Ireland's tourism figures have risen over the last year.
Ireland's Central Statistics Office recently announced that in the first 6 months of 2011, almost 3 million visitors arrived through Irish airports and ports. This is an increase from 2.6 million in 2010, confirming 'a more positive picture overall than this time last year'
When they left Ireland in 1691, Patrick Sarsfield and his followers took the name 'Wild Geese' - as a reminder of their homeland. They one day hoped to return to Ireland, just as wild geese do. But many of them - including Sarsfield - would not see Ireland again. Instead, they settled in communities all over the world. These recent figures are a reminder of this and it is touching to see the hopes and dreams of The Wild Geese®
are still alive - people are still 'returning home to Ireland'.
|The Rock of Cashel, in South Tipperary
Although 2010 was plagued by the closure of European airspace as a result of the Icelandic volcano, Ireland has hosted some very important visits this year - from Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II - each of which attracted a global audience, and have resulted in a rise in tourism.
The recent figures have also solidified the relationship between Ireland and the US. Visitors from the United States have increased by 17% with 462, 400 more visitors in the first half of this year
During his visit in May, US President Barack Obama spoke about the bond between the US and the country of his ancestry:
'This little country that inspires the biggest triumphs - - in America and Ireland alike - - are still to come'
With Ireland's tourism industry facing a new prosperity, there have been discussions to open up new routes to Ireland from the US, making it easier for people on the West Coast to visit the home of their ancestors.
- Irish Central