Single people face ‘punishingly expensive’ prices for Irish holidays

Hotels body advises people to shop around and says there is ‘excellent value to be had’

Fionn Rogan spent three days on holiday in Connemara recently, camping in a tent box, which fits on top of the roof of a vehicle.

Fionn Rogan spent three days on holiday in Connemara recently, camping in a tent box, which fits on top of the roof of a vehicle.

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Twenty-eight-year-old Fionn Rogan spent three days in Connemara last month. The views were stunning but it “wasn’t exactly a comfortable trip”, he said.

Instead, he camped in a tent box, which fits on top of the roof of a vehicle: “It was not relaxing, but it’s anything to get you out of the city nowadays. For young people, we kind of just have to make do.

“There’s a mad hunger to get out and just see something else, but it feels like you can’t do what you want to do. Between holidays and renting, you can’t do anything cheaply, or free,” he said.

Hotels and Airbnbs were “punishingly expensive” this summer, he said, and while he would like to go with friends to split costs, many are in relationships with their own plans “for couples retreats”.

His next trip will be wild camping in Tipperary in August. “Everything else was at least 200 quid a night. You get to a point where you can’t really justify it, especially on your own,” he said.

Seven Airbnb nights in Dingle, Co Kerry, can set a single person back between €600 and €1,000, while a one-night stay in Galway city costs on average €156. The cheapest Cork hotel on Hotels.com was €178 per night. Others cost upwards of €300.

However, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) insists that there is “excellent value to be had”, though people should “shop around and not rely on just one source when comparing prices”.

The cost of preparing and maintaining a room is the same whether it is occupied by a single or a couple, though people should contact hotels directly in search of specials, a spokeswoman said.

Many hotels have introduced package deals this year, while booking midweek or for a number of nights in a row can secure better prices. “There’s fantastic value to be enjoyed,” said the IHF.

Five-star luxury

Siobhán Lydon (50), a single woman living in Cork, decided to spend one night in one of Ireland’s best hotels, the five-star luxury Ballyfin Demesne, in early June, costing €700.

“I figured, why spend a fortune for an ordinary experience? There was no spa stuff because of the pandemic but I had never stayed in any place like that. I figured I’d do it for one night because if I didn’t leave the country at all I could still say I did something on the bucket list this year,” she said.

The Co Laois hotel in the Slieve Bloom mountains was “very expensive, but worth it”, Lydon said, adding that she paid about 75 per cent of what a couple would have paid.

Despite the problems, singles “can do whatever they please”. Now that travel restrictions have been eased and she has been vaccinated. she will fly to Iceland for one week – another item ticked off the bucket list.

“It feels like the most Covid-safe place to go. Pretty much everything is outdoors – black sand beaches, glaciers, whale watching, beautiful countryside,” she said, adding that “it will, of course, be cheaper”.