One million set to join the great Irish Easter getaway
Almost one million people will take to Irish roads, ports, airports and railways from today for the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Irish ports and airports confirmed they expect their busiest travel period of the year so far - with Dublin Airport expecting record passenger numbers as it bids to smash the 30 million passenger number for 2018.
The good news for Irish tourism is that the country's safe reputation is delivering a significant boost in North American holidaymaker numbers.
Ireland is expected to attract 100,000 more US holidaymakers than in 2017, largely due to increased capacity on transatlantic routes, a strong US dollar, hugely successful Irish tourism marketing campaigns - including those with the Star Wars connection - as well as Ireland's reputation as a safe and friendly destination.
Ireland attracted 1.83 million US holidaymakers last year and this year expects to attract between 1.93 million and 2 million visitors from across the Atlantic.
Passenger growth at Dublin Airport last year reached 6pc - with early indications the airport will match or exceed that growth level this year.
Of the 29.6 million passengers who travelled through Dublin Airport last year, 27.8 million started or finished their journeys in Dublin, while a further 1.8 million used it as a hub.
Shannon, Cork, Kerry and Knock Airports are also predicting significant growth this year.
Shannon Airport is bullish about its growth potential and this year is expecting a remarkable 20pc growth in transatlantic passenger numbers.
Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Irish Rail are anticipating a hectic weekend as people begin the trek home for Easter from today.
Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged people intending to travel at Easter to take care on the roads, particularly given weather conditions which could include frost, freezing fog and sleet.
"We would again urge drivers to follow a few simple rules if they are planning on travelling anywhere for Easter - allow plenty of time for journeys, slow down, allow for potentially slippery roads and ensure you have sufficient braking distance to the vehicle in front," a garda spokesperson said.
Gardai warned that routine safety checks will be mounted on roads nationwide over the peak Easter travel period.
Met Eireann warned that Ireland will see unsettled weather over the Easter weekend.