Monday 18 December 2017

US visitors boost Dromoland Castle as profits surge

Dromoland Castle
Dromoland Castle

Gordon Deegan

The general manager of Dromoland Castle said yesterday that in his time in charge of the five-star hotel, the US market has never been as strong.

Mark Nolan, who has been in charge of the Co Clare luxury hotel since 1989, was commenting on new accounts showing that pre-tax profits at Dromoland Castle Holdings increased by 18pc to €1.5m last year.

The accounts cover the operations of the Dromoland Castle and its sister three-star property, the Inn at Dromoland and revenues at Dromoland Castle Holdings last year increased by 8pc to €21.19m.

Revenues from rooms at the two hotels increased from €8.5m to €9.7m while revenues from food and drink increased from €9.2m to €9.4m.

"The tourism industry is just incredible right now. We are having a great season," said Mr Nolan.

He added that the hotel's US guests account for "a significant portion" of its business.

Mr Nolan said that the investment in the five-star market by the likes of Ashford Castle and Adare Manor has really helped the market.

He said that room occupancy at Dromoland will be around 94pc to the end of September and will be around 80pc in October.

Mr Nolan said the five-star hotel's 2017 performance "will be similar to last year" and that the Inn at Dromoland - located on adjoining lands "had a bumper year in 2016. It is doing wonderfully well".

He also dismissed a report that Dromoland could be sold as a result of efforts to liquidate Sir Anthony O'Reilly's small shareholding in the hotel business.

Asked if there is any possibility of Dromoland being sold as a result of the issue, Mr Nolan said: "Absolutely none."

Mr Nolan - who is also a shareholder in the business - said: "It makes absolutely no sense to myself or the board."

The firm last year paid a dividend of €250,000 to its shareholders and this followed a similar share payout in 2015.

Numbers employed by the two hotels last year increased from 354 to 374 with staff costs increasing from €7.7m to €8.6m. Directors emoluments increased from €64,146 to €68,002.

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