Wheel of fortune: the 350-tonne 'pi in the sky' sits at Dublin's docklands

Ireland's answer to the London Eye, the Wheel of Dublin, has received an average of 9,500 visitors a week – just over 1,350 per day – since its opening almost six weeks ago.

Though this does not come anywhere near the estimated 166,000 who visit the London Eye every day, general manager of the wheel Graeme Cross said he is "delighted" at the figures and dismissed suggestions they were in any way lower than expectations.

"Though the figures have dropped slightly because of kids going back to school and because of the weather, they are still quite high. We were at one point reaching 11,000 visitors a week which was right on what we had expected."

Cross said there is one aspect of the new structure he is not completely pleased with.

"The VIP box, which has a glass floor and a DVD player and optional champagne, is not as well used as I would like. Not many people know about it, but there has not been great uptake for it in general."

The 350-tonne wheel, which is situated next to the O2 in Dublin's Docklands, costs €9 for a 13-minute journey.

Cross has managed similar "big wheels" in Kuala Lumpur, Seville, Dresden, Manchester and York and said the Dublin wheel is one of the more successful ventures he has been involved in.

"People don't seem to realise what a fantastic view there is to be had of Dublin. So in this way it is good for tourists but also for those who live in the city, to give them a different perspective of their own city in an area which is moving on to great things," he said.

Nicknames for the Wheel of Dublin include "The pi in the sky" and "The Dublin Eye Soar".