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Tourist numbers leap with free days

VISITOR numbers to some of Dublin's biggest heritage sites have jumped thanks to a 'Free Wednesdays' initiative.

The popularity of the move -- which allows free admission to sites on the first Wednesday of a month -- has seen numbers at Kilmainham Gaol jump 62pc on Wednesdays in the second half of last year, compared with 2010.

Dublin Castle enjoyed an even bigger boost, with an 89pc rise on Wednesdays.

The new drive to increase numbers coming to heritage sites has the knock-on effect of bringing extra visitors to Dublin city and boosting trade.

Dublin South Central TD Catherine Byrne has welcomed the initiative.

"The initiative is a great way of encouraging locals and visitors to explore the huge array of fantastic sites on offer across the country. Tourism is a valuable contributor to the economy in Dublin, and a vital source of jobs."