Fáilte Ireland has today 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 an impressive 41% growth. This was particularly 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:cliffs_of_moher_sunset

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%)

Amongst Ireland’s ‘free to enter’ attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland had a total of 1,065,929 visitors through its doors, followed by the Castletown House Parklands, Celbridge, Co Kildare in second place and Glendalough Site, Wicklow, in third.

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

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. Welcoming another record year for visitors, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Product Development, Orla Carroll emphasised:

“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.”

Fáilte Ireland publishes an annual list of top visitor attractions to give attractions insight into how they are performing alongside their counterparts. It complements ‘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. Fáilte Ireland recently hosted the ‘WOW Visitors: Win Business, Customer Experience Summit’ in the Guinness Storehouse to share best practice and insights with tourism attractions and businesses from across the country.

Full list of top 20 fee-charging attractions during 2017:kylemore abbey

Guinness Storehouse  1,711,281
Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience 1,527,000
Dublin Zoo 1,264,300
National Aquatic Centre  1,099,756
Book of Kells 983,410
Tayto Park 735,000
St Patrick’s Cathedral 603,000
Kylemore Abbey & Gardens 558,000
Muckross House Gardens and Traditional Farm  552,923
Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall 501,601
Fota Wildlife Park 455,559
Blarney Castle & Gardens 450,000
Kilmainham Gaol 425,000
Kilkenny Castle 418,685
Rock of Cashel 376,488
Dublin Castle 371,000
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park 369,275
Brú na Boinne Newgrange 281,103
Christ Church Cathedral 238,285
Glenveagh Castle and Grounds  211,000

Full list of top 20 ‘free to enter’ attractions during 2017:connemara2

National Gallery of Ireland 1,065,929
Castletown House Parklands  666,541
Glendalough Site  639,826
National Botanic Gardens  569,652
DLR Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 525,708
Irish Museum of Modern Art 489,295
Doneraile Wildlife Park 480,000
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Kildare St  474,564
Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin  407,529
Farmleigh 359,432
Kilkenny Castle Parklands  336,315
Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons 350,000
National Museum of Ireland – Natural History, Merrion St 336,412
Chester Beatty Library 335,875
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks  234,336
Connemara National Park 221,713
The National Library of Ireland  197,245
Crawford Art  Gallery  188,814
Malin Head Viewing Point 172,329
Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane  167,410
Sliabh Liag Cliffs 164,546