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Gregans Castle: Irish guests discover Clare and the Burren

‘I think we have gained a lot of new customers who will come back again and again’

Simon Haden at Gregans Castle Hotel in the Burren. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Simon Haden at Gregans Castle Hotel in the Burren. Photograph: Eamon Ward

 

Gregans Castle Hotel in the Burren, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare is owned by Simon Haden and his wife, Freddie McMurray.

The house has been welcoming guests since 1941 and it’s been in Haden’s family since 1976. He and Freddie have been running it since 2003.

“We have been extremely busy since we reopened in June with staycations. The difference compared to last summer was that everyone booked in advance this year so we knew it was coming.

“Normally we are 90 per cent full with Americans in September and October but this year they are only a trickle. Getting air access opened up again at Shannon will be crucial for us in 2022.

“Staycations are still very strong and it seems like very few Irish are travelling abroad even with flights resuming. We also have some small weddings. However, we are having to close two days a week from September onwards due to staff shortages. We would have expected to be fully booked on those days.

“In terms of further lockdowns, we don’t expect another. Any more lockdowns would break the spirit of our industry and all the great people who work in it.

“We have really enjoyed seeing our Irish guests discovering Clare and the Burren. In the long run I think we have gained a lot of new customers who will come back again and again,” he says.