Just north of Columbus, Ohio, sits an unexpected enclave of Irishness.
Named for Ireland’s capital and best-known city, Dublin, Ohio, lives up to its namesake.
“The whole city has embraced this Irish theme and we continue to build upon it,” said Allison Potter, sales and marketing manager of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A Gaelic greeting
Among the businesses that tout Dublin’s Irish attitude is Ha’Penny Bridge Imports of Ireland, where owner Anne Glein stocks Celtic jewelry, Avoca woolens and Belleek china and welcomes groups with the Gaelic greeting “Céad míle fáilte,” meaning “one hundred thousand welcomes.”
“Our goal is for customers to feel like they are stepping into Ireland,” said Glein. “We think of our store as bridging the gap by offering authentic Irish goods.”
The Dublin CVB’s 22 Irish Experiences include Irish dance demonstrations, Gaelic language lessons and the Four-Leaf Scavenger Hunt, a guided tour through Historic Dublin, with stops at Ha’Penny Bridge Imports and other shops for Irish treats and trivia.
Businesses in the city have built upon its Irish culture. Dublin hotels have given Irish names to their restaurants and conference rooms. A number of the city’s 14 hotels have added Irish touches to their decor. Shamrocks perk up signage. The Holiday Inn Express offers wake-up calls with a brogue.
Irish grub and old world golf
Brazenhead Irish Pub serves authentic fare such as an Irish reuben and Guinness beer-battered fish and chips; Dublin Village Tavern is home of the Irish Egg Roll and Irish Car Bomb Brownie. And appropriately, given the Emerald Isle’s reputation for golf, the Golf Club of Dublin is a nod to the old country, with its hand-stacked stone walls, 64 sod bunkers and Irish-theme event spaces.
Given Dublin’s 2,000 hotel rooms, free parking and proximity to Columbus and its international airport, it is not surprising that groups often return to the small city.
“We were so impressed by our experience in Dublin that we have already signed a contract to return to the Embassy Suites Dublin in 2012,” said Martha Mattson, conference coordinator for the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors Association. “Our attendees had such a great time and made sure that they conveyed that to us frequently. It was so great to have that type of result. We make a concerted effort to not hold this event in the same area, or even in the vicinity, the following year. We broke our own rule, and are thrilled to be returning to Dublin.”