Guinness pulls first place for visitors in Ireland

The Guinness Storehouse, the Cliffs of Moher, and Dublin Zoo had more than 1m visitors each last year as some of the country’s top attractions showed rising interest.

Guinness pulls first place for visitors in Ireland

While Dublin dominates the Fáilte Ireland Top 10 of most-visited fee-charging and free sites in 2014, regional attractions remain hugely popular.

Among these is Doneraile Wildlife Park in north Cork, a free facility that had almost half a million visitors, ranking third behind the National Botanic Gardens and the National Gallery of Ireland, the country’s busiest free amenities last year.

But the Guinness Storehouse topped the list of all attractions, as well as those charging entry to visitors, who numbered close to 1.3m at the Dublin brewery centre in 2014 — 112,000 more than in 2013. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in Co Clare passed the 1m mark, leapfrogging Dublin Zoo as second most popular in the process.

The Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin continues to draw growing viewers — over 650,000 last year — but the university’s free Science Gallery also remains a big attraction and saw entries rise by nearly 70,000 to 406,000.

The only other non-Dublin attractions in the fee-charging Top 10 are Tayto Park in Co Meath, which added the Cú Chulainn roller coaster to its facilities last month — and two in Cork. Fota Wildlife Park near Cobh had 438,000 visitors — up from 365,000 in 2013 - and Blarney Castle had 7% more guests with 390,000.

Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons in Kildare had 350,000 visitors, the second-busiest free attraction outside the capital.

Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said tourism is on track for what could be a record year in terms of activity and visitors in 2015.

“With that in mind, we would expect the attendance numbers for most attractions to rise even further,” said Mr Quinn. “Now that tourism is on the rise again, Ireland and its strong collection of attractions are perfectly poised to welcome and cater for ever greater numbers.”

Just making the Top 10 fee-charging attractions, the Rock of Cashel’s visitor numbers grew by 45% to 372,500, followed not too far behind by Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in Co Clare (294,339), Castletown House & Parklands in Celbridge, Co Kildare (285,000), and Kilkenny Castle (259,250).

Among the free sites, there were 200,000 visits to Holy Cross Abbey near Thurles, Co Tipperary and more than 150,000 to Galway City Museum.

The National Museum’s free sites remain popular, with the Dublin city centre archaeology and natural history facilities attracting 447,000 and 300,000 visitors, respectively. The decorative arts and history museum at Collins Barracks in Dublin had almost 250,000 visits in 2014, while the National Museum of country life in Co Mayo had 109,000 visitors.

Modern craft brings in the visitors too, with numbers up to to 120,000 to the Nicholas Mosse Pottery centre in Bennetsbridge, Co Kilkenny, and more than 70,000 people attending the Louis Mulcahy pottery workshop near Dingle, Co Kerry.

Ireland’s top visitor attractions 2014

Fee-Charging Attractions

1: Guinness Storehouse, Dublin: 1,269,371 visitors

2: Cliffs of Moher, Clare: 1,080,501

3: Dublin Zoo: 1,076,876

4: National Aquatic Centre, Dublin: 931,074

5: Book of Kells, Dublin: 650,476

6: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin: 457,277

7: Tayto Park, Meath: 450,000

8: Fota Wildlife Park: 438,000

9: Blarney Castle Cork: 390,000

10: Rock of Cashel, Tipperary: 372,503

Free Attractions

1: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin: 593,183 visitors

2: National Botanic Gardens, Dublin: 541,946

3: Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork: 460,000

4: National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology), Dublin: 447,137

5: Science Gallery Trinity College Dublin: 406,982

6: Farmleigh, Dublin: 402,773

7: Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons, Kildare: 350,000

8: Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin: 306,662

9: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: 304,000

10: National Museum of Ireland (Natural History): 300,272.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd