Escape Boats

The Ultimate Escape Room

Escape Boat’s is Dublin’s most unique and exciting Escape room, It’s an escape room on a boat! or a barge to be more specific. Located in Ringsend close to the Google Headquarters this is an excellent way to spend your time with a small group of Friends. Great for Couples too. Fancy something different than your normal Tourist attractions this is sure to live up to the hype. They can cater for 2- 10 people in individual games and up to a max 16 ppl. There are two different Escape rooms located on the calm waters of the Canal, so no need to worry if Boats are not your thing. It’s exciting, fun and tests any budding escapee. We at Dublin 360 cannot recommend it highly enough.

Anybody from the age of 12 can play although any children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. If you have younger children and you want to bring them to play you may do so, but please let them know in advance by email. Please be aware that children under 18 may find the game confusing and some sections of the game may be distressing for more sensitive younger players.

Please note that the games may not be suitable for large groups of under 18’s. If you have a group request for under 18’s please make this clear when booking and they can advise you about the game.

They can accommodate up to 16 players at a time. Teams are split into groups and play their two games (Convicts & SOS) at the same time – up to 10 players in Convicts and up to 6 players in SOS. Games last one hour but if you have more than 16 players, they can schedule consecutive games so teams are timetabled over the course of 2 or 3 hours. They also partner with a local bar/restaurant and can arrange finger food and entertainment in between games.

For more info Get in Touch with Escape Boats

How to Get there!

Address:

Waterways Ireland,
Grand Canal Dock,
Grand Canal Quay,
Dublin 2, D02ET38

Walking distances:

Grand Canal Theatre: 1 minute
Convention centre, 3 Arena, Merrion Square: 10 minutes
Trinity College, Busaras, Grafton Street, St. Stephens Green, O’Connell Street: 20 minutes

Train:

Closest DART station is at Grand Canal Dock. They are an 8 minute walk from the station.
Luas: Spencer Dock is the closest stop. We are a 10 minute walk from there.
Dublin Bikes station: Station 59 is across the road from us on Grand Canal Quay
Buses: Routes 1,15a,15b,47,56a,77a all stop beside Grand Canal Dock

Want to know more! We sat down with Ronan the Co-Founder of Escape Boats to see how it all started!

Interview with Ronan Brady Co-Founder of Escape Boats

Dermot Murphy
we all know that there’s escape rooms in the world. First of all, where did you decide to go with this concept and where did you first see your first escape room? Like a general escape room? And how did you come up with the idea of doing it on a boat? More importantly why did you pick a boat?

Ronan Brady
Okay, so we saw the first escape room in 2016. I was in Budapest with some friends for a weekend, and we woke up one morning, and it was like, we have to do something instead of drinking and before we go out for the evening in bars etc, really so and I came across these escape rooms in Budapest, as it turns out, it’s the capital of escape rooms at the time in Europe. So I thought it looks good. So I booked one. We went and I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. I had never heard of it and we I left the room I got a real buzz from that and I left the room and a kind of a light bulb went on in my head, I was like, these don’t exist in Ireland really. I went back to the person that I had already done a few projects with who is a top class engineer/inventor. He was between a yes and no so we had to go try this and check out Dublin’s ,Dublin had three escape rooms as it turned out, we felt we could offer a better concept!
Anyway compared to what I’ve done in Budapest, which is were they were a bit more advanced and further on, so we we had a look at them. So was around we went to check those the escape rooms around Europe and then put our heads down to designing one. As regards the boat it is because we already had a nautical background or just to say that But we’ve worked on a couple of products that hadn’t come to fruition and kind of both hotels and hostels Sam’s heavily involved in a lot of boat businesses around Dublin like the Cill Airne Barge Restaurant so a boat made sense.

Dermot Murphy
The Cill Airne, you’ve worked on loads of boat projects, what a way to learn and Oh, yes, the boat on the canal has a restaurant in it. Yeah it’s excellent.

Ronan Brady
Yeah. The restaurant Bar Yeah, At the time, it was kind of fortuitous, because there was a commercial barge slot that just came available in Grand Canal Dock. There were only one or one or two spaces left. They were going to limited and the ventures that you can put there, you couldn’t put bars or anything like that. So people were kind of slow to put businesses on the canal so we went for the idea of a boat and did the refit in Holland shipped it over arriving over in Dublin we docked and got to work with making our escape rooms.

Dermot Murphy
What was their reaction to Your idea of doing an escape room on a boat when you are applying for that permit. Did they kind of look at you with two heads? Or did they kind of go? That’s amazing. That’s a brilliant idea, or how was it different? When you applied for the commercial licence for the business? Oh, yeah. On the boat, were they supportive or not?

Ronan Brady
They were intrigued.

Dermot Murphy
Have you got a yearly licence?

Ronan Brady
Well, they say, yes, it is a yearly licence.

Dermot Murphy
The actual boat/Barge itself, [Zorg Ella]. Yeah, why did you get it from Holland and how did you get it here?

Ronan Brady
We viewed a number of boats and we were a bit unfortunate as waterways Ireland were quite restrictive on the size that we could bring in. We found Holland basically is the main shopping space for these kind of boats, barges and ships. So we found one that was rejected because it was too big and then we found this one in southern Holland. It’s a few hours away from Amsterdam. Everwhere in Holland is a few hours from Amsterdam. The guy there said the ship has been in his family since day one, it’s over 100 years old and he was using it as a potato Barge He just had a laying there. There was half used for bunk beds down where they used to carry potatoes. So with a bit of imagination you can imagine. It was kind of a blank canvas once you take everything else out. We gauged what work would needed to be done it was very reasonably priced. So we sailed it from, there across the Isla Mir up to Amsterdam in the middle of the night and we moored just in Zamdam for a while. We got a lot of gear with us and we found some amazing ships chandleries and stuff like that to buy old equipment from ships. Okay. We wanted to fit it out as best we could with genuine ships equipment, and then repurposed so that you get the feel that you’re actually on a real barge/Boat for immersive play

Dermot Murphy
You couldn’t sail that from there to Ireland? You have to get it on another ship and sail on top of the ship. Or what way does it work?

Ronan Brady
Well, we did look at getting a Captain. There is guys who would sail all these boats back, whatever you wanted, it’s a bit of a risk because now you can’t get insurance for these kind of origins. You can’t predict the weather also. So yeah the way they do it is like, hop up the east coast of England they do port hopping. So when the weather’s calm about they would go from port to port, but you might not see your boat for months. A long few months. Yeah once you do that, it might also sink, we managed to get it on that the back of a truck and they drove it through England.

Dermot Murphy
I saw there was a video of it taken off the off the truck when it was launched in Dublin Harbour

Ronan Brady
It was, it was great publicity for us at the time.

Dermot Murphy
Yeah, it was so unique, basically.

Dermot Murphy
I know that you have two escape rooms on the boat. Now without giving too much away. Could you give us a little insight into what’s different about each room or like, I know it’s, it’s secretive. You know, you can’t give too much away, but even the names of the rooms and what’s the theme of each room? How many people can go into each room?

Ronan Brady
Yeah. So our first game is ” SOS” takes up to six players, and I started that game.

Ronan Brady
It’s a kind of a team based thing. So everyone has to work together to get through to the end. That’s a sinking ship. You’re on board a stricken vessel. You have to work your way through the ship and try and get out safely before the ship sinks. That’s the simple idea of it

Ronan Brady
Convicts is the Second Room

That’s kind of a team based one. So we separate groups into teams of up to five on each team. The Theme of convicts is that you are on a convict ship, and it’s about to depart in an hour for the colonies. So you have 60 minutes to try and get out of the prison cells you’re in and escape the ship for the captain comes back!

Dermot Murphy
That’s pretty cool. That’s a great idea.

Ronan Brady
Yeah it’s a different style of game because you start off in a jail cell, you can see or the other team and you have to get out. It’s up to each team to get out before the other one. They are alongside each other. You can’t see the other team you can kind of hear them, but you whoever get’s out first is the winner. Those that escape, escape the fate of being sent to the colonies, so they win. It’s a competitive game.

Dermot Murphy
Yeah, that seems more competitive, right? Yeah so basically, it’s a good team building games. But would you say, particularly now, with all the COVID and office spaces been closed and people are only doing this and they’re not getting to see each other? Do you think it’ll be quite a good exercise for people to do once they can come groups together to kind of form better work team building ?

Ronan Brady
Yeah, in my opinion, there’s no better team building exercise you can do. You are faced with a number of challenges in there. It’s designed for that sort of dynamic and you are able to play to people’s strengths and weaknesses, and is the only way that you can, the only teams that can finish it successfully will work together. So, okay, as a team building tool, and as a, I suppose, as a manager, yourself, you will be recognised when you’re playing or even watching a team play. You can see how people play in these stressful situations. Even though game people are very immersed the elements that are in our game, are very lifelike.

Dermot Murphy
that’s interesting. So it’s a psychological lesson, basically, for everyone as well, if it proves that people want to be the best at what they want to do sometimes I’d say.

Ronan Brady
yeah, yeah. I know that. I talked somebody recently saying he works for a big multinational, but he wanted to try to use it as a job interview. He wasn’t allowed to, but maybe in the future maybe he wanted to do it as part of his job interview process.

Dermot Murphy
Yeah, that is interesting. Put six people in a room together don’t know each other and see how they interact.Now we get into this one bit, Ronan. Okay COVID-19. This came along, and pretty much ruined all of hospitality and Ireland & tourism. So how has it impacted you, obviously and what do you think? What’s your plans for the future?

Ronan Brady
Yeah. It came right to the point where we are business that firmly established itself. We had a full time manager with a lot of staff and our games were going very well. Our reputation was very good. So everything’s going well and we were looking at building new games and expanding. We were in the process of doing that, and then covid hit. So all those plans are put in the back burner.

Dermot

What were your other plans?

Ronan Brady
Well, we had a lightship/lighthouse projects which we sourced in Wales. There was an old lighthouse and we had a concept for a game that was kind of like the crystal maze and would have been a great iconic thing for Dublin. That’s firmly been put on hold and we are working on another smaller one, which was a tank we were planning in bringing over an ex British military tank.

Dermot Murphy
This must have been a big tank?

Ronan Brady
Well I suppose at the time It was an armoured personnel carrier carrier. It looks exactly like it is the tank holds up to 12 people. so it is big enough to stage an escape room.

Dermot Murphy
Wow. Okay. Wow, that’s interesting. And these yes is mobile. So you could drive it around also?

Ronan Brady
There’s a contentious issues. I don’t know if we would have been able to move it around during the game. We were looking for a location to drive. Yes that was part of the plan

Ronan Brady
We were looking for a place to put it. We had a number of venues, by the way, we’re in talks of various people, but them. Yeah, that obviously proceeding with that at the moment is tricky.

Dermot Murphy
I presume the players at the moment they have to all wear masks while they’re down there or as if they’re in a group that the company Yeah.

Ronan Brady
Yeah, because we reopened June 29. And we put in all the PP s doesn’t matter. masks and gloves are worn

Dermot Murphy
Ok Excellent.

Ronan Brady
Yeah, well, there’s a lot of touch points in the game.

We’ve sanitising stations that every every exits and entrance and right, following all the protocols the government put in and business has probably reached to those 20 past

40 to 50% of what it was unfortunately.

Dermot Murphy
Thanks for your time Ronan and best of luck in the future!

Ronan:

You are welcome!

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