Two heritage sites in Cork have been listed among the most popular locations visited in Ireland in 2022.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) announced on Tuesday that the number of recorded visitors last year exceeded 15 million, up by 2.3 million on 2021, an increase of 18%.
Charles Fort in Kinsale was listed as the 10th most popular paid visitor attraction in the country.
As one of the country’s largest military installations, the star-shaped Charles Fort has been part of some of the most momentous events in Irish history.
Doneraile Park in north Cork was listed by the OPW as the fifth most popular free access site in Ireland in 2022.
Other parks including Phoenix Park and St Stephen’s Green in Dublin and parklands around Castletown House and Kilkenny Castle remained top of the list, continuing the trend as magnets of natural beauty and as places for recreational use.
Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Patrick O’Donovan, said: “These 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.
“It is wonderful to see that these sites are doing so well, both the paid attractions, which reflects very well on Ireland’s tourism performance, as well as the sites, parks and gardens which the public can access for free year-round.
“Every heritage site contributes to the local sense of place, the local economy, and is a precious and unique place to discover for visitors of all ages and interests.”