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Domestic tourists avoid overseas travel bans, snap up holiday accommodation

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A woman rides her pony in Claddaghduff in the popular holiday region of Connemara. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A woman rides her pony in Claddaghduff in the popular holiday region of Connemara. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A woman rides her pony in Claddaghduff in the popular holiday region of Connemara. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Up until late January Terry O’Toole was fielding a trickle of enquiries from Irish holidaymakers happy to settle for another summer at home in one of the cottages he manages in the scenic west coast region of Connemara.

But when a Government minister said on radio that it was very unlikely Irish people will be able to go on foreign holidays this summer, “the trickle became a torrent”.

Now holiday accommodation is being snapped up by cautious domestic tourists resigned to another staycation summer, amid fears of foreign travel bans and quarantines. Availability is tight, said Mr O’Toole, managing director of Love Connemara Cottages.

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Strong demand: Terry O’Toole of Love Connemara Cottages says summer availability is ‘tight’. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Strong demand: Terry O’Toole of Love Connemara Cottages says summer availability is ‘tight’. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Strong demand: Terry O’Toole of Love Connemara Cottages says summer availability is ‘tight’. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

“Like last year, you have the entire Irish market trying to squeeze into only a set amount of bookings,” he said.

People still want to holiday and they’re forced to stay in Ireland, he said, something that makes for a slightly begrudging clientele who would usually be off in the sun.

Mr O’Toole expects 80pc to 90pc of Love Connemara’s 100 holiday homes to be fully booked for July and August within the month.

He is banking on a strong second half and some brave early holidaymakers to eke out a profit.

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Holiday home owners across the country are reporting similarly strong demand thanks to “a sea change in people’s expectations”, said Jacinta Doolan of the Irish Self Catering Federation.

“They just want a change of scenery.”

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