As first-time visitors to both Northern Ireland and the Republic so many things were evident to my wife and I in the first two weeks of November 2012.
There was plenty of discussion, reading and listening to opinion in your media of economic gloom, and some of these negatives will take some time to sort out.
However, the term "recession" only tells part of the story. There is no recession when indicators of personal qualities are measured.
The warmth, care and hospitality shown to these two ordinary Australians from so many folk we encountered when combined with the natural beauty on display indicated a boom that many nationalities can only dream of.
Your countries are surely among the world leaders when these factors are considered.
Steve -amp; Michele Atkins