Big visits a big boost

The recent state visits by Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama have given Irish tourism a shot in the arm.

Tourist hotspots have seen a welcome rise in visitor numbers, with hotels and travel sites also seeing an increase in the amount of enquiries and bookings over the past week.

Aebhric McGibney, director of policy and communications at Dublin Chamber of Commerce, estimated the global publicity could be worth as much as €150 million euro in advertising terms for Ireland.

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The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, which the queen visited during her four-day visit, is so far the biggest beneficiary, with an almost 50 per cent rise in visitors.

"We're hearing a lot of Irish voices in there, families seem to be stopping off to have a look, which is very welcome," site manager Elaine Moriarty said.

The Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, which both the queen and president visited, is also enjoying a rise in popularity.

Mr. Obama visited his ancestral homestead of Moneygall for just a few hours, but the impact of the trip will remain long into the future. Ollie Hayes' pub, where Mr. Obama had a pint of Guinness, is seeing a brisk increase in trade and Guinness itself received a major global coup when Obama, unlike the queen, took hold of his pint and quaffed it with evident relish.

Despite this, however, Guinness parent company told staff in Ireland after the Obama visit that it would seek redundancies in support functions and marketing as a result of a reorganization of its business across Europe. Reports indicate that Diageo is looking for 70 redundancies in its Irish operation which employs about 1,700.