Tourism Ireland have turned to song writing superstar Ed Sheeran to front their latest video, in a bid to attract more British tourists.
Sheeran appears with TV star Dermot O’Leary in the clip which is an excerpt from an interview between the two at the London Irish Centre.
Sheeran and O’Leary are household names in the UK and have both often spoken of their pride in their Irish heritage.
During the Tourism Ireland video, the pair talked about the different aspects of performing in Ireland, and why Sheeran enjoys it so much..
Sheeran said: “You speak to any musician ever and they go: ‘The best crowds are in Dublin’ mostly because people just play in Dublin. It is a very good place to play. I played in Roisin Dubh in Galway, Whelans, Vicar Street, the Olympia and the Ruby Sessions which was fun.
“I definitely have more of a connection with an Irish crowd than a Scottish crowd.”
Sheeran said that he would like to play Dingle’s Other Voices Festival.
He also spoke about his relationship with Ireland outside of his music career such as where he spent much of his childhood and his favourite parts of the country.
He said: “That is just because of my heritage, going over there five times a year and then being into and influenced by Irish music.
“The guy that made me want to write songs (Damien Rice) is Irish.
“My favourite place in Ireland? I always went to Co. Wexford but Dingle Bay is really beautiful.
“I’d say if you are travelling to Ireland to do touristy things go to Dingle Bay. And if you want to live in Ireland for a bit live in Wexford.
Ireland welcomed an extra 307,000 visitors in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2017.
This is largely due to huge increases in tourism from North America (10.7% rise) and Europe (10.2% rise).
Both the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ tourism campaigns have proved successful.
However, visits from the UK have risen by only 2.3% and there are worries that Brexit could cause a decrease in tourism from UK citizens to Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland said: “Our biggest concern would be in border areas that are being affected by the currency changes.”
Hopefully adverts from Anglo-Irish stars such as Sheeran and O’Leary can help to keep Ireland high on the ‘must-visit’ list for UK tourists.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling