“To Ukraine with Love” – ​​Irish hotels raise flags and donate to support a people in crisis

As I was walking through Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter the other day, I stopped in front of the Merchant Hotel.

His posh five-star hotel is located in the former headquarters of Ulster bank, with a dramatic sandstone facade. But that wasn’t the reason I took a picture.

It was the pair of Ukrainian flags displayed on planters on either side of the stairs.

Shortly thereafter, I opened an email from Gregan’s Castle, the Blue Book country home in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.

“To Ukraine with love” was the theme. Inside were details of a Mother’s Day offer, which read: “100pcs of our sales [will go] to help the refugees from Ukraine and to feed those who are left behind”.

All proceeds from the €399 B&B and Dinner Special will go the Irish Red Cross and World Central Kitchenpromises it.

For its part, The Merchant is holding a £50 fashion show on April 9th ​​to raise funds for the UK’s Disaster Emergency Committee humanitarian appeal.

The ” fashion tee” see local celebs and sports stars take to the catwalk with an auction for prizes including a night’s accommodation, artwork and a Michelin-starred dinner for four at Eipic in Belfast.

“We have placed Ukraine flags in front of the hotel to show solidarity with our Ukrainian neighbors – a small gesture perhaps, but not without meaning,” says Petra Wolsey of The Beannchor Group, which runs the hotel.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to raise awareness and funds for this important appeal.”

Gregan’s and The Merchant are just two examples of hospitality businesses across the island that are pooling ideas and events to support Ukraine even as they face rising costs, staff shortages and the challenge of recovering from Covid.


A Ukrainian flag hovers over a giant peace sign set up by protesters outside an EU and NATO summit in Brussels this week. Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

These challenges, of course, pale in comparison to those faced by the Ukrainian people after Russia’s horrific invasion increasing attacks on civilians.

“Like many others, we felt compelled to do something small to help,” says Lisa Wilkinson of The Wicklow Escape, which runs a charity run ( register here) on 10.4.

100 of the €25 ticket sales go to SOS Children’s Village in Poland, she adds – a charity that provides direct aid to abandoned children and foster families from Ukraine.

“We hope this walk in our beautiful back garden in Wicklow will attract other like-minded people who are just as shocked as we are by the extent of the suffering caused by this conflict,” says Wilkinson.

Some companies have an additional desire to help because they employ Ukrainian staff or have suppliers or families with Ukrainian connections.

“Our butcher is Ukrainian, some families arrived this week and some stayed to fight,” says Paul Finegan, GM of Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey, Co Wexford.

“It’s a similar situation to many hotels and businesses across the country, I imagine.”

The hotel ran a fundraiser during the St Patrick’s Day holiday with proceeds from the €20 tickets and the food and bar going to the Irish Red Cross Appeal.

“The band donated their fee, many employees gave extra time and worked for free – MC, printer, everyone helped,” says Finegan (€13,500 raised so far).

The hospitality industry’s response mirrored that of many others, with exceptional fundraising efforts ranging from local bake sales to corporate donations.

Other examples include €15,000 from a raffle at Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan, €1,000 donated by Glamping Under the Stars in Co. Laois and free coffee this Good Friday from Ósta W8 in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim in return for donations to the Sligo-based charity, Fast Response Ukraine.

And the Merchant Hotel isn’t the only one flying a flag.

“The Ukrainian flag also flies in front of Europe Hotel & Resort to show the hotel’s support and solidarity,” said Michael Brennan, Managing Director of Killarney Hotels Collection.

It is donating all proceeds from a sold out Mother’s Day lunch this weekend to the Irish Red Cross and MSF appeals.

“We are shocked by the events taking place in Ukraine and hope that our donation will help alleviate the suffering of the extraordinary humanitarian crisis,” he says. “To Ukraine with Love” – ​​Irish hotels raise flags and donate to support a people in crisis

Fry Electronics Team

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