Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism authority recently published their listing of Ireland’s top visitor attractions for 2012. And, for the second year running, the Guinness Storehouse topped the bill with an increase of 61,532 visitors on 2011.
The iconic Dublin attraction grew its visitor numbers by almost 6% to 1,087,209 to hold on to the top spot for the fee-charging attractions followed closely by Dublin Zoo with 1,029,417 (up 3% on 2011) and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience attracting 873,988 visitors (up 8% on 2011). The National Gallery of Ireland continued its dominance of the free attractions listing – recording over 660,000 visitors last year followed by the National Botanic Gardens at 544,685.
The opportunity to experience Ireland’s culture and history is a major appeal for our overseas holidaymakers, about nine in ten (91%) say that it is an important factor in their decision to come to Ireland on holiday. Furthermore, a similar proportion (94%) say that they are satisfied with their experience of Ireland’s history and culture.
For many such holidaymakers, their primary point of access to Ireland’s heritage is through their visits to our tourist attractions – according to Fáilte Ireland’s Survey of Overseas Travellers, around two million overseas holidaymakers go to sites of historical or cultural interest every year.
Top 10 Fee-Charging Attractions 2012
Guinness Storehouse Dublin – 1,087,209
Dublin Zoo Dublin – 1,029,417
Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience Clare – 873,988
National Aquatic Centre Dublin – 813,406
Book of Kells Dublin – 561,259
Tayto Park Meath – 391,000
St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin – 385,000
Fota Wildlife Park Cork – 377,500
Blarney Castle Cork – 329,000
Kilmainham Gaol Dublin – 310,910
Top 10 Free Attractions 2012
The National Gallery of Ireland Dublin – 660,486
National Botanic Gardens Dublin – 544,685
National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology) – 409,275
Farmleigh Dublin – 375,064
Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin Dublin – 302,171
National Museum of Ireland (Natural History) – 290,927
National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts & History) – 271,309
Chester Beatty Library Dublin – 255,704
Holy Cross Abbey Tipperary – 240,000
Connemara National Park – 202,543