Google splashes €200,000 on Funderland Christmas party

Tech giant creates Googleland ‘for one night only’ on 13-acre site

Fun palace: Google employees enjoyed hair-raising rides at the company’s office party in Funderland at the RDS. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Fun palace: Google employees enjoyed hair-raising rides at the company’s office party in Funderland at the RDS. Photograph: Alan Betson.

 

Most people settle for dodgy finger food, fairy lights and free booze as they sway drunkenly to Fairytale of New York at their Christmas bash, but this year Google’s Irish employees took the office party to a whole new level.

On the first Friday of this month, the US tech giant took over Funderland and the RDS, renaming it Googleland for one night only.

Google employs more than 2,500 people at its European, Middle Eastern and African headquarters on Barrow Street in Dublin’s docklands and its holiday party – it doesn’t use the C word lest it offend staff who don’t celebrate Christmas – reportedly cost in excess of €200,000 to throw.

It spread out over 13 acres and among the delights at the disposal of the staff was the State’s largest ice-skating rink, called iSkate, the Funderland Ferris wheels and all manner of amusements, clowns and other entertainers from Fossett’s Circus.

There was even a room dedicated entirely to balloons at the shindig organised by event management company Verve Marketing. “Google has high expectations when it comes to events and it is hard to find suitable spaces for them but Funderland was ideal,” said one source close to the party.

Goody bags

All told 25 miles of electric cables were needed to keep the lights on and enough electricity was generated over the course of the evening to power a small city.

While combining an alcohol fuelled Christmas party with an ice rink may seem like a bad idea, there were no reports of casualties among the 3,500 guests.

Included in the goody bag given to employees at the party was a smart watch with a retail value of more than €200. Some slightly spoiled staff noted that this was step down from the tablet they were given last year.

While spending so much on a Christmas party may seem somewhat excessive, the amount pales when compared to Google’s revenue which was $16.52 billion (€13.25 billion) in the three months from July to September.