A Florida woman was serenaded with champagne and a musical reception as she became the one millionth visitor of 2014 to the world famous Cliffs of Moher on Monday.
Rita Shaw and her husband Stephen received the surprise welcome when they arrived at the Clare landmark’s visitor center.
They also received a five star return holiday trip to the West of Ireland worth over $6,000 and a certificate to mark the occasion.
The couple, from Niceville in Florida, told organizers they were stunned by the reception.
Visitor growth is up 12 percent for 2014 as American tourists return to Ireland in growing numbers.
Local tourism director Katherine Webster said the ‘perfect storm of positive factors’ has combined to drive visitor numbers over the one million mark.
She said: “New routes and increased access into Shannon Airport, the launch by Failte Ireland of the Wild Atlantic Way on which the Cliffs of Moher is a Signature Discovery point, the popularity of the 12-kilometer Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, and the Cliffs of Moher’s close links with Brian Ború during the millennial anniversary of his death have all contributed to the visitor number increase during 2014.
“Meanwhile, strong performances from the core North American, UK, German and French markets have added to the growth seen in newer markets such as Australia, China and South America.”