More people banking on better value by holidaying at home
MORE Irish people are deciding to holiday at home in a bid to save money.
As the busy summer season officially gets under way this weekend, a survey of more than 2,000 people found that almost one third will be taking their main holiday in Ireland this year.
The results will come as a huge boost for those in the hospitality sector, which has seen numbers drop dramatically in recent years.
Just under 40pc of respondents said they will go abroad -- this is significantly down from 53pc two years ago.
A quarter of respondents said they will split their main holiday between Ireland and a foreign destination -- with many believed to be choosing a trip to the European Championships in Poland.
Value for money is the main consideration when it comes to choosing a holiday destination, followed by location, weather and the activities on offer.
Angela Keegan, managing director of property website MyHome.ie, which conducted the survey, said a significant number of people were now holidaying at home due to financial pressures.
"Overall 78pc of those surveyed said they believed there was now better value available in Ireland," she said.
Those choosing to stay at home this bank holiday weekend will have plenty to keep them entertained with hundreds of events and festivals taking place across the country.
• Over 10,000 athletes are expected to take part in the Cork city marathon on Monday.
A highlight of the race will be the fact both defending champions -- Sergio Ciobanu and Angela McCann -- will be defending their titles for the first time in the race's history.
Another highlight is that Tom Corkery -- who ran the first ever Cork marathon back in 1982 -- will be returning in an attempt to match his time 30 years later.
Meanwhile, the Innishannon Vintage Steam Rally, one of the biggest gatherings in Ireland of vintage cars, bikes and tractors, takes place in west Cork.
• Large numbers of visitors from Northern Ireland have descended on Donegal and Sligo this weekend because of the Queen's Jubilee bank holiday there this weekend.
A record 12,000 people are expected to attend the Rory Gallagher tribute festival in Ballyshannon tonight where ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor is the headline act.
Huge crowds are expected at Glenveagh National Park tomorrow and on Monday for a range of activities aimed at children. Birds of prey will be on display, with traditional music and history tours.
• LOVERS of Irish coffees should head for Foynes, Co Limerick, this weekend for the 'Foynes Irish Coffee Festival'.
The world famous drink was first manufactured in Foynes in 1943 by local chef, Joe Sheridan, for weary flying boat passengers arriving into the country on transatlantic voyages.
Demonstrations on how to make a perfect Irish coffee will be held at the flying boat museum in the village today and tomorrow.
Jazz enthusiasts will be entertained at the Doonbeg International Jazz Festival in Clare. Up to 30 bands from across Europe are taking part until Monday evening.
• The country's longest-running literary festival, Listowel Writers' Week, continues until Sunday.
In Killarney, 40,000 motorbike enthusiasts are expected for the Ireland Bike Fest 2012. The Bike Village on the grounds of the Gleneagle Hotel hosts technical areas, stands and three live music stages.
Cahersiveen is playing host to the first Wild West Ireland Festival and the town's saloons will be buzzing throughout the weekend featuring quick draws, fancy dress and street entertainment.
• It's set to be a weekend of craic in Kilkenny as world-class comedians take to the stage.
The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival kicked off with Des Bishop and other funnymen for a sold out show last night.
This year's line-up will include comics from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia -- and of course, home favourites such as Des Bishop, Karl Spain, Jason Byrne, Neil Delamere and Colin Murphy.
• The Little Havana Festival will take place in Galway's Latin Quarter over three days with salsa groups, live music and even a salsa band with a celtic theme, Salsa Celtica.
The Castlebar Blues and Beyond Festival in Co Mayo takes place this weekend with a range of free gigs.
The Connemara Rough Diamond adventure race will take place in Letterfrack today. Involving a run, assault course, bike ride and a mountain race, the event is the ultimate challenge for any sports junkie.
• Over a dozen balloon teams from around the world will converge on Tullynally Castle for the Castlepollard Balloon Rise in Co Westmeath.
Entry to the castle grounds, including the woodland and walled gardens, will be at a special rate of €12 per car.
Literary fans will gather in Athlone for the annual Goldsmith International Literary Festival, which celebrates the life and work of Anglo-Irish writer and poet Oliver Goldsmith.
Meanwhile, everything was looking rosy yesterday in Laois, where the regional finals for the Rose of Tralee began. The competition will continuing until tomorrow night when 23 of the 54 Roses will be selected to go forward to the televised selection in August.
Additional reporting by Ralph Riegel, Barry Duggan, Greg Harkin, Majella O'Sullivan, Eimear Ni Bhraonain, Caroline Crawford