Staycations are in high demand with July and August already booked out in many cases while self-catering is top of holidaymakers’ wish lists.
he Irish Independent contacted a number of hotels and self-catering premises across Ireland and found summer holidays appear to be in very good shape.
While many families are opting for self-catering ahead of hotels, others want to be close to nature and are choosing camping breaks. Carina Conyngham, the owner and managing director of Rock Farm in Slane, Co Meath – a glamping, activity centre and organic farm – said they are booked for dates across June, July, August and September.
“And even October is looking busy,” said Carina, who is also the Countess of Mountcharles.
“There’s a collective subconscious. People seem to know when things will start opening up. We haven’t had a huge amount of enquiries for May. I’ve just released two weekends in July.
“But we’re booked for a lot of dates from June until September. Everyone’s dying to get out and get a change of scenery.”
Two nights for a family of four glamping on a summer weekend is €438 and there are discounts for midweek stays and larger groups.
Claire Tindal, from Lough Mardal in Ballintra, Co Donegal, said June, July and August are booking fast.
“We envisage being more or less full by the time restrictions are lifted,” Claire said.
“More people than usual are booking longer stays of between five and seven nights.
“That means there are less windows of availability in between for those looking for shorter stays.” Nightly rates for the lakeside glamping, based on two adults sharing, is from €120 and it is €20 per night per child.
Fota Island resort general manager John O’Flynn said enquiries started on January 1.
“Once people realised they wouldn’t be able to have international travel, the phone started ringing,” he said.
“Initially people booked for Easter and now they know that’s unlikely to happen, they’re booking June right through to October.
“The trend is smaller breaks and moving round Ireland. The hotel is about 50pc full for the summer but 100 self-catering houses are booked up for a lot of summer.
“We still have self-catering dates available for May, June and September.
“We’re planning on providing as much entertainment and activities on site as possible.
“We’re in contact with musicians for the weekend and we have outdoor sporting activities and an adventure centre on site, and of course, Fota Wildlife Park next door.
“People want to get out and about for their holidays, they certainly don’t want to be restricted.
“The one thing we keep hearing is what will happen if people can’t travel. We tell them not to worry, we will give 100pc back if they can’t.”
Bed and breakfast at the Cork resort starts at €250 a night.
Mark Bowe, general manager of Castlerosse Park Resort in Killarney, Co Kerry, also reported “strong demand” for self-catering this summer.
“Self-catering for a week in July and August is sold out,” Mr Bowe said. “We’re hoping for a pick-up (for hotel stays) once the Government makes an announcement on restrictions.
“People are sick and tired of lockdown and want to plan their holidays.”
One week’s self catering for a family in June costs €1,070.
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, said: “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for staycations.
“People are waiting on the Government signal for when the tourism economy will reopen.
“The Government Stay and Spend scheme is due to expire on April 1 and we’ve been arguing for some time it should be extended for the rest of the year and designed to a consumer-friendly voucher.”