'It's everything we have ever hoped for'

Marisa Reidy

"IT'S everything we've talked about and hoped for for many years - and now it's finally here" - Ballybunion holiday park owner, Padraig Hanrahan, relishing the unprecedented weather that has resulted in a booming summer for the seaside town.

Hotels, B&Bs and holiday homes are full to capacity, he said, while shops, restaurants and local business are all reaping the rewards of a summer that has been wanting for many, many years.

"It's absolutely flying and it's everything we've talked about for many years," he said. "The accomodation sector is all full and the trend in the self catering sector now is that people who are booking at the last minute are realising cant get accommodation. The benefits of that will only be seen next year, really, as those people opt to book in advance."

Mr Hanrahan, who runs a holiday park in the town and is also the national chairman of the Irish Self Catering Federation, said that the recent spell of fine weather has been a long time coming - and its benefits are being felt across many sectors.

"Apart from the accommodation providers, there is no question that spending is up in general. People are out and about, drinking more, eating out, and simply spending more, so long may it continue. Our core business in Ballybunion would be from West Limerick, Kerry and Cork and of course we have day trippers too, so it really has been a boom year."

Mr Hanrahan, who is involved in the management of the local pool, also dispelled fears that the fine weather may have a negative effect on the facility, which was forced to shut temporarily last year due to rising costs and a fall in customers. He said that while the fine weather has led to a reduction in user numbers, the opposite is the case on the extremely hot days.

"Naturally the pool is quieter than normal on what we could call hot days, but not to any level that would cause concern," he said. "Saying that though, when the weather is extremely hot the pool is absolutely full as parents bring their children in from of the heat to cool down."