National Gallery and Guinness Storehouse top tourist charts

Cliffs of Moher and IMMA among best performers, Fáilte Ireland figures show

The National Gallery of Ireland (above left) and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin (above right) top visitor attractions in Ireland, according to rankings compiled by Fáilte Ireland. File photographs: The Irish Times

The National Gallery of Ireland (above left) and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin (above right) top visitor attractions in Ireland, according to rankings compiled by Fáilte Ireland. File photographs: The Irish Times

 

The National Gallery and the Guinness Storehouse remain the top free and fee-paying attractions in Ireland, figures show.

Last year, almost 1.5 million visitors walked through the doors of the Guinness Storehouse, an increase of almost 230,000 - or 18 per cent - over the previous year.

The National Gallery saw its visitor numbers increase by an even more impressive 21 per cent with 718,000 people visiting the gallery in 2015, Fáilte Ireland said.

Amongst the country’s fee-paying attractions, the Storehouse was followed closely by the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and Dublin Zoo which both registered increases in paying visitors during 2015.

In total, 1,251,574 people paid a visit to the spectacular Clare cliffs, an increase of 16 per cent on 2014, while Dublin Zoo attracted 1,105,005, a more modest year-on-year jump of 2.6 per cent.

The National Aquatic Centre - with 991,554 visitors - and the Book of Kells - with 767,996 visitors - rounded off the top five fee-paying attractions.

The second most popular free attraction in the country was the National Botanic Gardens, which was visited by just over 553,000 people, an increase of 2 per cent.

In third place was the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) which saw just under 486,000 people come through the doors, a jump of 58 per cent over the previous year.

The archaeology wing of the National Museum on Kildare Street and Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park finished fourth and fifth with just over 457,000 visitors and a little under 411,000 visitors respectively.

“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,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan.

Fáilte Ireland’s director of business development Paul Keeley said the rise in visitor numbers across most sites “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 18th of this year which was a one day record for the attraction.”

He said Fáilte Ireland remained “fully committed to ensuring our tourism infrastructure... remains relevant and attractive to all those arriving to our shores and we are committed to developing new or boosting existing sites through our current capital funding schemes.”

He said there was a need for a strong regional spread of top attractions to ensure that its three brands - Dublin: A Breath of Fresh Air, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East - were “compelling for visitors and that Ireland remains poised to welcome and cater for ever greater numbers in the future”.