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Conferencing & Exhibitions


■ The best venues: Historic to the iconic and everything in between ■ Suppliers for a switched on event ■ What’s happening next month ■ Easy DIY steps to having a ‘do’

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

CONTENTS Give your guests the royal Staging a successful event or exhibition requires a marriage between the perfect location, venue, hospitality and content. We feature some of the best options available, whether you’re planning an avant garde event or a major corporate conference...


Business meets wellbeing at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort


Eikon Exhibition Centre at your service


Belfast Telegraph Business Awards just got bigger


Iconic Titanic venue hosts big occasions

09 How to have a successful event


treatment at Hillsborough


illsborough Castle and Gardens has been the official residence of the Royal Family in Northern Ireland since the 1920s, and was originally the private home of the Hill family in the mid-18th century. Since the 1970s, the castle has served as a venue for various stages of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and has played host to monarchs, minsters, presidents and princesses. Today, as one of six venues in the Historic Royal Palaces portfolio, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ proximity to Belfast and storied history provides a unique environment for events of all kinds. The castle has recently undergone a major five-year £24 million investment project to re-present its magnificent State Rooms and boasts a variety of atmospheric indoor and outdoor spaces, with 100 acres of lush grounds available for hire

Hillsborough Castle is home to a prized art collection, including in the Red Room

The Throne Room is the ceremonial heart of the castle, used for investitures, ceremonies and concerts

Belfast’s most historic venue

11 Conference & events listing

The State Entrance to Hillsborough Castle back-lit in blue


Full modern business experience at Crowne Plaza

The State Dining Room brings a sense of occasion to any event

14 Every event’s a winner!


£4m upgrade for Dunadry Hotel & Gardens


Co-working space opens at Catalyst’s ECOS


AV sorted with NIAVAC


IFEX serving up inspiration

ADVERTISING Martin Elliman 028 9055 4690 EDITOR Fiona Rutherford Real Time Editing & Design NI Ltd DESIGN Robert Armstrong & Helen Wright INM Design Studio

of art from the Throne room The castle’s largest Royal Collecand most versatile tion, the room space is the Throne is filled with Room, housing the history of Choose from a range of two regal red and the notable figures dining options, including a who have dined there gold Chairs of State standing reception in the and accommodates against a silk coat of Throne Room up to 40 people for an arms. Hung with paintevening event. ings by old masters, this For a more intimate gathering, ‘saloon’ space was once three smaller rooms, but has been opened out the Red Room is a luxurious retreat for a to create an opulent setting for up 80 dinner or drinks reception. An eye-catchguests to enjoy a seated dinner or up to ing display of paintings from the Royal 120 guests to enjoy an evening drinks Collection and a beautiful oak floor make reception amongst gold frames and for a stunning setting, with French doors elegant drapes. offering direct access to the beautiful stone The State Drawing Room is a favourite terrace and lawns, allowing guests to make for standing drinks receptions with its the most of warmer evenings. antique furniture, marble fireplace and large sash windows opening onto views Private evening tours of the beautiful grounds from the adjoin- Recently launched, the castle’s private ing terrace in summer evenings. evening tours can be enjoyed as either The State Dining Room also brings a stand-alone experience or wonderful a sense of occasion and ceremony to addition to any evening event or itinerary. any event, having seen HM The Queen Guided by an expert explainer, you will herself as guest of honour for her Corenjoy a private tour of the stunning state onation banquet in 1953 and countless rooms and discover the castle’s fascinating dinners hosted by the Royal Family over history exclusively with your clients, guests the years. Housing world-famous works or colleagues.

For daytime events the state rooms can accommodate up to 120 guests for conferences and presentations, with a variety of delicious catering options available from our list of approved, top-industry catering providers. Clients looking for a larger daytime event experience can make full use of the Castle’s majestic grounds by incorporating the beautiful formal gardens and terraces. The immaculate gardens can accommodate marquees for up to 350 people, which are ideal for conferences and award ceremonies and enable guests to enjoy complimentary access to the 100 acres of stunning gardens, woodland and glens. Elegant, yet relaxed. Graceful and intimate – Hillsborough Castle is a truly unique venue located just 20 minutes from Belfast. Whatever event you’re planning, you’ll enjoy professional service from an events team dedicated to your ideas and vision. π Get in touch by calling us on 028 9268 1342 or visit

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

It’s business... and wellbeing One of the suites prepped for a business event


algorm Spa & Golf Resort is situated only 30 minutes from Belfast and is the perfect location to combine business with wellbeing. Set within 163 acres of lush parkland with the spectacular River Maine flowing through the estate, Galgorm Resort has a truly unique setting. Close to both Belfast airports, the stunning scenery of the North Antrim Coast, is the perfect base to discover the fantastic Irish Links courses. The Resort is home to 122 luxurious guestrooms, Cottage Suites and the unique Red Oaks Residence, four restaurants and selection of bars, as well as an array of banqueting and meeting spaces which can cater for all your business events. Whether it is a critical board meeting requiring absolute discretion, a product launch with a difference or a lavish gala ball; our vast portfolio offers an exceptional range of iconic and unique venues including complimentary wi-fi and parking for your convenience.

Wellness We take a progressive approach to meetings to help you drive better results. Our creative programme of wellness elements, specifically designed to inspire and engage your audience, will enhance your meetings, leaving participants feeling less stressed, more productive and ready to focus on achieving your objectives. Supported by cuisine specifically chosen to stimulate, nourish and fight fatigue our innovative Mindful Meetings will change the way you view meetings. Every meeting is different, but your goal is the same: to get results. Our approach allows us to focus on the wellbeing of your participants, ensuring that everyone feels inspired, engaged and ready to focus, so that you can hit targets and achieve your objectives. Thermal Spa Village Boasting a unique 3-acre Thermal Spa Village, the first of its kind in Ireland,

The Halo Dome with views over the River Maine

The Renaissance Suite holds up to 160 delegates The Halo Dome in the Thermal Spa Village is the perfect event space for a product launch, fashion show or cocktail masterclass

The Orangery is filled with natural light

Four Seasons Suite can accommodate up to 100 delegates

where better to re-energize than in the ultimate relaxation and wellbeing. Idyllically located on the banks of the River Maine, you and your team will enjoy the tranquillity of nature and experience pure relaxation with an extensive selection of riverside hot tubs, indoor and outdoor heated pools, steam rooms and saunas. Productivity is enhanced when you take time out, allow our in-house experts to tailor-make yoga and stretching sessions for breakouts. Our mini-treatment bar or our Aromatherapy Associates Wellbeing Bar can also be incorporated into your meeting programme to ensure your delegates have space to think. The Resort’s extensive parkland offers the perfect setting to enjoy a range of productive and stimulating TeamBuilding activities. Teambuilding creates a positive environment by encouraging your participants to connect and allows employees to return to the office reinvigorated and with a new set of problem-solving skills. We have partnered with activity specialists to offer TeamBuilding solutions within our grounds that will truly make a lasting difference to your team. π With our events suites, stunning Thermal Spa Village and range of dining facilities make Galgorm the perfect place where business and wellness meet.

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Eikon Exhibition Centre: Indoor arena plus 65 acres at your service


ust 15 minutes from Belfast City Centre, the Eikon Exhibition Centre is Northern Ireland’s largest events campus. The versatile venue comprises of 10,600 square metres of indoor event space in a 65 acres events park. The purpose-built Eikon Exhibition Centre hosts a variety of different events such as B2B and B2C exhibitions, trade shows, sporting events, large theatre-style conferences, motorsport exhibitions, and both corporate and family events. The venue also hosts Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food festival, the annual Balmoral Show, which attracts more than 115,000 visitors over a four-day period each year. Ideally located at Sprucefield, Lisburn, the venue is within a 30 minute drive from 70 per cent of the Northern Ireland population. Furthermore, the Eikon is within a 90 minute drive radius of four million people, including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Eikon is situated on two major intersections, connecting the M1 and the A1, the main arterial route to Dublin. The Eikon has more than 4,000 free car parking spaces and state-of-the-art facilities. It is specifically equipped for The Eikon is home to the Balmoral Show

event organisers and their contractors alike, with facilities including an organiser’s office, vehicle loading bays, 1GB fibre optic broadband and purpose-built event electrical and plumbing systems. Event organisers who chose to use the Eikon for their event will work with a dedicated account manager, operations manager and venue liaison manager, each role specifically designed to assist in the operations and logistics of using the Eikon Exhibition Centre. The venue has also invested in a large stock of event equipment, which is available to hire when hosting an event at the Eikon. Such items include heras fencing, crowd barriers, an outdoor ticket booth, a 170 seater grandstand trailer, forklift and trained forklift driver, scissor lifts, tables and chairs. Should you require something specific, local hire companies can be recommended by our operations manager. The venue has excellent accommodation links within the surrounding area, as well as leading eateries and tourist destinations.

π For more information, please speak to a member of our events team on 028 90665 225 or

Motorsport exhibitions are among the many events at the Eikon Centre

25 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

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New categories for Belfast Telegraph Business Awards 2020


his year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, in partnership with Ulster Bank, are bigger than ever with two new categories for 2020 – Agri-Food Company of the Year, and Best Large Company of the Year. BBC journalist Mark Simpson is to compere the awards ceremony at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on April 30. This glittering event will include a live on-stage competition in which entrepreneurs pitch for a cash injection of £4,000. Ulster Bank is supporting the awards, the most prestigious in the Northern Ireland business calendar, for the fourth year. Mark Crimmins, Ulster Bank head of Northern Ireland, said: “The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank are very much part of the fabric of the local economy, and this year’s awards will be even more reflective of Northern Ireland’s business community and its successes, with the introduction of two new categories – one for agri-food businesses and the other dedicated to larger companies with more than 100 employees. “Along with the other categories, these will recognise the very best firms in North-

ern Ireland during recent years across a range of sectors, including their innovation, growth and achievements both at home and abroad. “The awards will also provide the opportunity to celebrate the up and coming companies and future stars through the Start-Up and Emerging Business Category and through a pitching competition for entrepreneurs on the night of the awards.” Sarah Little, publishing director at INM NI, said: “I am delighted to launch the 2020 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank. It’s the fourth year of our partnership with Ulster Bank, and there’s no doubt our awards are the biggest and best in the business calendar. “Northern Ireland business is stronger than ever and the restoration of the Executive has brought a renewed optimism to the economy. “We want to encourage all ambitious businesses out there to apply for our awards and join us on what’s sure to be a fabulous night in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on April 30.” The judging panel for the award is chaired by Professor Mark Durkin, Ex-

From left, Richard Donnan of Ulster Bank, Brendan Maynes from CDE, Gail Walker of Belfast Telegraph and Tony Convery of CDE ecutive Dean, Ulster University Business School. The closing date for entries is noon on March 19. To enter, visit www. businessawards/ enter. Prof Durkin’s panel of judges includes: Professor Ian McConnell, PwC Professor Geoff Simmons, QUB Management School Roger Pollen, FSB Professor Neil Gibson, EY Mark Crimmins, Ulster Bank (title sponsors) Ann McGregor, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Jennifer McKeever, CEO, Airporter Fearghal O’Loan, Tughans Kirsty McManus, IoD

Awards categories for 2020 1. Excellence in Marketing 2. Excellence in Exporting 3. Excellence in the Development of Management & Leadership 4. Excellence in Innovation 5. Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media 6. Retailer of the Year 7. Young Business Person of the Year 8. Agri-food Company of the Year (new category) 9. Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being 10. Best Start-up or Emerging Business 11. Best Established SME 12. Best Large Company (new category) 13. Excellence in CSR 14. Lifetime Achievement 15. Outstanding Business of the Year.

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Iconic venue hosts big occasions Since opening, Titanic Belfast has firmly established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s premier conference and event venues.


he iconic building that offers spectacular conference and banqueting facilities in an array of architecturally distinct spaces has now hosted over 3,000 business and leisure events. Events such as G8 Summit Reception, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, BBC’s Biggest Weekend, Giro d’Italia Big Start and leading conferences across an array of sectors, including the recent Critical Care Conference has firmly established itself not just in Northern Ireland but nationally and internationally. It has served guests including Her Majesty The Queen, TITANIC director James Cameron and Presidential Candidate and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. With capacity for intimate dinner parties of 20 to large-scale receptions for 2,000 – the possibilities for conferences, gala dinners, exhibitions or receptions are endless. However, Titanic Belfast continues to push the boundaries in service and innovation and does not rest on its laurels. Last year, it added a new event to its portfolio – Hickson’s Point, a new shipyard themed

hospitality space to enhance its offering to clients from breakfasts events and drinks receptions to themed dining and BBQs. The spaces can also be used in conjunction with SS Nomadic, the last remaining White Star Line vessel which caters for a range of private and corporate events, from drinks receptions to fine dining, as well as the 6,000m2 TEC Belfast. π For more information visit Chef preparing presentation buffet station

Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Dinner on the Bridge at Titanic Belfast with fabulous views over the Titanic Slipways and Belfast Lough

25 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Conferencing & Exhibitions | 9

How to plan for a successful event Plan ahead Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash


or the experienced events manager, being tasked with organising a conference is a breeze. However, if you aren’t an old hand at it, the prospect can be daunting. Planning ahead is key to the event going smoothly. Here are our tips to help you achieve success.

Content counts Often the success of an event may depend on booking speakers that people will turn out to hear. No matter what the purpose of your event is, don’t become so preoccupied with the details that you neglect finding quality content.

Plan well ahead If you are interested in a particular venue or wish to book certain speakers, start planning at least six months in advance of your event to make sure you get your first preferences.

The perfect place Finding the best location is key to running a successful event, especially if it’s a large scale conference set to run over a few days. It should be easy to access, have decent public transport connections and offer a choice of places to stay or eat in the vicinity.

Size matters Early in the planning stage, make decisions about the type of event you are aiming for, the ideal number of speakers and delegates, how long it should run for etc. Set a budget Setting down your wishlist in terms of location, speakers, refreshments and entertainment should help you arrive at your likely costs. Working out a couple of different options will enable you to see which one keeps you closest to your budget. Keep to deadlines Organising an event often requires flexibility but things will go much more smoothly – and without surcharges – if you communicate with your suppliers and keep to deadlines.

Get advice If you are new to event organising, make contact with the team at your chosen venue. Their experienced staff will guide you through the areas you may not be sure about. Finding suppliers Audio visual firms, caterers etc bring their own level of expertise to your event so avail of their knowledge. If you haven’t got suppliers, ask the venue for recommendations. Customer care Give careful consideration to engaging with your audience or visitors. Good content and a unique selling point still count for a lot once the peripheral attractions are stripped away.

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Delegates taking a break

The historic boardroom can accommodate 60 people

The boardroom

Belfast’s most historic venue


lifton House is an impressive Georgian building, set in tranquil landscaped gardens in the heart of Belfast. Opened in 1774 by Belfast Charitable Society, the building was the original Poor House in Belfast. Now as Belfast’s most historic meeting venue, Clifton House offers an inspiring space for a wide range of events including seminars, conferences, strategic planning sessions and private fine dining. Yours guests will have the opportunity to learn about the history of this fascinating building through our interpretative centre, which features unique archive and artefacts, some dating back to the early 1700s.

To enhance your event we offer brief tours or presentations on the history of Clifton House. These are particularly suited for staff development days or to enrich your CPD and/or training events and can be tailored to your agenda or subject matter.

Variety of Meeting Space Clifton House has a number of impressive spaces for hire: Our spacious boardroom has retained many of its original features and has panoramic views over the city. This facility combines historic portraits within an atmospheric venue space. It can accommodate from 24 delegates boardroom style

up to 60 theatre style, perfect for board meetings or conferences. The Archive Room overlooks the inner courtyard and is a truly unique meeting space telling the story of Clifton House and its role in the development of Belfast. It is a flexible space for smaller meetings, interviews and training events. Finally our McCracken Suite, located on the ground floor, can accommodate 40 cabaret style or up to 50 theatre style and with an adjoining lobby area is perfect for break-out space or catering purposes. When booking an event at Clifton House you can also make use of the venue’s reception areas, with a warm and welcom-

ing entrance hall where you can meet and greet your guests on arrival as a venue for registration and networking or perfect for a drinks reception or music recital.

A Personal Touch All your event needs will be looked after by our personal Events Officer, from room setup to advising and booking your catering requirements. Our facilities include free onsite car parking, free WiFi and use of AV equipment with complimentary tea and coffee on arrival. How to book - call us today on 028 9099 7022 or email Testimonials The Clifton House team were extremely helpful throughout all stages of the planning and hosting of our event and as a result the day ran really smoothly. Aaron gave a very interesting and informative introductory presentation on Clifton House and its history which set the context for our event perfectly. – Department of Communities. Outstanding service in a truly unique setting, many thanks to Lucy and the team for ensuring our event went flawlessly. – Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The Archive Room offers a unique setting for meetings

Clifton House and its staff were absolutely exceptional in every conceivable way. Extremely flexible, proactive, understanding and helpful. Couldn’t recommend enough and will definitely use them again. – Queens University Belfast.

25 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Conferencing & Exhibitions | 11

Everybody’s talking...


he conference and events business is thriving in Northern Ireland, with an expo or networking meeting to suit every taste. Everything from construction to International Women’s Day on March 8 is being celebrated at venues ranging from hotels to arenas. Many of them offer free admission – why not go along and explore a subject you don’t know much about, or get some ideas for your own event.

π Feb 20-27, Northern Ireland Manufacturing & Supply Chain Expo and Conference Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, free π Feb 27, Third Educational Conference – Belfast 2020 Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University Belfast Campus, free π Feb 27, The Northern Ireland Lean, Continuous Improvement & Productivity Summit The Northern Ireland Lean, Continuous Improvement & Productivity Summit Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, free π Feb 28, The Management & Leadership SuMMit 2020 Titanic Belfast, from £114

π Feb 28, Joint North South Rare Disease Day Conference Riddel Hall, Belfast π Feb 29, Human Rights Now, Amnesty International, NI Supporter Conference 2020 The MAC, Belfast, free π Mar 5, Women Stepping Forward Youth Action, 14 College Square North, Belfast, free π Mar 5, InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference 2020 Crowne Plaza Belfast, Belfast, from £25 π Mar 5, Women in Finance: Inspiring the Next Generation Riddel Hall, Belfast, free π Mar 6, The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken Clifton House, Belfast, free (booking essential) π Mar 6, Consumer Parliament 2020 Assembly Buildings Conference Centre, Belfast, free π Mar 6, Planning for a Resilient Future Ulster University, Belfast, from £5

π Mar 7, Women in the Archives: Community Conference Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, free Bring a friend and find out about volunteering at The Prince’s Trust

π Mar 13, The Prince’s Trust NI Volunteer Conference 2020 Ulster Museum, Belfast, free

π Mar 27, Women Standing Together A Multicultural Event City Life Centre, Belfast, free Dr Ava Eagle Brown, author of The Mango Girl, is among the speakers at Women Standing Together

π Mar 13, 9:30 AM Just Great Teaching - Northern Ireland Hazelwood Integrated College, Belfast, from £100 π Mar 19, Climate Change Conference QUB School of Biological Sciences, Belfast, free Queen’s University Belfast is hosting its first Climate Change Conference

π Mar 31, Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking, Forced Marriage Conference Belfast City Hall, free π Mar 31, Collaborations Workshop 2020 (CW20) - #CollabW20 Queen’s University, Belfast, from £10 π For details of these and dozens more events, visit

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Full modern business experience at Crowne Plaza Welcome to Crowne Plaza


rowne Plaza Belfast is the largest multi-use conference, banqueting and accommodation facility in Northern Ireland. This four star luxury hotel is located in south Belfast, convenient to the City Centre and close to all main arterial routes. Crowne Plaza Belfast boasts 21 meeting suites, catering for all types of events from private boardroom meetings to international conferences. The Grand Ballroom in the hotel was extended last year and is now the largest venue in NI outside of the ICC, catering for gala dinners up to 650 guests and theatre-style conferences with 1000 delegates.

Small meeting rooms are available

The hotel’s bedrooms were completely refurbished in 2019 and now include new Executive Club bedrooms and seven suites including a luxurious Presidential Suite. Crowne Plaza Belfast benefits from 300 free on-site parking spaces, free fast Wi-Fi and excellent catering and dining options provided under the expert eye of Executive Chef Graham Burns. Opportunities to relax and stay fit are provided with a fully fitted gym and health club including a 20m pool. π The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at 117 Milltown Road, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast BT8 7XP. Visit for a full list of facilities or contact the Meetings Director at or on 028 9092 3500.

Crowne Plaza offers a range of conference rooms

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undalk Stadium is Ireland’s only all-weather racecourse and dual purpose horse and greyhound stadium. Equidistant between Belfast and Dublin and with consecutive floodlit Friday evening fixtures from September to March, it is the ideal venue for entertaining.

Consistently racing every weekend Friday and Saturday nights whether it be horse, dual or greyhound racing there is always something to attend. There are a number of mid week and weekend day fixtures to choose from also. The stadium is purpose built for everything a corporate or personal night could wish for; with the glass fronted View Restaurant and Corporate Suites holding up to 400 and overlooking the stunning view, numerous full-service licensed bars on all levels, carvery and fast food outlet. Each race night continues into music after racing in Gallops Bar on the top level.


Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Every event’s a winner!

Special events Dundalk Stadium is pleased with the return of our ever popular mid summer fixture on Sunday, July 12, where fashion meets fun at our annual Ladies Day. There are also a number of new special events over the summer months such as Swing Back to the 20s and Gin & Jazz nights. Corporate nights can include race sponsorship and branding on our new roadside LED sign and internal multi media screens throughout the Stadium while personal outings can get a photograph on the big screen and table decorations to make their night special. Extra dates Dundalk Stadium is also available for venue hire outside of race fixtures with a number of options available and free extensive parking available it ticks all the boxes. Open also to clubs, charities and schools along with corporate social responsibility fundraising events. For a night with a difference ‘Bet on the best night out’ at Dundalk Stadium.

Ladies Day returns on July 12

π To enquire about venue hire or fundraising contact Jean Clerkin, Sales & Marketing Executive at or 00353 42933 4438 ext 5.

Cailin Coillteach

Take in the sights from the View Restaurant

25 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Conferencing & Exhibitions | 15

There’s racing every weekend

Get up close to the action

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

£4m upgrade for Dunadry Hotel and Gardens


ollowing the acquisition of Dunadry Hotel by the McKeever Hotel Group, the hotel has undergone a major transformation and is fast becoming one of the premier events and meeting venues in Northern Ireland. The 4 Star Dunadry Hotel and Gardens means business when it comes to events and conferences. You will have peace of mind knowing that the morning coffee will be there on arrival; the required AV equipment will be in place and the room set up as requested. Along with the knowledge and experience of the management team, Dunadry Hotel and Gardens is dedicated to making your job easier. However, it is not just the new facilities and professional service that makes Dunadry Hotel and Gardens ideal for business, but also the superb location. An excellent transport infrastructure within close proximity to Belfast International Airport makes the venue easily accessible from anywhere in Northern Ireland and beyond. New bedrooms with rainfall showers, usb ports and individual wi-fi hubs offer luxurious relaxation. Car parking and professional event managers are at your disposal, perfect for corporate guests. And, if you are looking for something different, the Dunadry Hotel and Gardens has ample outside space – perfect for corporate barbecues, team buildings, marquees or wellness activities down by the river edge in the Secret Garden.

The Dunadry Hotel and Gardens enjoys a superb location

The Dunadry’s restaurant

π To arrange a site visit or for more information contact Tracey Robinson, email, telephone 028 9443 4343. The conference room at your service

Carry on the conversation in relaxed surroundings

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

An ‘Innovative’ event venue in Ballymena


he Catalyst Innovation Centre at ECOS is well-known as a hub of innovation due to its state-ofthe-art meeting and conference facilities and rollcall of creative tenant companies. Nestled on 115 acres of picturesque parkland, around 30 minutes from Belfast or Coleraine, this modern development now provides Grade A office real estate after a £1.6m investment from Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. Catering for a range of business requirements, the space boasts everything required to ensure your event is a success. Its reception and breakout areas can hold 120 guests and provide multiple layout options. The theatre studio has capacity for 120 and offers high quality audio and visual equipment as standard. The meeting rooms can cater for small or medium groups of up to 20 people. Common space on the ground floor and particularly the circular vestibule, is equipped with interactive digital systems which allow event hosts to showcase corporate videos or event activities. With excellent on-site catering provided by the Ability at the Drawbridge Café, dedicated on-site events co-ordinator and high-speed internet throughout, the Catalyst Innovation Centre provides the perfect business retreat with modern touches.

“Having a dedicated events co-ordinator onsite meant the conference ran without a hitch. The location was also perfect as it wasn’t Belfast centric which attracted rural delegates. The free car park and green landscape was also a bonus!” Delegate @ International Agri-Food Conference “I liked the fact that the space could be tailored to suit the size of the event which meant the room didn’t look empty if numbers were lower. I also enjoyed being in such a creative environment and soaking up the hustle and bustle. It really is a hidden gem in Ballymena.” Delegate @ Mid & Easty Antrim Council - Advancement Manufacturing Task Force Launch “Sound, visuals and internet access are always important when running an event, but they are the things that let venues down. The quality of the facilities at ECOS are on-point which allowed the event to run on schedule and made it quick and easy to get online.” Delegate @ Catalyst ECOS Brand Launch π Any bookings made in March 2020 will receive a 20% discount. Contact ecos@ for more information.

25 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Conferencing & Exhibitions | 19

New co-working space open for business


new 12-person co-working space in Catalyst’s Innovation Centre at ECOS Ballymena is now open for business and demand for this start-of-theart location is already proving high. Suited to either small start-up companies or more established tech companies looking for a satellite office in the Ballymena/Antrim catchment area,

the space is brimming with creative technology and business members who are making a difference globally. Proving to be the perfect space for companies wanting a hot desk, dedicated desk, space to host a meeting or just a comfy lounge to catch up on emails, the Innovation Centre at ECOS can facilitate every eventuality. Nestled within the 18,000 sq. ft. Grade

A office space, the ECOS building is set in lush green parkland, just a stone’s throw from Ballymena town centre. The 24/7 access and café, which open six days a week makes it an excellent venue for business users wanting a professional, modern space just off the M2 motorway. A member company located at the Catalyst Innovation Centre at ECOS is Young Enterprise Northern Ireland. Young Enterprise NI Development Manager Jane Hanna said: “Young Enterprise Northern Ireland had the privilege of engaging with over 90,000 students aged between 4 – 25 years old, working with 351 schools and achieving

support from over 900 business volunteers. Affirmed as the leading enterprise charity in NI, we continue to make a growing impact across Northern Ireland as we forge a connected world of young people, business volunteers and educators dedicated to succeeding through enterprise. Relocating our North East office to the Innovation Centre at ECOS means we are centrally located in the NE area which allows us to connect with the local community and being in its own parkland estate offers our staff a healthy working environment.” An additional advantage of being based within the co-working space is access to the Catalyst entrepreneurial network. This community network fosters innovative thinking and helps knowledge-based industries learn from each other, develop new ways of thinking and gain from commercial opportunities through collaboration with each other. This creates a Catalyst community that is confident to compete on a global stage. Andy McDonald, from Catalyst, said: “The new co-working space in the Innovation Centre is fresh, modern, and has everything an agile innovation company needs to work from. Our leasing contracts are flexible so can scale up or down depending on member needs, something that makes us attractive to SMEs. Being at almost full occupancy highlights the attractiveness of the space we have at the Innovation Centre and the opening of the new coworking space is another added benefit to our offering.” π Get in touch at

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Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

Niavac live events team delivers stunning production at the Peace Proms Photograph supplied by Karl Christmas

Niavac’s vision for this year is 20/20!


stablished over 60 years ago, Belfast-based Niavac has grown steadily to become one of Northern Ireland’s most successful systems integrators, covering the corporate, healthcare, hospitality and education sectors. The acquisition of audio company Loft Sound in 2016 expanded Niavac’s portfolio into the live event industry, a business that is proving every bit as successful. The Niavac live events team are enjoying a busy start to 2020, after making waves with exceptional event production across Ireland and the UK in 2019. Niavac was pleased to provide production services for many private corporate events in 2019, including the Queen’s University Graduation ceremonies, Lady Mary Peter’s birthday celebrations and the Annual Hospital Professional Awards Ceremony. The 2019 Cathedral Gala at St. Anne’s

Cathedral Belfast, benefitted from Niavac’s live production support, including audio, camera, screens, lighting and a 9m x 3m ultra HD 4k video wall. The AVA Music Festival was also a major date in Niavac’s live event calendar in 2019. Event production services included the bespoke build of a custom-shaped high-resolution Absen video wall, featuring stunning visual effects during festival performances. In recent weeks the Niavac live team has been ‘on the road’, providing full production support for the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland Peace Proms, with eight live events across five UK and Ireland locations. Niavac has been enjoying working with the 120 piece orchestra and accompanying 2500 piece choir, providing all audio production for the arena events. Recent investment in specialist kit Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system equips the Niavac team with cutting edge

technology. Niavac live events manager Steve Corr has used the Yamaha kit to great effect during the Peace Proms, as the huge buss count facilitates more inputs and as a result reduces corrective EQ, making for a seamless sound check and production experience. Since purchase, the equipment has been used at numerous live and corporate events, has been sub-hired to RTE, and continues to position Niavac as leaders in live and corporate event services and hire. As a leading audiovisual company, Niavac also offers full end-to-end integration/installation services with aftercare packages. Reinforced by the recent accreditation of Gold Microsoft partnership for the Microsoft Surface Hub, Niavac offers cutting edge technology solutions for conferencing and corporate environments, including digital signage, interactive touchscreens

and video conferencing. Both local and global companies trust Niavac with installation projects, with clients including Seagate, Sensata (Formerly Schrader), Henderson Group and Diageo. Building on this success, 2020 has opened up new opportunities for Niavac and our team has secured several high profile contracts in 2020, including the recent appointment as supplier to Southern Regional Colleges. The seven-year contract will involve the supply and installation of all audiovisual equipment and support services within new and existing campuses across the SRC network and will include the full AV fit out for the new colleges in Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge. With over 60 years’ experience in delivering quality AV services and solutions, coupled with proven success in live event production, Niavac remains at the forefront of innovation and quality.

22 | Conferencing & Exhibitions

Belfast Telegraph | 25 February 2020

IFEX is back and serving up inspiration Sean Owens, Salon Culinaire Director; Caroline McCusker, IFEX Event Manager and Belfast MET students Anna McKeever and Wojtek Bielanczuk


FEX, Northern Ireland’s most innovative foodservice, hospitality and retail event, returns to the TEC, Belfast, from Tuesday – Thursday, March 24 – 26, 2020. With over 7,000 visitors expected to attend, it’s one of the most eagerly anticipated industry events of the year. Free to attend, registration for the show is now open. Don’t miss out: www. A biennial event, IFEX 2020 is the prime opportunity for visitors to meet with over 200 suppliers and manufacturers, watch hundreds of chefs, baristas and drink specialists in action, and network with thousands of industry colleagues. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, IFEX,

supported by Flogas and Stephens Catering Equipment, has firmly cemented its reputation as the ultimate destination for the hospitality and foodservice industry. Commenting on the importance of show support, IFEX Event Manager Caroline McCusker comments: “IFEX 2020 promises to serve up three days packed full of ideas and innovation for your business. From inspiring competitions to expert masterclasses and an abundance of ideas, IFEX is simply the number one event for industry professionals in the foodservice, hospitality and retail sectors.”

What’s happening at IFEX 2020… NEW: World Skills NI Hospitality Skills Hub Together with the NI Hospitality Education

Skills Hub, IFEX will be celebrating, nurturing and rediscovering skills at the 2020 show. Across the three days, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the skills hub where there will be a live demo hub showcasing the many services and opportunities available across the sector, including hotel reception and housekeeping, barista championships, mixology and bartending, larder and butchery skills, bakery and patisserie and restaurant service.

Great Taste Market IFEX has once again partnered with The Guild of Fine Food to bring a unique opportunity for visitors to see and taste Ireland’s award-winning products all

Sean Owens, Director of Salon Culinaire at IFEX, Jean Christophe Novelli and Edible Art Judge, David Close at IFEX 2018

Joe Harper from Just Bee Drinks at IFEX 2016

in one place at the Great Taste Market. This year, the Great Taste Market at IFEX includes a collection of fine food and drink stalls, ranging from bakery products to tea, coffee, gins and so much more

Serving Up Talent Central to IFEX is Salon Culinaire, the national centre for excellence in the industry, nurturing the talent of the future through world-class competitions and Former Miss NI, Leanne McDowell, cooking up a storm at Express Foodservice at IFEX 2016

expert demonstrations. Housing almost 250 industry and student chefs, skills is high on the agenda and Salon Culinaire which raises the bar in terms of culinary skills in Northern Ireland includes The ChefSkills Theatre, Street Food international and Edible Art. Running over the three days, the ChefSkills Theatre sees an exciting series of back-to-back, live competitions, including the hotly contended Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs-supported IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year and Northern Ireland Junior Chef of the Year accolades. Street Food International, supported by Department for the Economy, will feature teams from NI culinary colleges going head–to-head to serve covers daily in a ‘real time’ restaurant. For this team competition, preparation, service, timing and teamwork are every bit as important as the quality of cooking. The winning team will offer the ‘whole package’ of hospitality skills. Long-standing Salon Culinaire Director, Sean Owens comments: “This year I’m confident that we’re going to discover some extraordinarily talented young chefs, and to have uncovered and encouraged new talent to flourish at IFEX is what THE event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries is all about.” Salon Culinaire is a major part of IFEX due to its long-standing commitment to nurture talent within the industry and the cooking competitions will sit alongside a number of other exciting features at the event. These include over 200 exhibitors showcasing the very latest in new products and services, a cold display of Edible Art and the prestigious Product of the Show awards. π IFEX 2020 is taking place from Tuesday, March 24, to Thursday, March 26, at the TEC, Belfast. The show opens daily at 10am and runs until 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to 4pm on Thursday. Registration is now open and you can register for FREE at www.

Profile for Belfast Telegraph

Conference & Exhibitions  

Your guide to the best venues: Historic to the iconic and everything in between.

Conference & Exhibitions  

Your guide to the best venues: Historic to the iconic and everything in between.