Give yourself the best chance of survival

Do you check the financial health of your business? If not, you should do so regularly. Here’s how.


As a business owner, it’s crucial that you are fully up-to-date with the overall financial health and wellbeing of your company.

To achieve this, ratio analysis is a great way to do it. Ratio analysis is one of, if not, the most powerful tool for keeping track of your finances.

It is calculated by comparing a number of different aspects of your company, including:






•Investor returns

The ratios are calculated by taking current year figures and then comparing them to past years, other companies, or the sector you are in. They can also be used to benchmark your business against leaders in your sector.

Ratio analysis can act as an early warning system.

Download the template now, see above left. Also, we have a handy guide to ratios.

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Supper Club – a new network for female entrepreneurs

Dell EMC and GirlCrew have joined forces to launch a new network for female entrepreneurs called ‘Supper Club’.

The Supper Club idea is simple –  to build a network of female entrepreneurs.

At Supper Club, female entrepreneurs can meet to exchange advice and share ideas and strategies for success. 

Dell EMC also runs the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), an annual gathering of entrepreneurs to address the challenges faced by women when starting and growing a business. 

“We have received feedback from women entrepreneurs around the world – consistently they highlight the value of fostering a network of female entrepreneurs,” says Aisling Keegan, vice president and general manager for Dell EMC Ireland.

Supper Club’s first meeting will take in Dublin on June 21, and more information about the initiative can be found via Dell EMC’s social media channels as well as through GirlCrew. 

Founded by Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Aine Mulloy, GirlCrew has more than 80,000 members across 46 cities worldwide.
Pictured above are: Aisling Keegan, vice president and general manager for Dell EMC Ireland; Louisamay Hanrahan, co-founder of dating app Luvguru; Louise Dunne, co-founder of beauty app Glissed; and Pamela Newenham, co-founder of GirlCrew.

MORE INFO: Inspirational Irish business women.

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Nine of Ireland’s best-kept tourism ‘secrets’

The Guinness Storehouse and the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s top two tourist destinations. However, our island has many hidden gems. What’s your favourite? Here are nine of ours. 

The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 220,000 people and generates an estimated €5.7 billion in revenue a year. 

Following the release of Fáilte Ireland’s annual list of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, ThinkBusiness looks briefly at some of the lesser-known, but magical tourist spots the Emerald Isle has to offer. What’s your favourite? Let us know on our Facebook page.

torc waterfall

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

Located five miles from the centre of Killarney, this 60 ft. tall waterfall is a must-see for anyone touring the south-east coast of Ireland. The water falls from the Torc Mountains via a river known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The site also offers a two-hour walk for visitors, which includes a 220 step climb looping around the waterfall and back towards the car park.

The Rock of Dunamase, Co. Laois (main image)

Standing at over 45 metres in height, this ancient bedrock overshadows the surrounding countryside. Part of the reason why this site goes unmentioned in the official high-profile tourism reports is that there is no visitor’s centre. Nor does it offer any tours. The area is also a popular place for film crews when shooting in Ireland. The age of the rock remains disputed, but it’s believed to date back to 845 AD.

Ardgillan castle

Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

Situated along North Dublin’s elevated coastline, Ardgillan Castle is one of the most breathtaking landmarks on this island. The park consists of almost 200 acres of woodland and gardens which overlook the Mourne Mountains to the north, and Lambay Island to the south. The castle grounds are a sanctuary for many species of animals, mammals and birds.

St Michan’s Church, Co. Dublin

Located in the heart of Dublin city centre, this church holds claims to nearly 1,000 years of Christian history. The church is known for its famous vaults which contain many mummified remains. The walls in the vaults contain limestone, which has kept the air dry, creating ideal conditions for preservation. It’s a very spooky place, and one of the hidden gems of Dublin. 

blacksod lighthouse

Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo

This historic lighthouse played a key role at the end of World War II when in 1944, a weather forecast from the lighthouse keeper was received by General Dwight Eisenhower. It led to one of the biggest military operations in world history. D-Day was scheduled to take place, but when Eisenhower heard about the bad weather forecast from Blacksod lighthouse, he decided to delay the invasion by one day and saved it from ultimate failure. Blacksod is one of the most western points along the Wild Atlantic Way. 

marble arch caves fermanagh

The Marble Arch Caves, Co. Fermanagh

The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves, formed thousands of years ago by a cave river, eroding and dissolving millions of tonnes of limestone, to carve and shape the majestic passages. Visitors can experience a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers.

Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

There is a campaign to make Valentia Island – and the station where, in 1866, the first trans-Atlantic communications took place – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read more here. 

corlea bog road longford

The Corlea Trackway, Co. Longford

The Corlea Trackway is an Iron Age bog road dated to the year 148 BC which crosses the bog lands close to the Shannon, near the village of Kenagh in Co. Longford. According to the experts who excavated the ancient road, it would have been built to allow the movement of wheeled vehicles. An exhibition centre exploring the unique nature of the Corlea Bog area was opened in 1994. It’s a must visit when exploring the midlands. Read more – there’s also a fascinating mythology behind the road.

martello tower

The James Joyce Martello Tower, Sandycove, Co. Dublin

Located eight miles from Dublin city centre, The James Joyce Tower – like many other Martello Towers – was built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon. It now holds a museum dedicated to the life and works of James Joyce, who made the tower the setting for the first chapter of his classic, Ulysses. Sandycove is also home to the famous 40-foot swimming area and close to the beautiful tourism hotspots of Dalkey and Vico Road. 

The ‘official’ top 20s

Here’s the list of the top attractions in Ireland for 2016, as compiled by data from Fáilte Ireland.  


  •    Guinness Storehouse; Dublin; 1,647,408
  •    Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Clare; 1,427,166
  •    Dublin Zoo; 1,143,908
  •    National Aquatic Centre, Dublin; 1,037,992
  •    Book of Kells, Dublin; 890,781
  •    Tayto Park, Meath; 762,000
  •    St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; 563,000
  •    Castletown House & Parklands, Kildare; 547,324
  •    Powerscourt House & Gardens, Wicklow; 467,507
  •    Fota Wildlife Park, Cork; 465,281
  •    Kylemore Abbey & Garden, Galway; 458,000
  •    Blarney Castle, Cork; 420,000
  •    Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin; 390,970
  •    Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny; 384,918
  •    Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Clare; 352,286
  •    Rock of Cashel, Tipperary; 338,830
  •    Emo Court  House & Gardens, Laois; 293,056
  •    Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin; 269,000
  •    Dublin Castle, Dublin; 253,786
  •    Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; 229,085


  •    The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; 755,577
  •    Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; 584,856
  •    National Botanic Gardens, Dublin; 583,539
  •    Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork; 480,000
  •    National Museum of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin; 479,261
  •    Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin; 413,900
  •    National Museum, Collins’ Barracks, Dublin; 411,391
  •    Farmleigh, Dublin; 383,335
  •    Newbridge Silverware Museum, Kildare; 350,000
  •    National Museum – Natural History, Dublin; 317,269
  •    Galway City Museum; Galway; 213,390
  •    Connemara National Park, Galway; 210,812
  •    The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; 193,229
  •    Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; 178,302
  •    Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Donegal; 177,333
  •    Malin Head Viewing Point, Donegal; 162,468
  •    Kilmacurragh Gardens, Wicklow; 156,045
  •    National Museum of Country Life, Mayo; 107,855
  •    Grianan of Aileach, Donegal; 104,398
  •    Gallery of Photography, Dublin; 80,000

READ MORE: Here’s how to export your products and services to the world.

Article by Stephen Larkin.

Images from ShutterStock and Ancient Ireland.
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Plynk raises €25 million to make it easier to share money

ThinkBusiness talks to Charles Dowd, co-founder of Plynk about bootstrapping and belief.

Plynk co-founders

Speaking to ThinkBusiness, Charles Dowd (left), a former product manager at Facebook, and now co-founder of Plynk is in a good mood.

His new business Plynk has just announced a €25m Series A investment led by private investment trust, Swiss Privée Ltd.

Headquartered in Dublin, Plynk, the money-messaging app was co-founded by Dowd and Clive Foley (right). The solution was clear – to remove the complexities of money transfers, making it simple, fast and free for young people to send money phone-to-phone. 

“The idea was simple, and our ambition was evident from the start,” says Dowd. “We wanted to be a pan-European money messaging app, but more than that we want to be a social network based on money. We make money more shareable, just like content is shared between friends across mobile. We had belief in our idea and we needed to validate it in Dublin, so we launched it in Trinity (TCD).”

Having spent over four years working on the product side of things at Facebook, Dowd says the idea for Plynk came from observations he made while working for the world’s largest social network.

“People tend to take money very seriously. Recent research suggests that 42% of people in Europe have lost a friend over a small personal debt. The problem is mainly felt by millennials,” says Dowd.

“Young people want immediate solutions. They are not going to invoice someone if they are owed money.”

Linked to users’ social networks, Plynk users can send money as a message to a single contact or in-group chats instantly and with no fees. Once an account is created, users receive a payment account with a dedicated IBAN and virtual Mastercard for online payments.

Dublin is where it’s at

Plynk started in Dublin in 2015.

“We bootstrapped this from the get go,” says Dowd. “We just walked into the Bank of Ireland Workbench in Grand Canal Square and got to work. When the Innovation team at the bank saw what we were doing, they rolled in behind us and supported us. I think they could see we were serious and had a product that had significant potential.”

The next markets for Plynk are Spain and Portugal. 

“I worked in Portugal, and we know Spain and both are very mobile and social markets with large, young populations that are quick to adapt to new, useful technologies. Our target market is 18-24-year-olds, and our strategy is to launch Plynk in University campuses.”

Will Plynk stay headquartered in Dublin? 

“Yes, no doubt,” says Dowd. “Dublin is where it’s at regarding finding the right talent to expand. The people are here. The business culture is real. It’s the perfect launchpad to Europe. We will open up other offices in Europe but our HQ will stay in Ireland.”

Plynk is available on Android and iOS

READ MORE: What’s it like to start a business in Ireland?

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Nine creative and quirky summer camps in Ireland

Here are nine creative and quirky camps operating in Ireland and a short guide on how to start your own summer camp business. 

Are you a business owner with children? Do you need to keep them busy over the summer holidays? Perhaps you want to start a summer camp?

As carefree as summer camps aim to be for young people, behind every good camp is a serious business. Here we look at some of the quirkier, less run-of-the-mill Irish summer camps, and how you might go about setting up your own. If you know of other really cool summer camps, let us know on our Facebook page.

Summer camp


With programmes on campuses right across Ireland, Whizzkids has established itself as the number one camp for kids and teenagers interested in tech. The week-long camps teach young people about coding, web design and much more.

More info here.

Wizard Academy 

If tech isn’t your child’s thing, perhaps witchcraft and wizardry could be more down their street? Modeling itself as Ireland’s answer to Hogwarts, this County Meath-based camp offers kids classes in potions, magical creatures, spells and more. 

More info here.

creative summer camps

Kids Army Bootcamp

Is it time your child learned some survival skills? Based in the wilds of Enniskerry, Basecamp East’s summer camp offers children a range of survival-style training, from air rifling to bushcraft. 

More info here.


For those looking for something more creative, Starcamp promises to boosts kids’ confidence through singing, acting, hip-hop and other performance activities. The camp caters for both boys and girls from the ages of four to fourteen with venues right across Dublin.  

More info here.

Fight Factory Pro Wrestling 

Time to trade in the football kit for spandex? Based in Bray, FFPW is Ireland’s number one pro wrestling school, with former trainees having gone on to superstardom in the WWE. Trainees must be at least 14 years of age. 

More info here.

Punch Lion

Specialising in family friendly comedy shows for children, Punch Lion Comedy Clubs also run comedy workshops for kids, teaching everything from improvisation and stand-up comedy. Different classes cater for ages ranging from 5-12, with workshops for teenagers also on offer.

More info here.

Run Away With the Circus

Juggling, unicycling, pyramid building, diablo, hat manipulation – these are just some of the skills being taught by Circus professionals during this week long summer camp in Cloughjordan this July. Suitable for over eights, with separate groups for teenagers. 

More info here.

summer camps4

Dig it Kids 

Dig it Kids works with teachers and early school practitioners to bring archaeology and history to life in the classroom (and out of it). The camp is tailored to meet the Aistear Programme and the School Curriculum.

“Our mission is to provide fun, hands-on learning for young archaeologists and historians, supporting the Irish curriculum,” says Stephen Mandal, co-founder. 

More info here.

creative summer camps ireland

Irish School of Archaeology

For more fun digging, the Irish School of Archaeology runs week-long camps over the summer in its Harold’s Cross and Malahide locations. The camps are aimed at youngsters aged between 7-12 and activities include a Viking house excavation, weaponry and combat, treasure hunts, and a real life archaeology dig. 

More info here.

Running a summer camp as a business 

Got an idea for an Irish summer camp? Here are a few things to consider before you get started. 

  1.    Scope

A summer camp is a business like any other, so before you get started you need to decide the scale of your operation and who you need to cater for. How many kids can you facilitate at a time, and for what age groups? Can you accommodate children with special needs? What kinds of activities will you offer, and what kind of facilities will you require? 

  1.    Business plan 

Once you know exactly what your camp will look like, it’s time to draft a business plan. A good business plan will help you secure investment, and will be a guide for developing your business. Download a great business plan template here.

  1.    Book the venue

Deciding on the venue requirements for your camp is an vital first step. Will you require playing fields, a computer room, or a theatre space? Figuring this out early is crucial, as community centres can get booked up quickly for the Summer months. 

  1.    Vetting

If you’re responsible for looking after kids, you’ll need to go through the Garda vetting process; as will the staff you employ at your camp. Hiring people who already have Garda clearance, like a teacher or Montessori employee on summer holidays, could save time. 

  1.    Health and safety and insurance

Meeting the appropriate health and safety requirements is a must, as well as getting public liability insurance. Make sure to shop around for the best quote. 

  1.    Marketing 

It’s time to fill those places. You need to decide on a budget and the strategy for your marketing. How are you going to differentiate yourself from other camps in the market? Will you place ads in local press or online? Do you have a social media strategy? Can your budget stretch to ads for the national newspapers, radio or TV? Sometimes it can be effective to contact local schools to ask about putting up posters or handing out fliers. Start planning, download a free marketing plan template here.  

Article by Peter Flanagan.

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From banking to dream building


Frank Kelly, a former banker, is now running an experiential luxury travel firm from Tipperary. His target audience is the ‘culturally curious’. 

frank kelly

My formative career was in banking in London with NatWest Bank. After “escaping” branch banking, I had a series of relationship management roles in franchise finance and international banking. I then moved into banking software sales with travel around African and Asia. Then, the entrepreneurial bug caught me, and I went into marketing consultancy and event management. 

What is Hennessy & Furlong?

Hennessy & Furlong, named after my godparents, specialises in experiential luxury travel. We offer customers exclusive access to private castles and historic homes. Guests are welcomed inside by the owners themselves, never an employee guide. Our guests enjoy the experience of being shown around special private homes by their owners. The magic is enjoying relaxed hospitality with their hosts. 

What prompted you to start the business?

There was no eureka moment as such. I know it’s a hackneyed phrase about following your passion, but I have always been excited by travel. Not just going to signature places but finding those places that are “behind the scenes” and not readily accessible. 

Living in London, I have the pleasure of a private tour of No. 10 during Tony Blair’s premiership, a reception at the Houses of Parliament and other exclusive experiences. The excitement of those private visits tour remained with me and is the benchmark when it echoes with the experiences for our guests

Also, when I travelled on business around Asia and Africa, I was often invited inside places that one would never read about online or in any guidebook. 

hennessy and furlong

How did you start the business? 

I was very fortunate to go to the UCD Innovation Academy to develop the concept during an intensive programme in “Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise”. 

It’s a “learning-by-doing” programme. It made me realise the importance and necessity of a diverse team to bring an idea to fruition. 

Explain more about teamwork and diversity

Through The UCD Innovation Academy, I met other students and alumni who recognised the potential for Hennessy & Furlong. One fellow student, Jason Cooke, came on board as our brand director. Likewise, David Keane, another alumnus, was setting up his website design consultancy, Inkstone. Keith Currams, a videographer, again an Academy graduate, was attracted by the potential to share the Hennessy & Furlong brand with engaging videography. Surrounding ourselves with others who have an entrepreneurial mind-set is vital. 

A broad range of skills and knowledge in the team is crucial to unleashing the value of our experiences to our prospective guests and stakeholders.  

hennesy and furlong

How supportive are state agencies?

Tipperary Local Enterprise Office was our first stop. They were encouraging with both seed funding, in-kind support with digital marketing and sales leads. 

Likewise, Fáilte Ireland was supportive with dedicated mentorship and group workshops with other businesses in the cultural tourism space. The development of the Ireland’s Ancient East branding was perfect timing for us. That new destination brand, aimed at the “culturally curious” aligns neatly with our brand message. 

What needs do you satisfy?

We all have a natural curiosity about people and places that may not be readily accessible. Through our network of contacts and careful relationship building, we can arrange access to places and people that would not be usually available. Indeed, Fáilte Ireland refers to our market as the “culturally curious”. 

hennessy and furlong

What trends do you see in the travel marketplace?

Authentic, local experiences are increasingly being sought by visitors. Indeed, there is an increasing demand for experiences as opposed to products and possessions. 

How do you find these people and places?

Meticulous research, leveraging our network and referrals from people “in the know”.

How did you validate your idea?

The UCD Innovation Academy mantra is “customer discovery”. In practice, that meant conducting “customer conversations” with visitors as they were leaving sites such as The Rock of Cashel and Bunratty Castle. We also listened carefully to others in the travel space: the five-star hotel managers, the premium tour operators and the travel writers. 

What is your key customer segment?

Our target guests are American visitors who are well-educated and for whom travel is part of their lifestyle. They value authentic experiences and love exclusivity. 

What is your focus at the moment?

•    Keeping our team focused, motivated and excited;

•    Sales and revenue – the heartbeat of any business;

•    Finding smart investors (as opposed to passive ones) who share our passion and want to be part of our future success, as well as earning a return on their investment.

Is the business scalable?

Good question. In our view, yes. We watch the evolution of the London-based premium home rental company ONEFINESTAY which is a “high-end AIRBNB” though with a concierge service. Likewise, in the United States, IFONLY sells excellent experiences. For us, scalability will be contingent on a mix of enthusiastic hosts, adequate capital and growing out a team of people. 


What is your ultimate ambition?

To be recognised as the go-to company for exclusive experiences; to attract people and partners who share our passion for unearthing unique, enriching and memorable experiences; to build a financially solid company that rewards our people, our hosts, and our investors. 

Any advice for other startups?

Keep focusing on the customers’ problem as much as possible before designing your solution. Surround yourself with a diverse and motivated team. Validate, iterate as needs be – and never, ever give up. 

Images © Stephanie Joy Photography; © Kees Van Seventer.


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Learn to say no – be more productive

How busy can you get? As a business owner or an employee, it can be tempting to say yes to everything. This is not good. Learning to say no is a skill most of us have to develop, suggests Moira Dunne, from


During my first job as a consultant, my client told me that I had the ability to say no while making other people feel good about it. I think it was a compliment? It wasn’t something I planned, but when I analysed my approach, I realised I was protecting my work time so I could deliver on my commitments. I always tried to help, but if I couldn’t at the time, I would explain and offer an alternative.

If your boss insists that you still do everything, this can be a subtle way to highlight that your boss is being unreasonable, maybe unintentionally.

Saying yes is natural

For most of us saying yes comes more naturally than saying no. People genuinely want to help people. We want to be known as “a team player” and don’t want to be difficult. We don’t want to appear overloaded with work either as if we can’t cope with our role. So learning to say no is a skill most of us have to develop.

learn to say no

Saying no by saying yes

So how do we do it? Well, the best way to say ‘no’ is actually to say ‘yes.’ By that I mean to say no to dropping everything at the time of the request but say yes to the time or approach that suits you better. Take control. But do this professionally with consideration so that the requester understands and is happy with your alternative suggestion. And then follow through.

The requests we receive loosely fall into two categories:

1.    A request from an employee or colleague for help or advice

2.    A request from your boss to do extra work over what was agreed

A request from a colleague for help or advice

If you can’t help straight away, offer an alternative time that suits both schedules. Alternatively, consider if you are the only one who can help? If help is needed more urgently, consider if you can direct the requester to a report or training material or another expert.

Of course, there are times when we need just to drop what we are doing and help.

A request from your boss to do extra work

If you are already working on a plan that was agreed with your boss, then you are in a good position to negotiate. Offer to do the additional work but point out: “This is what I am working on based on the plan we agreed. I will happily do this new work, but I may need to push out one of the original tasks.”

So your objective is to get approval to free up time to do the new task. That way if one of the original tasks doesn’t get done, there is a common understanding why. 

If your boss insists that you still do everything, at least you have provided a reminder of your current workload based on the agreed plan. This can be a subtle way to highlight that your boss is being unreasonable, maybe unintentionally.

learn to say no

Tone of the message

As with most business interactions the tone of delivery will greatly affect how your message is received. Find your own words. Use your judgement about how best to position your response. Consider the other persons’ perspective. If you are clear in your head about why you are responding the way you are, it will start to come naturally.


Of course, there are times when we need just to drop what we are doing and help. Again we have to use our judgement and knowledge of our work situation to identify these times. This will not be a time for alternatives or rescheduling.

Learn to say no – five steps

  1. Strive to say yes if you can
  2. If you can’t, explain your reasons professionally
  3. Provide an alternative
  4. Be committed to the alternative
  5. Negotiate priorities if saying yes

Saying no can increase your credibility

Saying no from time to time can increase your credibility, as long as it’s done in a professional way. Saying no (or yes with conditions) can sometimes be the right thing to do for your role, your team, and your organisation.

Saying no successfully is all about using your judgement. It’s a trade-off between being helpful and being in control of your work life.

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Calculate your holiday entitlements

This handy calculator, for employers and employees, is a guide for annual leave entitlements, including part-time workers.


Annual leave

All employees, both contracted by your business or by an employment agency, are entitled to annual leave. An employee is entitled to:

  • Four normal working weeks of annual leave in a leave year. A leave year runs from April 1st to March 31st.
  • One-third of a working week per month in which at least 117 hours was worked; or
  • 3.8% of the total hours worked in a leave year, subject to a maximum cap of four normal working weeks (the method generally used for calculating part-time or casual employee entitlements).

An employee who has worked with your business for at least eight months is entitled to two weeks’ annual leave, uninterrupted.

Annual leave should be taken during the leave year in which the leave was accumulated, or within six months of that leave year. Carrying over leave is a matter for agreement between you and your employee.

start a part time business

Generally, it is best for employees to take leave within the same leave year, but in practice many employers tend to be more flexible. As an employer, you need to avoid ad hoc arrangements that may impact on the smooth running of your business.

Annual leave is not affected by other leave provided for by law. Time spent on maternity leave, parental leave, adoptive leave, and the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave is treated as though employees have been working.

Payment for annual leave is at the normal weekly rate of remuneration. The onus is on you, as the employer, to ensure employees receive their annual leave entitlement. Remember that all employees are entitled to get public holidays off. They are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • St Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May, June and August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day

Remember that Good Friday is not a public holiday. If an employee wants to take it off, it should come out of their annual leave. However, some employers give employees this day off as a gesture.

Find out more about annual leave.

New parent

Maternity leave

If an employee becomes pregnant while in employment, she is entitled to maternity leave. This right extends to all female employees (including casual workers), regardless of hours worked per week or the amount of time she has been an employee.

Remember, however, that employers are not obliged to pay employees on maternity leave. Payment is based on qualification for maternity benefit, which is available with sufficient PRSI contributions. If the employee qualifies, the Department of Social Protection pays the benefit. Depending on the employee’s contract, she may receive a top-up from the employer to make up her full rate of pay.

Female employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ paid maternity leave, along with an additional 16 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave, which begins directly after the end of maternity leave. Entitlement for public holidays still applies to employees on maternity leave, while annual leave can be accumulated while the employee is on maternity leave.

The employee is entitled to return to work with the same contract of employment after maternity leave. If it is not reasonably practicable for you to allow the employee to return to her job, you must provide her with suitable alternative work. This new position should not be less favourable than the terms of her previous job.

Remember that paternity leave is not recognised in Irish employment law, and is at your discretion.

Please see this online resource for more information on maternity leave.

anxiety at work

Sick leave

There is no obligation for you to pay an employee who takes sick leave. It is purely at your own discretion, as outlined in the employee’s contract. An employee may avail of illness benefit if they have enough PRSI contributions, however.

If an employee is absent from work through sickness for more than two consecutive days, you can ask for a GP’s letter. You can also seek weekly medical reports if the employee is out for a longer period of time.

An employee’s entitlement to public holidays or annual leave is not affected by sick leave, provided a doctor’s note is provided.

Carer’s leave

Such leave allows employees to leave employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of it. The person the employee will care for does not need to be a family member, but could be a colleague or friend. Employees are entitled to carer’s leave of at least 13 weeks up to a maximum of 104 weeks.

Carer’s leave is unpaid, and employees can take leave as one block or in shorter periods adding up to 104 weeks. If the leave is broken up, the employee will not be entitled to commence another period of leave for the same cared-for person until at least six weeks after the previous period of leave ended.

Remember that to qualify for carer’s leave, an employee must have at least one year’s continuous service with you, the employer. Read more about carer’s leave online.

starting a business ireland

Parental leave

Such leave allows parents to take leave from employment in respect of certain children for up to 18 weeks per child. Leave can be taken for a child up to eight years years of age. If the child was adopted between the age of six and eight, leave can be taken up to two years after the adoption.

If a child has a disability or long-term illness, leave may be taken up until he or she is 16 years old. Employees are not entitled to any pay while on parental leave. See this online resource on parental leave  for more information.

Adoptive leave

Only an adoptive mother is entitled to take leave from employment after adopting a child, unless a male is the sole adopter. An employee is entitled to 24 weeks’ adoptive leave. The employee may be paid adoptive benefit by the Department of Social Protection during this time. The employee is also entitled to an additional unpaid 16 weeks’ leave after the adoptive leave ends.

The employee has the same rights to return to work as with maternity leave, and must also give four weeks’ notice of the intention to return. More information can be found with this online resource on adoptive leave.

wellness at work

And remember

Document leave entitlements. Ensure that all leave entitlements, statutory or otherwise, that your business offers are included in letters of employment and in a company handbook.

Track annual leave against entitlements. Avoid disruption to your business by having formal processes in place for employees to request leave and log days taken versus entitlements.


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Six magical Irish tourist spots

Here are six inspirational tourist spots that are ‘off the beaten track’ and involve a little action.

2016 was the best year ever for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records. 10.5 million people visited the island of Ireland. For 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by 4.5% in 2017 to bring in €5.7 billion to the north and south of the island.

While the major attractions will always draw the big numbers, smaller, inventive tourism entrepreneurs are emerging. Below are six that are leading the way.

Winterfell Tours

Where? Newcastle, Co Down.

Game of Thrones fans can walk in the footsteps of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow. Just a 40 minute drive from Belfast, Winterfell Tours offers twenty of the most prominent Game of Thrones film location spots including Winterfell Castle, Robb’s Camp and Walder Frey’s Twins. A must visit for all ‘Thrones’ fans.

Pure Magic tours

Pure Magic

Where? Dollymount, Dublin

A charismatic water sports company in Dollymount, Pure Magic, has a team of instructors dedicated to all things kite surfing and SUP (stand up paddleboard). It’s known for exceptional customer service. There’s also a Pure Magic Lodge on Achill Island for action-packed getaways.

mor active

Mór Active

Where? Killarney

If you’re searching for a deep insight into Ireland’s natural beauty, culture, and traditions, Mór Active is a good call. It offers tailored activity, culture and eco tours. You can see the wonders of Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, and the Wild Atlantic Way through the eyes of an expert. Founded in 2007, Mór Active’s glowing TripAdvisor presence sets an example for other Irish tour operators to follow.

Bike park

Bike Park Ireland

Where? Roscrea, Co Tipperary

With the first trail constructed in 2012, Bike Park Ireland soon became the first official mountain bike park in Ireland to offer a day out for cyclists of all skill sets. There are six downhill trails and the uplift service – an ex-army truck with 30 bus seats and a bike trailer – turns uphill transportation into a real adventure.


Shane’s Howth Hikes

Where? Howth, Dublin

Just half an hour from Dublin city centre by car, Howth village provides a welcome escape from city life. Shane’s Howth Hikes tours are as popular with locals as they are with visitors. Customers can book ‘The Howth Heritage Free Walk’ as a starting point, and if they’re keen to explore more, the ‘Howth Safari’ is an inspiring hike.

Boyne boats 1

Boyne Boats Adventure

Where? Drogheda, Co Louth

One in five tourists visit a destination because they have seen it on a TV show. Boyne Boats’ currachs were used in the filming of Game of Thrones. The Boyne Boats adventures include ‘Paddle like an Iron Islander’ and ‘The King’s Tour’. The tour is an hour of rich local heritage as customers learn to paddle like a true warrior. This is one of Ireland’s real hidden gems.

Do you want to start a tourism business?

Interested in setting up a tour or activity company, or finding tips for your existing one? Here are five tips for finding the right price for your tours and activities.

Related Resource

WANT TO START YOUR OWN TOURISM BUSINESS? Make sure you have your business plan right and get the money you need.


Article by Lucy Fuggle of TrekkSoft. Images from TrekkSoft, HBO and Shutterstock.

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Brexit guide – test the impact of price changes

The winds of change are blowing. Brexit will have an impact on Irish business. This free sales forecast template can help you forecast your sales. It allows you to vary your pricing and see the impact it will have on your profits.

This useful template has three inter-related resources, each of which is on separate tabs within the document. The tabs are as follows:

  1. Unit sales price template. This allows you to vary your pricing and see the impact. The figures you input into this tab will be reflected in the second tab, which is a sales forecast.
  2. Forecast of sales. This allows you to forecast your sales on a month by month basis over a period of 12 months. Figures you input into that spreadsheet will be picked up in the next spreadsheet, which is the P&L.
  3. P&L template. This will show you a net profit or loss for your business.

“You can easily create a sales forecast but you can test out different scenarios based on the data you input.”

This template should be used in conjunction with our free and Business Plan Template to give an overall view of your business and its performance.

Remember, prepare for change, don’t wait to react to it.

YOU MAY ALSO FIND INTERESTING: Help is at hand for Irish companies who want to export to markets other than the UK. Find out more.

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