Kilkenny Castle is the most popular paid visitor attraction run by the OPW in Ireland

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 Kilkenny Castle has soared past some incredible competition to take the title of the most popular paid visitor attraction managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in Ireland.

The iconic local landmark topped the pile in a field that included the likes of the Rock of Cashel, Kilmainham Gaol, Clonmacnoise and Dublin Castle.

According to the OPW, visitor numbers at the Kilkenny attraction ranked the highest paid attraction.

Kilkenny Castle and Parklands also ranked at #3 in the list of most-visited free access OPW sites in Ireland, surpassed only by St Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.

The table below shows the top ten OPW visitor sites in each of two categories (paid visitor attractions and free access sites):

Other individual regional sites have seen a striking increase in their visitor numbers, for example, Cahir Castle – winner of the European film location awards last year.

Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Patrick O’Donovan, said that '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," he said.

"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."

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