CORK TOURISM: Stats confirm that Fota Wildlife Park & Blarney Castle are Cork’s most popular FEE PAYING attractions. While, Doneraile Wildlife Park & Crawford Art Gallery are most popular FREE attractions

5 June 2017
By Elaine Murphy

  • Ireland’s Most Popular Visitor Attractions Revealed
  •  A year of strong growth reflected as Fáilte Ireland publishes list of the nation’s best performing tourism attractions in 2016

Fáilte Ireland, today, have published their annual list of Ireland’s top visitor attractions with most attractions registering strong growth reflecting the strong tourism growth in tourism during 2016. The most popular fee-paying attraction remains the Guinness Storehouse which experienced a 10% jump in visitors last year, welcoming 1.6m visitors through their gates.  Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland continues to lead the way with numbers up 5% to over 755,000. Amongst the nation’s fee-paying attractions, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and Dublin Zoo both also registered very strong performances last year with the cliffs enjoying a particularly significant jump in business.

The top five fee-paying attractions during 2016 were:

  1. Guinness Storehouse – 1,647,408 (+10%)
  2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,427,166 (+14%)
  3. Dublin Zoo – 1,143,908 (+3%)
  4. National Aquatic Centre – 1,037,992 (+4.5%)
  5. Book of Kells – 890,781 (+6%)

Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, while the National Gallery of Ireland once again lead the way, there were impressive performances  from the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Doneraile Wildlife Park – the latter’s 11% growth allowing it to climb the rankings into the top five free to enter sites in 2016.  .

The top five free to enter attractions during 2016 were:

  1. The National Gallery of Ireland – 755,577 (+5%)
  2. Irish Museum of Modern Art – 584,856 (+20%)
  3. National Botanic Gardens – 583,539 (+5.5%)
  4. Doneraile Wildlife Park (Co Cork) – 480,000 (+11%)
  5. National Museum of Ireland – 479,261 (+4.8%)

Commenting on today’s figures, Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said “Our visitor attractions are a great barometer for tourism activity and the growth across most attractions reflects a record tourism year. This growth can be even stronger if we all work together to unlock the further potential of our natural landscapes and built heritage. If we take a site such as the spectacular sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag, it has a similar appeal as the Cliffs of Moher – yet the latter receives eight times as many visitors. This is just one example of the many of our attractions and natural assets which have the potential to generate even more visitors, revenue and jobs for local communities. Failte Ireland is committed to work with all parties to realise the full potential of these visitor attractions, we work in strong partnership with local authorities and communities, Coillte, the OPW and the National Parks and Wildlife Service amongst others to achieve this. Together we need to do more and move faster on this agenda and we call on all those who want to grow their local tourism sector to work with us to deal with the obstacles and grasp the opportunities which are available.”


  1. Guinness Storehouse    Dublin                                1,647,408
  2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Clare               1,427,166
  3. Dublin Zoo                                                                    1,143,908
  4. National Aquatic Centre , Dublin                                1,037,992
  5. Book of Kells, Dublin                                                     890,781
  6. Tayto Park, Meath                                                         762,000
  7. St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin                                     563,000
  8. Castletown House & Parklands,Kildare                    547,324
  9. Powerscourt House & Gardens, Wicklow                467,507
  10. Fota Wildlife Park, Cork                                   465,281
  11. Kylemore Abbey & Garden, Galway                         458,000
  12. Blarney Castle, Cork                                             420,000
  13. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin                                            390,970
  14. Kilkenny Castle Kilkenny,                                            384,918
  15. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Clare                              352,286
  16. Rock of Cashel   Tipperary,                                           338,830
  17. Emo Court  House & Gardens, Laois                           293,056
  18. Old Jameson Distillery,  Dublin                                    269,000
  19. Dublin Castle, Dublin                                                     253,786
  20. Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin                                  229,085



  1. The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin                       755,577
  2. Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin                          584,856
  3. National Botanic Gardens , Dublin                                583,539
  4. Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork                              480,000
  5. National Museum of Ireland , Kildare St, Dublin      479,261
  6. Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin                     413,900
  7. National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin                 411,391
  8. Farmleigh, Dublin                                                               383,335
  9. Newbridge Silverware Museum,  Kildare                       350,000
  10. National Museum – Natural History, Dublin                 317,269
  11. Galway City Museum     Galway                                     213,390
  12. Connemara National Park, Galway                                  210,812
  13. The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin                                       193,229
  14. Crawford Art  Gallery, Cork                                     178,302
  15. Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Donegal                                                 177,333
  16. Malin Head Viewing Point, Donegal                               162,468
  17. Kilmacurragh Gardens   Wicklow,                                  156,045
  18. National Museum of  Country Life, Mayo                     107,855
  19. Grianan of Aileach , Donegal                                           104,398
  20. Gallery of Photography,  Dublin                                      80,000

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