Updated March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 2012: Ireland Will Call Irish-Americans Home

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In order to generate an economic stimulus for a country deeply mired in European debt, Ireland will be calling its global citizens home through a coordinated national effort set to be launched on St. Patrick's Day 2012.

(Click Image to Enlarge)
Infographics: St Patrick
Infographics: St Patrick © CreditDonkey

Overview of Ireland’s economy in recent years

  • Ireland has suffered one of the sharpest drops in its standard of living of all developed countries.

  • House prices throughout the country continue to drop by double digits, with Dublin house prices falling 52 percent since the beginning of the recession.

  • Ireland’s current unemployment rate is 14.3 percent.

  • Strapped by job losses and personal debt, Irish consumers are holding onto their money even as the government slashes its domestic spending. This combination of government austerity and personal thrift could send the country deep into a double-dip recession with its European neighbors unless exports, including foreign tourism, can pull the country up.

  • Rising emigration data suggest the Irish are largely taking to their feet, rather than taking to the streets, to improve their personal fortunes. In 2011, more people left Ireland than returned (34,100 more).

Travel Tips

Fortunately, Ireland’s natural beauty remains largely unmarred by the economy; tourism, representing about 2 percent of Ireland’s export revenue, is recovering and is contributing to the Irish economy. Stay tuned for information about The Gathering if you are among the descendents of the Emerald Isle. A major Irish tourism marketing plan will be officially launched by Ireland’s larger tourism bureaus on St. Patrick’s Day 2012. The Gathering, a year-long tourism extravaganza of events, festivals and programs designed to bring record numbers of visitors to Ireland, is being planned through a coordinated effort of the Irish government, local communities, private businesses, clubs and other organizations.

Even if you’re not one of the Irish global citizens, now is the time to take advantage of what the Emerald Isle has to offer. Follow these travel tips:

  • Summer is the most expensive travel season in Ireland, and better deals are available in the spring and fall. Because Ireland’s climate is relatively temperate and does not experience extremes from season to season, the spring and fall are very pleasant seasons.

  • Do your homework and look for deals online. While traditional hot spots may remain pricey based on popularity, costs elsewhere are down as much as 50 percent or more from highs during global boom times. Seventy-one percent of tourism businesses surveyed by Fáilte Ireland, a government-sponsored tourism development agency, offered more competitive prices in 2011. Meanwhile, a quarter of travelers said the value of their travel in Ireland last year was “very good,” and two-thirds called it “good.”

  • Because the property market in Ireland is so troubled, many homes, apartments and even hotels are in foreclosure or owned by the government and/or foreign banks. You can find inexpensive places to stay, but don’t expect five-star service or accommodations in some properties. Do your homework and decide how much you are willing to compromise on service to save money.

  • Look for discount wars in various tourism services (such as coach tours) and shop for bargains.

  • Negotiate for good rates - you have nothing to lose in Ireland’s present economy.

  • Don't forget to use no foreign transaction fee credit cards to save money.

(Writing by Annette; Graphic Design by Marcelo)

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