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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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'Nothing too special at all ... they are just cliffs'

Everyone’s a critic.

EVERY YEAR MILLIONS of people descend on Ireland’s green shores to take in its cities, countryside, culture and rich history.

While most of the country’s top sights draw an overwhelmingly positive response, some visitors are more tough to please – that’s if reviews on that great free-for-all of touristic mudslinging, TripAdvisor, are anything to go by.

Here is what some of the world’s toughest critics have been saying about Ireland’s most popular attractions (spelling mistakes and all):

“They are just cliffs”

Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland Source: j0sh (www.pixael.com)

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s number-one natural attraction, according to figures from Fáilte Ireland, drawing over 1 million punters last year. But that hasn’t stopped visitors taking aim at everything from the Irish weather to the food.

“John O”, an expat Irishman from Australia, liked the cliffs but wasn’t such a fan of the visitor centre:

The multi-million underground tourist center while visually stunning, is the by far the worst if its kind in Ireland. And the food. The upstairs cafe is in one word, disgusting. The food which looks to be a burnt plastic display is unashamedly reheated in front of you.”

“Iankbugeja”, from Malta, was underwhelmed with the whole experience:

Perhaps it was the gloomy Irish weather or too much of a high expectation which I built up after doing the research. Perhaps its the fact that you have to pay to view something which in all other countries would be free. Or perhaps because it is nothing too special at all … do not raise your expectations too much, they are just cliffs.”

“It should be called ‘The Page of Kells’”

Tthe book of Kells Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The Book of Kells was Ireland’s sixth most-popular attraction for visitors in 2013, although if you believe its severest reviewers you’re better off skipping the tome and just touring Trinity College instead.

“Michael H”, from the US, wrote:

I thought there was more and then realized it was the end of it when we walked to the next area. I had a ‘That’s it?’ moment at this attraction. Now I know why they have a ‘no cameras’ policy there to keep the wonder about it.”

Meanwhile, fellow American “minkewaleveld” turned to emoticons to sum up the experience:

It was really expensive to get in to see the book of Kells and it turned out it was only 2 PAGES! It should be called ‘The Page of Kells’. It was not that impressive. Over The Book of Kells. :(“

“The very worst pint I had EVER drunk”

guinness Source: mikelo

On sheer weight of numbers, Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse is easily the top attraction in Ireland – particularly for international visitors. But a few of those who paid their €18 entry wished they had spent their hard-earned at the pub, rather than in the “home of Guinness”.

BaquioBalai, from the Philippines, was thoroughly disenchanted – although she appeared a bit confused about the location:

Hubby loved Guinness, so a trip to Belfast has always been envisioned to include a visit to Guinness Storehouse … Hubby still likes Guinness, but we are never ever going to refer anyone to visit this place! If you are after Guinness souvenirs, you are better off buying them in other giftshops.”

And Londoner ”BobSki-UK” was even scathing about the quality of the brew:

The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is basically a sorry excuse to extract money from unsuspecting punters thinking they are going to see the actual Guinness-making process in action … I was so disappointed to go to the home of Guinness only to be presented with the very worst pint I had EVER drunk – and I’ve had Guinness all around the world !!!”

“I did like the stadium, it was just a bit wet”

Croke Park: Dublin v Tyrone, Feb 03, 2007 Source: clavel9

Then there’s the top-ranked Dublin attraction on TripAdvisor, the Croke Park Stadium Tour and GAA Museum, which few visitors could find fault with.

Still, there’s always one… like “Janet M”, from Germany, who delivered this three-star review:

I did like the stadium, it was just a bit wet. Not Croke park’s fault. The staff in the facility was very friendly.”

“Nice bldg with clean restrooms. Art collection is just OK”

File photo: National Gallery of Ireland Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The popular free attractions generally fare better when it comes to critical reviews, like the most-visited in that category, the National Gallery of Ireland.

“ncjc2013″, from California, was impressed with the facilities, even if the actual artwork was ho-hum:

Stopped here on the hop on, hop off bus. Nice bldg with clean restrooms. Musuem is free, you won’t need more than an hour. Art collection is just ok.”

“We preferred not to catch pneumonia and went home”

Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) Source: Sean Munson

Kilmainham Gaol features in both the top-10 paid attractions and Dublin’s best-rated sights on TripAdvisor, and it appears to have gone down well with most visitors – as long as you can get in.

“Artur S”, of unspecified origin, wrote:

We queued for almost one hour under heavy rain (there is no cover). After getting at the end of the line, the girl then told us that the next tour available was in one hour and a half! Obviously, we preferred not to catch pneumonia and went home.”

“Adrian B”, from the UK, apparently really wanted to go, but still didn’t make it across the threshold:

The most disorganised tourist venue. We tried on two occasions to visit, but you can not book in advance. You have to queue outside for hours just to get a ticket for a tour then queue for the tour itself. Even if you get there at 9am you may have to wait for a couple of hours to get your ticket, then come back sometime in the afternoon for the tour. All this in the rain. It’s a shambles, get a grip.”

“Felt like opening a birthday card from a relative and they left no money inside”

The Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland Source: j0sh (www.pixael.com)

North of the border, the Giant’s Causeway is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, however the nosebleed prices and well, rockiness, was enough to turn a few visitors off:

“devonlock”, from unknown lands, wasn’t feeling it at all:

If you like looking at rocks, taking selfies with rocks and stepping from one rock to another (some vary in height so you’ll have to lift your legs higher/lower at certain points) then you’ll enjoy visiting the Giants Causeway. We’d seen a few rocks previously that were just as nice. To be honest if felt like opening a birthday card from a relative and they left no money inside.”

“Attics J”, from not far away in Broughshane, had a creative money-saving tips for would-be visitors:

Vastly overpriced and overrated. Save yourself a trip. Visit your local builders yard and take a quick look at the nearest stack of blocks – job done.”

Tough crowd.

READ: Airbnb hosts: ‘We’ve been making the housing crisis worse’ >

READ: How do they decide which ministers to send abroad for St Patrick’s Day? >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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