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Family Reunion in Ireland
Old 08-14-2012, 03:12 PM   #1
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Family Reunion in Ireland

I am in the very early stages of planning of large (~50 people) group trip to Ireland. It would involve my immediate and extended family, i.e. parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins etc, plus significant others. Ireland is the ancestral home of our family, specifically County Cork.

My wife and I have traveled extensively, but many of the other family members have not. I have personally been to Ireland 10+ years ago for a week during college, but I am sure much has changed since then. Since my wife and I are seen as the "travel experts" in the family, people are looking to us to do the planning.

Problem is, we are very adept at planning a trip for 2 people, but 50 is a whole different can of beans. We like to travel independently, i.e. not as part of a tour group, but we are thinking this would be challenging or impossible for a group that large.

Anyone have any experience with a similar trip, specifically internationally? Any specific suggestions for what to do in Ireland that would please a large group?

How about a tour company suggestions for Ireland?
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:21 PM   #2
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I've handled smaller groups (<20), and would never even consider organizing something this big. My hat's off to you for your initiative.

First, I've found it best to let people arrange their own transportation to the overseas meeting point (I assume that's Dublin in your case). Tell them that they must arrange to arrive on a certain date (maybe you would want to make it either of two consecutive days for a group this large, assuming they're coming from all over). You'll need to be on hand at the airport to meet them and direct them to their hotel(s). Be sure to have a big sign and let them know what the sign will say.

Second, the major issue will probably be transportation. You'll need buses to move the group from place to place, so you should begin by contacting charter bus companies over there to find out availability and bus capacities.

Third, you might find that meals are best left to their own schedule and initiative, except for the few that you have catered (probably in a large hotel). Regular restaurants are generally not good at dealing with groups this large, even with advance notice, so let people break up into smaller groups and go out on the town for their own dining.

Just a few thoughts; I don't envy you, but I admire your guts to even attempt it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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Best thing to do in Ireland? Play golf and drink Guiness!
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I've handled smaller groups (<20), and would never even consider organizing something this big. My hat's off to you for your initiative.

First, I've found it best to let people arrange their own transportation to the overseas meeting point (I assume that's Dublin in your case). Tell them that they must arrange to arrive on a certain date (maybe you would want to make it either of two consecutive days for a group this large, assuming they're coming from all over). You'll need to be on hand at the airport to meet them and direct them to their hotel(s). Be sure to have a big sign and let them know what the sign will say.

Second, the major issue will probably be transportation. You'll need buses to move the group from place to place, so you should begin by contacting charter bus companies over there to find out availability and bus capacities.

Third, you might find that meals are best left to their own schedule and initiative, except for the few that you have catered (probably in a large hotel). Regular restaurants are generally not good at dealing with groups this large, even with advance notice, so let people break up into smaller groups and go out on the town for their own dining.

Just a few thoughts; I don't envy you, but I admire your guts to even attempt it.
Good advice here. Another option is to get a tour agency to set up the whole thing. Their fee can easily be paid from the group discounts they can obtain and they have the know-how and contacts to do it.

The pubs are must-do, not just the ale but also the music.
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