Farmhouse B&B bookings rise 40% in first quarter

Farmhouse accommodation bookings are up 40% and revenue has increased 51% over the first quarter of this year, according to B&B Ireland.

This is a clear demonstration of demand for the B&B farmhouse product, according to Chief Executive Helena Healy.

A total of 123 farmhouses on the island of Ireland are represented this year by B&B Ireland, which is in line with previous years.

The typical length of stay varies but with international guests can be seven days plus, according to B&B Ireland which promotes and sells over 800 properties on its website www.bandbireland.com.

Farmhouse properties include Springview House, an 18th century house on a dairy and Angus beef farm in Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny.

The Arches, Arva, Cavan, is a beef farm with a circular walk; a tennis court; and an 18-hole crazy golf course.

Murphy’s Farmhouse, Castlemaine, Co. Kerry, (pictured) opened to guests in 1964.

The sixth generation farm at the foot of the Slieve Mish mountains is used by many as a base for Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula tours.

Top markets are the US; Germany; France; and the UK, with many Irish people also keen to enjoy a farmhouse stay.

Waking up to the call of a rooster; collecting freshly laid eggs for breakfast; helping feed the animals; and wandering through pastures are among the experiences promoted.

Investment in the farmhouse accommodation sector has taken place over the years in areas such as drying rooms; farm walks; and animal petting areas, according to Healy. Some have equestrian facilities.

She said she is “excited but cautiously optimistic” about greater growth this year.

It comes on foot of a busy 2016 in which B&B Ireland saw its bookings rise 15%, with overseas visitor numbers up 18%.

Healy attributed the success of 2016 to a combination of factors.

The introduction of a number of new airline routes such as Dublin to LA and Vancouver; Cork to Madrid and Dusseldorf; and Knock to Birmingham, has been a big factor in the visitor growth.

“These include our main markets because of the continuing growth of the B&B product among overseas visitors who represent over 90% of our bookings,” she said.