Things will get a lot more Irish in Dublin in 2013.
The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau this year will launch a new program that includes Irish experience grants and Irish-approved businesses.
A study conducted by the bureau found that visitors expect more Irish experiences in Dublin.
"The research told us they're not getting as much of an Irish experience as they hoped for," Scott Dring, convention and visitors bureau executive director said. "They have more of an appetite for Irish experiences."
Grants to help fund Irish experiences in Dublin are offered March 11-17, May 24-27, Aug. 10-24, Sept. 16-21, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 and Dec. 7-21. Deadlines for grant applications are Feb. 1 and July 15.
Dring said dates were established during times when things are slow at Dublin hotels, but also during events.
"We hope to find a balance during times of need, but also provide Irish experiences when a lot of people are here," Dring said.
"In the time frame of the Presidents Cup, tons of people will be here, but we want to provide a unique Irish experience when the hotels are filled to draw them back."
The bureau received $7,500 from the city's hotel/motel tax grants and matched that amount for the first year of the program.
"Our vision is to make this a program for years to come," Dring said. "We hope to build upon it and build up grant money.
"This is a program we hope will be ongoing."
Grants will go to restaurants, attractions, shops and other Dublin businesses for Irish experiences. Dring is expecting people to get creative.
Irish bands, dancers and Irish storytelling experiences are all possible options for the grant program, he said.
"We left it broad on purpose so the private sector and the business community will come back with different ideas." he said. "We're not just looking for bands and dancers."
The second part of the new program will give visitors a destination for Irish experiences.
"Internally, we've been working for several months identifying businesses locally that are already offering some kind of Irish experience," Dring said.
"Twelve companies have been identified here in Dublin."
Businesses such as Ha'Penny Bridge Imports of Ireland and the Dublin Village Tavern made it on the list for Irish offerings. The 1 Stop Bead Shop made it on the list for Irish jewelry-making classes and Holiday Inn Express earned a spot with the Irish wake-up call and 117 Irish-themed rooms.
Irish-approved businesses will be identified with a logo.
"We're working with the city on a window decal or sign," Dring said. "There will be some kind of designation that the business does offer a unique Irish experience."
The bureau has also secured irishapproved.com to showcase the businesses online.
For more information on the new program, look online at irishisanattitude.com.