SBHD: On the face of it, Mount Juliet represents the perfect conference venue. The only possible hitch is if delegates find the pace of life too slow, as James Luckhurst reports
Before choosing an out-of-the-way conference venue, consider the reason for having the conference, the sort of people who will be attending and the number of scheduled interruptions you will want.
Once you’ve given it serious thought, look up Ireland in your airline timetable and fly everyone across to County Kilkenny and the 1,500 acre estate of Mount Juliet.
This is where city centre convenience goes out of the window and, in the words of WB Yeats, “where peace comes dropping slow”.
But there is a danger that the pace will slow down so much that delegates will spend hours lounging in the elegant Major Victor McCalmont Room gazing at the River Nore, and looking forward to the afternoon’s salmon fishing.
That is why it is important to ensure your conference agenda is exciting and attention grabbing – otherwise the venue will win the day and the true purpose of the trip will be quickly forgotten.
“I have to go on a course in Ireland,” might be the perfect excuse for slipping away to the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed course in the grounds of Mount Juliet, which has been described as the Augusta of Europe.
“For many executives, golf is a key back-up to good business,” says David Patterson at Adventures in Golf, a tour operator with over 15 years’ experience of arranging tours and events in Britain and Europe.
“Mount Juliet meets the necessary criteria for a successful business meeting – first class facilities, service to match and good access,” says Patterson.
Try another tack if golf won’t work. “It’s a fast-stream get-together and I must attend,” he suggests.
Well, there is not just one fast stream but two, and fishing can be arranged by the day, half-day or evening. And that evening’s catch can re-appear a short while later at dinner.
At Ãº195, the delegate rate is not cheap, but Patterson considers it good value.
“Mount Juliet is suitable for senior executives, board meetings and professional groups,” he says.
Designers have done justice to the many large rooms and outbuildings on the estate, and all have interesting names such as the Caretaker’s Room. But don’t get the wrong idea about this room – far from being a broom cupboard it was named after the estate’s racehorse, the Caretaker, which won the 1989 Cartier Million.
The Open Room was once part of the original stable yard, while the aptly named Jack Nicklaus Room looks out across those tempting fairways.
“Motivation is the purpose of many business meetings,” says Patterson. “And Mount Juliet’s range of leisure activities are sure to freshen up tired city minds – whether it’s on the golf course, in the river or on horseback. Even jogging has a certain attraction in the fresh air of this beautiful part of Ireland,” he adds.
Mount Juliet is situated at Thomastown in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Telephone:
00 353 56 24729