The news hasn’t been particularly positive for Ireland of late: the euro is struggling and the country is still suffering from high unemployment and depressed consumer spending. But it’s not all doom and gloom – successive reports this summer have predicted a brighter future for the country known as ‘The Celtic Tiger’ during the boom years of 1997 – 2007.
The reports suggest that in some ways, at least, Ireland is actually performing relatively well compared to the rest of the EU. Figures released by the country’s Central Statistics Office last month showed that GDP grew by 1.6% in the second quarter of 2011, far more than the 0.25% predicted by analysts and more than most countries in the eurozone. This figure gives it the joint-third highest GDP per head in the EU, although it includes the output of foreign multinationals based in the country.
In June, Enterprise Ireland’s annual report showed record levels of export sales – up 10% from the previous year – and stated that the export economy has now recovered all the losses experienced in 2009. Export levels have risen for 22 months in a row, while the agricultural sector is thriving and has grown 11% in the last year.
SilverDoor has seen a huge increase in demand for apartments in Dublin of late, so Serena Dines, Principal Account Manager and Alice Brunel-Cohen, Partner Relations and Rates Manager – UK recently took a brief trip there to visit new and existing operators for serviced apartments in Ireland.
Serena stayed in The Morgan Apartments, which Alice visited and described as “smart and very trendy with excellent customer service.” Alice stayed at Augustine Apartments, which have a 24 hour reception and consist of several blocks accessible through an outside courtyard. She slept “exceptionally well”.
Dublin is famed as a tourist destination but, although many of the apartments Serena and Alice saw were in the city centre, the properties felt detached from the hustle and bustle of the city’s leisure travellers. Both Augustine Apartments and Tara Street Apartments, for example, are “central without being slap bang in the middle of all the tourist action.”
The Central Statistics Office report showed that Ireland is one of the most expensive countries in the EU; Dublin, as its capital, can be a pricey place to stay. However, Serena and Alice also saw some apartments slightly outside the centre, Moss Apartments, which are a great option if you have a slightly lower budget. “It is a 15 minute journey to the city centre but really easy to do”, Alice explained.
Although they were keen to escape the tourists when they wanted a bit of sleep, Alice and Serena did try to experience a little Irish culture while they were there. On their first night in Dublin they went to a pub called The Knightsbridge and saw a musical trio and some Irish dancers. “I was really happy when Serena volunteered me to take part in a special audience-participating dance,” Alice grimaced on her return.