The holiday camp in Mosney, Co. Meath opened its doors to campers in 1948. With a capacity of 2800 campers and another 4000 day visiters.
Billy Butlin brought his tried and tested holiday formula from the UK where all the other Butlin camps had proved to be such a big success with the post-war population. All of Butlin's camps were designed to the same specifications, and all had to include a boating lake, something Billy Butlin had a mild obsession about. Although the site in Mosney was smaller than its British counterparts, it still included the trade-mark chalets, huge dining hall, amusement arcade, theatre and swimming pool. Butlin's camp Mosney also offered "A week's family holiday for a week's wages", and the company never stinted in offering achievable and affordable glamour for a mainly working-class customer.
Although an immediate success with people from all over the country, the Catholic Church went into a state of near apoplexy when the camp opened. The Catholic Standard newspaper stated quite clearly that: "Holiday camps are an English idea and are alien and undesirable in an Irish Catholic country . . . " The Irish people ignored the Church's concern for their moral welfare but Butlin, wary of how people actually used to listen to the Church back then, built a Catholic Church in his camp to pacify the hierarchy.
Butlin's sold Mosney as a going concern in 1983.
In 1995 the owner signed a five year, £15 million deal, allowing the Irish government to use the former Holiday camp as a detention centre. The camp now houses asylum seekers from over 50 different counties.