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Best in Travel 2015

Lonely Planet has named Ireland one of the best countries in the world to visit in 2015.

The prestigious accolade was bestowed by the influential travel guide’s Best in Travel 2015 publication, which looks at the hottest global trends, destinations and experiences to anticipate in the year ahead.

According to Lonely Planet, Ireland is “the real deal” and “stunningly scenic, its traditions firmly intact and the cosmopolitan, contemporary Irish are just as friendly and welcoming as their forebears were known to be.”

The hospitable nature of the people of Ireland is also cited as one of the destination’s greatest qualities.

The bestselling yearbook explains how “the Irish themselves are inevitably at the heart of the best the country has to offer” and describes Ireland as a welcoming place where one could “strike up a conversation over a pint with a gang sitting next to you in the pub.”

The world’s leading travel guide publisher also lists the Wild Atlantic Way – at 2,500km, it’s the longest defined coastal touring route on the planet – as one reason to visit, as well as incredible cuisine and the eclectic range of festivals on offer.

Lonely Planet spokesperson Nóirín Hegarty said: “With the Wild Atlantic Way now fully open and a new sense of optimism surging through the country, 2015 really is the time to go to Ireland.

“The country’s stunning landscape and incredible hospitality is on par with the globe’s top tourist destinations, Ireland should be on everyone’s must-visit list.”

Ireland featured fifth on the list of top 10 countries, ahead of the Philippines, Serbia, St Lucia and Morocco, while Singapore took the top spot.