Yes, it feels like summer and we're ready to splash out this Easter
GOOD weather is doing more than lifting our spirits -- it's delivering a multimillion euro boost to the economy.
As hundreds of thousands of people take to the roads this weekend to celebrate Easter, hotels, restaurants and shops report a hugely welcome lift to business.
From icecream to barbeques, sales have soared along with the temperature -- a huge change from last Easter when the country was emerging from a bout of ice and snow.
Last-minute bookings for accommodation have been booming this week as families decide the good weather makes it worth heading away, according to the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
"Impromptu bookings are on the up, that's been a strong trend in recent years, and when you get a fine spell like this they really increase," said IHF chief executive Tim Fenn.
Hotelier Bill Kelly of Kelly's Hotel in Rosslare, Co Wexford, said they were fully booked out and had been inundated with last-minute callers hoping there might be a cancellation.
"It's like the summer out there, everyone is going around in T-shirts, and we've even had people eating breakfast outside, there's definitely a great lift," he said.
"Normally hoteliers don't like two bank holiday weekends in a row, because people can't afford to go away twice, but the good weather is helping to make up for that and even midweek bookings are strong," he said.
Fota Wildlife Park said business this week had been phenomenal and they expected this to continue all weekend.
"We've been getting 3,000 to 4,000 people every day which is on a par with August, and they're coming from every neck of the wood," said marketing manager Stephen Ryan.
"It's been a long hard winter and I think people like a break from all the doom and gloom. The baby boom has also done us a lot of good, because there's a lot of little people about to be entertained," he said.
Over 200,000 passengers will travel through Dublin Airport this weekend, way up on a normal weekend, Dublin Airport Authority said.
More than 1,700 flights will arrive and depart over the bank holiday weekend making it crucial people leave plenty of time for checking in, they said.
Dublin is among the top five destinations for holidaymakers flying out of Heathrow this weekend, according to the British Airport Authority.
Icecream is flying off the shelves this week with sales up 43pc on the same week last year according to Tesco which expects to sell 50,000 tubs of icecream over the weekend.
The barbeque season has kicked off with sales of burgers, and spare ribs up 12pc on the same week last year, Tesco said.
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