As Dublin Airport is located just outside the city, most international visitors to Ireland begin their stay here.
Among the main attractions in Dublin are Dublin Castle, the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922, Phoenix Park, one of the largest inner city parks in the world, The General Post Office, one of Ireland's most famous buildings due to the 1916 Easter rising, Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison turned museum that held and executed the rebels of the 1916 Rising and Trinity College, where the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow are held.
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Tourism in the Republic of Ireland is one of the biggest contributors to the Economy of the Republic of Ireland, with over 7.3 million people visiting the country in 2014, about 1.6 times Ireland's population.
In 2011 alone, Ireland was voted 'Favourite holiday destination in the World' by readers of Frommer's Guide, Lonely Planet listed Ireland as the world's friendliest country and Cork City as one of the top ten cities in the world and the Irish tourist boards website, Discover Ireland.com, was named the best tourist board website in the world.
Ireland's national flag carrier is Aer Lingus, which services Europe, North America and North Africa, but the vast majority of flights originating from continental Europe come from another Irish company, Ryanair, the biggest low cost airline in the world.
These airlines, along with others, fly into all three of Ireland's international airports, Shannon Airport, Dublin Airport and Cork Airport.Dublin Airport is by far the busiest, accounting for over 80% of passenger entering and leaving Ireland in 2011.Along with these airports there are several other regional airports in the country including Knock Airport and Kerry Airport, which both operate international flights to Europe.For travellers from mainland Europe and the UK, another way to enter the country is by sea, with connections by ferry to Roscoff and Cherbourg in France, Liverpool in England and Pembroke, Fishguard and Holyhead in Wales and Douglas on the Isle of Man.These routes are operated by Irish Ferries, Stena Line, Celtic Link Ferries and P&O Ferries.Motorways link Dublin with all the major cities in the country and there are plans to extend the motorway system in the future. The rail and light rail network in Ireland is not as extensive as it once was, but it is still possible to get from city to city using the rail system, although many rural stations have closed along these lines.