greatest times of need for Dublin’s hotels, rather than securing entertainment during traditional busy periods such as the Dublin Irish Festival and Memorial Tournament. The calendar will be introduced during the City of Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Local businesses may apply for a grant by contacting the Bureau at 614-792-7666 or visiting www.IrishisanAttitude.com.
The Irish Approved Business Program promotes local establishments that currently offer Irish-inspired activities or merchandise. Each approved business will be provided with a widow decal to alert visitors that they may find an Irish experience or product at the store. These businesses will also be promoted through the Bureau’s marketing initiatives.
Be on the lookout for new Irish-inspired activities and items these Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau programs will encourage, refreshing Dublin’s Irish appeal.
Scott Dring is a contributing writer and executive director of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.