Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

It has been announced by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport that there were over 3.5 million visitors to Irish museums, galleries and libraries in 2010, which are all free of charge to access. While figures remain consistent in many of the institutions, some experienced significant increases in visitors in 2010 including The National Library of Ireland, for example, which saw an increase from 138,809 visits in 2009 to 185,591 visits in 2010. The National Museum Turlough Park, Crawford Art Gallery, Science Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy and Foynes Flying Boat Museum also saw an increase in their number of visitors in 2010.   The Natural History Museum, which reopened in April of last year following a refurbishment, attracted 253,597 visitors for the period since its reopening.

Exhibitions that undoubtedly attracted numbers were “The Moderns” exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Yeats exhibition at the National Library and “Taking Stock” at the National Gallery of Ireland, which focused on the acquisitions of the Gallery over the last 10 years and an exhibition devoted to the Dutch painter Gabriel Metsu (1629 – 1667). The National Archives website attracted approximately 4 million visitors thanks to the 1901 census going live on the site.

The work of the staff within the institutions was commended by the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, who outlined that “the diversity of the exhibitions and events that the cultural institutions offer is outstanding and is part of what defines us as a nation. It is clear that they will continue to form a major part of the tourism attraction on offer. That attraction will become increasingly important as we strive to continue our economic recovery.”

National cultural institutions No. of visitors

Jan 09 – Dec 09

No. of visitors

Jan 10 – Dec 10

National Library of Ireland 138,809 185,591
Irish Museum of Modern Art** 417,706 418,977
National Concert Hall 342,568 318,667
National Gallery of Ireland 782,469 736,855
Chester Beatty Library 218,338 206,653
National Archives 18,200 15,242
National Museum, Kildare St. 370,965 366,201
National Museum Collins Barracks 319,791 258,822
Natural History Museum* 0 253,597
National Museum Turlough Park. 98,523 114,343
Crawford Art Gallery 167,485 188,823
Total 2,874,854 3,063,771
*The Natural History Museum re-opened in April 2010

** IMMA closed from 12 January to 5 February 2009 for maintenance works.

Source: Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Other cultural institutions supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport No. of visitors

Jan 09 – Dec 09

No. of visitors

Jan 10 – Dec 10

Archbishop Marsh’s Library 8,947 7,730
Foynes Flying Boat Museum 22,716 31,601
Hunt Museum, Limerick 24,561 23,498
Science Gallery 167,611 216,842
Dublin City Gallery – Hugh Lane 162,037 158,584
Royal Hibernian Academy 59,061 75,206
Total 444,933 513,461

Source: Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport