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Chef Kevin Dundon says 'it's a beautiful day' for hoteliers as they reopen their doors

'It’s fantastic, and it’s been a long wait. It’s quite depressing to see your hotel boarded up for five months...But it’s a beautiful day down here in Wexford today'

Kevin Dundon

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Chef Kevin Dundon and owner of Dunbrody House in Co Wexford has described today as a beautiful day as accommodation services across the country prepare to open again.

Hotels, B&Bs, self-catering and hostels are all reopening this week, just in time for the June bank holiday weekend.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Sunday World columnist Kevin said: “It’s so exciting down there - it’s been a hive of activity getting Dunbrody ready again.

“It’s fantastic, and it’s been a long wait. It’s quite depressing to see your hotel boarded up for five months. But it’s a beautiful day down here in Wexford today.

"Dunbrody is unique in a sense that there’s lots of space here… people feel very safe, and there’s very strong distancing.”

Kevin said that while there are still rooms available at Dunbrody House, bookings have been “very strong”.

While hotel restaurants and bars will be open to residents only, with face coverings and social distancing applied, outdoor dining services for restaurants, cafes and pubs will reopen from Monday, June 7.

In a statement about the reopening of tourism accommodation, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said there was cause for “cautious optimism” as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines gathers pace and encouraged people to “keep discovering the delights our country has to offer.”

However, she was “acutely aware of the importance of international visitors”, she said.

The owner of the guest house judged to be the best in Ireland by TripAdvisor, Susan Daly, of Daly’s House in Doolin, Co Clare said bookings were good, with many Irish booking in for the coming weeks and more from the US in August, September and October.

She told Newstalk Breakfast that they are “all set to welcome guests back” and are “praying that the weather will hold”.

On RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Adrian Elliot of Glasson Glamping in Co Westmeath said they had used the time during lockdown to make significant changes.

All their accommodation now had individual cooking and cleaning facilities and check-ins were completed out of doors.

Mr Elliot said they “did a lot of the work ourselves” because as a new venture they could not avail of Government Covid-19 supports..

Meanwhile, Dick Ridge of Paduma Village in Portumna, Co Galway also told Morning Ireland that they had also used the time to introduce changes to their eco pods and cabins, including outdoor dining spaces for up to 50 people covered with a canopy.

Mr Ridge said that after a number of “false starts”, they had taken a cautious approach and waited until there was a definite date before taking bookings.

People were “weather watching”, he said, so the bookings were slow but steady.

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