TOURISM IN IRELAND
Tourism in the Republic of Ireland is one of the biggest contributors to the Economy of the Republic of Ireland, with 8.7 million people visiting the country in 2016, about 1.8 times Ireland’s population. Each year about €5bn in revenue is made from economic activities directly related to tourists, accounting for about 4% of GNP and employing over 200,000 people. In 2011 alone, Ireland was voted ‘Favourite holiday destination in the World’ by readers of Frommer’s Guide, Lonely Planet listed Ireland as the world’s friendliest country and Cork City as one of the top ten cities in the world and the Irish tourist boards website, DiscoverIreland.com, was named the best tourist board website in the world. Most tourists visiting Ireland come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and France.
There are three World Heritage Sites on the island: the Brú na Bóinne, Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway. A number of other places are on the tentative list, for example the Burren, the Ceide Fields and Mount Stewart.
Some of the most visited sites in Ireland include Bunratty Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the Cliffs of Moher, Holy Cross Abbey and Blarney Castle. Historically important monastic sites include Glendalough and Clonmacnoise, which are maintained as national monuments in the Republic of Ireland.
Dublin is the most heavily touristic region and home to several of the most popular attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse and Book of Kells. The west and south west, which includes the Lakes of Killarney and the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry and Connemaraand the Aran Islands in County Galway, are also popular tourist destinations.