• Cyril McAree

Ireland’s Top Visitor Attractions Revealed

Fáilte Ireland has published its annual survey of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions for 2018.

Once again the Guinness Storehouse tops the list with over 1.7 million visitors last year. The Cliffs of Moher closely follows in second place with 1.5 million - an increase of over 3% on the previous year and Dublin Zoo holds the 3rd spot with over 1.2million visitors in the same category.

The survey also collates visitor numbers on free-to-enter attractions with a new entry to the list, Kilkenny Castle Parklands1 claiming top place with the National Gallery of Ireland closely following.

Overall, the top ten fee-charging attractions during 2018 were:

Guinness Storehouse - 1,736,156 (visitors) Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,580,000 Dublin Zoo – 1,230,145 Book of Kells – 1,057,642 Tayto Park – 700,000 St Patrick’s Cathedral – 627,199 Kylemore Abbey & Garden – 561,657 Muckrose House – 550,649 Powerscourt House Gardens and Waterfall – 472,523 Blarney Castle & Gardens – 460,000 Selection of photos can be found here.

Ireland’s top ten ‘free to enter’ attractions for 2018 were:

Kilkenny Castle Parklands2 – 799,032 The National Gallery of Ireland3 – 775,491 Glendalough Site – 732,824 National Botanic Gardens – 655,609 Castletown House Parklands – 642,278 Irish Museum of Modern Art – 505,891 Doneraile Park – 490,000 National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, 466,038 Farmleigh House Estate – 389,932 Battle of the Boyne/Oldbridge Est – 355,608 Selection of photos can be found here.

Fáilte Ireland publishes an annual list of top visitor attractions1 to give attractions insight into how they are performing. It complements Fáilte Ireland’s research on ‘What makes a Great Visitor Attraction’, which allows attractions to look to each other’s successes in order to find ways to improve their own visitor experience.

Speaking about the results of the Fáilte Ireland Visitor Attractions Survey, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Product Development Orla Carroll:

“While 2018 was a positive year for most of Ireland’s top attractions, there are many challenges ahead for the tourism industry. As the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland’s role is to support the development of a ‘world-class’ tourism sector. Our work with attractions in helping them grow their visitor numbers through training and funding is a significant part of what we do across the country. Over the course of 2018 alone, Fáilte Ireland approved grant funding of more than €31million for 46 projects.

“In May this year, we announced funding of up to a total €150m through our new Platforms for Growth initiative. The first “Platform” is “Iconic Immersive Attractions” with individual grants available for large-scale visitor attractions of €2.5million upwards. This is Fáilte Ireland’s largest programme of investment yet and with continued investment like this, and through our work with partners across the country, we look forward to seeing new locations feature on the top attractions survey list.”

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