A surge in staycation camping has unleashed a pandemic boom in tent sales.
Demand shows even the Covid cloud has a silver lining for camping gear shops nationwide.
Car hire companies reported many people renting vehicles for holidays at home are buying tents rather than paying for hotels and guesthouses.
One couple even admitted they had slept in their hire car while touring Ireland because accommodation was too expensive.
The big increase in tent sales, with many bargains on offer, is partly the result of people choosing outdoor living and recreation in response to the pandemic, said Matthew McConnell, who works at the Great Outdoors in Dublin.
“We were very happy when we heard Taoiseach Micheál Martin saying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible this year,” he said.
“We’re selling at least 50pc more family tents. People feel that being outdoors is a safer way to socialise.”
At the Cotswold Outdoors shop in the capital, supervisor Ross Morgan said: “Camping gear sales have shot through the roof.
“We can hardly keep camping gear in the shop at the moment.
“We’re selling a lot more of our cheaper bigger tents for families. Our sales must be up 100pc. A lot of people buying tents for the first time want to see them and all the gear before buying rather than shopping online.
“Many of them are finding it quite exciting to be planning camping holidays around the country.”
Katie Kelly, of O’Meara Camping in Crumlin, Dublin, which has been in business 60 years, said demand has soared as people who are not heading abroad this year are looking for the freedom of being able to move about the country with a tent.
Hotels are encouraging would-be staycationers to contact them directly when seeking deals for holiday stays, including mid-week special offers.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Hotels Federation said the latest occupancy survey, conducted last month, showed occupancy levels for hotels and guesthouses nationally of 36pc for July and 30pc for August, although it said bookings had most likely increased since then.
“We would encourage people to explore all parts across the country, where there may be wider availability including at peak times,” the spokeswoman said.
“There is excellent value to be had all across the country. Guests should shop around and contact hotels directly to find out about the special offers that are available.”