I Went On A 4-Hour Mystery Train Ride Across Ireland With Billionaires, Actors And CEOs -- Here's What Went Down

Mystery train f.ounders dublin 2014Alyson Shontell/Business InsiderCirca founder Matt Galligan, Entourage actor Adrien Grenier and famous Irish singer Mundy kept the entire train entertained. Here they’re singing ‘Baby One More Time.’

Before I left for a week-long work trip to Ireland, I had an awkward conversation with my husband. It went something like this:

“I’ll be staying at a hotel in Dublin called Buswell’s for 4 of the 5 nights. On Friday night, I’m getting kidnapped. I’m being taken on some ‘mystery train’ trip overnight, and I have no idea where we’re staying. So if I die that day, I don’t know what to tell you.”

The “mystery train” was organised by Paddy Cosgrave, a prominent tech figure in Dublin who organizes a 20,000 person conference, Web Summit, and a smaller invite-only event called F.ounders. F.ounders rounds up a few members of the press, leaders of valuable startups, top venture capitalists, and celebrities. Attendees this year included model Lily Cole, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, and actor Adrien Grenier. F.ounders organizes trips, dinners and networking events that result in rapid bonding, limited cell phone use, and lasting business relationships.

The week before F.ounders, all 250 attendees received an email. A portion of the email read: “For the first time we are all leaving Dublin on a mystery train the morning of the 7th! We have taken care of all of the logistics, all you need to remember is to bring a small overnight bag.”

On Saturday morning, we were told to be ready by 10 AM, where we’d then be transported to a mysterious location in Ireland. I checked out of my hotel with a toothbrush, deodorant and a change of clothes, and told the concierge I’d hopefully be back in 24 hours.

A bunch of buses picked up 150 or so F.ounders attendees from a set location in Dublin at 11 AM.

The buses dropped us off at a train station. There weren't many other commuters, just a bunch of transplanted tech people who stood around wondering where we were off to.

F.ounders had small bags of muffins and orange juice ready for us as we boarded the mystery train.

Inside, the train had an older feel, but there was lots of space to move around. A number of F.ounders attendees commented that they felt they were on Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express.

You could hop around from car to car.

One of the cars had board games on it, where you could play Checkers and Battleship.

It became very clear that we wouldn't be starving on the train. Yogurt with granola and berries were waiting on every 4-person table.

So was the local newspaper, which raved about Web Summit on its cover.

F.ounders had a full day's worth of meals planned for the long ride. There would be breakfast, starting with a fruit plate.

There would also be a multi-item lunch and many desserts delivered to our tables along the way.

Eggs Benedict was one of the courses.

Along with a plate of seafood.

All of the food was prepared on board, in one car that largely served as the kitchen.

Here are all the chefs hard at work.

A few cars down, there was a robust coffee machine with a man who could make you anything you asked for, from a cappuccino to an americano.

I helped myself to three small cups.

Others headed straight to the bar for beer and shots.

I later caved and joined them.

The train took us through Ireland's countryside, and we quickly realised where we were headed: A southern city called Cork.

4 hours is a long time to spend on a train, and the bar quickly became the hot entertainment spot. Circa founder Matt Galligan grabbed his guitar and began leading the group in a series of songs.

Actor Adrien Grenier played harmonica and Irish singer Mundy jammed to a bunch of famous hits.

At one point they broke out into Britney Spears' 'Baby One More Time,' which is being sung here.

After the songfest, lunch was served. Everyone was handed soup and beef stew.

The final course was a custard dessert.

We arrived in Cork at the Jameson factory, where we sampled a lot of whiskey including Middleton and Powers.

And it was all organised by this man right here, Paddy Cosgrave. Thanks Paddy!

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