HUNDREDS of European and US investors have snapped up Irish bonds as the country passed its first key test since the exit from the EU-IMF bailout.
Reflecting Ireland's new-found international reputation, the bond offering was more than three times oversubscribed.
Some €3.75bn in Irish bonds were sold -- but offers totalling €14bn came in, according to the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), the State's debt management body.
Some 26pc of bonds were bought by the UK, while the Nordic counties bought a further 15pc of the bonds on offer and North American investors purchased 14pc. In a further sign of renewed confidence, wealthy Middle Eastern investors bought bonds for the first time in years.
The bonds were sold with a yield or interest rate of 3.54pc, highlighting how far Ireland has come since it was priced out of the global markets just three years ago. The yield for investors had soared to 9.1pc when Ireland was forced to seek the bailout.
NTMA chief executive John Corrigan said the sale also "helps open the debt markets for Irish corporates and Irish banks".
Fund managers, banks and pension funds made up the majority of the buyers -- considered to be long-term investors.
Bank of Ireland has moved quickly to capitalise on the success by signaling it will also return to the market in the coming weeks for longer term financing.