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TOURIST bible Lonely Planet has listed Ireland in the top ten countries in the world to visit.

TOURIST bible Lonely Planet has listed Ireland in the top ten countries in the world to visit.

According to Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2015, we are the fifth best country for travellers to spend time in next year.

Ireland features fifth on the list of top countries ahead of the Philippines, St Lucia and Morocco.

"Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions - music, dance, whiskey and beer - firmly intact and the cosmopolitan, contemporary Irish are just as friendly and welcoming as their forebears were known to be," the guide said.

Republic of Congo and Serbia are listed behind Ireland in sixth and seventh places, while Singapore is placed first ahead of Namibia.

The ranking for Ireland will be welcomed by tourism chiefs and the hospitality industry across the country.

According to the book, Irish people "themselves are inevitably at the heart of the best the country has to offer".

"Attend a traditional music session in a small pub in County Clare. Hook up with a walking club and do a little cross-country ambling on a soft Sunday afternoon.


"Go surfing at Rossnowlagh Beach in County Donegal. Or just strike up a conversation over a pint with the gang sitting next to you in the pub. It's these connections that will make you want to come back," the guide says.

The top ten cities in world listed by the guide has Washington DC as the best urban centre to visit. It is followed by El Chalten in Argentina and Milan in Italy.

For those looking for a getaway closer to home, a historic British town has made into a top 10 world cities' list.

According to the guide, Salisbury in Wiltshire, England has "for too long been considered Salisbury a short stop on the way to Stonehenge".

"But 2015 is set to be the year visitors linger in this quintessentially English city as Salisbury uncorks the champagne for the 800th anniversary of its greatest treasure, the Magna Carta."

The popular guide goes on: "The lightning rod for the celebrations will be Salisbury Cathedral, the neck-straining medieval masterpiece whose Chapter House holds the Magna Carta.