Before Gathering, a pause

While hopes are high that "The Gathering 2013" will provide a significant boost to the number of people visiting Ireland, the year to date has been showing a small drop in visitor numbers compared to the same period in 2011.

New figures from the Irish government's Central Statistics Office show about 5,631,300 trips were made to Ireland thus far this year.

Last year, for the same period, 5,652,500 such trips were made by visitors.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Despite this, the Irish Times reported, there has been a small increase in travel to Ireland in the most recent months.

From August to October 2011, approximately 1,919,800 trips were made. This figure amounts to an increase of 29,800 trips over the same three months in 2012.

Meanwhile, more than 116,000 more trips abroad have been undertaken by Irish people so far this year than were made by visitors to the country, the report added.

The most frequent visitors to Ireland this year have been from Great Britain, the Benelux countries (Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg), France, Germany and Italy.

Visitor figures for complete years are as follows: 2011 6.51 million; 2010 6.04 million;

2009 6.93 million; 2008 7.84 million; 2007 8.01 million; 2006 7.71 million; 2005 6.97 million and 2004 6.57 million.