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:
High Standards and Self Regulation