Tuesday 16 October 2018

Revealed: Ireland's Top 20 tourist attractions (paid and free)

National Gallery of Ireland. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
National Gallery of Ireland. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher. Photo: Deposit
Guinness Storehouse Brewing experience
Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum, Dublin. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Ireland's top five visitor attractions are now drawing in excess of one million visitors each per year, according to Fáilte Ireland.

Figures released by the national tourism development authority today underline another bumper year for Irish tourism in 2017.

The Guinness Storehouse tops its list of paid attractions, with 1,711,281 visitors, while the National Gallery of Ireland surpasses the one million mark for the first time, topping the free-to-visit list with 1,065,929 visitors.

The Gallery posted a 41pc rise in visitor numbers over 2016, aided by the reopening of its permanent collection halfway through the year, as well as two major exhibitions featuring Caravaggio and Vermeer.

Top 20 paid attractions for 2017

  1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin - 1,711,281
  2. Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare - 1,527,000
  3. Dublin Zoo - 1,264,300
  4. National Aquatic Centre, Dublin - 1,099,756
  5. Book of Kells (Trinity College, Dublin) - 983,410
  6. Tayto Park, Co. Meath  - 735,000
  7. St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin  - 603,000
  8. Kylemore Abbey & Gardens, Co. Galway  - 558,000
  9. Muckross House & Gardens, Co. Kerry - 552,923
  10. Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall, Co Wicklow - 501,601
  11. Fota Wildlife Park, Co. Cork - 455,559
  12. Blarney Castle & Gardens, Co. Cork - 450,000
  13. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin - 425,000
  14. Kilkenny Castle - 418,685
  15. Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary - 376,488
  16. Dublin Castle - 371,000
  17. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Co. Clare - 369,275
  18. Brú na Boinne, Co. Meath  - 281,103
  19. Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin  - 238,285
  20. Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal  - 211,000

Fáilte Ireland's annual list of top visitor attractions aims to give Irish attractions an insight into how they are performing alongside their counterparts.

Dublin dominates the lists, with four of the top five paid attractions and seven of the top 10 free attractions located in the city and county.

Top 20 free attractions 2017

  1. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin - 1,065,929
  2. Castletown House, Co. Kildare - 666,541
  3. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow - 639,826
  4. National Botanic Gardens, Dublin - 569,652
  5. DLR LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin  - 525,708
  6. Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin  -  489,295
  7. Doneraile Wildlife Park, Co. Cork - 480,000
  8. National Museum - Archaeology, Dublin - 474,564
  9. Science Gallery (Trinity College), Dublin - 407,529
  10. Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin  - 359,432
  11. Kilkenny Castle Parklands - 336,315
  12. Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons, Co. Kildare - 350,000
  13. National Museum - Natural History, Dublin - 336,412
  14. Chester Beatty Library, Dublin - 335,875
  15. National Museum - Decorative Arts & History, Dublin - 234,336
  16. Connemara National Park - 221,713
  17. National Library of Ireland, Dublin  - 197,245
  18. Crawford Art  Gallery, Cork - 188,814
  19. Malin Head Viewing Point, Co. Donegal - 172,329
  20. The Hugh Lane, Dublin - 167,410

Fáilte Ireland provided capital funding of €22m for tourism projects in 2017, contributing to a record year for visitors, it said.

“We invest in new and compelling attractions throughout the country because we know that they bring visitors from around the world to our shores," added its Director of Product Development, Orla Carroll.

This January, Weekend Magazine and Independent.ie readers voted the Wild Atlantic Way as Ireland's top tourist attraction for 2018.

Read more:

The Fab 50: Ireland's 50 best places to stay for 2018

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