Changing Landscape of Self Catering Customers

Holiday Village Kerry

How Long is Self-Catering Industry in Ireland

In Ireland, Self-Catering has been one of the holiday accommodation options for many years. It started off on an ad-hoc basis over 100 years ago when people went to rural Gaeltacht (Irish Speaking) areas in Connemara, Donegal, West Cork and  Kerry to learn Irish, and today Padraic Pearce’s cottage in Rosmuc, Connemara,  is a museum of rural life in the early twentieth century. In the 1960s people in rural Ireland renovated old farm buildings to let visitors in the summer months and this generated extra income for farm families.

Holiday Cottage of Padraic Pierce

By the 1980s the short-term rental market started to become more professional with agents offering holiday properties for rent. Failte Ireland produced booklets with details of rental properties in each county. People used to phone to book a house, not knowing what it would look like when they arrived.  Since the arrival of the computer age, most bookings are now done online, directly with the owners (LetsGo, with local agents, or indirectly via online travel agents (OTAs). 

With Covid the industry has changed again and now owners and customers prefer to deal with one another directly, cutting out the OTA’s who charge 15- 30% for their services. This results in a direct relationship with the owners and any special needs can be more easily catered for. Owners prefer direct bookings as they can clearly state their rental terms and conditions and avoid costly commissions and fees which most OTAs will add to the rental price or deduct from money paid to owners. Direct bookings are beneficial to owners as well as customers.  


Dublin Short Term Rentals

Brockman Homes near St Vincents Hospital, Dublin – see on

Rent Pressure Zones in Urban Ireland

In Ireland Rent Pressure Zones have been designated in areas that have a shortage of long-term rental accommodation. Short Term Rental owners who don’t have planning permission to let their properties on a short-term basis have had to rent their properties on a long-term basis and usually earn less income from their property. In over 50 such Irish urban areas there is very little Self-Catering accommodation available to rent. As a result, families cannot stay in such accommodation for trips to Dublin to visit theatres, museums or the zoo. For Business tourists who need to stay for longer in an area, Self-Catering is cheaper, spacious, and allows for cooking and eating meals like at home. This is no longer available to any great extent in urban areas of Ireland.


New Types of Self Catering Guests 

Self Catering has expanded to include the following sectors across the EU

Properties on Hotel Grounds on

  • Business Tourists – People coming to Ireland on business for a few days will usually choose a hotel, but for those staying longer a self-catering unit may be more attractive and some companies specialize in this type of Short Term Rental accommodation.  
  • Health Tourism – People visiting the hospital for a program of treatment may choose Self-Catering for family members accompanying them. This is not common in Ireland. 
  • Residential Tourism   – Where holiday accommodation is in residential blocks of accommodation. This is normally found in urban areas of the EU. 
  • Senior CoLiving and Co-housing – Accommodation in the short or long term for people who cannot live in their own home due to illness, inability to climb stairs, or following an operation.
  • Teleworkers – Many have been moved around a lot during Covid and spend a short time in an area. Other workers may move to an area for a week or longer to install services such as solar panels or improve the internet service.
  • WorkCationers – where Digital nomads come in the off-season to holiday accommodation for 1 to 6 months.  This has been quite common in southern Spain, Italy, and Greece. 


Properties on HOtel Grounds rented through Trident Holiday Homes

Register for Short Term Rental

The EU is bringing in a Register for Short Term Rentals (STR) in the first quarter of 2022. This will be followed by an Irish National Register for all STR owners. To be ahead of the curve on the Register owners of STRs who join the Irish Self-Catering Federation get listed on the official Register. They also  get: 

* Listing on for direct bookings

  • Quality Assurance Certified, allowing for overseas bookings. 
  • Special Offers and discounts  from preferred partners 
  • Access to local WhatsApp groups, managed by members on a Regional Basis. 
  • Information on Regulations and EU requirements that affect owners. 
  • Workshops, networking events, and conferences to help develop business skills.
  • Lobbying and representation of members at national and EU level  
  • Opportunity to offer the property to overseas agents. 
  • Work as a block to purchase services from suppliers.

Join the on this link and be ready to accept guests in 2022  with direct booking. The Irish Self-Catering Federation works to make sure the best deal for Self-Catering owners in the modern marketplace.

Best Value and Most Relaxed Holiday in Ireland

Best in Donegal

Old style Fireplace with a Turf fire in Donegal

Self-Catering offers are the best value type of holiday accommodation in Ireland. There is a wide variety of accommodation from cottages to castles and grand houses, stand-alone houses in the countryside, or group schemes of houses in holiday areas or on hotel grounds. Cottages for couples or larger houses for extended families and pet-friendly houses are available. Choose a region in Ireland and book direct with an owner, requesting any special requirements for the holiday. You may want to stay in an area for a few days as you drive the Wild Atlantic Way or relax in the Hidden Heartlands, enjoy a wide range of activities in the Ancient East of Ireland. Whatever your choice of holiday, self-catering is the best way for your family unit to be comfortable, safe, and relaxed. 


Best in EU

Winner EU Family-Friendly holiday home of the year 2021 –

Best  Quality in Self-Catering 

The European Holiday Homes Association (EHHA) represents the Short Term Rental industry at the EU level and the ISCF is an active participant in all discussions. As a voice for STRs, the EHHA membership is diverse: representing non-professional and professional service providers, entrepreneurs, property managers, online platforms, and other business owners who cater to the STR sector. All of these groups were severely impacted by COVID-19 but struggled to survive, providing the most affordable accommodation for families and groups to travel within the EU. Regulation is needed to allow all rental properties to be identified, pay taxes and show state agencies exactly who is staying in a property. 

 The EHHA  will also hold its annual awards ceremony and its Board of Directors meeting in Malaga on the occasion of the Vitur Summit 2022 – where property from Ireland has won best overall in EU in 2016, in 2018, and best family-friendly holiday home 2021. 

Best in EU

The Cottages at Bettystown, Co Meath on

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