Stephen is one of many hosts across Ireland who might not meet your standard definition of a host on Airbnb. After retiring from 40 years of service in the hospitality industry, he began hosting on Airbnb to help fill an income gap while waiting for his pension to kick in. Since joining as a host in March 2016, he’s found his experience to be a positive one and hasn’t looked back since.
“I host in my hometown of Dun Laoghaire which is not just the most beautiful neighbourhood in Dublin but probably in the world, if you ask me! We’ve got wonderful restaurants, cinemas and shops to take advantage of. We’ve got lovely swimming spots, the best ice-cream in Ireland and of course, the magnificent promenades out to the sea all on offer,” says Stephen of why his neighbourhood is popular with visitors.
“My guests come from every corner of the world and each has their own story. I have hosted everyone from travel writers and actors to sports personalities and Youtube influencers,” says Stephen and he’s not wrong. Last year, In Ireland, 1.2 million guests visited the country and stayed with hosts across Airbnb like Stephen.
And those visitors provide an additional boost for the city, last year, the average guest in Dublin spent €129 a day. As a local, Stephen has a wealth of local knowledge that he can pass on to visitors. Hosts like Stephen are great regional ambassadors with local recommendations that benefit the shops, restaurants and sites in their neighbourhood, like the Oratory Dun Laoghaire which is rich in local history. “To me, it’s a bit like the Sistine Chapel meets Book of Kells. The Oratory Dun Laoghaire was hand painted by Sister M. Concepta Lynch between 1920 and 1936 using the symbols of Early Irish Christian Art which is interesting to see and learn about no matter what your religion.”
If you find yourself in Dun Laoghaire Stephen also insists that you visit the James Joyce Tower and Museum; “It’s an absolute must because it’s the launch site where Ulysses set off in Joyce’s epic novel but if you’re not a literary fan, bring your togs. The Forty Foot is located right beside the tower and a place you can swim 365 days a year.”
While money is part of the story, Stephen insists it’s not everything. “The income is very necessary and welcome as my pension does not kick in until next year but the social aspect of Airbnb is wonderful, and one I hadn’t anticipated when I signed up. As a community of hosts, we’re spoiled for choice on social outings with fellow hosts,” Stephen said.
For a pensioner, Stephen has not let his age impede his ability to host. He jokes, “the Airbnb website and app make everything so easy and feasible to communicate with my guests before during and after their stay. There is no doubt my computer skills have improved!”