Friday 24 May 2019

Revealed: The Irish counties most (and least) visited by tourists

Dublin is Ireland's most popular tourism region with almost six million visitors a year, our Travel Editor writes

Lakeland: Cloughoughter Castle, Co Cavan
Lakeland: Cloughoughter Castle, Co Cavan
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Galway welcomes more overseas visitors than Cork or Kerry, and Longford is Ireland's least-visited county, according to new data from Fáilte Ireland.

The data charts visitor numbers and revenue by region and county in 2017, a record-breaking year for Irish tourism.

Dublin is the county attracting the most overseas visitors and tourist spend, followed by Galway, Cork and Kerry, the figures show.

Overseas visitors and spend by county (2017)

  1. Dublin: 5,936,000 (€1981m)
  2. Galway: 1,673,000 (€589m)
  3. Cork: 1,600,000 (€631m)
  4. Kerry: 1,277,000 (€337m)
  5. Clare: 749,000 (€158m)
  6. Limerick: 647,000 (€261m)
  7. Mayo: 324,000 (€78m)
  8. Kilkenny: 315,000 (€55m)
  9. Wicklow: 275,000 (€73m)
  10. Donegal: 255,000 (€82m)
  11. Waterford: 255,000 (€69m)
  12. Wexford: 232,000 (€61m)
  13. Kildare: 211,000 (€91m)
  14. Tipperary (N&S): 192,000 (€88m)
  15. Sligo: 173,000 (€45m)
  16. Louth: 172,000 (€55m)
  17. Meath: 162,000 (€44m)
  18. Cavan: 107,000 (€48m)
  19. Westmeath: 103,000 (€46m)
  20. Carlow: 79,000 (€45m)
  21. Monaghan: 60,000 (€25m)
  22. Roscommon: 54,000 (€27m)
  23. Offaly: 52,000 (€16m)
  24. Laois: 43,000 (€14m)
  25. Leitrim: 41,000 (€18m)
  26. Longford: 24,000 (€10m)

Ireland welcomed nine million overseas tourists in 2017, with a combined spend of €4.9 billion, according to the Fáilte Ireland figures.

The Midlands was Ireland's least-visited region, and Longford its least-visited county (with just 24,000 overseas visitors), though those numbers will be expected to rise following the launch of a new tourism brand, Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, and the arrival of the first Irish Center Parcs resort (above) in Longford Forest next year.

The figures also show Irish residents took 9.6m trips, spending €1.9 billion.

Domestic visitors and spend by county

  1. Dublin: 1,497,000 (€307m)
  2. Cork: 1,113,000 (€337m)
  3. Galway: 1,024,000 (€247m)
  4. Kerry: 964,000 (€205m)
  5. Wexford: 654,000 (€146m)
  6. Mayo: 503,000 (€108m)
  7. Tipperary (N&S): 496,000 (€92m)
  8. Donegal: 376,000 (€96m)
  9. Clare: 362,000 (€86m)
  10. Wicklow: 319,000 (€49m)
  11. Waterford: 327,000 (€58m)
  12. Kilkenny: 298,000 (€69m)
  13. Kildare: 286,000 (€36m)
  14. Limerick: 284,000 (€46m)
  15. Sligo: 247,000 (€51m)
  16. Carlow: 228,000 (€36m)
  17. Laois: 228,000 (€30m)*
  18. Offaly: 228,000 (€30m)*
  19. Meath: 223,000 (€44m)
  20. Cavan: 206,000 (€32m)*
  21. Leitrim: 206,000 (€32m)*
  22. Louth: 179,000 (€30m)*
  23. Monaghan: 179,000 (€30m)*
  24. Westmeath: 159,000 (€18m)
  25. Roscommon: 130,000 (€18m)*
  26. Longford: 130,000 (€18m)*

The domestic figures are gleaned from CSO data, while overseas figures are calculated from a combination of the CSO's Tourism & Travel and Household Travel Surveys (HTS); NISRA’s Northern Ireland Passenger Survey (NIPS) and Fáilte Ireland's own Survey of Overseas Travellers (SOT), it says.

Overseas visitors and associated revenue data, meanwhile, is derived from Fáilte Ireland's Survey of Overseas Travellers (SOT), which conducted 10,000 interviews with departing overseas tourists at major air and sea ports last year.

* The CSO publishes a combined domestic visitor figure for these counties as the sample size is insufficient to produce a robust result by individual county.

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