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All Hallows Purcell House Conference Centre (Dublin)

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The venue is ideal for conferences, workshops and group meetings.

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      26.12.2008 11:21
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      A great place to hold a conference, workshop or meeting.

      All Hallows Conference Centre is part of All Hallows College. It is situated in Drumcondra, quite close to the centre of Dublin. Purcell House, the main conference centre, is a large 19th Century building. The building is beautiful and has been adapted for conferences and accommodation with great skill and care for visitors. There is good wheelchair access and a lift to all floors at the side of the elegant main central staircase. ~~~*~~~ The Grounds. As All Hallows is a collegiate college, the buildings are set out in a fantastically well kept 15 acres. The conference centre is fronted by a vast lawn and flowerbeds. The whole area is surrounded by lovely old trees and bushes. I was fascinated to see how many herons and other waterfowl came down onto the lawns to forage for food. It was a delight to look out of my bedroom window and watch them. At one stage there must have been ten herons wandering about. It was very restful. Statuary is dotted about the drives and gardens. Most of the grounds is surrounded by a high sandstone wall but there is a gate at the back of Purcell House to make trips to the local shops and buses easier for pedestrians. ~~~*~~~ Surrounding Areas. Dublin City centre is easily reached by bus in about twenty minutes. It's a great City to shop, eat or sightsee in. If you walk out of the gates you are in Drumcondra which is a busy little place with plenty of venues to drink, eat and be merry. We found some very good restaurants and cafes within a ten minute walk of the conference centre. ~~~*~~~ Conference Facilities. There are at least six conference rooms available to hire. They range from massive wood lined echoing places which would accommodate over a hundred to smaller more intimate rooms which hold about twenty. The chairs are comfortable and the light is good in all of the ones I saw. All the rooms had a large screen tv/monitor in them or available. The reception is manned (or womanned) by an extremely proffessional and helpful staff. Anything we needed was provided, from flip charts and pens to internet connection. The staff really knew their job and were very obviously happy to help in any way they could. I had spoken to them prior to arranging the workshops I was running and they managed to meet all the requests I made with no difficulty. (No small task when running a centre as large as this.) ~~~*~~~ The Accommodation. There are more than fifty newly refurbished en-suite bedrooms. They are comfortable with a decent amount of storage space so you can unpack comfortably and don't have to keep tripping over your suitcase. The bathrooms are a decent size with good showers. Sometimes large old houses have problems with water pressure and temperature but I had no problem and I was on the top floor. The single beds were comfortable and fitted with duvets. Spare pillows were available. My room had a desk and chair which was very useful. Tea and coffee making equipment was provided too. They are not large rooms but they are all you need for a few days. They cost 50 Euros per night with breakfast. ~~~*~~~ Food. Breakfast was a toast and cereal affair with fruit juice, teas or coffee. The toaster was one of those that you put your bread in and it rolled over elements and popped out the bottom. To say it was a bit temperamental was an understatement! It took about three goes to get the bread to change colour at all. It was fixed by the third day I was there. (A bit of a shame really because it started the day quite humorously whilst the guests dicussed the best way to use it.) Breakfast and dinner were taken in the refectory. A large glass room situated off the main corridor in the building next to us. It was a fairly long trek to breakfast, you had to set out before you were hungry! The refectory was set out with large wooden tables and was very pleasant and airy. There was a high standard of cleanliness. You were expected to serve yourself and clear the table afterwards. There were staff available at all times. Lunch and dinner had to be pre-ordered and consisted of soup and sandwiches sort of thing for lunch and a hot meal for dinner. There was not a huge choice, most of our group went out to eat. The food was well cooked and tasty when we did eat in. Because of the international nature of the college, there was always someone interesting to talk to at meal times if you wanted to. (And sometimes even if you didn't want to!) ~~~*~~~ General. All Hallows was originally a monastery, mission and school. It is a very large collection of large old buildings housing student accomodation, a church, classrooms, refectories, coffee rooms, long long corridors. All of it looks well tended, I don't know how such a large place can manage to look so well kept but it does. It was obviously originally a religious house and to a large extent still is. Many churches, missions and outreach workers use the extensive facilities and accommodation. However, it is well adapted to secular use too, the religious origins of the centre are not overwhelming they are just there. ~~~*~~~ All Hallows is a well run, conveniently situated, comfortable place to run or attend a conference. I would recommend it to anyone who needs a facility like this.

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