Tourism booms as numbers visiting here soar by 13pc
Tourism is booming with the number of people visiting Ireland soaring by 13pc already this year.
And Irish people are also taking more foreign breaks than they have in years, new Central Statistics Office figures show.
Some 1.78m visitors arrived in Ireland between February and April 2015 which is over 200,000 more than the same time last year and the highest in the last three years, the Overseas Travel report shows.
The strength of sterling making trips to Ireland better value may have contributed to a 9.8pc surge in British visitors with over 808,000 of them arriving in the period. The number of north American visitors also surged by 20pc to 237,600.
However the number of European visitors also surged by 14.7pc to 640,400, with strong growth seen from Germany, France, Spain and the Benelux countries.
Scandinavian countries were the only ones to see a dip in the numbers arriving, the CSO figures show.
There was a 24pc increase in the number of tourists arriving from more far-flung destinations, helped by more favourable visa requirements.
However, the figures also show that consumers in Ireland are also getting away more with an 8pc increase in the numbers travelling overseas in the early part of this year.
Some 1.46m people ventured overseas - over 100,000 more than the same time last year - though no breakdown is available of where they went.
With the promising start to the year for tourism, those working in the industry will be hopeful that visitor numbers exceed the 7.6m people who travelled to Ireland during 2014.
At the current rate of increase the numbers should exceed the 7.84m tourists who came here at the end of the boom in 2008,
Tourism Ireland is also hoping that the passing of the marriage referendum on Saturday will boost visitor numbers further with a new campaign to target the gay wedding and honeymoon market.