By Lisa Marie Griffith
As a tour guide I am always interested in what history attractions people visit while they are visiting Ireland. If you thought Dublin’s most popular attraction was the Guinness storehouse you were wrong. It may be well visited but it’s not what people talk about when they go home. It may also surprise you favourite tourist sites change year in year out and depending on weather, advertising, revamping and of course new sites opening up. Here are what the top-rated and most popular attractions in and about Irish cities according to contributors to Tripadvisor.ie.
Dublin: 1. An evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies at the Brazen Head (quite a few of my tourists have mentioned this one to me and it is definitely a visitor favourite), 2. Glasnevin cemetery, 3. The Merry Ploughbough Music pub tour (not surprising that a pub tour features so highly considering pubs are one of the stand out features of Irish culture for many tourists), 4. Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum
Cork: 1. Fota Wildlife Park (about a half hour drive from the city centre and just outside Midleton this is still one of my favourites things to do in Cork), 2.St Fin Barre’s Cathedral (an Anglican Cathedral, built in 1870, located in the heart of the city), 3. Spike Island (currently offering a chance to live on Spike Island), 4. Cobh (the heritage centre is well worth a look for those interested in history).
Belfast: 1. Belfast Cookery School, 2. Belfast Bike Tour, 3. Titanic Dock and Pump House, 4. w5 (interactive discovery centre).
Galway: 1. Hidden Connemara Walking tours, 2. Bone carving studio, 3. Tunes in the Church (Concerts at St Nicholas’s Church, Galway city), 4. Corrib Princess (a ship).
Limerick: 1. St Mary’s Cathedral (which claims to be the oldest building in the city), 2. Hunt museum, 3. Lough Gur Visitor Centre, 4. Limerick Greyhound stadium.
Waterford: 1. Waterford Crystal visitor centre (which has a new home in the city centre), 2. The Front Lounge (which claims to be an authentic Irish pub), 3. Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, 3. Jack Meade’s Pub (2 pubs at the top of one list!).
Kilkenny: 1. Smithwick’s Brewery Tour (I want to do this one myself), 2. St Canice’s Cathedral, 3. Kilkenny Castle, 4. Black Abbey.
Looking at the list I am starting to realise I have a lot of Ireland to see! I have also recently come across a great Irish tourism blog, The Irish Fireside, which details some fantastic alternative tourism sites for visitors and locals.