Cliffs of Moher in the Burren Geopark as seen from the seaThe Cliffs of Moher have been named as Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction.

As reported by The Clare Herald in January, over 1.2 million people visited the Cliffs in 2015 which was a 16% increase on the year previous. According to figures released by Fáilte Ireland today (Tuesday), the Guinness Storehouse is the country’s number one fee paying attraction for tourists, there was an 18% rise in visitors to the seven floor building which welcomed 1.5 million people through its doors in 2015.

Bunratty Castle was the twelfth most popular destination in 2015 with 341,685 people paying to enter the fifteenth century tower house and folk park. The Ailwee Caves & Burren Birds of Prey Centre was named thirty first on the list with 140,000 visitors last year which is up from 120,000 in 2014.

Of the free attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland had the most activity while the Burren Perfumery and Floral Centre was Clare’s only attraction named amongst the thirty one other sites. The North Clare facility had 50,000 guests in 2015.

Alex Connolly, Head of Communications with Fáilte Ireland believes the increase in visitors to the Cliffs of Moher is a sign of the positive effect of the Wild Atlantic Way. “I was pleasantly surprised to see the Cliffs of Moher jumping up because that is a good indicator of the Wild Atlantic Way’s influence”.

Junior Minister for Tourism & Sport, Patrick O’Donovan credited government initiatives with the rise in numbers across a plethora of destinations. “The wealth of the variety of our visitor attractions, whether free or fee-paying, plays a significant part in adding to the positive experiences enjoyed by tourists when in Ireland. The government has committed significant investment over the last few years to develop both new and existing attractions, and these figures published today highlight how such investment can return dividends.”

Clare Senator Martin Conway said he will press the Government to preserve pro-tourism initiatives. “I will continue to work very closely with the relevant Government ministers to ensure that the pro-tourism initiatives, which have greatly benefited the Cliffs and surrounding hotels and restaurants, are maintained in the forthcoming budget.”

Another year of growth in 2016 is expected by Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Business Development, Paul Keeley “The rise in visitor numbers across most sites last year reflects a very strong year of growth in 2015. We would expect to see similar rises across many attractions this year also as we enjoy another year of growth”.