VISITOR numbers at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare have exceeded more than 344,000 for the year to date representing a 14% increase on the overall visitor count for 2022.

The popularity of the Clare attraction is also reflected in a 30% increase in the number of people attending the Bunratty Medieval Banquet. 43,000 people have this year attended one of Ireland’s oldest running evening entertainment shows, which in 2023 celebrated its 65th anniversary.

This jump in visitor numbers coincides with an ongoing programme of investment in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park as part of a €10.5m capital investment in some of Clare’s best known visitor attractions.

Clare County Council, supported by government, has invested more than €4m in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle and the retail unit at the Cliffs of Moher since the management of the Shannon Heritage properties was transferred from the Shannon Airport Group in April.

An additional €6.5m has been earmarked for investment during the first six months of 2024 in the Clare County Council owned Shannon Heritage DAC portfolio of attractions, which also includes Inis Cealtra (Holy Island Visitor Experience) in Mountshannon.

Meanwhile, in the twelve months from May 2023, 40 new positions will have been generated across Operations, Finance, HR, ICT, Administration and Sales and Marketing services at Inis Cealtra, Bunratty, Craggaunowen, Cliffs of Moher, Knappogue and Vandeleur Walled Gardens, and in Shared Services.

“It has been a hugely successful year for one of Clare’s signature visitor attractions,” stated Stephen Hanley, General Manager of Clare Tourism East. “Staff and management are delivering a world class tourism product, and we are committed to achieving double digit growth in visitor numbers for the next three years”.

“A comprehensive and much needed programme of investment in the sites is happening at a very exciting time for Clare tourism with significant investment also being made in the Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) Visitor Experience in Mountshannon and the Vandeleur Walled Garden and Visitor Centre in West Clare,” he added. “This investment is based on creating a tourism product that benefits the wider Clare economy and reinforces Clare’s reputation as a quality destination with domestic and international appeal”.

Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development with Clare County Council commented, “2023 has been a landmark year for Clare tourism with the transfer of the management of four Shannon Heritage properties to Clare County Council. The Local Authority is committed to investing in the future development of these sites for the benefit of the tourism sector and the wider economy, as well as the communities in which they are situated”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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