Ryanair launches new Irish route as airports gear up for St. Patrick's weekend
Tens of thousands of passengers are expected at Irish airports as the 2019 tourism season begins
Ryanair has announced a new route from Dublin to Billund in Denmark, a twice-weekly service taking off from October.
The announcement comes as airports and airlines prepare for a busy St Patrick's weekend, with Dublin alone expecting 350,000 passengers between Friday and Monday - a 6pc rise on last year.
Passengers are flying to and from Cheltenham, Ireland's St Patrick's Festival celebrations, and Ireland's Six Nations rugby match in Cardiff... and the airport advises arriving at least 90 minutes before departure times.
Ryanair says it will fly over 70,000 customers to Ireland this weekend... with 6,000 or more of them named 'Patrick' - or some variation of the name, including Patricia, Pat or Pádraig.
It has launched a 'Shamrocking Sale' to celebrate, with seats on its European network available from €17.99 for a limited time.
St Patrick's Day traditionally marks the start of Ireland's tourism season, with government ministers travelling around the world and Tourism Ireland overseeing the 'Global Greening' of hundreds of landmarks.
Cork is also busy, with new figures revealing it as Ireland's fastest-growing airport, thanks to a 10pc jump in customers (to 151,000) in February, when compared to the same month last year.
New routes like Aer Lingus's year-round service to Lisbon and a daily Air France route to Paris are driving the growth, with 40,000 passengers expected this weekend, and 2.6 million passengers throughout 2019, it says.
Cork has seen nine new routes in the past year, and Ryanair has announced new winter services to Katowice as well as Alicante, Budapest, Malta and Poznan - all extensions of existing summer services.
This year, the airline has also promised new winter flights from Dublin to Milan Malpensa and Ireland West (Knock) to Tenerife.
This week also saw the commencement of Irish Ferries sailings from Dublin to Cherbourg on its new, €150m W.B. Yeats 'cruise-ferry'.
Sailings to France take around 18 hours, Irish Ferries says - departing at 16.00 and arriving in Cherbourg at 11.00 the following day.
Read more:First Look: Inside the W.B. Yeats, Irish Ferries' €150m cruise ferry