Dublin Villager

Bureau's Irish Experience Grant program proving popular

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Dublin businesses are trying to increase Irish appeal to win visitors.

The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau this week announced its first grant recipients for the Irish Experience Grant Program.

Four Dublin businesses will get $7,075 from the new grant program that works to increase Irish events to build on Dublin's brand, "Irish is an attitude," and attract more visitors.

"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, previously told the Dublin Villager.

"They (visitors) have more of an appetite for Irish experiences," Dring said.

The new grant program has $15,000 in its coffers for the first year.

Half of the funding came from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and half from a Dublin bed tax grant.

The grants will be handed out twice a year and the inaugural round drew applications for more than 30 events.

"When we started the program last year, we were able to partner with Dublin, who provided a tax grant and we matched that," Dring said.

"We didn't know what response we would get for applications for the grants," Dring said.

"We received seven applications for 35 Irish experiences for the first round," he said.

"We didn't have enough money to fulfill the first round of applications. We didn't expect to have that many applications."

Winners of the first round of grants include Embassy Suites Dublin, which will get $1,000 for an Irish New Year's Eve package.

The new event at the hotel will work to attract families with a magician, Irish dancer and a disc jockey, Dring said.

"There may be some kind of hands-on dancing going on the kids can enjoy," he said.

"It will very much be a family event that will encourage families to bring kids and do something different."

Other grant winners include the Historic Dublin Business Association with $1,800 for the new Jig Thursdays that are held in Historic Dublin the first Thursday of each month.

The inaugural Jig was held March 7 and included a Best Legs in a Kilt contest.

Tehku Tea Co. won $2,275 for three events including Irish music performances slated for May, August and October; an Irish cooking class with tea tasting in September; and a workshop series of Irish story-telling and book signings in March, July and September.

Mezzo received a $2,000 grant to help fund themed dinners from 5 to 7 p.m. March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21 and Aug. 18.

The dinners will include Irish food, music, dancers and magicians.

Grant applications for the second half of 2013 are due July 15 and will be reviewed by a 10-person committee.

"It has representatives from the city of Dublin, from Dublin Irish Festival staff and from the convention and visitors bureau board of directors," Dring said.

"The bureau staff facilitate things and let the committee determine who the grant recipients are."

All Irish Experience Grant events will be promoted by the convention and visitors bureau.

For more information about the events or the new grant program, look online at IrishApproved.com.

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