Guinness Storehouse tops list of most visited attractions

Tayto Park enters top 10 while National Gallery biggest free site

Guinness Storehouse retains its tops spot as Ireland’s most visited attraction, according to to Fáilte Ireland’s list of visitors to attractions for 2012.

The home of the black stuff received 1,087,209 visitors, growing by some six per cent. The home of the cheese and onion crisp made strong growth this year with Tayto Park making a new entrance in the top ten.

Guinness is almost 60,000 ahead of Dublin Zoo which comes in second place overall, according to figures from the Fáilte Ireland visitor attractions survey.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor experience comes third, one of the two of the top ten attractions outside of Dublin. It is up some 8 per cent with almost 874,000 visitors. Once controversial, the National Aquatic Centre and its popular children's Aquazone in Blanchardstown Dublin is fourth at 813,406.


Maintaining its place at the top of free attractions and coming fifth overall is the National Gallery of Ireland with over 660,000 visitors. That's almost 40,000 more than it received last year. These numbers may even improve in the coming years as the gallery undertakes a €20 million refurbishment scheme.

The Book of Kells , housed in Trinity College's long room library, the notoriety of which was revived in part by its use in Harry Potter, is at number six with over 560,000 visitors.

Number eight and the second most popular free attraction is the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin, up over 8 per cent to 544,000.

Further ancient works attract visitors at the third most popular free attraction at the National Museum of Ireland Archeology, which displays are the Ardagh and Derrynaflan chalices. It is the eighth most popular attraction overall.

Relative newcomer Tayto Park in Co Meath is at number nine overall and is the sixth most popular paid for attraction with 391,000 visitors in 2012. The park run by the nation’s best known potato snack brand did not feature in the top ten paid attractions in 2011 and has shot up in popularity since opening in late 2010. Coming in tenth overall is St Patrick’s Cathedral with 385,000 visitors.

"This list always makes fascinating reading, but it's also a good reminder of the huge range of visitor attractions that we have in Ireland.," Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said.

Top 10 paid attractions

Guinness Storehouse:1,087,209

Dublin Zoo: 1,029,417

Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience: 873,988

National Aquatic Centre:813,406

Book of Kells:561,259

Tayto Park:391,000

St Patrick’s Cathedral: 385,000

Fota Wildlife Park :377,500

Blarney Castle:329,000

Kilmainham Gaol:310,910

Top ten free attractions

The National Gallery of Ireland:660,486

National Botanic Gardens:544,685

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare St :409,275


Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin: 302,171

National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, Merrion St:290,927

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts , Collins Barracks: 271,309

Chester Beatty Library: 255,704

Holy Cross Abbey: 240,000

The National Library of Ireland: 180,320

Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery is Deputy Head of Audience at The Irish Times