I remember being in the ballroom of the Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa last week, ready to deliver my opening speech for Connections Luxury in Ireland. I stood there, clasping my microphone – slightly nervous as usual! – and I thought “Oh wow, there are so many people!”

And there were! I looked out and saw more than 100 faces smiling back at me. Plenty of them familiar – the faces of friends, some of whom have been staunch supporters of the Connections Way from the very beginning. And suddenly, my nerves just went out the window, and I felt right at home.

So many new delegates joined us, bringing fresh, exciting opportunities and personalities to the Connections family. But it also meant to much to me to see so many returning delegates – the most we’ve had so far – and watch you all re-connect and further cement your relationships.

And what an immaculate setting for our first European event of 2017! The majestic Powerscourt Hotel and Spa, an Autograph Collection hotel, its sweeping crescent overlooking acres of vivid green lawns, forest and gardens.

The team at the Powerscourt Hotel were professional, extremely hardworking and above all, wonderful people! John, Jens, Jaclyn and Daniel, thank you for everything, and for getting behind the Connections Way of doing business, we couldn’t have asked for a better property to showcase Ireland’s luxurious side.

And also to the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens – thank you for having us. To be able to have meetings within that historic house, to stroll around the gardens and the lake, to take part in falconry – those beautiful birds! – and even take a tour hosted by Sarah Slazenger herself (from the famous Slazenger family who own this spectacular estate) – it was all such an honour.

The experiences at Connections Luxury in Ireland were just something else. I don’t think we’ve ever packed quite so many in to one event! One minute I was frantically trying to swing my legs in the right direction during the Irish dancing lesson, the next I was pulling pints of Guinness, or trying my hand at hurling!

And on the second day, the afternoon in the idyllic village of Dalkey was a real highlight for me. It was such a peaceful place, and it just looked gorgeous in the sunshine. The oyster-tasting, the castle tour and the archery – each experience hosted by charming, friendly and funny experts, I was just smiling the whole time.

I have two rather special ladies to thank for these experiences throughout Connections Luxury in Ireland. Amanda from Failte Ireland and Siobhan from Adams & Butler – you are both incredible.

Siobhan, your creativity, professionalism and work ethic is exceptional, it has been a privilege to work with you and to have Adams & Butler as our official DMC for the event.

And Amanda, you and the Failte Ireland team were a dream partner – thank you for working so hard and bringing so much authenticity and enjoyment to Connections Luxury in Ireland!

I’ve also never seen a room of luxury travel buyers and suppliers as silent as during the performance from Anúna during our special dinner sponsored by the Autograph Collection.

There was something otherworldly about this choir, as they wandered around our tables holding candles and producing the most incredible sound. It was angelic, and incredibly moving. A massive thank you to David Evans and Cynthia Perry from the Autograph Collection for allowing us all to experience that special moment.

And finally, our closing dinner at the Trinity College Dublin, sponsored by Failte Ireland. There’s something strangely spiritual about Trinity College Library – being surrounded by all those books, the whole place just seems to glow with knowledge. What a wonderful place for a drinks reception, followed by an excellent dinner to let our hair down after two intense days of relationship-building! Amanda, once again, thank you for making this happen!

And it was here that we premiered the video from the event captured by our incredible sponsor Travizeo. These guys never cease to amaze me – just look at what they managed to pull together over two days. I hope it serves as a fond memento for all of you who attended – I know I’ve already watched it dozens of times!

So, where next, I hear you ask? Well, Connections will be heading to Quito, Ecuador in July for our Connections Meetings series.

After that, we’ll be taking Connections Luxury to Argentina in October, then heading back to Europe for Connections Wellness in Portugal the same month. Finally, we’ll be hosting Connections Meetings in Italy – back in my homeland again! – in November.

If you’d like to find out more about any of our events taking place this year, give me a call at +44 (0)7852 557661 any time. Until then, best of luck with all your endeavours, and I look forward to seeing you soon!