Hospitality sector looks to festivities for boost


RESTAURANT OWNERS, hoteliers and publicans are predicting that tonight will be one of the busiest of the year, giving a much-needed fillip to the hospitality industry.

Many restaurants and special events have reported that they are booked out.

Restaurants Association of Ireland president Paul Cadden said the weather before Christmas had “put a lot of businesses under pressure” and tonight would be “vital” to restaurants.

“December is a key month for the industry, a month when restaurants normally make the money that will keep them tied over in January and February,” he said.

“That hasn’t happened this year, so New Year’s Eve this year really is going to be an important night.”

Gerry Mellet, president of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which represents 4,500 publicans outside Dublin, said the weather had come “on top of the worst recession in living memory” and business had been very tough.

“I think now people want to just get out of the house. We’d be very hopeful the night will be busy.”

All venues contacted by The Irish Timessaid they would be working at full capacity tonight.

The Burlington Hotel in Dublin is holding a gala ball at €75 a person for dinner, champagne, a band and a DJ, and according to a spokeswoman, all 500 places are “almost full”.

In Co Donegal, Rathmullan House Hotel is fully booked for its New Year’s Eve dinner and champagne, with a blues band, for €75 a head.

All 180 places are booked for the dinner and accommodation package at the River Lee Hotel in Cork city, at €125 a head. “Bookings have really picked up in the last few days,” said a spokeswoman.

Ronnie Counihan, general manager at the Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara, said the hotel was full for its three-day package, while there were an additional 60 non-residents booked in for tonight’s gala dinner, at €60 a head.

“It is great to be so busy and it has been a difficult year, but I am optimistic about the coming year.”

The Brooklodge Hotel in Co Wicklow is fully booked tonight for its seven-course dinner and live jazz. “Well, if we’re not busy on New Year’s Eve, we really would be worried,” said marketing director Eoin Doyle.

Restaurants too are predicting a busy night. The Odessa restaurant in Dublin will have a full house for its three-course €39.50 menu. “We were decimated in December with the snow. We had 600 cancellations. So, yes, we are very pleased to be busy,” said manager Dave Spencer.

Mr Cadden of the restaurants association and manager of Saba restaurant, Dublin, is reporting a fully booked restaurant for its New Year’s Eve party.