Tourist chiefs at the Shannon Heritage group, which operates Bunratty Castle, are toasting the best tourism year for business since 2007.
The chief executive of Shannon Heritage, John Ruddle, revealed yesterday that the firm's tourist attractions, including St John's Castle in Limerick, enjoyed a 12pc rise in tourist numbers for the first ten months of 2014. Mr Ruddle was commenting on new accounts just filed by Shannon Heritage which show that pre-tax profits declined 66pc last year to €21,943. This was in spite of revenues rising 7pc to €11m.
The firm - now part of the Shannon plc group - employs over 300 people at peak season. "The 2013 'Gathering' was positive, but this year has been even better and has got the company on a solid growth curve," said Mr Ruddle. "The first ten months overall have been very positive with a total of 482,000 visitors." He attributed the rise in visitor numbers to the increase in capacity and new services at Shannon airport long with the the Wild Atlantic Way initiative.
Mr Ruddle is projecting visitor numbers increases in 2015 of 5 to 10pc.
Staff costs totalled €4.64m including Mr Ruddle's pay of €105,210.