The Apprentice – a mighty Team Building Event in Cork

November 18, 2008


 Well I do like to experience the events and venues that I suggest to my clients so on Friday I arranged a fun team building event – a very fun version of  “The Apprentice” for the BNI Cork City Chapter.  It is the brain child of John Fitzgerald from Fun Ireland and he was the acting “Bill Cullen” or “Sir Alan Sugar” which ever TV version you are most familiar with.   The difference being that John is mighty craic and has a laugh at what the teams got up to all the way through it.   I partook in the event myself and my cheek bones were sore from laughing come 9 o clock Friday night.  It was a fantastic night and there has been great feedback since.

“A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO Ciara for organising what can only be described as one of the best social events we have ever had in BNI. A great night was had by all”

Of course, not everyone agreed with the Judges (john from Fun Ireland’s) final decision on the winning team  ….



“ true for what my learned friend(paudie) has said ,it was a great
night , but as you know,that down through history there has been many miscarriages of justice.for example….  

             1 the nailing of jesus to the cross.
             2 nelson mandela(30 years).
             3 the guilford four.
 now i think we can safetly say we can add another one to that growing list ,yes you have guessed right my friends……last night… was on par with a guy standing over a body with a smoking gun and getting off scot free… farting were clearly not the winners ,their storys had more holes in it than a teabag,we of team fe*K$rs are the true this space……..?”

The night started and ended in the pub.  The Chambers Inn in Cork  . We all met up for a half hour, were divided up into our teams (of 10 or so), given our challenges pack, appointed a team leader and we went from there.  We had to complete about 8 challenges ranging from getting a photo taken with a chef  or Garda  

Friendly Cork Gardai

Friendly Cork Gardai

to “acquiring an Irish Cottage or Sheep”. 


Some creative thinking was done on the sheep challenge where a blow up sheep was purchased in Ann Sommers and that started a whole other round of slagging.  We all had to be back to the pub for 7.45 where we had a recap on the challenges and did a quick presentation on our results.  This was nearly the best part of the night as the competition between the teams heated up and the serious slagging started.    Two teams were fired and the controversial winning team announced. 

The controversial winners - there are sore losers in the group

The controversial winners - there are sore losers in the group


What was best about it for me was I looked around and everyone was laughing, there was an immediate buzz and atmosphere and we all saw and learned a different side to at least  a few members of the team.  As a networking group, that was very important and signalled the success to the evening for me…
 In anycase, I would highly recommend it as an event for a group of people.   My next event to try out will be breaking  Santa out of Jail in Cork Jail (Goal) – the historical jail that is… 

For ideas and tips on arranging an event and finding the perfect venue – contact Ciara –  353 (0) 26 21015.


How to decide on the best Meeting Room or Conference set up style???

March 21, 2008

The options of different ways to set up a Meeting Room are plentiful, however, the style you chose can have a very negative or positive effect on the success and overall outcome of a meeting.  It would be the next most important criteria to decide on once you chose the meeting venue or meeting place.

cabaret style meeting room set up

Over the next few blogs I will discuss the pros and cons of different meeting styles – today I will start with my favourite – Cabaret style.  I briefly touched on this in my last blog, when I discovered many conference hotels in Ireland were misleading conference organisers and not selling cabaret style as it should be.

Cabaret style meeting room set upcabaret style meeting room set up

Cabaret style is also known as Crescent or Half moon.  Delegates are seated at a round table (that can fit 8-12 people) and the 3 or so chairs that would have delegates with their backs facing the speakers are removed.

Advantages of this conference room set up style??  It is very conducive to people easily meeting others, networking and breaking delegates out into small group discussions or indeed if you need a quick turnover between a meal and the conference session.  It allows delegates to take notes comfortably or refer to reading material.  Personally what I like about it is that you can get to know at least 6 more people whereas if you are seated classroom style, you only have the people on your left and right to get to know.  If I am attending a conference or meeting by myself I much prefer Cabaret style set up as I find it easier to network and chat with the delegates seated at my table.  In my next blog I will talk about Theatre and Classroom style conference room set up.


Warning on Conference Room set up styles, Corporate Event Planning Tips

February 25, 2008

I was working on an enquiry for a conference  set up “cabaret style” and went to a number of venues and corporate meeting hotels Ireland, to get a quote.   I stated each time that the room needs to be set up “cabaret style” – which is a round banquet table but set for a max of 6-7 people – basically so no one is twisting their neck to see the speaker or have the backs to the speaker – it is a very conducive style to networking, brain storming or having lunch in the same room…. anyway, I digress.  I discovered by doing my own calculations on the size of the room that I was being mislead.  Warning.   Some venues are calculating that cabaret style is a table set with 10 people…. so a lot more people can fit in the room…..  THIS IS NOT CABARET STYLE.   Imagine sitting at a table for an all day conference and discovering that you have your back to the presenter!!  If you are an organiser you would also end up booking a room far too small for your Conference or Meeting.  In the UK and US Cabaret style is referred to as Half Moon or Crescent style.  But in no country does cabaret style exceed 7 people at a table.  So watch out for that.  I am finding some Irish Venues are not calculating this correctly.  Ensure you clarify how many delegates at a table they consider cabaret style conference set up to be.  It is  important to be able to independently determine the number of attendees that can be seated comfortably in any given function room. Fortunately it is relatively easy to do that – click through to my site for many more tips on planning events.

Find the right venue for your next event in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast, Limerick….

February 20, 2008

Finding  the right venue is key to the success of any event.  It immediately impacts on the atmosphere, energy and over all synergy of the Conference, Meeting or Event.  There is nothing worse than booking a venue and all everyone remembers about your event is the room was too small, or there was no daylight in the room or they are giving out about the service.  Hence, I set up a Venue Finding service to help organisers avoid those pitfalls.  Having toured the majority of Venues in Ireland, I am familiar with them and can help avoid any negative impacts of chosing the wrong venue.  I will be blogging about my visits to Conference venues,  about finding that venue that is “something different“,  funky venues, green venues, team building venues etc….. do let me know your feedback on various conference venues in Dublin, Belfast, the centre of Ireland – where ever, meeting venues, corporate picnic venues etc.  I’d be most interested in getting your feedback.

Conferences, Meetings and Events – they work for me.

October 18, 2007

Well I was thinking the other day about what I could blog about.  I started thinking about the last 8 months, my experience of starting something that I had never done before – building a dynamic Venue Finding website – by myself.  A very big undertaking and one I only truly understood once I got into it.  What got me through the times when I was finding it hard? ……… Attending Conferences!!! 

I have experienced a few very positive Conferences in Ireland in the last 6 months.  After each one, I walked out the door feeling extremely confident and full of conviction that what I was creating was going to be the best out there and gave myself a pat on the back for what I had accomplished so far.  I buzzed off the motivation from those days for weeks, and channeled all my energy into the Venue Finding Website. Going to those conferences was invaluable to me.  March 28th I attended NEO Ireland – National Event Organisers Ireland annual Conference.  The day focused on “Being Different”.  What a day.  Well done Sarah Carroll.  It was held in the Mansion House, Dublin City Centre.  I meet fantastic people, made great contacts and was full of motivation and conviction.  I left with a big smile on my face.  The morning started with an opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea and mingle.  Trish Murphy – A Professional Net worker, worked the crowd, introduced people who looked like they were waiting for someone to come up talking to them, got everyone talking and relaxed into the day.  Deirdre Bounds of I to I Travel spoke first.  She changed the whole atmosphere in the room, and challenged us to think about the way we do things.  Just because it has never been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Look at your business and create something you want to be a part of.  So that is what I did. 

The website is now launched – there are over 400 Hotels and Venues in Ireland listed, 70 are registered with the site and it is up for an industry award next week.  I carried out some research on blogs written about Conferences, Meetings or Events in Ireland and I could not come up with anything, so have decided to write a weekly blog on events and venues that I have attended recently and my opinion generally on Corporate Event Services in Ireland.  If anyone else has ideas on topics in the Conference, Meetings or Events Industry for me to write about, do let me know.


Ciara Feely Cahalane

Ireland’s Venue Finder