The Cliffs of Moher remain more popular than Dublin Zoo holding on to the title of Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction for a third consecutive year.
While Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse still to holds onto the top spot, the 214m (702 feet) high cliffs on the Atlantic coast leapfrogged Dublin Zoo into second position for the first time in 2014 and last year saw almost 300,000 more visitors than its Phoenix Park rival.
A record 1,427,166 people visited the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in County Clare during 2016, representing an increase of 14% on the previous year.
The Guinness Storehouse is celebrating an almost 10% (9.97pc) rise in visitors with 1,647,408 passing through its doors last year.
While the Storehouse and Cliffs of Moher welcomed 149,284 and175,592 more visitors respectively in 2016, Dublin Zoo saw a modest increase of just 40,000 with 1,143,904 people visiting.
The news for the Clare attraction comes as a poll of Irish Independent readers and an assessment by a panel of tourism experts, named the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience as Ireland’s Top Tourist Attraction in the 2017 Readers Travel Awards.
The Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Ms Katherine Webster said the figures reflect the “huge popularity” of the Cliffs of Moher and how the attraction is now a primary reason for many people choosing to visit Ireland.
“Dealing with this number of visitors is not without its challenges and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience faced capacity issues during peak times throughout the season,” Ms Webster said.
“The perennially strong US market represents almost one quarter of all visitors while notably, German visitors to the Cliffs are now in second place exceeding domestic Irish visitors.
The UK market shows no sign of any impact from Brexit as yet with growth in 2016 surging to 6.4% of all visitors from 4.6% in 2015. We have also seen higher than average growth from Spain, Australia, China, Poland and India,” she added.