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St Patrick's Day visitors spent staggering s122m

THEY came, they dressed in green, they partied and they left behind €696 each.

The 140,000 tourists who visited Dublin for the St Patrick's Festival made a significant contribution to our economy.

New figures suggest that The Gathering is paying off for hotels and retailers.

Failte Ireland says there were more people from higher spending markets in the country for the national festival this year and larger numbers staying in paid accommodation.Excluding travel expenses, the average visitor spent €280 more for the holiday than the average spend of €416 two years ago.

Overseas visitors generated revenue of €109m, bringing the total for the event to €122million, double the 2010 figure.

Failte Ireland estimates that 140,000 people from overseas attended the festival, up 37pc on two years ago.

One in four foreign guests came from the US.