Bizzare Irish business ideas that worked

From the most haunted house in Ireland to ‘glamping’ in airplanes, here are five quirky ideas that became real businesses. 

Eva Milka

A business woman in Carlow is breeding snails and selling them abroad. 

Who knew there was a gap in the market for snails in Ireland? Eva Milka found them difficult to find when she moved to Ireland and decided to start breeding them for her own consumption. However, when she heard there was a shortage of escargot globally, she realised Ireland’s rain-soaked soil was perfect for mass snail production. She discovered early on that the traditional French method of snail breeding doesn’t work in the Irish climate, so she developed a unique ‘Irish method’ of breeding on her one acre Carlow farm. While domestic demand is modest, food connoisseurs on mainland Europe have been clamouring to try Milka’s Gaelic snails.  

boeing 767

A funeral director in Sligo has sailed a Boeing jet across the sea and wants you to camp in it.

If you’re interested in camping along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, but you don’t fancy messing around with a tent, there’s a funeral director in Sligo who’ll put you up in a disused taxi, a boat, a train carriage, a double decker bus or a Boeing 767. David McGowan’s ‘Quirky Camping Village’ received national attention ever since it came to light that he’d purchased the Boeing 767 from Shannon airport and was transporting the jet to the campsite by boat. The Boeing came safely ashore in May, 2016

spy bus dublin

A Mum in Balbriggan has bought a Dublin Bus and is using it to train children to become spies. 

Lifelong James Bond and Sherlock Holmes fanatic Olive Gilsenan almost gave up on her dream of opening a spy training camp for kids when she struggled to find cost-effective premises for her activities. Then in 2015, the Dublin mum discovered that Dublin Bus was selling out-of-service buses. The idea for Spy Bus was born. Available for both parties and summer camps, Spy Bus promises activities like target shooting and code breaking for kids and forensics and ballistics classes for teenagers.  

loftus hall haunted house

There’s a haunted mansion in Wexford that’s been transformed into a tourist hotspot. 

Located on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, Loftus Hall is a 22 bedroom mansion that’s supposedly haunted by the Devil and the ghost of the young woman he tormented there. English planters the Loftus family took over the estate in 1666, and the story goes that the devil came to pay the house a visit during a storm and caused a bit of a stir. The 60-acre estate has changed hands numerous times since (Bono was rumoured to be the owner at one point), before being purchased by Aidan Quigley in 2011. It’s now a tourist attraction, offering interactive guided tours of ‘the most haunted house in Ireland’. 

Men in spandex are pummelling each other with steel chairs before bloodthirsty, paying audiences.  

Professional wrestlers Leonard Hanna and Joey Cabray struck gold when they realised there was an appetite for an adults-only, edgier brand of wrestling. They ran their first event, Over the Top Wrestling, in the Tivoli theatre in 2014 and have quickly developed a cult following in Dublin. The monthly events are sell-outs, with people flocking to check out the over the top, often violent brawls on display. 

READ: I have a great business idea but I need to raise money. How do I do it?

Article by Peter Flanagan. Images from;; Eva Milka; and Philip Lange /