Fáilte Ireland: Land of a thousand welcomes once again

Tom Breathnach hails the beginning of Ireland’s 2020 staycation season.
Fáilte Ireland: Land of a thousand welcomes once again
Thinking of splashing out on that luxury hotel break you've always been wishing to try? For inspiration, check out Muckross in Killarney.

Tom Breathnach hails the beginning of Ireland’s 2020 staycation season.

It was a blissfully manic Monday. As June 29 finally rolled around, Ireland’s much-awaited tourism scene began with gusto as hotels, B&Bs, campsites and holiday parks began welcoming guests across the island.

Three months of lockdown has whetted our appetites to road-trip, explore and travel like never before.

And we’re all going on summer holiday. Or are we?

As Ireland gears up for a bumper staycation season, the indicators would suggest that yes, in fact, we are.

All signs point to Kerry for a fantastic staycation to suit everyone.
All signs point to Kerry for a fantastic staycation to suit everyone.

According to Fáilte Ireland, their recent consumer sentiment research shows intentions to take a short break in Ireland have picked up nicely in recent weeks with 57% of Irish consumers now planning a staycation in the next six months.

That’s about two million of us. After initial jitters to bank on a trip, 40% of those bookings came in the first half of June alone as consumer confidence was buoyed be the ease of lockdown measures.

And those numbers are rising by the hour. The advice? Booking early to avoid disappointment seems sounder advice than ever.

So we’re off - and we’re off for longer.

Along with the larger numbers of Irish planning on holidaying at home, there’s a noticeable drift in the duration of the Irish staycation too, with short breaks tipped to increase from a two or three-night stay to four.

In a trend which may also be reflecting in international holidays in the near future, it looks like if we’re going away - we want to enjoy it for a longer haul.

Well if it's good enough for Kim and Kanye... Castlemartyr Resort in Cork.
Well if it's good enough for Kim and Kanye... Castlemartyr Resort in Cork.

And it’s encouraging to see us investing in Ireland.

While the desire to travel in Ireland is growing according to Fáilte Ireland, so too are the key concerns for Irish consumers which unsurprisingly circle around financial security and visible safety measures.

And that’s being reflected by hospitality businesses all across the country, who are not only reviewing more customer friendly booking and cancellation policies, but also introducing myriad safety measures across their premises.

Guest (and team) safety is a priority and with those guidelines firmly in place and being monitored, it’s also important that they don’t overshadow the very product the hotel or campground itself stands for.

Our staycations this year are more likely to be marked by the similarities this year - than their differences.

As for the kind of staycation we’re after, relaxation, escape and a desire to reconnect with friends and family are the trending wishes we have when getting away.

Skellig Michael is home to thousands of Atlantic puffins, at least for part of the year. Picture:Valerie O’Sullivan
Skellig Michael is home to thousands of Atlantic puffins, at least for part of the year. Picture:Valerie O’Sullivan

Other trends according to Fáilte Ireland include the expected bounce in outdoors escape, nature as an important reconnection activity as well as healthy demand for historical and cultural activities as people seek variety - and that long-awaited opportunity to try something new.

Whatever the destination this summer, be it a Wild Atlantic Way road-trip or a city break to Kilkenny, one thing is clear.

We’re like to appreciate this getaway more than ever. And we’ll take the good with the bad.

Queuing in line for twenty minutes for a ’99 or setting up a tent in a drizzle-soaked campsite will now join the golden memories of finding a Caribbean-blue swimming cove in Connemara to relishing the most delicious seafood lunch on Beara.

It’s time to explore what our island has to offer - and to celebrate our great staycation nation.

5 Summer Trends

Bucket List Getaways

We’ve all been waiting so long to travel, you can expect us to make the most this summer staycation.

Expect bucket-list items to feature strongly on the agenda from whale-watching excursions, to escaping to the Aran Islands (once they re-open!) to splashing out on that luxury hotel break you’ve always been wishing to try.

For inspo, Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney offer summer stays from €209 B&B.

muckrosspark.com

Gear-up for Camping

The view from inside a glamping tent in Killarney, Co Kerry
The view from inside a glamping tent in Killarney, Co Kerry

We may have been largely curtailed to 2kms during the pandemic, but that’s reconnected us with nature and the great outdoors all the more.

Camping, as a result, will make a popular (and often more affordable) getaway option for the staycation set this summer.

So too will glamping, as people ease into the sector with the bonus of a little more luxury.

Ardmore Glamping in West Waterford offer four berth pods overlooking the Celtic Sea from €140 per night.

ardmoreglampingpods.ie

Wellness Wonders

Who could do with some pampering? While hotels spa are finally opening up across the country, clients may also seek their wellness breaks this summer via slightly more contactless treatments.

While the Finns have their saunas, as an indigenous and natural Irish beauty treatment, seaweed baths are becoming a growing hit in Ireland.

Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths operate a mobile tub service in scenic spots across the country from €35 per hour.

wildatlanticseaweedbaths.com

Self-catering Trends

Faithlegg Estate in Waterford offer luxury mews accommodation
Faithlegg Estate in Waterford offer luxury mews accommodation

While hotels and B&Bs across the country are pulling out the stops to offer a save haven for consumers, many will still be drawn to the idea of a self-catering break.

There are of course hotels who offer both: the gorgeous Faithlegg Estate in Waterford offer luxury mews accommodation from €1015 per week (sleeping four).

faithlegg.com

Shannon Cruising

Tom Breathnach cruising along the River Shannon with his dog.
Tom Breathnach cruising along the River Shannon with his dog.

Okay, so you may not be going on the Princess of the Sea this summer.

But maybe look towards Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

Shannon cruising is a novice-friendly, boating break which will appeal to water lovers in search of something high on luxury and strong on social distancing.

Check out Irish outfitters Emerald Star who are offering breaks from €170 per night based on a Town Star vessel which sleeps three (though pretty much built for couples).

emeraldstar.ie

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up