According to figures released by Fáilte Ireland, the Guinness Storehouse was the top fee-paying choice, while the National Gallery of Ireland was most popular free attraction.
The Guinness Storehouse enjoyed a visitor number increase of almost 230,000 (18%) over the previous year’s performance.
It was closely followed by the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience which welcomed more than 1.2m visitors — an increase of 16%. Dublin Zoo came in third place with 1.1m visitors — a slight increase of 2.6%.
Rounding out the top five is the National Aquatic Centre with 991,554 (-6.5%) and the Book of Kells which both registered significant increases in paying visitors during 2015.
Of Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland continues to lead the way with numbers up 21% to over 718,000. It was followed by the National Botanic Gardens, National Museum of Ireland — Archaeology on Kildare Street, and Farmleigh.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art climbed the rankings to third place, recording impressive growth of 58% which can be attributed to a more extensive programme overall in 2015.
Commenting on the figures, director of business development with Fáilte Ireland, Paul Keeley, said the figures reflected the strong performance of the tourism sector in recent years.
“The rise in visitor numbers across most sites last year reflects a very strong year of growth in 2015. We would expect to see similar rises across many attractions this year also as we enjoy another year of growth. Indeed, the top performing attraction — the Guinness Storehouse — welcomed 10,000 visitors on March 18 of this year which was a one day record for the attraction,” he said.
Tourism minister Patrick O’Donovan said the Government would invest in the sector to ensure such growth continues “The wealth of the variety of our visitor attractions, whether free or fee-paying, plays a significant part in adding to the positive experiences enjoyed by tourists when in Ireland. The Government has committed significant investment over the last few years to develop both new and existing attractions, and these figures published today highlight how such investment can return dividends,” he said.
The figures come after the latest domestic tourism report from Fáilte Ireland shows an overall 2% increase in domestic travel, compared to 2014. Money spent on trips rose by 5% to €1.53bn.
Meanwhile, figures released by Shannon Airport show passenger numbers were up 4% between January and June compared to 2014.
1. Guinness Storehouse – 1,498,124 (+18%)
2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,251,574 (+16%)
3. Dublin Zoo – 1,105,005 (+2.6%)
4. National Aquatic Centre – 991,554 (-6.5%)
5. Book of Kells – 767,996 (+18%)
Top free places
1. The National Gallery of Ireland – 718,637 (+21%)
2. National Botanic Gardens – 553,348 (+2%)
3. Irish Museum of Modern Art – 485,702 (+58%)
4. National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology, Kildare St) – 457,057 (+2%)
5. Farmleigh – 410,076 (+2%)