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Party ideas for out of the office

From gigs to golf to ‘Game of Thrones’, here are some novel ideas for a get-together your colleagues will love

Snow Patrol play Dublin’s 3Arena on Tuesday, December 11th.

Snow Patrol play Dublin’s 3Arena on Tuesday, December 11th.

 

A Christmas party doesn’t have to just be a turkey and ham dinner. But you do have to get out of the office. So spend the day with your workmates to enjoy each other’s company.

Shop without stress

Christmas shopping can be really stressful when you factor in the crowds and the time constraints you may be under, so if you have a small office party to organise, why not treat your guests to a day’s shopping at Kildare Village, where they will get up to 60 per cent off on designer brands. They can shop for every member of their family, the offer is beautifully presented with proper old-fashioned service and gorgeous presentation, not to mention the labels – Armani, Coach, Michael Kors and Prada are just some of the names to drop. Hire a bus to travel down early morning and after a couple of hours’ shopping, stop for lunch at L’Officina and then repair to the K Club, Straffan, for a relaxing spa treatment followed by a champagne afternoon tea, €55 per head, served in the Chinese drawing room. The spa at the K Club has nine treatment rooms so can accommodate that number.

For more, visit Kildarevillage.com; Kclub.ie

Golf

Head north to the Royal, in Newcastle, Co Down, where visitors can play the famed championship course for half what it might cost in high summer. High season rates are about €248 (£220) whereas in December the fee is about €79 (£70). The course has been voted the top course in Ireland by Golf Digest magazine Travel for the past three years running. Rory McElroy is a member and you might spot him on the course or in the Percy French Inn, his 19th hole. If you want to take the party downtown, Villa Vinci is one of the liveliest eateries,

If you’d like to turn it into an overnight experience, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is a five-minute walk from the course, where twin rooms start from €315 on a B&B basis.

For more, visit Royalcountydown.org; Hastinghotels.co.uk

Music to their ears

Invite your guests to a gig. It’s a relaxed type of get-together that will be music to most employee’s ears. Lauryn Hill celebrates the 20th anniversary of her anthemic debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the 3Arena, Dublin, on Friday, November 30th, or get your people to dig out their denim jackets and head bang to rockers Def Leppard, from €64.50, when they play the 3Arena on December 1st with standing tickets from €64.50. The following night, December 2nd, their Hysteria tour moves to SSE Arena, Belfast. Tickets are £55.

Northern Ireland alt rockers Snow Patrol (pictured above) will get you into the party atmosphere with gigs on Friday, December 7th, and Saturday, December 8th, at SSE Arena Belfast and they play Dublin’s 3Arena on Tuesday, December 11th.

For the Dublin gigs, you could meet at The Church on Mary Street, order a round of Dublin Sunset cocktails and get the red line Luas down to the gig or meet at the Hemi bar at the top of the Gibson Hotel and sip a Love Potion No 8 – pear-flavoured Grey Goose with lime juice, vanilla syrup, orange blossom water and cloudy apple juice.

For more, visit Ticketmaster.ie

Culture vultures

The longest-running musical in the West End, Les Misérables, drapes its tricolour around the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from December 5th and offers an immersive and dramatic night out. You could whet their appetites for the story with a French-inspired two-course pre-theatre menu,€32, at the Marker Hotel’s brasserie and once the curtain comes down, return to the venue for desert and digestifs or try a cocktail in lieu of desert. Its Castle on a Cloud cocktail features a fusion of vanilla Absolut vodka and Malibu served with cotton candy syrup, foam and bitters, €14.

Small groups could look to a matinée performance of Les Mis after lunch on the Marker’s rooftop. where a maximum of 18 people can be accommodated for a tasting menu lunch, €70 with wine pairings an additional €50 per person. Private parties of up to 94 can be seated in the brasserie where lunch is from €39pp.

For more, visit Themarkerhoteldublin.comBordgaisenergytheatre.ie

Reading the runes

Suzy Ward is a self-taught tarot card reader, medium and palm reader and if you cross her palm with silver she will come to your office party to serve up bite-size card readings, aperitifs and digestifs that will whet your guests’ appetites for more. She usually sets up her stall to meet with guests before and after the meal. She works within the greater Dublin area and charges €130 an hour.

Most of the time, people ask how work is going for them and if they might be getting a rise but a lot also ask about relationships. In this group context, Ward tries to keep it light-hearted and starts off with tarot cards but can also bring in palm reading. Many ask the medium for her card to set up a longer, more personal reading. These cost €60 per person.

For more, visit Suzytarot.ie

Time travel to Winterfell

You can head north to Old Castle Ward on the shores of Strangford Lough, aka Winterfell Castle in Game of Thrones, for an immersive evening in the TV phenomenon. Coaches can be organised to pick you up at your place of work and as you drive up to the old keep, the coaches are ambushed by characters from the series. These creatures accompany you to the North Gate, where you can see and touch props from the show, including the Hound’s Helmet.

Then you are taken to the costume room where you dress the part and are led, once you’ve exhausted your status updates, to a medieval-style King Robert’s banquet held under canvas within the castle courtyard. The bench seating is bedecked with reindeer pelts and church candles illuminate the space.

Dinner includes breaking bread with salt, hog roast and root vegetables, pitchers of deadly wine and Winterfell ale, brewed on site. After dinner, you can try archery or sit on the throne.

Any group up to about 300 people can be accommodated and you can expect to pay about £70 (€79)pp for a group of 200. Transport organisation costs will be extra. The journey time from Dublin is about 2¾ hours. You could also pair this with an overnight trip to Belfast.

For more, visit gameofthrones-winterfelltours.com