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16th Nov 2021

Most ice-skating rinks in Ireland may not reopen this Christmas

Katy Brennan

Bad news for fans of the festive activity.

It looks like one of Ireland’s favourite winter activities may not be on the cards this year, as owners of ice-skating rinks across the country say reopening is unlikely.

Blanchardstown On Ice looks set to be one of, if not the only, ice rinks to open this year.

However, unlike most businesses that have found themselves forced to remain closed in recent times, the situation here is not due to Covid.

Speaking to NewsTalk, Fran O’ Connell from Limerick On Ice said reopening is “not looking good”  because of insurance issues.

“What has happened is insurance companies, which are usually based out of London, have expressed that there is no appetite for the Irish leisure market.

“We had no claims, in our eyes. We’re totally claim free and I know a lot of others are the same as well, but they’ve decided they’re not interested.

“Everybody loves ice skating at Christmas. It has become part of the tradition at Christmas now in Ireland.

“The effect of this is that not only ice rinks will be affected but also the very diverse leisure industry. At Limerick on Ice over 45 people who normally work there won’t have any work this Christmas.”

He went on to explain that most ice rink operators would typically have insurance rates of between €10,000 and €25,000 per season.

This year, however, one of his colleagues received a quote of nearly €300,000 for the five or six-week period of opening.

One of Dublin’s most popular ice rinks Dundrum On Ice has also announced it will not be going ahead this year.

In a statement, it said:

“After a period of consultation with stakeholders including the Department of Health, local politicians, suppliers, and staff we regret to inform you that our ice rink in Dundrum Town Centre will not be returning for this winter season, 2021.

“As you can imagine, we are as disappointed as you are but it will all be worth it when we can return safely which we hope to do next year.

“As always thank you for your support and we look forward to welcoming customers old and new in 2022.”