The Association was formed in 1974 with 11 founding members who realised that there was a gap between the bed and breakfast accommodation and the larger hotel industry which was not being marketed at that time. By filling this gap the Association has ensured the economic well being of some of Ireland's historic properties which might otherwise have fallen into decay.

There are 48 properties in the 2017 edition of Ireland's Blue Book, with an additional 2 exclusive rental properties. Members are selected on a strict criteria basis with the emphasis being on properties who have a strong individualistic style and character and who are not members of hotel chains. The Association's unique combination of Country Houses, Castles, Historic Hotels and Restaurants all add a distinctiveness which is unlike any other marketing organisation. They represent the finest of Ireland's hospitality, accommodation and cuisine.

The Association is the only Irish member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of Europe which is an umbrella Federation representing 18 similar associations in 16 European countries.

Definition of Blue Book characteristics include:

Uniqueness
Environmental Awareness
High Standards and Self Regulation
 
Uniqueness - Each property is different in style, setting, ambience and atmosphere. In an age of increasing uniformity this is indeed unique. The uniqueness of the properties is further enhanced by the development in innovative cuisine which draws heavily on the provision of local fresh and organic produce.

Environmental Awareness - In owning and developing historic properties the members are responsible for the development and preservation of heritage houses in a sensitive and environmentally friendly way.

High Standards and Self Regulation - The Blue Book operates under the statutory rules and regulations of broader tourism industry. However, it is unusual in being self regulating and it maintains its own high standards. It is the ultimate accolade for a restaurant or a country house to be invited to join the Association.

We hope that this gives you, the reader, an idea of our Association and that you will want to come and experience for yourself the delights of a Blue Book property.
 
If you are a hotel, country house or restaurant interested in joining the Blue Book association please click here for further infomation.