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Barna in Connemara most popular with Irish holidaymakers in 2012

Abbeyleix, Woodenbridge and Ballina also so significant increases in online searches by Irish people.

Silver Strand in Barna, Co Galway.
Silver Strand in Barna, Co Galway.
Image: Lord_of_the_Flies via Flickr/Creative Commons

MORE IRISH HOLIDAYMAKERS chose to spend their vacations at home last year, with results from a hotel search site showing ten Irish destinations were among the most popular in 2012.

According to the Hotels.com annual hot list, Yaiza in Lanzarote saw the largest increase in Irish searches on the site last year. However Barna in Connemara, Co Galway was second on the list with an increase of 473.7 per cent in searches by Irish users compared with 2011.

Abbeyleix in Laois was up 398 per cent year-on-year with other destinations like Woodenbridge in Wicklow, Ballina in Tipperary and Ballyvaughan in Clare all showing significant increases in popularity.

Cobh in Cork also saw an increase in popularity in 2012 with searches up 313 per cent compared with 2011 which could, in part, be attributed to the Titanic commemoration events which took place in April to mark the 100th anniversary of Titanic.

Kate Hopcraft at Hotels.com said it is an encouraging sign for domestic tourism to see so many home grown destinations on the list. “Event driven tourism has been a big trend for the last number of years with festivals, concerts and major sporting events all helping incentivise people to holiday at home,” she said.

“We would expect this trend to continue throughout 2013 with events such as The Gathering and Derry’s status as City of Culture encouraging people to holiday on the island of Ireland,” she added.

Highest increases in searches for destinations by Irish users in 2012

  • Yaiza – 480.2 per cent
  • Barna – 473.7 per cent
  • Puerto Morelos – 434.7 per cent
  • Woodenbridge – 417.7 per cent
  • Playa de Palma – 404.2 per cent
  • Donore – 399.0 per cent
  • Abbeyleix – 398.1 per cent
  • Ballina (Tipperary) – 395.4 per cent
  • Santa Eulalia del Rio – 384.1 per cent
  • Faithlegg – 381.3 per cent
  • Down – 353.4 per cent
  • Ballyvaughan – 349.2 per cent
  • Enniskerry – 344.2 per cent
  • Blarney – 337.7 per cent
  • Carvoeiro – 330.1 per cent
  • Wembley – 328.3 per cent
  • Beaufort – 327.5 per cent
  • Maam Cross – 324.6 per cent
  • San Miguel de Abona – 323.6 per cent
  • Cobh – 313.0 per cent
  • Mijas – 310.9 per cent
  • Pajara – 310.5 per cent

Photos: The Gathering kicks off with New Year’s concert in Dublin>
Read: Fewer British people visited Ireland but rise in European and US tourists in 2012>

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