Two British tourists visiting Dublin on a stag weekend were stabbed in an apparently unprovoked attack.

The men, aged 36 and 38, were walking through the centre of the Irish capital at 1am on Sunday morning (29 October) when a man in his 30s approached them and struck up a conversation, according to the Garda (police).

The stranger then stabbed both men in the stomach before fleeing the scene. The pair were taken to the nearby Mater Hospital and were treated for superficial stab wounds. Their injuries are not understood to be life-threatening.

The men were not robbed and there appears to be no apparent motive for the attack, said the police, who are hunting the knifeman.

Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha told the Irish Independent: "It was an appalling attack and of grave concern that something like this could happen."

Dublin city councillor Ciarán Cuffe was appalled by the incident and worried about how it may affect the tourist trade. He said: "I'm horrified to hear of these attacks. We do have a strong Garda presence on the streets of the inner city due to the gangland situation. I hope these people will be caught and jailed.

"This isn't good for Dublin's image and I hope this won't damage Dublin's reputation. In general, compared to other cities, we're not unsafe and I'd hate to send out a message that we're not a safe city."

Last year Ireland welcomed a record 10.5 million tourists who spent €5.4bn (£4.8bn), compared to the year before when the country recorded 9 million tourist visits, according to Tourism Ireland.

The same body estimates visitor revenues in 2017 will lift 4.5% to €5.4bn, compared to the year before.