Killarney hotel group ‘positive but cautious’ about trading outlook for this year

‘If we end up with revenues of €32m this year we’ll be very happy’

Michael Brennan, managing director of Killarney Hotels Ltd, at the five-star Europe Hotel & Resort in Co Kerry. The group is 'positive but cautious' about the trading outlook for this year. Photograph: Valerie O'Sullivan

One of the biggest hotel operators in Co Kerry is “positive but cautious” about the trading outlook for this year after posting record revenues in 2023.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Michael Brennan, managing director of Killarney Hotels Ltd, which operates three properties in Kerry, including the five-star Europe Hotel & Resort, said that this year’s performance could be “slightly down or a hold at best” when compared with 2023. “If we end up with revenues of €32 million this year we’ll be very happy,” he said.

Accounts recently filed for Killarney Hotels Ltd show it posted revenues of €31.9 million in 2023, up nearly 5 per cent on the previous year. Its pretax profit doubled to €439,271. In the pre-Covid year of 2019, its turnover was just shy of €23 million, giving an indication of how strong the bounce back has been, and the higher rates now being achieved.

Income from the hotels amounted to €31.2 million last year, the first time it topped the €30 million mark. The balance of its turnover came from a farm that it operates in the area.


A number of prominent hotel operators here – including Dalata and the Shelbourne – reported declines in trading in the first quarter of this year after an exceptionally strong period of post-pandemic trading in 2023.

Mr Brennan said bookings were “strong” but there were a number of headwinds facing the business, including rising wages costs and increases in food prices, with certain items up 15 per cent, and increases in meat, fish and poultry. He also described the weather locally as “shocking” for the first four months of the year. “May is looking good, though,” he added.

He described last year’s performance as “great” with a strong domestic market and a “return” of business from the United States. “We were delighted with the figures,” he said.

Having closed for Christmas, the Europe reopened in February, essentially for weekends until March 17th, when it opened round the clock. Its sister hotels – the Dunloe, reopened at Easter, and the Ard na Sidhe Country House Hotel reopened at the end of April.

During the closure the group renovated 21 rooms at the Europe, including the presidential suite, at a cost of €3.5 million. Another 44 rooms are due to be renovated at the end of this year.

It also completed a €7 million project to build additional staff accommodation, which Mr Brennan said “helped us” in terms of recruitment and employee retention.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times