You will never be short of things to do on your visit to the Emerald Isle and it is often the case that the selection is so wide it’s hard to decide where to go and what to do. In 2014 Failte Ireland (Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority) compiled a list of the “Top 10 fee-paying tourist attractions in Ireland”. Although some of these may not be your cup of tea you may see something you like and a lot of these are very family orientated so if you’re traveling with kids these are ideal!
These are not our top 10 choices for places to visit in Ireland but the figures do stand for themselves and we can’t fight the fact that they are the most popular.
Ireland’s top 10 fee-paying tourist attractions
1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
The Guinness Storehouse is by far the most popular attraction in Ireland and is based in the heart of Dublin’s fair city. After signing a 9000 year lease on the grounds of James’s gate, Arthur Guinness was able to found and establish his stout in to one of the world’s most iconic and popular drinks. Begin your visit by standing in the world’s largest pint glass and learn all about the history and heritage of the brand.
Wrap up your tour in the stunning gravity bar overlooking the entire city and learn how to pull the “perfect” pint of the black stuff yourself. This is a great experience for those of all ages and receives really great reviews by visitors all over the world including Ireland.
2. Cliffs of Moher Visitors Experience, Clare
The famous Cliffs of Moher can be found in Co. Clare and are one of Ireland’s most prized possessions. They are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and are truly spectacular all year round. The cliffs stretch over 5 miles long and provide for a breath taking walk on any given day. Make sure to wrap up however as it will most likely be very windy!
O’Brien’s tower is situated near the highest point of the cliffs and was built as a lookout tower during times of war. The Cliffs are a short drive to Clare’s Burren area which is most definitely worth seeing it is a unique landscape to Ireland.
3. Dublin Zoo
Located in The Phoenix Park (one of Europe’s largest walled parks), Dublin Zoo is the third oldest Zoo in the world and home to over 400 animals. Dublin Zoo is very well maintained and focuses heavily on conservation projects protecting its animals and different species. A day trip to the Zoo is certainly exciting and definitely educational allowing you to appreciate animals from all over the world and learn about the importance of preservation.
4. National Aquatic Centre, Dublin
The National Aquatic Centre is one of the world’s largest indoor water centres and is divided in to two parts. On one side is the 50m full sized competition poor and the other an incredible leisure zone appropriately named aqua zone. Aqua zone is fitted with numerous water slides and lazy pools and a perfect destination for a wet and cold day with the kids!
5. Book of Kells, Dublin
The Book of Kells is located on the Old Library at Trinity College. Step right in to 18th Century Ireland and watch your step on the old cobbled stones that run through the college campus. The Book of Kells is an ancient gospel manuscript dating back to the 9th Century. On your visit you will proceed to the Long room of the Old Library which houses over 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books in its historic oak bookcases. The exhibitions are constantly being updated so make sure to keep an eye out and drop in on your visit to Dublin.
6. St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin
St. Patricks Cathedral as you may probably have guessed was built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint and was raised to cathedral status in 1224. The site stands adjacent to the well where it is said Saint Patrick frequently baptised converts on his trips to Dublin. The Cathedral is open every day and welcomes visitors from all around. The Cathedral is famous for its excellent choir so make sure you get to hear them perform!
7. Tayto Park, Meath
Tayto Park first opened its gates in 2011 and its theme is based around the famous Irish crisp brand. Having grown extensively in the past few years Tayto Park is broken in to a few different areas comprising of an outdoor adventure park, a zoo and a fantastic tour of their factory where you can see how the crisps are made! Tayto Park have very recently opened their first ever roller-coaster which is also Europe’s largest wooden roller-coaster. There is literally something for everyone here and a great family day out. Be prepared however as prices are not cheap!
8. Fota Wildlife Park, Cork
Fota Wildlife Park is situated on Fota Island in Cork and was specifically created to home Wildlife from all across the world. Initially planned to be built in Leinster, Fota Island is the perfect location and is continuously growing in popularity. Nearby is Fota Island Resort a 5 star luxury resort which homes a championship- standard gold course for those who are keen golfers. Another great destination for visitors of all ages as there is so much to do for everyone!
9. Blarney Castle, Cork
The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a castle or two and Blarney is one of Ireland’s most famous heritage sites. Blarney Castle is just under 600 years old and was constructed by a famous Irish Chieftan Cormac MacCarthy. Kissing the infamous Blarney stone is one of the highlights when visiting as it is said that those who do are will be gifted with the “gift of the gab” and never be lost for words again. It’s not every day you get to visit a real medieval Irish Castle so take the time out to drop by and experience the history of such a famous landmark.
10. Rock of Cashel, Tipperary
Dating all the way back to 1100 AD, The Rock of Cashel is like no other. It consists of a spectacular group of medieval buildings situated in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Words cannot describe its magnificence and it is truly something that must be experienced when visiting Ireland. With history oozing out of every inch the Rock of Cashel will leave you in awe as you discover every nook and cranny. Once the traditional seat of the High King of Munster the Rock of Cashel has had many influences over its existence.
As stated above these top ten are ranked by number of visitors not by preference and there are plenty more attractions and sites to see all across the country. If you are planning to visit Ireland or know someone who has an interest in the Emerald Isle then check out our website and spoil yourself and loved ones with some exquisite Irish goods on theirishstore.com.