Big game boosts figures

The number of British visitors to Ireland fell sharply over the summer, according to the latest figures from the Irish government's Central Statistics Office.

But September was a brighter spot as a result of visitors from North America, most especially those who attended the Emerald Classic football game between Notre Dame and Navy.

There were more than 80,000 fewer trips by residents of Great Britain to Ireland, a decrease of almost nine per cent for the July to September period compared with the previous year, the CSO numbers show.

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But there was an increase over 2011 in visitors from other European countries of 2.6 percent, and from North America - up by 3.6 percent - in the July to September period.

Visitors from North America were up by a fifth for the month of September.

"We welcomed 36,000 American football fans for the Notre Dame v Navy game, reflecting the importance of large-scale sporting events for our tourism industry," said Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland.