FÃ¡ilte Ireland, the national tourism authority, has published their listing of Irelandâ€™s top visitor attractions for 2012.
The iconic Rock of Cashel is among the list of top fee-charging attractions growing by 3% to 240,406, and Holy Cross Abbey makes the free attractions listing with visitor numbers of 240,000.
Commenting on the figures, Gary Breen, FÃ¡ilte Irelandâ€™s Head of Operations for the South East said -
â€œThis list always makes fascinating reading, but itâ€™s also a good reminder of the huge range of visitor attractions that we have in Ireland.
People visit this country for many reasons, but they always expect a high standard of things to see and do, which is why we see the Rock of Cashel and the Holy Cross Abbey make the list.
Mr Breen continued:
â€œOur visitor attractions are a big part of the tourism offering and with the increase in visitor numbers to Ireland, it is no surprise that our top attractions have also enjoyed a busy year. I have no doubt that the recent good weather will have encouraged many Irish people to get out and about and discover what is on their doorstep - next year we may be quoting even bigger numbers.
â€œTourism is in a good place compared to five years ago but we canâ€™t become complacent. In order to draw more visitors to our shores we need to ensure we are providing the right type of holiday experiences â€“ particularly for our overseas markets. In that respect, research like this is a valuable help to all of us in the sector as we continue to develop and improve Irelandâ€™s tourism offering.â€
The opportunity to experience Irelandâ€™s culture and history is a major appeal for our overseas holidaymakers, about nine in ten (91%) say that it is an important factor in their decision to come to Ireland on holiday. Furthermore, a similar proportion (94%) say that they are satisfied with their experience of Irelandâ€™s history and culture.
For many such holidaymakers, their primary point of access to Irelandâ€™s heritage is through their visits to our tourist attractions - according to FÃ¡ilte Irelandâ€™s Survey of Overseas Travellers, around two million overseas holidaymakers go to sites of historical or cultural interest every year.