A view of Clonmacnoise.

Clonmacnoise attracts over 94,000 visitors last year

Over 94,000 visitors filed through the doors of Clonmacnoise last year, according to the OPW, leaving it in 9th position nationally of all of its paid visitor attractions countrywide.

The figures were up massively on the Covid-19 interrupted year of 2021 when the visitors numbers at the Midlands top attraction only hit 43,325.

The Office of Public Works had a very busy year welcoming 15 million visitors to their heritage sites in 2022, up 2.3 million on 2021 or 18% on the previous twelve months.

Topping the paid for visitor attractions managed by the OPW last year was Kilkenny Castle, followed by Dublin Castle, The Rock of Cashel, Kilmainham Gaol, while the John F Kennedy Arboretum makeing up the top five. Just ahead of Offaly's sixth century monastic site is the Brú na Boinne, which includes Newgrange and Knowth, in Co Meath who welcomed 109,439 visitors during 2022.

The OPW said it takes meticulous care of 780 heritage sites in their charge, and at the 70 sites with visitor services, they “work hard to present them to their best potential, making sure that we give visitors from Ireland and abroad the best experience we possibly can”.

In terms of free access sites, the major parks, such as the Phoenix Park, St Stephen’s Green and parklands around Castletown House, Kilkenny Castle parklands and Doneraile Court have remained top of the list, continuing the trend as magnets of natural beauty and as places for recreational use. The only Midlands entry here is Emo Court in Co Laois.

Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Patrick O’Donovan, said the 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”.