JUST 7% of Americans visiting Ireland this year will come to Offaly, according to a new survey. Although the pending visit of US President Barack Obama should change all that!
The monthly Amárach Research/Irishcentral.com survey of Irish American attitudes, (the Irish Diaspora Omnibus) - published to coincide with St Patricks Day – shows that while one in five plan to visit Ireland this year almost two thirds hope to make the trip in 2012, providing a much needed boost to the Irish tourist sector.
The survey of 1,100 was carried out over last weekend. It shows that physical ties to Ireland are strong, with 7 in 10 having visited at some point. The main motivations for visiting Ireland are the opportunities to ‘explore the country and see the sights’ (70%), while 51% will visit relatives.
Of those visiting Ireland this year 65% will go to Dublin, 55% Galway, 44% per cent Cork, 31% Donegal. Mayo also ranks high on the visitor list with 27% of those travelling to Ireland in the next 12 months saying they will stop in Mayo. Offaly meanwhile ranks at just 7%.
The survey shows that a love of Irish music and Irish literature unites Irish Americans at both ends of the age spectrum. Music, film and documentary and literature are the topics of most interest to those over the age of 55, while music, dance and literature most engage 18 to 34 year-olds.
More than half, 56%, indulge their interest in Irish music 2 to 3 times a month and almost one quarter, 23%, indulge their interest in Irish literature with the same level of fervour.
A third of respondents believe that Riverdance is most symbolic of modern Ireland, while 23% say the Galway Arts Festival is.
Of a list of well-known Irish figures in the US, Liam Neeson tops the poll as the person of whom Irish Americans are most proud as representative of modern Ireland (85%). He is followed by Maureen O’Hara (82%), Pierce Brosnan (76%), Daniel Day Lewis (76%) and Bono (72%).
Michael McLoughlin, CEO of Amárach Research, said once again the monthly survey of Irish America shows the huge level of interest in and everyday connection with Ireland.
“In any major national crisis, such as Ireland is in, you turn to your supporters and allies. There are millions and millions of such people in the United States.”
Mr McLoughlin added, “The love of Irish music and literature unites all generations of Irish America.
“Those who top the poll as the person of whom Irish Americans are most proud as representatives of modern Ireland are drawn from the Arts. It is these people, more so than celebrities drawn from business and sport, who define contemporary Ireland in the United States“.