Three Kerry hotels and hostel close to accommodate Ukrainian refugees

County being considered as a potential home for large number of State’s refugee intake

Three hotels and a hostel in Kerry have closed to guests and will instead be used to accommodate Ukrainian war refugees, while a sports complex in Tralee is being put on standby for emergency shelter.

Kerry, which has among the biggest banks of accommodation outside Dublin, with 50,000 tourist beds, is being looked at as a potential home for a large proportion of Ireland’s refugee intake.

However, most hotels and guesthouses in the county have already accepted tourist bookings amid what is predicted to be a bumper year for tourism following the easing of Covid travel restrictions.

Killarney hotelier Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), said it would be impossible for her to offer substantial accommodation until next November and this would be true of other hotels and premises which have large bookings.


Refugees have begun arriving at the Skellig Accommodation Centre in Cahersiveen, which potentially could host up to 200 people, locals estimate.


Refugees have also arrived at the 140-bed Earl of Desmond Hotel outside Tralee and both the 72-bed Inisfallen Hotel in Fossa, Killarney, and its sister hostel, the 3 Lakes Hostel in Killarney town, are expected to host refugees from today.

The IHF has written to members in Kerry appealing on the Government’s behalf for any type of accommodation including guesthouse, hotel and B&B, on a commercial basis.

It has told members that at present there are about 200 to 250 persons seeking accommodation a day.

“In an effort to secure further accommodation for Ukrainian nationals coming to Ireland, the Government is seeking to secure as many hotel rooms as possible for three- to six-month blocks and, where possible, is seeking exclusive use of hotels,” the IHF said.

“However, the Department would also be open to offering a month’s contract.”

The Department of Children, which handles accommodation for refugees, has not disclosed the amount paid per person.

“Contractual matters cannot be divulged due to the commercially sensitive nature of this information,” a spokesman said.

The Catholic Church in Ireland is exploring whether its properties could be used to house war refugees, and in Kerry this work is also progressing.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Kerry said: “A number of properties have already been identified and these will be assessed as to their suitability by the relevant authorities.”

The John Mitchels GAA Sports Complex in Tralee has also been placed on standby as a centre for short-term accommodation.

A spokesman for Kerry County Council said agreement has been reached with council management which is coordinating transport and other services for refugees to use the large modern sports hall for overnight accommodation “in the event of no hotel beds being available”.