Making business a pleasure

By Business & Finance
01 November 2016
rathsallagh house
Rathsallagh House Hotel, Co. Wicklow

Commercial profile

Ireland’s Blue Book is a marketing association for a collection of country house hotels, manor houses, castles and restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland.

The Association was formed in 1974 with 11 founding members who realised that there was a gap between the bed and breakfast accommodation and the larger hotel industry that was not being marketed at that time.

By filling this gap the association has ensured the economic wellbeing of some of Ireland’s historic properties. There will be 50 properties in the 2017 edition of Ireland’s Blue Book.

Member hotels and restaurants are selected based on strict selection criteria, with the emphasis being on properties that have a strong individualistic style. Ranging from Georgian manors, stately castles, historic hotels, luxury boutique hotels, designer lodges and award winning restaurants.

The collection includes the five-star Merrion Hotel, Dublin, the five-star Park Hotel Kenmare, Co. Kerry and the five-star Hayfield Manor, Cork. Also, included in the association is the award winning Gregans Castle, Co. Clare, Dunbrody House, Co. Wexford and Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork. Dublin restaurants included are L’Ecrivain, Chapter One, Restaurant Forty-One and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

While a large amount of the associations marketing efforts is focused on attracting overseas visitors to Ireland and to its member hotels, the association has also grown a very successful gift voucher business.

These gift vouchers are proving very attractive as an incentive or reward scheme in many companies. “Our gift vouchers are proving very popular with companies that wish to reward staff and clients. I think the secret is the flexibility of the vouchers as they can be used for overnight stays or for a meal or spa treatment,” says Michelle Maguire, CEO of Ireland’s Blue Book.

“The fact that we have 50 properties throughout the island of Ireland also gives great choice. When you receive the voucher you can choose anything from a stay in a lighthouse or castle, take spa break or have a meal in a Michelin star restaurant. The gift vouchers also give recipients the chance to explore parts of Ireland they may not yet have visited.”

According to Maguire, “Stays along the Wild Atlantic Way route proved very popular in 2016. We imagine with sterling low against the euro we will see lots of our clients visiting our Northern Ireland properties with their Blue Book vouchers in 2017, perhaps exploring the Game of Thrones sites or the scenic Causeway coastal route. We have four gorgeous properties in Northern Ireland, Newforge House in Armagh, Ardtara Country House in Derry, Bushmill’s Inn in Antrim and the award-winning Browns Restaurant in Derry city.”

In 2017 there will be three new properties added to the collection, a castle, a manor and a townhouse. “I am delighted with the additions we have selected for 2017, I feel they each offer something different, unique and special.”

For more information or to purchase gift vouchers:
t: 01 676 9914