A Co Clare hotel has opened its doors to families and people who live alone in an effort to alleviate their financial burden and loneliness this Christmas.
Hotel Doolin, in picturesque Doolin in the west of the county, has been working with the St Vincent de Paul who have selected those who deserve the welcome festive break.
Hotel Manager Donal Minihane and his family will also stay in the hotel from today until St Stephen’s Day acting as host to their guests.
Mr Minihane said: “We will be hosting elderly people who will be on their own for Christmas as well as young families who are struggling financially that little bit over the Christmas. We normally close for the three days over Christmas and it struck us that as the hotel is lying empty we could put it to use for those who might appreciate being looked after, or those who wouldn’t normally get to go away for a break over the holiday.”
“So, we decided to gift the hotel to people who would appreciate it and we contacted St. Vincent de Paul in Ennis and floated the idea with them and they were delighted to come on board,” he added.
“The hotel has 17 rooms so 16 of them have been filled by St. Vincent de Paul and my wife, two girls and myself are going to stay in the other room and be the hosts for the few days. Altogether we’ll have 24 adults and 26 kids staying with us from Christmas Eve to St Stephen’s Day,” Mr Minihane said.
“They’ll check in on Christmas Eve and we have Santa Claus arriving that evening to meet the kids. We’ll have some music and a Christmas Eve supper, a lovely breakfast the next morning and then Christmas dinner followed by more music and a buffet that evening, with everybody checking out on St. Stephens day,” he added.
Most hotel staff members have volunteered their time at some stage over the few days and many of the hotel’s food suppliers as well as local people and businesses in Doolin have contributed in some way also.
“A lot of the most vulnerable in our society find Christmas a stressful time. Hopefully our offer will ease the burden for some of them and hopefully we’ll give them a Christmas to remember. We’re certainly looking forward to it, and looking forward to making a few new friends come Christmas Eve,” Mr Minihane added.
Hotel Doolin which opened in 2007 is an award winning boutique hotel with a strong environmental and charitable ethos.
It hosts many annual events including the Doolin Folk Festival, Doolin Writers Weekend, Doolin Craft Beer Festival and Doolin Harley Weekend and is a hub for musicians, artists, writers.