Here at the Irish Pubs Global Office, we’re thrilled to declare last week’s Irish Pubs Global conference a success. Bar owners from all over the world attended for three days of networking, workshops, inspiration – and fun.
The activities kicked off with a reception by the Galway mayor on Tuesday night – the mayor noted in his remarks that the Irish pub abroad would be playing a renewed role in welcoming emigrants to their new communities, with the latest upsurge in emigration. Convention-goers then set off on a comparative study of Galway’s pubs, busily researching best practice among the local establishments. A sacrifice indeed, but important work!
Wednesday morning started bright and early – with an opening speech by Dave Magrogan, a Philadelphia man who not only runs 9 Irish pubs in the US midwest, but also has a side career as a motivational speaker. Exhorting the crowd to charge like rhinos, he set the tone for a day of great workshops and demonstrations.
Later that night came one of the highlights of our convention: the gala ball. Our convention-goers were joined by food and drink industry figures, Irish publicans, and dignitaries of all sorts to mingle, dine and dance until a most indecent hour. Even Mr Tayto, the beloved emblem of the deepest longing of every Irish person abroad (the famed cheese and onion crisp, of course) made an appearance.
Our guest of honour was Rory Guinness, an eighth-generation descendent of Arthur himself – and Rory invoked the spirit of the world’s most famous brewer, telling us all how much he would have enjoyed the night, and even producing a portrait of the great man to watch over the festivities. We honoured Irish pub pioneer Mel McNally with the Tayto/Irish Pubs Global Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime of work developing the concept of the Irish pub abroad. (Mel is soon to be blogging here!)
Thursday we finished up with a great set of talks – one with Barry Chandler of Barkeeper.ie, who also blogs here. We also had some great advice from Patrick McNamara of Stocktaking.ie, and Mel McNally shared some of the insight that allowed him to bring Irish pubs throughout the world. A great panel session closed off the day.
The reaction from the convention-goers has been fantastic! We’ve had great feedback, with pub owners and managers reporting new contacts, potential deals, and inspiration from all the positive atmosphere. As Gary Reilly of the Sunset Grill in Vancouver said, “The conference was a great success from our point of view and we’re going home with far more information and enthusiasm than we could have hoped for.”
What’s next? I’ll tell you more in my next blogpost.