Fáilte Ireland has published its annual list of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions, which shows that almost all our key attractions – many of which have received Fáilte Ireland funding and support in the past – enjoyed another bumper year for visitors in 2017.

Topping the list of free to enter attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland surpassed the 1m visitor mark for the first time, experiencing 41% growth. This was helped by the reopening of its permanent collection halfway through the year, as well as hosting two major exhibitions of Caravaggio and Vermeer.

The most popular fee-charging attraction remains the Guinness Storehouse, with a total of 1,711,281 visitors through its doors, up 64,000 on the previous year. The Cliffs of Moher and Dublin Zoo came in second and third place in the same category.

Overall, the top five fee-charging attractions during 2017 were:

  1. Guinness Storehouse – 1,711,281 (+4%)
  2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,527,000 (+7%)
  3. Dublin Zoo – 1,264,300 (+10%)
  4. National Aquatic Centre – 1,099,756 (+6%)
  5. Book of Kells – 983,410 (+10%)

Ireland’s top free to enter attractions for 2017 were:

  1. The National Gallery of Ireland – 1,065,929 (+41%)
  2. Castletown House Parklands – 666,541
  3. Glendalough Site – 639,826
  4. National Botanic Gardens – 569,652 (-2%)
  5. DLR LexIcon (Dun Laoighaire Rathdown) – 525,708 (+12%)

Fáilte Ireland works with attractions across the country, helping to grow their visitor numbers and improve visitor experiences through a range of funding schemes and training programmes.

Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Product Development, Orla Carroll, said: “Fáilte Ireland invests in new and compelling attractions throughout the country because we know that they bring visitors from around the world to our shores. Over the course of 2017 alone, Fáilte Ireland provided capital funding of over €22m for a variety of tourism projects, helping to drive growth in every part of Ireland for the coming years. With continued investment like this, and through our work with partners across the country, we look forward to ongoing growth for tourism and to seeing new sites feature on the top attractions list.”

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