Dublin has been named the best city in the world for a weekend break, by a top US travel magazine.
Beating off stiff competition from the likes of Paris and Rome, readers of Global Traveler said it was Dublin they had enjoyed spending time in the most.
It is a result that comes as no surprise to tourists out and about in the capital.
“I’m from South Wales and this is our third time in Dublin,” one woman told Newstalk’s Josh Crosbie.
“We love the city, we’re here for a hen do. [There’s] live music and we just love the atmosphere.”
When asked what she considered to be the best thing about the city, she replied with no hesitation.
“Drink,” she said.
Another man was equally enthusiastic about his holiday destination.
“I love the energy,” he said.
“Everybody is just good-looking as well.”
Repeat visitors were not in short supply, with one group from England delighted to be back.
“We’ve travelled from Birmingham today, we’re on a stag do,” a tourist said.
“We’ve been to Dublin about six, seven times - we love it.”
The news also came as no surprise to a local who spotted to talk to Josh.
“One thing I’ve noticed from having travelled around a lot, there’s nowhere more humble than Dublin,” he said.
“We’re such a multicultural city - it’s so diverse with the people you meet.
“From an outside perspective, I’d say it is a great place because you don’t know who you could meet from where [and] what experiences that you’re learning from them.
“As a local, I’d say definitely it might be a small city but it’s not short on places that are, as we like to say, good for the craic.”
'They love the friendly people'
Overall, the enthusiasm for the city is music to the ears of Tourism Ireland’s interim CEO.
“To get that vote of confidence in Dublin is fantastic,” Siobhán McManamy told Newstalk Breakfast.
“What we hear from the US visitors [is] they love the friendly people, they love the fact that you can be in a bustling city centre one minute and then out by the coast in a very short period after that.
“All of that is really adding to the vibrancy of Dublin this summer.”
Ms McManamy said the recognition really “shines a spotlight” on Dublin and is a great talking point in Tourism Ireland’s target markets.
Last year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans visited Ireland and industry insiders hope the number will be larger in 2023.
“So, we’ll have 16 gateways from the US into Ireland this year and we’re looking forward to a really strong autumn as well from the US market,” she said.
“We’ve 40,000 visitors coming to the US Navy, Notre Dame US football match at the end of August.
“That will really give us a good platform to launch for the rest of the year.”
Prior to the pandemic, international tourism was worth €5.6 billion to the Irish economy.
Main image: A tour group by the Molly Malone statue. Picture by: Alamy.com