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Revealed: Ireland’s top visitor attractions

Visitors pour into Guinness Storehouse - but have many been coming to Donegal?

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Revealed: Ireland’s top visitor attractions

Fáilte Ireland has today 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 1.2 million visitors in the same category.

There are no places in Donegal featuring in the list.

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
 

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 

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.