19 May 2021; Aer Lingus College games launch at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Northwestern University (Wildcats) will take on the University of Nebraska (Cornhuskers) in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 27 August 2022. The Aer Lingus College Football five-game series was due to start in 2020 but was disrupted due to the pandemic so this announcement is a significant milestone in getting the series back on track.

This is the first time that either team has ever travelled to play in Ireland and so, were thrilled to accept the invitation to take to the field and open the 2022 College Football Season at the world-famous Aviva Stadium. Nebraska was set to travel to Dublin later this summer for their game against Illinois, however, it was postponed because of Covid-19.

As Nebraska is one of the most successful American College Football teams in history, and with such strong Irish ties to the city of Chicago where the Wildcats are based, the game is sure to be a huge draw to sports fans here in Ireland as well as across the US and Europe. It is expected that it will also generate a massive €63million for the Irish Economy next year, providing a much-needed boost for the country’s Tourism and Hospitality sectors.


The wholly anticipated fixture is scheduled for week zero, and as both teams are a part of the famed Big Ten Conference, over 18,000 US fans and 5,000 European fans are expected to travel for the game that will be a major international, post-covid event for Ireland.

The Aer Lingus College Football Series will be bringing the usual college football fanfare with it, so attendees can expect lots of fun events including marching bands, cheerleaders, and tailgating parties. For exclusive information see www.collegefootballireland.comand follow College Football Ireland on Twitter @CFBIreland, Facebook @CollegeFootballIreland, and Instagram @CFBIreland with the official game hashtag: #MuchMoreThanAGame


St. Mel’s Independent Brewing Co. unveils collaborative ‘bread-to-beer’ pilot project that aims to reduce food waste with a tasty solution 

26th November 2020: The countdown to Christmas is on, and one local Longford brewery, St. Mel’s Independent Brewing Co., is ready to raise a toast with Irish beer enthusiasts this Christmas with their latest offering made from bread. Yes, that’s right – bread!

St. Mel’s have gone against the grain and pushed the boundaries of beer production with an innovative EPA funded pilot project with a neighbouring local business in Longford, Panelto Foods. St. Mel’s has been using Panelto Foods’ surplus bread to make beer and help reduce food waste at the same time. The result? A new beer with the same great taste that beer lovers are sure to enjoy, with sustainability at its core. The first commercial batch of the ‘bread-to-beer’ project has just been released and is set to be on sale to customers in St. Mel’s before Christmas.

Based in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, St. Mel’s is a brewery with a passion for sustainability. Having successfully launched the brewery in 2014, with a combination of over 25 years of experience, Co-founders and Brewers Eoin Tynan and Liam Hanlon are proud to put their home county on the map as local producers of high-quality, all-natural beers that are chemical and additive free.

Speaking about why St. Mel’s is one of the leading independent breweries in Ireland, Co-founder Eoin Tynan, said; “Over 80% of the grain we use is Irish grown and malted; we pride ourselves on only using other local companies where possible and we only use imported ingredients when they are not available or produced in Ireland. We offer our customers something different and versatile with a local perspective that not only tantalises the tastebuds but offers a comprehensive range of ales, beers and lagers to suit every palate, whether you’re an experienced connoisseur in search of something new or a relatively new beer lover looking for a taste of home this Christmas.”

Diving deeper into the new innovative techniques used by the brewery, Co-founder and Head Brewer Liam Hanlon, said; “The ‘bread-to-beer’ project is a testament to our forward-thinking and sustainable values as a business. The key challenge for us in this project was to use waste bread that is already available from Panelto Foods to make beer but without affecting its flavour profile. Taste is so important to us here in St. Mel’s, so it’s imperative we take our time to get this 100% right. As a business, this project will help us reduce our carbon emissions, support our sustainable manufacturing and should allow us to make cost-base improvements as the waste mash we produce as a by-product from the brewing process can then be returned to the bakery and added to its bread, improving the nutritional profile without altering the taste. A win-win for all.”

2020 has been a busy year for St. Mel’s who have flipped the Covid challenge on its head and innovated its business to become one of the first licensed brewery shops in Ireland, as well as developing its website to sell online in recent weeks in time for the Christmas rush. Earlier this year, St. Mel’s secured a producer’s retail licence, awarding the brewery the unique opportunity to sell online to Irish consumers nationwide and to 25 countries overseas including Finland, Netherlands, Germany and the UK and France.

St. Mel’s offers over 10 beverage options to choose from including its top-selling brews:

  • ‘Ah Sure Look It….’ – A lightly toasted aroma is followed by a rich, malty flavour. Complimented by a subtle hop bitterness, the honey notes on the finish make this lager a perfect match for meaty pork sausages and nutty cheeses.
  • ‘Go On So!’ – A thirst quenching light lager, made using the highest quality Irish ingredients and matured in tank for six weeks delivers a clean, crisp, refreshing taste. It pairs extremely well with spiced dishes, steaks, and barbecued meats.
  • ‘I Will, Yeah!’ – Full bodied and fruity, I Will, Yeah! is double dry hopped for extra flavour. Hops include Citra, Cashmere and Mandarina Bavaria. The juicy pale ale goes well with rich and intense Indian or Thai cuisines, as well as spicy chicken wings.
  • ‘My Twist’ – This DDH hazy IPA has a light and fluffy head to provide the perfect platform to showcase the generous dry hopping, including Amarillo, Huell Melon and El Dorado varieties. Great for washing down hot sauce wings, tacos, and cheesy chips!

Each can is characterised by its own individual quirky name to capture the humorous local nature of the brewery. For Christmas, St. Mel’s has also introduced special mixed cases of select cans and bottles along with mini-kegs that can be bought directly from the brewery every day between 10am – 6pm and also online.

This Christmas, you can support local with St. Mel’s special Christmas “Miracle” box a 25-bottle mixed case of beer including the limited edition ‘Bread’ beer for €75 (includes free delivery across Ireland), a tailored subscription package or an individual mini keg starting at €29.95. The brewery is open Monday – Thursday 10am to 6pm and on Friday’s until 6.30pm to shop in person. Customers can also purchase online at www.stmelsbrewing.com or shop the collection in O’Brien’s stores nationwide.

Two of Dublin’s top restaurants have won major accolades at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2020. The win has given the two Irish owned sister restaurants a much-needed morale boost during what is a difficult time for the hospitality sector.

SOLE Seafood & Grill has been recognised as “Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant” in Northern Europe for the second year running at the prestigious awards, and its sister restaurant FIRE Steakhouse & Bar brings home the gong of “Global Luxury Steakhouse of the Year 2020”. In February, FIRE invested €1.1 million euro on a fresh interior design fit- out and the rejuvenation of its menus and service experience, revealing its new look as part of its 15th anniversary celebrations.

Culinary Director of both restaurants (FIRE Steakhouse & Bar and SOLE Seafood & Grill) chef Richie Wilson said of the win; “I am so very proud to be part of the team who have truly earned the recognition that these awards give us. Winning “Global Luxury Steakhouse” with FIRE is just incredible. This could only have come from the passionate driving force that is our team, following the enhancements we have made to both the dining room and our menus. Sometimes it’s harder to retain an award than win it, so for SOLE to have received the award for ‘Luxury Seafood Restaurant in Europe’ once again shows how aligned our teams are, consistently delivering a truly special dining experience in FIRE and SOLE”

Richie Wilson continues; “Both awards are a testament and recognition of our team’s enormous dedication to Irish provenance, in both our food and our welcome. This has brought us to the world stage, delivering the ultimate Steak and Seafood experience in the heart of Dublin. The awards are appreciated all the more in the current uncertain climate, giving us an incredible boost for 2020 and renewed energy for 2021. I just can’t wait for us to open our doors once again and share with all our guests the experience that has given us these amazing awards”.


SOLE Seafood & Grill on Dublin’s South William Street is thrilled to have picked up the gong for “Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant in Northern Europe” for the second year running. Having first opened in 2018, the management at SOLE are delighted that the standards of the restaurant are being recognised once again on an international level.
SOLE has managed to quickly become a firm favourite of seafood lovers in Dublin looking
for a luxury dining experience in an ambient, city centre setting. As well as having the freshest caught seafood, the restaurant also has a vast choice of wines and champagnes, as well as a recently revamped cocktail list.


Dublin’s most historic restaurant, originally built in 1864 as the dining room of the Lord Mayor, FIRE Steakhouse & Bar on Dawson Street is also celebrating a big win, having taken home the accolade for “Luxury Steakhouse – Global Winner” at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2020.

FIRE Steakhouse & Bar was also meant to be marking a major milestone this year as it marked 15 years since first opening in 2005, no mean feat in the cutthroat world of hospitality. This major win has given the management team the morale boost it needed as due to the pandemic, the 15th anniversary celebrations had to be put on hold.

At the start of 2020, FIRE Steakhouse underwent a refurbishment. Management spent over one million euro on a fresh fit-out, a sleek new look, plush interiors and the rejuvenation of menus and the outdoor terrace. FIRE Steakhouse was due to celebrate this new facelift with a grand unveiling, but with restrictions, plans were hampered.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu who currently lives in the adjoining Mansion House expressed her delight at FIRE’s recent win saying; “Congratulations to Richie Wilson and the team at Fire Restaurant on winning the award of ‘Best Global Steakhouse 2020’. Fire is located in the historic Supper Room of the Mansion House and I look forward
to toasting the team’s success in person soon.”

FIRE & SOLE Restaurant re-opening

The restaurants remain in the dark to whether restaurant service will be permitted when the current lockdown ends on December 1st. Indoor Restaurant dining in Dublin has been completely closed for 27 weeks, with trading restrictions in place for an additional 12 weeks of 2020.

The award-winning team behind FIRE and SOLE and the amazing Irish restaurant industry, fully acknowledge the challenge presented to government and society in managing and defeating Covid-19.
Restaurants have a proven track record in delivering a “controlled environment”.
The original Resilience and Recovery Plan for Living with Covid-19 launched on September 15th, 2020, allowed for In-door dining with additional restrictions in Level 3.

We call on the government to engage with Restaurant professionals to agree additional restrictions (restaurants have many workable and safe solutions) for opening Restaurant Indoor Dining from December 1st as a controlled and safe environment for living with Covid- 19.


Established in 2015, the World Luxury Restaurant Awards are considered the most prestigious in the luxury restaurant industry, offering international recognition to winners. This year, there were entries from 61 different countries worldwide and 365 restaurants in total entered. The restaurants are shortlisted on a voting basis with guests, travellers and industry players casting over 100,000 votes over a four-week period to select the winners.
This year the focus was on those that showed true determination during a year never experienced in the hospitality industry before.

World Luxury Awards Marketing Director Michael Hunter-Smith says; “We congratulate this year’s winners. It speaks volumes to your dedication and commitment to our industry in this challenging year. True luxury is not easily attained. It takes highly efficient and dedicated staff, who are willing to go the extra mile and stop at nothing to ensure that every guest feels cared for and no challenge goes unresolved. This is the definition of luxury; it is what makes the winners shine.”

The awards are considered highly prestigious within the international hospitality industry. ESCA restaurant in Cairo won “Global Luxury Restaurant of the Year 2020”.
This year’s award ceremony was due to take place in Bali but due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic was held virtually for 2020.

FIRE Steakhouse & Bar on Dawson Street is open for al fresco bookings for patrons to enjoy an award-winning dining experience with customer and staff safety paramount within a controlled friendly environment.

FIRE Steakhouse & Bar is celebrating its 15th birthday on Monday, September 28th. Over the past 15 years, FIRE has served in excess of 1 million diners including famous faces such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rory Mcllroy, Bono, President Bill Clinton and Rihanna, to name but a few. The celebrated steakhouse & bar is open and offering unique al fresco dining options on Dublin’s most enviable outdoor terrace overlooking Dawson Street. Following NPHET’s recommendation, the Government advised that all indoor dining was to cease in a bid to further curtail the spread of Covid-19 and to align with guidelines FIRE is making the most out of its fantastic outdoor space as well as launching a cosy outdoor snug.

The team at FIRE quickly adapted to these new restrictions, adding large scale umbrellas, garden heaters, and comfortable, spacious and safe table settings, to add to its already beautiful terrace area. Additionally, FIRE has put the finishing touches on a cosy new outdoor snug, perfect for private dining for groups up to six people. Complete with heaters, cover and freshly laundered, individually wrapped blankets, it is the perfect space to celebrate a special occasion during these remarkable times.

To celebrate its 15th birthday, FIRE has some unique offers for both cocktail and steak lovers to enjoy al fresco. The FIRE15 cocktail is a boldly sweet concoction with a touch of bitterness…containing DWD whiskey, Amaro Averna and dark caramel syrup, the cocktail is an embodiment of the maturity of FIRE and the bittersweet times we’re living in. Perfect as pre- or post-dinner cocktail, the bitter is a nod to the restrictions, while the sweet is the fact they are still open. Carnivores can enjoy a new menu addition, the 15oz 35day Dry Aged Hereford Prime Porterhouse Steak. Cooked over open flames and served alongside FIRE’s bone marrow, a choice of fries or baby Caesar salad. To celebrate its 15th Birthday this steak offering comes to a mouth-watering €55.15.

Customers can find out more information about the menu, reservations for outdoor spaces, safety practices and “welcome back protocols” at www.FIREsteakhouse.ie. For the latest updated follow @firesteakhouse on Instagram.

 Opening Times

Open late 7 nights a week:

Monday – Thursday from 4.30 pm

Friday – Sunday from 12.30 pm


Book Now

Or contact a member of the FIRE team:

T: +353 (0)1 6767 200

E: FIRE@mansionhouse.ie

The teams at FIRE and SOLE are thrilled to be nominated at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards. SOLE Seafood & Grill has been nominated for ‘Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant’, which they brought home from the awards in Russia last July. FIRE Steakhouse & Bar has been nominated for ‘Best Luxury Steakhouse’ for the first time ever.

World Luxury Restaurant Awards

Established in 2015, these awards acknowledge and celebrate the very best restaurants in the world. The awards recognise culinary excellence and memorable experiences in restaurants around the world. The SOLE team were honoured to have taken home this award last year and would love to bring an award home along with their sister restaurant, FIRE this year.

Restaurant Dublin

Both restaurants offer truly magnificent dining experiences in the heart of Dublin city center.

SOLE offers professional service and the freshest seafood carefully prepared by their team of experienced chefs. Enjoy the very best Irish seafood from Irish shores including West of Ireland oysters, Dingle Bay crab, Irish lobster and Dublin Bay prawns. Their menus change seasonally, so you are guaranteed the very best in-season produce at SOLE.

FIRE offers a dining experience in a historical setting. The restaurant itself was originally built in 1864 for the Lord Mayor of Dublin as their ‘Supper Room’. FIRE has recently undergone a €1.1 million stylish refurbishment, which showcases a completely new look for the restaurant. The FIRE Steakhouse & Bar menu has been revamped and now includes more steak cuts than ever before.

Vote now

Last year, SOLE took home this award and they would be thrilled to win it again! FIRE is celebrating their 15th birthday this month and this award word would be the perfect birthday present for them! Voting is officially open and would love it if all our friends of FIRE and SOLE could take two minutes to vote for us:

Vote SOLE Seafood & Grill for Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant

Vote FIRE Steakhouse & Bar for Best Luxury Steakhouse

Vote here.


The COVID-19 Safety Charter is an initiative endorsed by the Irish Government to reinforce confidence in domestic and overseas visitors in tourism businesses. This is designed to give comfort and reassurance to employees, employers and consumers that FIRE has opened safely. Fáilte Ireland issued guidelines for the Irish tourism and hospitality industry, which is designed to meet the government’s safety guidelines.

Receiving this Charter means that at FIRE Steakhouse & Bar and SOLE Seafood & Grill, every employee has completed appropriate COVID-19 hygiene and safety control training. We have also appointed a COVID-19 Lead Worker Representative, who completed the extensive Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Safety & Hygiene Control Training.

What does this COVID-19 Safety Charter mean for FIRE and SOLE?

  • Our team have a clear understanding of the COVID-19 infection.
  • FIRE and SOLE have awareness in our role and responsibility for helping prevent the spread of infection.
  • We have a clear understanding of the standard precautions surrounding COVID-19 infection control.
  • Our team have a clear knowledge of the correct hand washing techniques and practices.
  • FIRE and SOLE know how to apply all this knowledge to our place of work.

The FIRE and SOLE teams are delighted to have received this COVID-19 Safety Charter, after implementing their Welcome Back Protocols. They are committed to providing their guests with a safe and comfortable dining experience.

Find out more about Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Safety Charter here.

SOLE Seafood & Grill


E: Reservatios@SOLE.ie

T: +353 (0) 1 544 2300


FIRE Steakhouse & Bar

W: www.FIRErestaurant.ie

E: FIRE@mansionhouse.ie

T: +353 (0)1 676 7200

29 April 2020: The event organisers of the 2020 College Football Classic: Navy vs. Notre Dame are working closely with their Irish and American partners, including the Irish government, the US Naval Academy, the University of Notre Dame and the governing body of collegiate sport to monitor the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent Irish government announcement on ‘licences for gatherings over 5,000’ does not apply to this fixture as the game does not require a licence. However, the universities and the governing body of the collegiate sport in the United States are currently working towards options and solutions on how to manage the upcoming sporting season. Public health and safety advice will remain paramount, so during this crucial time event organisers of the College Football Classic Series have asked for support to allow the universities and the NCAA to finalise their recommendations with an expected announcement in mid-June. At that time, the event organisers will, in turn, be in a position to update on the specifics of the Navy vs. Notre Dame scheduled for 29 August 2020 at the Aviva Stadium.

The five-game series is estimated to bring an economic boost of €250 million to Ireland over the coming years and event organisers are confident they, together with their partners and stakeholders, can ensure the future of the series over the coming years.

With today’s technological advances, Conference-goers have very high expectations when it comes to attending an event. People are looking for an experience rather than just a monotone speaker and PowerPoint Presentation. They want a completely immerse experience, even when it’s a Virtual Event. They want access to exclusive material and insights that they cannot get anywhere else. Here are tips on how to host successful interactive events.


If you really want to make your conference stand out, it is worthwhile investing in a professional moderator who is experienced in giving insightful and engaging discussions to audiences. A moderator must be able to:

  • Collect the audience’s questions
  • Keep to time limits for discussions
  • Give their input
  • And much more!

For a virtual event, the moderator must still be able to be exciting and engaging, even if it means telling a few jokes to keep the audience engaged!


Live polls are a fun way to actively engage your audience, as people love to compare their opinions to those of others. Incorporating real-time polls into your conference is simple, thanks to Social Media. You can easily create a Facebook poll, Tweet a poll or Instagram story poll during an event. Live Polls are perfect for virtual conferences, as many video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, have this feature.


It is always a great idea to include time for a Q&A at a conference. Nothing is more boring to an audience that sitting and listening to a speaker for a couple of hours with no two-way interaction. Q&As make the event more exciting and enables the audience to give their own take on the discussion. It is an easy way to get your audience involved without causing any major disruption to your event. Even for virtual events, attendees are often asked to Tweet their questions or send their question via a video conferencing platform.


Offer your audience to attend a small meeting on a specific topic they are interested in. Smaller breakout sessions are great for a more personal experience. This gives the conference attendees to participate more actively. Many people feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with a smaller group of people than with a whole conference. For virtual events, breakout rooms are accessible on video conferencing platforms. It’s a great addition to virtual events as it will allow the audience to brainstorm and delve deeper into topics.


The dedicated team at the Round Room can help you host a truly immersive interactive conference with their state-of-the-art facilities.

They are now offering an audience-free, live-streaming event package, perfect for you to host your Virtual Event. Discover the benefits of hosting a Virtual Event at the Round Room.

To find out more, contact a member of our team today:

E: sales@mansionhouse.ie

T: +353 (0)1 6344 628


Interested in hosting a live streaming event? Keep reading to discover why live streaming events are so beneficial for your business right now.


Live streaming allows events to reach a wider audience from across the world. For example, if you are giving a conference in Dublin, someone from New York who is interested might not be able to afford to travel. A live stream event allows anyone to be able to attend no matter what their location is.


Live streaming events are a lot more measurable. Your company can learn what was most popular, how many people viewed your event, how many paid for tickets, where your attendees work and live along with much more information. This makes it easier to see your event’s impact and to build a strategy for your next one to bring in more attendees.


Breakout chatrooms are a great little addition to your event if you want some networking to be done. Social media is also a very powerful tool to create a community online for people to connect and share ideas.


Engagement is always an important point to consider when it comes to planning a virtual event. You can create a chatbox along with your live streaming event for your audience to ask questions that can be answered towards the end for a Q&A. You can also create polls during your event to help keep your audience engaged.


The Round Room at The Mansion House is now offering clients a brand new audience-free event package. The incredible live streaming service allows for Interactive Q&A to your Facebook or YouTube page.

This package enables you to live stream your event to anywhere in the world, without the need for large groups of people. This package is ideal for presentations, conferences and lectures. Find out how The Round Room can help you create your interactive, audience-free, live streaming events in Dublin now.

E: sales@mansionhouse.ie

T: +353 (0)1 6344 628


Off The Ball have today announced a three-year partnership with The Aer Lingus College Football Classic and Irish American Events. Together, Off The Ball, The Aer Lingus Football Classic and Irish American Events will work to grow interest in and develop American Football in Ireland.

The Aer Lingus College Football Classic, returning this August, is well regarded as a major highlight on the Irish sporting calendar and has renewed its fixtures for the next five years.

Following recent announcements of some mouth-watering contests between the elite of College Football coming to Dublin, Navy v Notre Dame (2020) and Illinois v Nebraska (2021), Off The Ball are delighted to announce a new permanent hub for Irish football fans – die-hards and newbies!

The hub will be the home for all things American Football, it will be hosted on Offtheball.com and will include exciting features such as;

  • ‘The Snap’ podcast covering NFL, NCAA and American Football domestically – hosted by Ger Gilroy, Cian Fahey and Ronan Mullen, featuring all the weird and wonderful events on both sides of the Atlantic as well as some sizzling hot takes!
  • Events – Super Bowl parties, community meetups and live podcast recordings
  • Cian Fahey’s Five Takeaways article every Monday morning
  •  Major competitions – opportunities to win match tickets for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, as well as other one-of-a-kind exclusive football prizes

American Football will feature across Off The Ball’s radio, online and social channels, providing our ever-increasing audience with in-depth, behind the scenes action and analysis every week.

Commenting on the three-year partnership, Sabrina Egerton, Marketing & Communications Manager, Irish American Events Ltd. said:

“American College football has had a presence in Ireland since 1988 with several visiting games to Dublin over the years, with the introduction of a 5-game series kicking off in 2020 this presence will further cement Dublin as the European Headquarters of College Football.   Through our partnership with Off The Ball we look forward to creating greater awareness around the sport, not only at a college and professional level but to also shine a light on the American football league in Ireland at grassroots. American College Football is so #MuchMoreThanAGame, we are excited to bring the fanfare to Dublin over the coming years with pep rallies, tailgating, rivalries, community and traditions…these games have something for everyone and we look forward to bring you on the journey with Off The Ball.”

Speaking about the partnership, Ger Gilroy, Managing Director of Off The Ball, said: “We’re delighted to partner with the Aer Lingus College Football Classic and Irish American Events. College games bring a brilliant atmosphere to Dublin city and entice thousands of Americans to travel around the country every year. It’s a brilliant idea and has come to fruition through the vision of a small but dedicated group. It’s a perfect partnership for us as the audience for American football grows year on year.”