Day 1 Monday 11th July Dublin to Kilkenny (110km)
The day began with a short transfer from the Conrad Hotel away from the city traffic to the outskirts of Dublin and the small village of Manor Kilbride where our cycle began.
Linking Dublin and Kilkenny, this cycle was an attractive challenge on quiet country roads getting to experience what makes the Irish countryside a unique and wonderful place. The route avoided traffic so we could enjoy gently rolling countryside, trying to keep the terrain away from major climbs, so as to make this ride suitable to the less experienced cyclist. The scenic Blessington lakes are not far from the edge of Dublin and we cycled through pleasant small towns and villages, such as Dunlavin and Moone (with its famous High cross) and passed ruined castles and farms. As we get close to Carlow, we utilised a section of the Gordon Bennett route, used in the 1903 motor race of that name. Kilkenny is known as the marble city and has many medieval buildings strung along narrow lanes connecting the 12 Century castle and its cathedral. Here you will spent a night in one of the cities fine hotels, enjoy a meal together and visit one of the great pubs in the city.
REA Boyd's kindly agreed to sponsor the SIORiders' dinners & drinks on the evening of Monday 11th July.
The event was held in an exclusive private outdoor venue, Rothe House & Garden. We were spoilt by REA Boyd's, showcasing local Irish produce, beer and some fine Bordeaux wine from the French chateau of the Saby Family. We were also treated to authentic traditional Irish music and dancing.
Day 2 Tuesday 12th July Return to Dublin (125km)
For the second day the cycle took a different route back to Dublin. The route was a little hillier as it will run through the beautiful Wicklow Mountains National Park. The national park covers quite a large area and is surprisingly underdeveloped being so close to a Capital city. For the more experienced cyclist there was an option to tackle Sally Gap, one of the country’s highest roads. The tour finished south of Dublin in the seaside town of Greystones. SIOR arranged a coach transfer from there back into Dublin City Centre, to the Conrad, ready for the conference that commenced on 13th July 2022.
The rides will be fully supported with guides, mechanics and back up vans. Lunch will be provided in a pub at just over halfway and feeding stations will be along the route.
There was also a two day sight-seeing trip between Dublin and Kilkenny, supporting, in spirit if not physically, the SIORiders who were completing the 235 km (147 mile) round trip. We travelled in a luxury minibus, joining the SIORiders for their pub lunches on both days but also for the fabulous evening in the medieval city of Kilkenny, where Michael Boyd SIOR hosted drinks, fine food and Irish music for supporters, SIORiders and friends
With two championship golf courses set in stunning surrounds at the world renowned Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Golf Club is an immensely popular venue.
A coach transported us to/from Powerscourt Golf Club and the Conrad Hilton Hotel. The registration fee was all-inclusive of the green fee, event polo shirt, lunch, refreshments, dinner and prize giving (in a typical, local Irish pub. The event was a matchplay in true Ryder Cup style and was played as a Fourball Better Ball.
The inaugural SIORyder cup was won by the European team.
An educational, optional, industrial tour of Dublin's port and harbour (water side) was organised. A double-decker bus left the Conrad hotel in the morning after breakfast and took us to/from the port. Delegates were returned in time for lunch and the afternoon tours.
With thanks to David Petherbridge of RKD Architects (Dublin) we were privileged to be able to visit Microsoft's new campus.
2,000 people. 71 different nationalities. One Campus situated in Leopardstown, Dublin. At Microsoft, their mission is to empower every person and organisation to do and achieve more, not just in Ireland, but right across the world. From software development, testing and localisation to operations, finance, HR and sales & marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, the ambition is to help everyone, through the power of technology, to achieve theirs.
Ireland’s number-one tourist attraction, The Guinness Storehouse, is located in the heart of old Dublin. The Storehouse was our introduction to the world’s famous creamy stout [not Mr. Robert Thornburgh's favour tipple!], a tour which took us up through the building’s giant, pint-shaped heart of glass. We discovered what goes into making ‘the black stuff’- the ingredients, the processes, the passion. The tour ended with a pint of Guinness overlooking Dublin City in the stunning Gravity Bar- we even tried to ‘pull our own pint’!
Next, we headed to the first new distillery established in Dublin in over 125 years - Teeling Whiskey Distillery [now, here we confirm that this is Robert Thornburgh's favourite tipple!]. This was a truly unique experience as it is an actual working distillery, giving you the chance to capture the real spirit of Dublin. We passed through vast and impressive distillery rooms to see how exactly the whiskey is made, where it is matured and the importance of wood in the process. No doubt, the highlight of the guided tour was the comparison whiskey tasting at the end where you can decide which whiskey (sample three) is your favourite.
The meet and greet took place from 17:30 to 19:30. Pictures can be seen in the gallery below.
It wouldn’t have been a SIOR conference without an IBG* Dinner! We went to Hugo's restaurant in the heart of Dublin for a three-course meal including wine and beer to meet and network with fellow SIOR members from around the globe. *Independent Brokers Group
Motivational Speaker and Business Development
Sustainability Expert, Small World Consulting
We travelled by luxury coach to enjoy the stunning scenery of the gardens and magnificent house of Powerscourt Estate. It is set on a 1000 acre estate just outside of Dublin city and widely regarded as one of the finest gardens in Europe. These gardens were designed and laid out between 1745 and 1767 and the 18th Century Manor filled with splendid Greek and Italian-inspired statuary, decorative ironwork, a petrified-moss grotto, lovely herbaceous borders, a fountain with statues of winged horses, and the occasional herd of deer to marvel at. We strolled around the gardens and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of the sprawling gardens and peaceful scenery at our own leisurely pace. Powerscourt house today offers the warmest of welcomes to all visitors and some of the best views in Ireland, overlooking the breath-taking Sugarloaf Mountain. It was a wonderful place to relax and enjoy browsing the splendid range of stores or indulge in a coffee and dessert in the famous Avoca Terrace Café.
Our expert guides took the group on a U2 Walking Tour of Dublin. Fans of Ireland’s (perhaps the world’s) greatest rock band got huge enjoyment in exploring the band’s home town from their perspective. Iconic sites such as Windmill Lane, the location of the building where the band’s early recordings were made, the band’s Hanover Studio and the site of their famous Dandelion Market early gigs allowed us to explore the Dublin the band grew up in and the influences of their music.
The Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl was led by a professional musician who performed tunes and songs while telling the story of Irish music and its influences on contemporary world music. We were met by a musician in Dublin City following the U2 tour and they brought us to a local pub in Dublin City. The hosts chatted, charmed and entertained us on route to the pub. Then on arrival there was an area reserved in each pub for us to sit and listen to the musicians play, sing songs and tell stories of Ireland and Irish Music while enjoying some pints (one drink per pub was included in the price).