Ballymaloe House bounces back from pandemic losses with help of government grants

Company behind Cork hotel posted profits of more than €400,000 last year after losing close to €350,000 in 2020

The company behind the Ballymaloe Country House Hotel in Midleton, Co Cork, swung to a €400,000 profit in 2021, wiping out the almost €350,000 loss it incurred in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yeats Room, founded by the late chef and restaurateur Myrtle Allen and now owned and operated by her family, received close to €1.2 million in government grants in the year to the end of October last, accounts just filed with the Companies Registration Office indicate. The company also received more than €405,000 in supports in its 2020 financial year.

Last year’s performance brought accumulated profits at the Shanagarry, Co Cork, business to nearly €2.4 million by the end of October last. The operating profit was stated after the government supports were credited to the company’s profit and loss, the accounts note.

‘Direct labour’

Staffing numbers at the hotel were unchanged from 2020 with the company employing 62 people in total, three in management roles and 59 in “direct labour”.

READ MORE

Directors’ remuneration, including salaries and pensions contributions, topped €227,00 in the financial year, down slightly from close to €232,000 in 2020.

The directors of Yeats Room are listed as Darina Allen, Cullen Allen, Hazel Allen, Fern Allen and Sacha Whelan.

A spokeswoman for the company said the hotel finished its last financial year strongly as public health restrictions were eased.

Customer loyalty

“We benefited greatly from a high conversion rate in our dining room from guests staying in our hotel,” she said. “Like all those in hospitality, our ability to bounce back was in part due to government supports, which allowed us to retain staff during leaner periods. We look forward to further growth in the months ahead, and are very thankful to our customer base for their continued loyalty.”

Founded by Myrtle Allen and her husband Ivan Allen in the 1960s, the business gave rise to the nearby Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is operated and majority owned by Ms Allen’s daughter-in-law Darina Allen through a separate company.

The school recorded after-tax profits of €93,670 in 2021, accounts filed in August show, after Covid-19 enforced closures saw it swing to a loss of €193,097 in 2020.

At the time, company director Toby Allen said: “We are happy that we returned to profitability in 2021 and would expect again to be in profit for 2022.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times