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Souvenir shops stock up ahead of presidential street party

CAN we sell it? Yes we can! Souvenir sellers are expecting a field day on Monday as thousands flock to see US President Barack Obama at events in Moneygall, Co Offaly; and Dublin.

'Is Feidir Linn' T-shirts, American flags and tricolours are expected to be the biggest sellers at Carroll's souvenir shops, which have stocked up specially for the event.

Clothing such as T-shirts and scarves has been easier to source in a hurry than items such as mugs and other giftware, while they had ramped up orders for American flags, said Carroll's managing director Ray O'Connell.

"With 5,000 to 10,000 people in the city for most of the day to enjoy the music and everything else, there's going to be a huge party atmosphere which will be good for sales," he said.

Queen Elizabeth's visit had been a completely different affair because people had been put off going into the city centre because of road closures, but this would be more festival-like, similar to Bill Clinton's visit in the 1990s, he predicted.

However, exporters predicted the queen's visit would be worth more ultimately, providing a boost to exports to the UK, which were worth €27.8bn last year -- the highest of any market, but still below the high point of €30bn in 2007.

"We are confident that the state visit from the UK will re-position Ireland and Irish products and services in a more favourable light in the hearts and minds of UK consumers, and will boost our exports above the €30bn level this year," said Irish Exporters Association chief executive John Whelan.


Meanwhile, a new survey has found that a majority of people believe Mr Obama's visit will bring hope to Ireland.

Some 58pc of those questioned by Amarach Research said it would boost confidence at home and 68pc said it would be good for Ireland's image abroad.

Some 55pc said they felt proud about the visit, the survey of 1,000 people found.

However, a third felt it would have no impact on confidence levels and 19pc were completely indifferent.

Irish Independent