More tourists flocking to Ireland
Ireland is welcoming more and more tourists from around the globe - except Britain, latest figures reveal.
An official survey shows an almost 4% jump in the number of overseas visitors between last September and November, compared with the same three months the previous year.
Numbers arriving from North America rose nearly 20% to 269,500 during the period, which took in the Notre Dame v US Naval Academy American football game at Dublin's Aviva Stadium. The event attracted an estimated 35,000 people from the US.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) report also reveals an almost 6% hike in tourists coming from continental European countries and a near 8% increase in visitors from all other parts of the world.
There was a 3% drop - down to 673,700 - in arrivals from our nearest neighbours across the Irish Sea.
Despite that fall-off, Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said he was encouraged by strong growth in visitor numbers from Europe, North America and other long-haul routes.
"Our marketing efforts have moved up a level to promote the Gathering 2013, and have received a further boost with Ireland's inclusion in Fodor's Travel Go List of top destinations to visit in 2013," he said.
" USA Today has included The Gathering Ireland 2013 in its five 'buzz-worthy destinations for 2013', while Rick Steves' has included a hurling match as one of the '8 magical experiences in Europe'."
Mr Varadkar added: "This positive coverage will help us to fill the expected 20% extra capacity on transatlantic flights into Ireland this summer."