Fiona Parsely

How to open a B&B in Ireland

If you’ve bought a beautiful Irish home but you’re struggling to keep up with all the bills and taxes, then you might want to go down the B&B route. It’s an easy way to make a bit of extra cash from a spare room. And Ireland’s heaving with tourists from all around the world, so you’ll never be short of visitors.

Where to buy

Some places in the country attract far more tourists than others, making them prime locations for a B&B. If you haven’t bought a property yet, we’ve got some tips that might help.

According to the travel company Travelbird, one of the trendiest places in the country is the Tayto Park amusement park in County Meath, with 700,000 visitors passing through each year. The park is family-oriented, so a B&B with family rooms is a good idea. It’s also only a few minutes away from Dublin, so it’s easy to reach. Other nearby places of interest include the Hill of Tara, the Castle Tim and the UNESCO heritage site Brú na Bóinne, so you’ll pick up some heritage tourists, too.

Another Instagram-friendly place on Travelbird’s list is Kilkenny Castle. It was built in the 12th century by Richard de Clare and changed ownership numerous times over the years. Then, in 1967, it was sold to the people of Kilkenny for a bargain £50. Since being refurbished, it’s been open to visitors ever since. Now, it attracts over 200,000 visitors per year. Kilkenny itself is a famous tourist destination with a buzzing cultural scene. Its art and music festivals attract people from around the world – which is good news for your B&B.

Enniskerry in County Wicklow also attracts tonnes of visitors, who flock to see Powerscourt Estate and its gardens. The estate traces its history back to the 13th century but the gardens only appeared in the early 19th century, thanks to Mervyn Wingfield. He built Japanese and Italian gardens, an artificial lake – Triton Lake – as well as Dolphin Pond, walled gardens and the so-called Tower Valley, which has its own stone tower. In the 20th century, an 18-hole golf course was added, which has hosted local and international competitions.

Starting out

First things first, you’ll need to register your B&B company with the Companies Registration Office. It’ll involve filling out a few forms, like a fire safety certificate application and a planning application. You’ll also need to regulate your water bills and get approval to use your home as a B&B from the Building Control Management System (BCMS).

Then it’s time to speak to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, your local office of the Health Service Executive, and the National Standards Authority. Otherwise, you can’t serve up those tasty Irish breakfasts. And a B&B without the second ‘B’ is just, well, a bed.

Drumming up business

Once your B&B website’s up and running, you might want to invest in translating it to some other languages. After the US and UK, the next-largest groups of Irish visitors come from Germany, France and Spain, so those languages are a good place to start.

Next, you should list your B&B with Fáilte Ireland, which is established under the National Tourism Development Authority. It’s an official state organisation and, as a member, you’ll be listed on the two most visited tourist sites: Discover Ireland and Ireland.com. It’s also a good idea to have a presence on social media, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Buying an established B&B

If you want to save yourself the headache of starting a B&B from scratch, you might want to buy one that’s already established. Currently, there are about 100 B&Bs for sale across Ireland, priced between €570,000 and €700,000. Properties can be a sound investment, particularly if you buy one in a place that sees a lot of tourism. And where better to start a new business than idyllic Ireland?

We’re here to help

Moving abroad is exciting but it can be pretty overwhelming, too. We’d love to help you secure your new home by transferring your funds – with great exchange rates and minimal fees. Get in touch if you have any questions.

*The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (September 2019). It could change depending on the outcome of Brexit. *

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