National Gallery is Ireland's most popular free attraction
Dublin is home to eight out of top ten most-visited free attractions
The National Gallery of Ireland has once again topped the list of the country's most popular free attractions, although he 593,183 visitors it welcomed in 2014 was down from the almost 650,000 who passed through its doors the year before.
Dublin's Guinness Storehouse is the country's most popular fee-charging attraction according to the survey, which was compiled by Fáilte Ireland, the state tourism body. Unlike the National Gallery, the Storehouse saw a boom in visitor numbers last year, welcoming 1.2 million visitors – an increase of over 100,000 on the year before.
Other free attractions that witnessed an increase in visitors were the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology (up 10 per cent at 404,000) in fourth place, and the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin (up 5 per cent at 406,982) in fifth place.
The Doneraile Wildlife Park in the south-western county of Cork joined the top ten free attractions for the first time, coming in at number three with 460,000 visitors in 2014.
Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol, which featured in the top ten in 2013 with 326,207 visitors, failed to make the latest list.
For the second year in a row the National Botanic Gardens in the Glasnevin district of north Dublin was placed second on the list of free attractions, with 541,946 visitors. In sixth place came Farmleigh House in the capital's Phoenix Park, with 402,773 visitors; followed by the Newbridge Silverware Museum in neighbouring county Kildare, south of Dublin (350,000).
In eighth place was the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Kilmainham (306,662), ninth the Chester Beatty Library beside Dublin Castle (304,000), and tenth the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History on Merrion Street (300,272).
Below is a list of Ireland's top ten fee-charging attractions in 2014:
1. Guinness Storehouse (Dublin) 1,269,371
2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience (Clare) 1,080,501
3. Dublin Zoo (Dublin) 1,076,876
4. National Aquatic Centre (Dublin) 931,074
5. Book of Kells (Dublin) 650,476
6. St Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin) 457,277
7. Tayto Park (Meath) 450,000
8. Fota Wildlife Park (Cork) 438,000
9. Blarney Castle (Cork) 390,000 10. Rock of Cashel (Tipperary) 372,503