Holidaying at home on rise as more of us go for staycations
Staycations remain a firm favourite among Irish holidaymakers, with further increases in domestic travel in 2015.
Figures released by Fáilte Ireland reveal that 3.8 million domestic holiday trips were taken in Ireland last year, representing an increase of 6pc on 2014's statistics.
Meanwhile, the amount spent on holidays in Ireland rose to €939m, an increase of 10pc.
Over half (58pc) of Irish residents took at least one holiday trip in Ireland in 2015.
Cork and Kerry remained the most popular getaway choices for domestic trips, claiming 22pc of all domestic holidays in 2015.
The Rebel County and the Kingdom were closely followed by the South East (19pc) and the West (19pc), as well as Dublin and the East Midlands (both 12pc).
Alex Connolly, a spokesperson for Fáilte Ireland, said the figures showed a "healthy" industry for domestic travel in Ireland.
"Even though last year wasn't a great summer, more Irish holidays were taken at home," he said.
"The Wild Atlantic Way has generated a lot of interest in the west coast," he said, adding that the re-brand of Dublin tourism and the launch of Ireland's Ancient East will also deliver in the future.
"These brands are going to be around for the next 10 to 30 years," he added. "Next year, we will see their influence more clearly."
Tom Randles, a hotelier who runs two hotels in Killarney, welcomed the figures and said the increased traffic had been noticed last year.
"2015 was probably the first year in a while where business began to get back to appropriate levels," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Randles, who owns the Randles and Dromhall hotels, also said that more people were coming out-of-season, particularly during the autumn and winter months.
"The summer was busy, but the winter of that year was particularly striking for us," he added.
"We definitely saw a return of the weekenders, which we wouldn't have seen for a few years," he continued.
"We had a lot more people taking short breaks with us, maybe on a Saturday or Sunday but also midweek."
But he added that more Irish people were opting for longer stays, extending the usual length of their trip from one to two days.
Asked about the role of the Wild Atlantic Way in encouraging staycations in Killarney, Mr Randles said it had been a "huge success".
"It's accepted by everyone that a lot more people living abroad need to be told about it," he said.
"But it will lead to more joined-up tourism in the long run."
The Wild Atlantic Way also gives visitors other locations to consider during their visit, highlighting nearby sights such as Dingle, the Beara Peninsula and other attractions.
Ireland's stately homes and castles were the top attraction frequented by those on staycations, with 26pc of holidaymakers visiting them.
They were followed by hiking or walking excursions (23pc) and visits to national parks (22pc).
Poor weather, with rain and cold temperatures, ranked as the top grievance for Irish holidaymakers, with 56pc citing it as an annoyance.
It was followed by expensive accommodation (27pc), pricey food (22pc) and entry costs to attractions (4pc).