Monday 26 September 2016

Staycations on the rise as Ireland basks in glorious sunshine

Jane O'Faherty and Catherine Devine

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

Aisling Matthews (5), from Ballsbridge, Dublin, enjoys the water at Brittas, Co Wicklow Photo: Caroline Quinn
Aisling Matthews (5), from Ballsbridge, Dublin, enjoys the water at Brittas, Co Wicklow Photo: Caroline Quinn

As Ireland enjoys the last of the summer sunshine this week, staycationers flocked to the idyllic Irish seasides.

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With temperatures expected to reach up to 25 degrees, Ireland may as well be Spain or Italy apart from the GAA jerseys, 99 cones and farmer’s tans.

Tom and Melissa Slattery, from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, with children Kate (10), Clara (8) and Alice (3) on Ballymoney Strand in Wexford Photo: Caroline Quinn
Tom and Melissa Slattery, from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, with children Kate (10), Clara (8) and Alice (3) on Ballymoney Strand in Wexford Photo: Caroline Quinn

William Powell, from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was braving the waves with his son Jack (4).

“The water is cold, but we're getting used to it," he admitted, as Jack searched for a bucket and spade after the refreshing dip.

William, who is staying in the area for a week, added that holidays in the sunny south-east were becoming something of a tradition.

"We were down in Hook Head last year, and it was brilliant," he said. "We are trying to make the most of the better weather. You never know what the weather in Ireland will be like."

John and Catherine Hickey with their children Sarah (14), Ben (13) and Rachel (5) outside their mobile home in Ardinary Holiday Park, Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow Photo: Caroline Quinn
John and Catherine Hickey with their children Sarah (14), Ben (13) and Rachel (5) outside their mobile home in Ardinary Holiday Park, Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow Photo: Caroline Quinn

Meanwhile, fellow Tipp man Tom Slattery was coming up with post-beach ideas with his wife Melissa and daughters Kate (10), Clara (8) and Alice (3).

"We'll head to Kia Ora mini-farm after the beach this evening, and we went to Wells House the previous day," he said.

Further north in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, Lisa Nolan, from Maynooth, was soaking up the sun outside her mobile home in Ardinary Holiday Park.

"We're only a 40-minute drive away, and it's just fabulous to be beside the beach and the kids just have all their mates here," she said.

As the youngsters sped down a makeshift waterslide outside their homes, Lisa explained that holidays at home offered a stress-free break without having to face busy airports. "It [travelling abroad] is just so much hassle with the kids," she said.

Visits to the mobile homes aren't just for the summer either, with Lisa and her family arriving for breaks as soon as the park opens for business again.

"We have Christmas dinner at the end of September as well, and dress up our mobiles and have Christmas trees," she added.

Fellow resident Catherine Hickey lives in Dún Laoghaire, and has been staying in her mobile home in the summer months for over 20 years.

For Catherine, her husband John and children Ben (13), Sarah (14) and Rachel (5), the holidays are a break from iPads and the internet.

"The kids get out. They make up games and play hide and seek and tip the can - the games we used to play," Catherine said.

But the staycations aren't just for the locals either.

Laura Belyea, who moved to Ireland from Toronto with her family a few years ago, was so enamoured with Brittas that she chose to invest in a mobile home in Potter's Point Holiday Park.

"We stumbled upon this place a couple of years ago and we just thought: 'We have to buy one. This is amazing'," she said.

Laura, now based in Ballsbridge with her husband and two children, said she had seen a big increase in interest in mobile homes recently.

"We bought here four years ago and there were lots of mobiles for sale," she said.

"Maybe, because of the upswing in the economy this year, there are so many new mobiles that have come in."

Earlier this month, Fáilte Ireland revealed there was a 6pc increase in Irish residents choosing holidays in the Republic.

And local business are making hay while the sun shines. Dan Keating, deputy general manager of Seafield Hotel and Gold Club near Gorey, Co Wexford, said as many as 10,000 people came to the small seaside village of Ballymoney each summer.

"I would say 95pc of people who come here are Irish people, and it's probably all within maybe an hour or two hour's drive from here," he said.

The high temperatures and sunny conditions are set to continue into today, with some areas reaching 19C to 25C.

Irish Independent

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