Some of the best things in Ireland are free: The stunning Cliffs of Moher off the west coast of Ireland

It turns out that romance is recession proof and Ireland is one of the best places on earth to ignite its flames. Who knew? Irish men aren’t known for being overly romantic, but the Irish landscape? Well, that’s another story. As any visitor who’s ever wandered further afield than the Shannon Airport stopover can tell you, Ireland is magic.

And not just plain old Harry Potter magic, we’re talking heart-stopping Wagnerian epic magic. The timeless landscape, the light on the water and even the odd rainy day can revive your sore spirit like no other pace on earth. As thousands of visitors have already discovered, there’s something intangible in the air there that’s worth the ticket price alone.

Although the great recession has seen Ireland’s tourism industry shrink by about 10 percent this year, the famous Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival in County Clare still drew some 40,000 men and women – and millions of dollars – as hopeful attendees arrived with only one thing on their mind: romance. In every bar in town men wearing their best shirts lined up to impress any unattached lady that caught their eye – and by all accounts they were often successful.

Most Irish people would describe themselves as realists rather than romantics, but there’s no doubt they’re also world-class flirts. Irish people genuinely love to talk, so be warned, from the moment you set foot on the island you’ll be besieged by Irish charm and like most people you’ll probably be helpless to resist.

Ireland, you’ll discover, isn’t just ancient stone walls, historic cities, colorful villages, green pastures and warm hospitality. Ireland is also a fascinating blend of the breathtakingly ancient and the very high tech: behind every boreen there’s a cell phone as well as a sheep.

Dublin, for example, is one of Europe’s oldest and liveliest capitals boasting its youngest population, so every night song and dance breaks out across town, in the clubs, the pubs and even on the streets. After the last few years of credit default swaps and government bailouts we could all use a little bailout of our own - so what are you waiting for?