It has long been alleged that Telecoms companies and international supermarkets have called Ireland "Treasure Island" because of the high prices they charge people here compared with the rest of the world. One quick comparison on any clothes tag will show that the same item costs much less in the Sterling equivalent. I don't know what it is about us Irish, but we seem to not mind paying over the odds and it looks like one hotel chain have picked up on that. My Dad was over visiting this week and with both of us short on time I wanted to take him for a special breakfast so we headed over to the Shebourne Hotel which is now owned by the Marriott (who are a large American company).
We ordered a bunch of stuff knowing full well it would be priced pretty steeply, but it was my €18.50 omelette that I wanted to focus on. What arrived was a 3 egg omelette with cheddar cheese, a wilted sprig of shitty parsley and some frozen hash browns. I'd seen the price on the menu so was expecting something pretty spectacular. Maybe somebody making the omelette at the table? Huge hand made hash browns gently fried in butter? Three servers lightly fanning me down with palm leaves as the eggs were laid in front of me by the plumpest of hens. Maybe a string quartet and the manager in his three piece suit regaling me with light early morning humour? Instead I got a three egg omelette with cheese. The surroundings were certainly very plush, but not more so than KC Peaches or Spar which are both within 50 yards and where I could have had something similar washed down with a coffee for a fiver.
People love going to the Shelbourne to feel all grand- to have a Christmas drink, to see the Irish rugby team or to smell the flowers in reception. Nobody minds paying a Euro extra for a pint or top dollar for an afternoon tea, but there is only so much you can be ripped off. The ingredients would cost about a Euro and a good omelette is traditionally said to take 30 seconds to make, so that is a whopping €17.50 mark up on the end product. Call Bertie and lets all start leasing choppers and buying hot tubs again, because it looks like the Celtic Tiger is back on "Treasure Island".