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Kilkenny Castle Alamy Stock Photo
pulling in the crowds

Here's what topped the list of the most visited OPW sites in Ireland in 2022

The OPW manages and maintains the most important of Ireland’s historic buildings and heritage.

KILKENNY CASTLE WAS the most visited paid attraction operated by the Office of Public Works (OPW) last year.

A total of 1,418,171 visited the site in 2022. 

Dublin Castle was the second most popular paid visitor attraction operated by the OPW last year, with 371,858 visitors. 

St Stephen’s Green in Dublin was the most visited free site operated by the OPW, with 3,967,597 visitors last year. This was followed by the Phoenix Park visitor centre with 2,013,211 visitors last year. 

The number of visitors to OPW sites across the country last year topped 15 million, up by 2.3 million in 2021 (a year when some Covid-19 restrictions were still in place). 

The OPW manages and maintains the most important of Ireland’s historic buildings and heritage. 

Other individual regional sites have seen a striking increase in their visitor numbers.

Cahir Castle, winner of the European film location awards last year, saw 70,692 visitors last year, up from 34,959 in 2021. 

Carrowmore, which was announced as part of Ireland’s Tentative World Heritage List last year, saw 29,236 visitors last year, up from 13,253 in 2021. 

Significantly, the Rock of Cashel recorded a visitor increase of over 200% in the previous 12 months.

“These figures clearly indicate that there is an enormous interest in heritage tourism and that an increasing number of tourists and domestic visitors regard Ireland’s heritage sites as great places to visit,” Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan said. 

“It is wonderful to see that these sites are doing so well, both the paid attractions, which reflects very well on Ireland’s tourism performance, as well as the sites, parks and gardens which the public can access for free year round,” O’Donovan said.

“Every heritage site contributes to the local sense of place, the local economy and is a precious and unique place to discover for visitors of all ages and interests.”

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