• Cyril McAree

Ireland’s Most Popular Visitor Attractions Revealed.... A Year Of Strong Growth!

Fáilte Ireland, have published their annual list of Ireland’s top visitor attractions with most attractions registering strong growth reflecting the strong tourism growth in tourism during 2016. The most popular fee-paying attraction remains the Guinness Storehouse which experienced a 10% jump in visitors last year, welcoming 1.6m visitors through their gates.

Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland continues to lead the way with numbers up 5% to over 755,000. Amongst the nation’s fee-paying attractions, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and Dublin Zoo both also registered very strong performances last year with the cliffs enjoying a particularly significant jump in business. The top five fee-paying attractions during 2016 were:

  1. Guinness Storehouse – 1,647,408 (+10%)

  2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,427,166 (+14%)

  3. Dublin Zoo – 1,143,908 (+3%)

  4. National Aquatic Centre – 1,037,992 (+4.5%)

  5. Book of Kells – 890,781 (+6%)

Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, while the National Gallery of Ireland once again lead the way, there were impressive performances from the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Doneraile Wildlife Park – the latter’s 11% growth allowing it to climb the rankings into the top five free to enter sites in 2016.

  1. The National Gallery of Ireland – 755,577 (+5%)

  2. Irish Museum of Modern Art – 584,856 (+20%)

  3. National Botanic Gardens – 583,539 (+5.5%)

  4. Doneraile Wildlife Park – 480,000 (+11%)

  5. National Museum of Ireland – 479,261 (+4.8%)

Commenting on today’s figures, Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said –

“Our visitor attractions are a great barometer for tourism activity and the growth across most attractions reflects a record tourism year. This growth can be even stronger if we all work together to unlock the further potential of our natural landscapes and built heritage. If we take a site such as the spectacular sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag, it has a similar appeal as the Cliffs of Moher – yet the latter receives eight times as many visitors. This is just one example of the many of our attractions and natural assets which have the potential to generate even more visitors, revenue and jobs for local communities. Failte Ireland is committed to work with all parties to realise the full potential of these visitor attractions, we work in strong partnership with local authorities and communities, Coillte, the OPW and the National Parks and Wildlife Service amongst others to achieve this. Together we need to do more and move faster on this agenda and we call on all those who want to grow their local tourism sector to work with us to deal with the obstacles and grasp the opportunities which are available.

“Attractions are one of the key reasons why many overseas visitors choose Ireland as a destination – they create the variety of experiences that make for an enjoyable holiday and are the basis of visitor memories and moments to share that are critical to the growth of tourism in Ireland. Failte Ireland is committed to investing in our current stock of attractions and developing new ones and our future investment in this regard will be shaped to reap growth in lesser visited regions with great potential as well as investing in those experiences which can generate visitor traffic beyond the high season. This will help us to to generate revenue and jobs all around the country and all year round.”

To view the full table of top fee-charging free attractions, please see editor’s note below. To compare with the previous year you can visit here.


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