What Are Ireland’s Top 10 Free Attractions?

Failte Ireland has announced the Top 10 most popular free attractions in Ireland. They attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and what’s more – you don’t have to pay a penny! We profile them here...

National Gallery – 624,412 visitors
Right in the heart of Dublin with entrances at Merrion Square and on Nassau Street, Ireland’s National Gallery boasts the national collection of European and Irish fine art. Now open 7 days a week, there is late opening on Thursdays and the Gallery recently launched a new free app featuring ‘Masterpieces from the Collection’ showcasing key works.

National Botanic Gardens – 501,000 visitors

National Botanic Gardens, Dublin

The National Botanic Gardens can often be forgotten when it comes to Ireland’s biggest attractions. Just 3km from the city center of Dublin, this stunning oasis of calm and beauty is a fantastic attraction no matter what time of year. The National Herbarium is housed here and the historic wrought iron glasshouses always offer hidden treasures.

National Museum of Archaeology – 402,582 visitors

National Museum, Ireland

Discover gold, bog bodies, ceramics, glass, Viking artifacts at the National Museum of Archaeology at Kildare Street. There are also many other archaeological objects found in Ireland and around the world, making the museum a fantastic day out for adults and children.

Irish Museum of Modern Art – 362,000 visitors
The raised setting of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (also known as IMMA) near Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most stunning locations for a museum in the country. Cutting edge art from leading, established figures is mixed with younger generation artists, all set in magnificent surroundings.

Farmleigh – 315,464 visitors

Farmleigh is number 5 in Ireland’s most visited free attractions and it’s an unsurprising choice as it now boasts a wide range of events around the year. This beautiful house in 78 acres in the north west of Dublin’s Phoenix Park was purchased from the Guinness family by the Irish Government in 1999 for €29.2m.

National Museum of Decorative Arts (Collins Barracks) – 295,488 visitors
It’s unsurprising that over a quarter of a million visitors flock to Collins Barracks near Heuston Station in Dublin every year. This exciting museum in a beautiful courtyard setting offers the chance to discover weaponry, furniture, silver, ceramics, glassware, Asian art and the Asgard ship, as well as insights in to folk life and costume artifacts.

National Museum of Natural History – 289,172 visitors
Known to locals as ‘the dead zoo’, the Museum of National History at Merrion Street is number 7 in Ireland’s visitor attractions and a must see for adults and children alike. Visitors are encouraged to discover the natural world through lifelike zoological models and geological samples.

Chester Beatty Library – 247,729 visitors
Described by the Lonely Planet as ‘not just the best museum in Dublin but one of the best in Europe’, the Chester Beatty Library is quite simply magical. It offers rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Science Gallery – 242,833 visitors
A new addition to the list, Dublin’s Science Gallery is one of the most exciting spaces in the city right now. It blends the creative with science and innovation and has been described as a ‘world first’ and ‘a place where ideas meet and opinions collide’.

Holycross Abbey, Thurles – 240,000 visitors

Holycross Abbey, Thurles

Not all of Ireland’s most visited free attractions are in Dublin and Holycross Abbey is proudly holding its place at number 10 with almost a quarter of a million visitors per year. Just 15km from the popular Rock of Cashel, Holycross is a special and sacred place where you can walk in the footsteps of the ancient Monks.

From science to nature, heritage to art... Ireland is unbeatable when it comes to the culturally curious.
Posted on September 22, 2016

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