Dublin and Galway are most in-demand destinations
After two years of virtual St Patrick’s Day celebrations, it is set to be a big one this year and many city hotels are charging high prices for their limited availability.
Dublin and Galway appear to be the most in-demand counties for tourists looking to celebrate, with the cheapest rooms going for €300-€400 a night.
For two people to stay in the Jurys Inn, Christchurch, Dublin, March 17-19, it will cost €1,080.
The same dates will set travellers back €929 in the Hilton in Kilmainham and €826 in the Maldron Hotel Parnell.
Other popular hotels, including the Hard Rock Hotel and The Alex, have no availability for St Patrick’s Day.
Prices are similar in Galway city. For the same dates, customers will have to fork out €845 for The Galmont Hotel and €908 for Flannery’s Hotel.
The Western Citypoint Apartments are quoting €2,800 for their three-bedroom apartments, with only one currently available.
Accommodation in Cork and Belfast is almost half the price of Dublin and Galway, with the Cork International Hotel charging €428 for the same dates while The Dean is €467.
In Belfast, the Jurys Inn currently costs €453 for March 17-19, while the Crowne Plaza is €381.
Fáilte Ireland said it expects Dublin city to be busy for St Patrick’s Day weekend and across the five days of the official St Patrick’s Day Festival.
“It is wonderful to see the St Patrick’s Festival return to Dublin this year,” Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Product Development Orla Carroll said.
“Festivals such as the St Patrick’s Festival will be crucial as we work towards welcoming international visitors and the recovery of the tourism sector.”
It is hoped across the hospitality and retail sector that St Patrick’s Day will be the start of international tourists visiting Ireland again.
CEO of Fáilte Ireland Paul Kelly said he expected a strong recovery in inbound tourism, with forecasts indicating Ireland will regain 83pc of 2019’s air passenger capacity by the end of the year.
Managing director of Retail Excellence Ireland, Duncan Graham, said the sector is confident it will be a good week of trading, and he hopes this is the start to Ireland regaining international tourists.
“We are quietly confident that it will be a good week of trading, usually what happens is St Patrick’s Day itself can be different depending on where you are located,” he said.
“In towns where there are parades going on, it’s usually quite a flat day in that you are probably only trading in the morning and afternoon depending on what time the parade is.
“This is the first time we have had four days when people will have been off work together for a long time and I think a lot can also depend on what influx of tourists we get into the country over that period.
“So, generally I think it could be a good week for us, I certainly think businesses that rely on tourism will see some improvements that we haven’t seen over the past couple years.”
Mr Graham said he expects supermarkets and food shops to be busy on the run-up to the weekend, with many retailers opting for bank holiday hours on Friday, March 18.
“And then back to normal on the Saturday,” he added.
“So I think in terms of trading hours it will be varied compared to what we normally see.
“Tourism on St Patrick’s Day is the first start of the tourist season, so Carrolls Irish Gifts and shops like that will be looking forward to the return to somewhat normality.”
He said footfall in city centres has significantly increased since before Christmas, but it is still below pre-pandemic levels.
“The really interesting point is, will this be the first sign of tourists coming back into the Irish economy because we have been very much dependent on staycation spending over the last two years,” he said.