Ireland is a beautiful place to visit with a huge spread of attractions ranging from the stunning scenery to incredible heritage, not to mention probably the greatest experience – that of meeting the friendly people who will warm your memories of the country.
The trouble with Ireland up until recently was that it was so expensive compared to other European destinations. Even without taking the vagaries of the currency movements into account – the strong Euro meant those coming from a US dollar or Sterling area were saddled with extra costs – Ireland was expensive in the areas that a visitor is exposed to on any trip – mainly accommodation, food and drink. In 2009 the Euro was very strong against both the dollar and the British pound Sterling; achieving effective parity against the latter and reaching at one point almost EUR1.60 to US$. In 2010 thus far, the situation has improved to the advantage of the tourist coming from Britain or America.
Add this to dramatic falls in prices of accommodation across all sectors from guesthouses to 5-star hotels and you begin to see a benefit in considering Ireland as economically sensible place to consider visiting in 2010. It is reckoned by industry sources that accommodation rates have fallen by about 70% of their 2008 prices. There are some incredible deals out there for both families and individuals. Best of all whatever you are quoted is negotiable as providers are desperate to fill beds. The building boom in Ireland meant there was a surfeit of hotels built with attractive spas and golf courses attached. They now need customers almost at any cost merely to keep things ticking over and meet their banking repayments.
Another area that is suffering and thus follows in the downward price spiral is restaurants. For decades tourist to Ireland complained about the price of dining out whether it was your Michelin star restaurant or your run of the mill cafe or bistro. The prices in Dublin City and other cities and towns around Ireland were frankly outrageous compared to other European cities and popular tourist destinations. There are many reasons quoted by restaurant owners for higher prices – excessive rents and rates, high insurance and labour costs and so on and so forth. Some of their arguments are very valid, because without doubt there is an underlying higher cost base to doing business in any sector in Ireland. But whatever the reasons of the past, things have changed for the better in 2010. Suddenly restaurants are offering great value in many ways. Imaginative menus, family deals and early-bird deals are all the rage. Industry sources again state that compared to just a year ago, Dublin restaurants are on average 40% cheaper and similar if not greater reductions are commonplace throughout the rest of the country.
If you are travelling to the North of Ireland which is a Sterling area, competition is still forcing prices of accommodation and dinging out down. “Negotiate your own deal” is the new mantra quoted by consumer organizations when holidaying in any part of Ireland and seeking value in everything from accommodation to car hire, cruiser hire, golf (another pursuit that has dropped and any all-in package deals.
So the message is for all those wondering where to go for their holiday in 2010; try Ireland for you will be surprised at the good value!