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Dublin: 4°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Ever been a tourist in Ireland? How many of these Top 20 heritage sites have you seen?

What tops the list?

HAVE YOU BEEN a tourist in Ireland?

There are some fantastic sights – and sites – across the country that many of us have never been to — or even learned about.

If you’re trying to think of something quiet and cheap to do this January weekend, why not take a peek at this list, just released, by the Office of Public Works (OPW)?

The OPW has a responsibility to maintain a large number of heritage sites across Ireland and junior minister Simon Harris has said last year was a bumper year for tourism.

The fee-paying sites, such as Kilmainham Gaol, continue “to do extremely well”, according to the OPW, and successful events at various locations, including Castletown House and Parklands in Celbridge, also increased the number of admissions.

The following is the countdown of the Top Twenty visited sites for 2014. How many have you been to? How many have you not heard of?

20. Altamont Gardens, Carlow

With 58,023 visitors, this just snuck into the Top 20.

Source: jameswburke/YouTube

19. Knowth

The Megalithic Passage Tomb attracted 58,566 people to Meath over the 12 months.

Passage Tomb at Knowth Source: Aonghas Tree

18. Cahir Castle

A total of 66,737 people visited Cahir Castle on the River Suir.

Cahir Castle 7 Source: Nogwater

17. Battle of the Boyne Site

The important historic welcomed 71,137 people.

Visit to Battle of the Boyne Sites Former Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern with former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley in 2007 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

16. Charles Fort

A Cork favourite, 74,446 made their way here during 2014.

Eye Ubiquitous Stock Source: Hugh Rooney

15. Trim Castle

Still benefitting from its connection to Braveheart, the Meath site attracted 76,511 people to its doors.

OSCARS Mel Gibson holds his two Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for the film "Braveheart" Source: AP/Press Association Images

14. Glendalough Visitor Centre

A popular trip for Dubliners, the Wicklow centre clocked up 79,810 admissions.

PA-15237642 Source: Hugh Rooney

13. Ross Castle

The Killarney lakes site, featuring a 15th-century tower house, saw 83,225 visitors last year.

PA-15237442 Source: Hugh Rooney/PA

12. JF Kennedy Arboretum

The plant collection was created in the memory of the former US president who died in 1963. Last year, 92,274 people paid their respects to him there.

JFK assassination 50th anniversary Army Cadets at the commemorative wreath-laying ceremony in 2013. Source: Niall Carson

11. Dún Aonghasa

121, 001 people took a trip to the prehistoric fort on Inishmore.

Dún Aonghasa / Dún Aengus walls Source: Guttorm Flatabø

10. Newgrange

The popular and famous site snuck into the Top 10 with 139,173 visitors.

PA-15271093 Source: Robert Knight

9. Clonmacnoise

The Offaly monastery, founded in 544 by St Ciaraán, welcomed 149,472 interested visitors.

Clonmacniose Source: anpalacios

8. Phoenix Park Visitor Centre

The 707 hectares just outside the city centre was visited by 135,790 during the year.

Autumn weather Oct 23rd 2014 Source: Niall Carson/PA

7. Dublin Castle

Falling short of the quarter million mark with 217,758 visitors, but it was a good year for the capital’s attraction. 

Dublin Castle Source: Carlos A. Vargas

6. Kilkenny Castle

The beautiful city location did well, as always, to attract 259,250 tourists and locals.

Kilkenny Castle Source: mellow cat

5. Rock of Cashel

A perennial favourite, the Tipperary castle saw 272,503 people cross its gates last year. 

dramatic sky @rock of cashel Source: 1la

4. Castletown House & Parklands

A great year for the Celbridge site which saw 285,437 use its grounds.

Long Gallery Chandelier: an explosion of colours Source: Canadian Pacific

3. Kilmainham Gaol

Last year, 328,886 paid between €2 and €6 for entry to the old prison. 

Kilmainham Gaol Source: Mike Rawlins

2. Farmleigh Estate

The RBS 6 Nations Championship winning Irish rugby team were among the 402,773 visitors to the Phoenix Park site.

Irish Rugby Teams Receptions Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

1. National Botanic Gardens

Dublin Orchid Fairs Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Despite a small drop in numbers, the Dublin beauty spot is still the only one on the list with over half a million visitors. The total came to 541,946.

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