Ireland has topped a list of the World's Friendliest Countries in a survey drawn up by the Lonely Planet travel guide group.

The Lonely Planet Bluelist books are annual collections of the top trends, destinations and experiences around the world. In the latest survey, Ireland comes in above Fiji, Indonesia and Malawi as the friendliest travel destination.

People were said to have 'a deliciously dark sense of humour'. The Emerald Isle has 'a welcoming attitude towards strangers' and the Irish can find craic in boom or bust eras, Lonely Planet said.

Visitors are always 'in for a treat' and with 'The Troubles' ended, 'a cautious optimism reigns supreme, infecting the land once again with the sense that anything's possible'.

The US and Malawi were judged to be the next most-friendly countries. Other nations in the top ten included Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, Scotland and Samoa.

Praise in the guide also went to north-east England, which made it on to the 30-strong list of must-see world destinations for 2008.