The Gathering Ireland 2013 was billed as the biggest ever tourism initiative, with $6.5 million in Irish Government investment, and an aim to generate an extra 325,000 visitors creating $222 million in revenue.
In November 2012 former Ambassador for Culture and Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne raised some eyebrows when he called The Gathering a “scam” and said that it was merely a change to shakedown American tourists.
He later apologized for his harsh words but more importantly he has since been proven wrong.
The Gathering project director Jim Miley told the Irish Independent that not only has the tourism initiative worked but it has surpassed all expectations
He said, “There are around 4,000 Gathering events taking place, and figures for overseas visitors for the first quarter show numbers are up 7 percent.
"If that trend continues, and we believe it will, we'll be delivering on the predicted figures, if not over-delivering."
A survey taken on St Patrick’s Day by Failte Ireland shows that 18 percent of the 140,000 overseas visitors at the Dublin festival were attracted by The Gathering. Also one in four were from the United States, 29 percent from Britain, France and Germany and 44 percent were from 27 different countries, which is a marked increase on previous years.
The mystery of Irish and Celtic symbols (PHOTOS)