Ireland's Top Tourist Destination Has Nothing To Do With Beer
June 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM
It's very easy to stereotype Ireland travelto say nothing of Ireland itselfas a series of pubs, drunkenness, and the occasional potato farm. We know it's easy because that's almost entirely the picture that Tourism Ireland painted when they did their last social media campaign.
We wrote at the time that the image was a bit unfair, and that neither the country nor the tourists who travel there should be stereotyped. Then we highlighted Ireland, with its gorgeous scenary and summer cultural offerings, as one of the places where you should seriously consider spending your tax refund. Not to give away the ending, but not only were we were demonstrably right, but now there are numbers to prove it.
Figures came out over the weekend on Ireland's top tourism destinations. Wouldn't you know it, and despite the best efforts of frat boys everywhere, the Guinness Storehouse did not take the top stop. That was reserved for the impressive Dublin Zoo, with its 59 acres of plants and animals (by way of comparison, our beloved San Diego Zoo, a widely acknowledged global leader in conservation, clocks in at 40 acres).
The zoo attracted more than 960,000 visitors last year. In fairness the Guinness Storehouse was the second most visited national attraction. But they don't have a new baby gorilla that they just named, nor do they have elephant and penguin cams, so they don't get a writeup.
The Dublin Zoo goes back to 1831, making it one of the world's oldest continuously open zoos. They have animals from every continent, and serve as Europe's main repository for a number of endangered species including adorably small and critically endangered golden lion tamarins (aww). Recent renovations include an Asian elephant enclosure complete with an Asian rainforest and a new Amur tiger enclosure. The zoo is open every day over the summer from 9:30am to 6:00pm. Full details on their site here.
[Photo: Zootycoon2freak, Wiki Commons]