THE tourism industry got a much needed boost in the autumn as visitor numbers rose almost 4pc.
There was a particularly strong surge in visitors from north America with numbers up 20pc, mainly driven by the Notre Dame Navy American football match in Dublin.
However the number of visitors from Britain which remains Ireland's most important market were down by 21,000 in the period September to November 2012.
Total visitor numbers to Ireland for the first 11 months of 2012 fell by
1,100 to 6.057m compared to the same period of 2011, new Central Statistics Office figures show.
However Irish people are travelling abroad in greater numbers than in recent years with 5.94m foreign jaunts from January to November.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said he was pleased to see growth last autumn , but overall 2012 had been a mixed year for tourism.
"Certain markets performed particularly well, including North America and Germany which had one of their strongest years ever; and long haul markets look set for a record year" he said.
However the British market was challenging thanks to a flat economy and weak consumer confidence there.