Denis O’Brien’s Galway hotel returns to operating profit as revenues rise to €4.8m

Businessman paid €6.5m for Ballynahinch Castle in 2013 and has extensively refurbished the property

The company that operates the Denis O’Brien-owned four-star Ballynahinch Castle hotel in Co Galway returned to operating profit last year after revenues surged.

New accounts filed by Mr O’Brien’s Yelsea Ltd show the hotel firm recorded an operating profit of €231,719 compared with a €1.2 million loss in 2020.

The business enjoyed the operating profits of €231,719 as revenues increased by 44 per cent to €4.82 million.

Directors for Yelsea Ltd, which include Mr O’Brien’s wife Catherine, said the hotel company “has traded well” since reopening after a Covid-19 enforced shutdown until June 2nd of last year.


However, the firm recorded a pretax loss of €396,636 last year after interest payable and similar expenses of €628,355.

The bulk of the interest payable at €452,186 was on a shareholder’s loan and this contributed to a total of €2.84 million interest payable on the shareholder’s loan at the end of 2021.

The shareholder’s loan to the Mr O’Brien-controlled business at the end of last year totalled €15.37 million.

The business was able to record the operating profit of €231,719 after taking into account “other operating income” of €1.23 million that included Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme payments of €1 million.

Numbers employed increased from 61 to 85 as staff costs increased from €1.998 million to €2.3 million.

Accumulated losses at the company at the end of 2021 totalled €5.3 million. The company’s cash funds increased from €597,429 to €2.1 million.

Mr O’Brien paid about €6.5 million for the hotel in 2013 and has extensively refurbished the property.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times