Saturday 19 October 2019

Ireland's top visitor attractions revealed - and the numbers are booming

Visitor attitudes survey

Cliffs of Moher. Photo: Deposit
Cliffs of Moher. Photo: Deposit
Guinness Storehouse, St James Gate, Dublin 8. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Millennium Wing of National Gallery of Ireland. Photo: National Gallery of Ireland
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The Guinness Storehouse is Ireland's most popular attraction, with almost 1.5 million paying visitors in 2015.

The final visitor tally, compiled as part of Fáilte Ireland's Visitor attitudes Survey for 2015, marks a whopping 18pc rise on the previous year.

The Storehouse is followed by the Cliffs of Moher, Dublin Zoo, the National Aquatic Centre and the Book of Kells on the list of top fee-paying attractions.

Meanwhile, the National Gallery tops Fáilte Ireland's list of Ireland's most-visited free attractions (scroll down), posting a rise of 21pc on last year's figures.

Ireland's Top 10 Fee Paying Attractions:

Guinness Storehouse, St James Gate, Dublin 8. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
  1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin - 1,498,124
  2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience - 1,251,574
  3. Dublin Zoo - 1,105,005
  4. National Aquatic Centre, Dublin - 991,554
  5. Book of Kells, Dublin - 767,996
  6. Tayto Park, Co. Meath - 750,000
  7. Kylemore Abbey & Garden, Co. Galway - 600,000
  8. St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - 532,042
  9. Fota Wildlife Park, Cork - 436,386
  10. Blarney Castle, Cork - 400,000

The Cliffs of Moher and Book of Kells (exhibited in Trinity College, Dublin) also posted a huge increase on 2014, with visitor numbers up 16pc and 18pc respectively.

Tayto Park posted the highest gains, however - up 66pc from 450,000 visitors last year.

Just outside the Top 10 are Bunratty Castle & Folk Park in Co. Clare, Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and the Rock of Cashel, all with over 300,000 visitors.

Ireland's Top 10 free attractions

Millennium Wing of National Gallery of Ireland. Photo: National Gallery of Ireland
  1. The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin - 718,637
  2. National Botanic Gardens, Dublin - 553,348
  3. Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin - 485,702
  4. National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Dublin - 457,057
  5. Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork - 432,180
  6. Farmleigh, Dublin - 410,076
  7. Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin - 409,891
  8. Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons, Kildare - 350,000
  9. Chester Beatty Library, Dublin- 343,929
  10. National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, Dublin - 320,528

The National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts and History) and Holy Cross Abbey in Tipperary were the only other free attractions to receive over 200,000 visitors in 2015.

The strong figures reflect a record year for Irish tourism, with overseas visitors up by over 13pc to some eight million in 2015, according to Fáilte Ireland.

"We would expect to see similar rises across many attractions this year also as we enjoy another year of growth,'" said Paul Keely, its Director of Business Development.

Read more:

Top 12 free things to do in Dublin: Lonely Planet's city cheat sheet The Irish Bucket List: 30 things to do in Ireland before you die

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