Denis O’Brien’s four-star Galway hotel has ‘traded well’ since reopening

Company’s directors satisfied with performance considering trading conditions

Ballynahinch Castle hotel in Co Galway

Denis O’Brien’s four-star Ballynahinch Castle hotel in Co Galway has traded well since reopening after Covid closures, according to the most recent accounts for the property.

According to the latest accounts from Mr O'Brien's Yelsea Ltd, the hotel, since reopening on June 2nd, 2021, following a Covid-19 enforced shutdown, has "traded well in the domestic market".

The accounts show that the impact of two Covid-19 closures last year contributed to pretax losses increasing by 73.5 per cent to €1.83 million. Revenues decreased by 48.5 per cent from €6.5 million to €3.3 million.

On the impact of Covid-19 on the hotel, which is located on a 700-acre estate at Recess in Co Galway, the accounts said that “there were two periods of closure enforced by Government restrictions and despite these circumstances, when open, the hotel traded exceptionally well”.


The company’s directors – who include Mr O’Brien’s wife, Catherine Walsh – said that they are satisfied with the company performance considering the very difficult trading conditions.

The pretax loss in 2020 takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €1.23 million and interest payable and other expenses of €624,935.

The accounts show that the business last year received €680,309 in Government wage subsidy schemes.


The accounts said that the company received €320,920 in Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme payments and €359,389 in Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme payments.

The note in the accounts said that “the company was entitled to these subsidies following the decline in revenue as a result of Covid-19”.

Numbers employed by the hotel last year reduced from 94 to 61 as staff costs reduced from €3.12 million to €1.99 million.

Directors’ pay last year reduced from €503,775 to €50,000. The 2019 directors’ pay included €360,000 that was paid to a former director in respect of other termination benefits.

Accumulated losses at the company at the end of 2020 totalled €4.93 million. The company’s cash funds totalled €597,428. Mr O’Brien paid about €6.5 million for Ballynahinch in 2013 and has extensively refurbished the property.

The Ballynahinch company valued its fixed assets at €18 million at the end of 2020. It had bank loans of €4.7 million, and owed €17.3 million in loans and interest to an entity controlled by Mr O’Brien.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times