What is an Irish Heritage Card? Is it worth it?
What is an OPW Heritage Card?
Irish Heritage Cards are provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW). They are a government organization that takes care of historic houses, parks and gardens in the States care along with national monuments and historic sites.
The Heritage Card Ireland can be purchased for a small sum and it will give you free admission to all the OPW managed sites located throughout the country.
There are 52 sites listed as free with the Heritage Ireland (OPW) Card but at some locations, there may be a charge for parking or other services so keep that in mind.
Some heritage sites in Ireland are already free. Dunamase Castle, for example, is free, as is the ruined Abbey in Donegal Town.
Ireland Heritage Card Attractions
- Adare Castle – Adare Heritage Centre, Adare, Co. Limerick – Open June to September
- Ardfert Cathedral – Ardfert, Tralee, Co. Kerry – Open late March to late September
- Athenry Castle – Athenry Castle, Co. Galway – Open late March to early October
- Aughnanure Castle – Oughterard, Co.Galway – Open late February to late November
- Battle of the Boyne – Oldbridge Estate Drogheda, Co. Meath – Open January to December
- Boyle Abbey – Boyle, Co. Roscommon – Open late March to late September
- Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (Newgrange and Knowth) – Donore, Co. Meath – Open January to December
- Cahir Castle – Cahir, Co. Tipperary – Open January to December
- Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery – Carrowmore, Co. Sligo – Open late March to early November
- Casino Marino – Marino, Dublin 3 – Casino means a small house this one has 16 finely decorated rooms.
- Castletown – Celbridge, Co. Kildare – Open March to mid-December. Park open year-round.
- Céide Fields – Ballycastle, Co. Mayo – Open mid-March to October
- Charles Fort – Summer Cove, Kinsale, Co. Cork – Open January to December
- Clonmacnoise – Shannonbridge, Athlone, Co. Offaly – Open January to December
- Derrynane House, National Historic Park – Caherdaniel, Co.Kerry – Open mid-March to early December
- Desmond Castle Kinsale – Cork Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork – Open June to September
- Donegal Castle – Donegal Town, Co.Donegal – Open January to December
- Doneraile Court – Doneraile, Co. Cork – Open January to December
- Dublin Castle – Dame Street, Dublin 2 – Open January to December
- Dún Aonghasa – Aran, Co.Galway – Open January to December
- Dunmore Cave – Ballyfoyle, Co. Kilkenny – Open mid-March to October
- Emo Court – Emo, Co. Laois – Open late May to early October
- Ennis Friary – Abbey Street, Ennis, Co. Clare – Open April to November 1
- Farmleigh – Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 – Open January to December
- Gallarus Oratory – Gallarus, Dingle, Co. Kerry – Open January to December but visitors centre closed in winter.
- Glebe House and Gallery – Glebe, Churchill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal – Open late May to early November
- Glendalough Visitor Centre – Glendalough, Co. Wicklow – Open January to December
- Glenveagh Castle – Churchill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal – Open January to December
- Hill of Tara – Navan, Co. Meath – Open late January to December
- Ilnacullin (Garinish Island) – Glengarriff, Bantry, Co. Cork – Open April to November 3
- The Blascaod Centre – Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Trá Lí, Co.Chiarraí – Open late March to early November
- Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh Conamara – A Connemara Cultural Centre
- An Gort Mhór, Rosmuc, Co na Gaillimhe – Open January to December
- Jerpoint Abbey – Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny – Open January to December
- JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum – New Ross, Co. Wexford – Open January to December
- Kilkenny Castle – Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny – Open January to December
- Kilmainham Gaol – Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8 – Open January to December
- Muckross House & Gardens – National Park, Killarney Co. Kerry – Open January to December
- Old Mellifont Abbey – Tullyallen, Drogheda, Co. Louth – Open late May to early September
- Ormond Castle – Castle Park, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary – Open late March to early November
- Parke’s Castle – Fivemile Bourne, Co. Leitrim – Open late March to early October
- Portumna Castle – Portumna, Co. Galway – Open January to December
- Rathcroghan Visitor Centre – Cruachan Aí, Tulsk, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon – Open January to December
- Rathfarnham Castle – Rathfarnham Road, Dublin 14 – Open January to December
- Reginald’s Tower – The Quay, Waterford – Open January to mid-December
- Rock of Cashel – Cashel, Co. Tipperary – Open January to December
- Roscrea Castle and Damer House & Blackmills – Castle Street, Roscrea, Co.Tipperary – Open late March to late September
- Ross Castle – Killarney, Co. Kerry – Open March to early November
- Sligo Abbey – Abbey Street, Sligo, Co. Sligo – Open late March to October
- Swiss Cottage – Cahir, Co. Tipperary – Open mid-March to early November
- Tintern Abbey – Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford – Open late March to late October
- Trim Castle – Trim Castle, Co. Meath – Open January to December
A Heritage Card gives free entrance to all the places listed above for a period of one year. This includes more than 50 heritage sites all over the country, some of which are among the most popular places to visit in Ireland.
How much does a Heritage Card cost?
The Irish Heritage Card is a fantastic value for the cost. Children under 6 are free and a family is considered 2 adults and up to 5 children.
Senior (over 60) €30
Child (under 18) €10
Should you Buy a Heritage Card?
If you want to visit some of the most incredible sites in Ireland the answer is yes. Even if you only visit half a dozen of the sites you are saving money.
Here’s a typical itinerary from Dublin to Waterford: Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, Kilkenny Castle, Tintern Abbey, Glendalough, Jerpoint Abbey, JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum, Dunmore Caves & Reginald’s Tower you will spend €53 compared to the OPW Heritage card at €40.
Where do I Buy a Heritage Card?
OPW Heritage cards can be purchased at any of the sites your first visit and they are valid for one year from the day you purchase it.
Depending on the site you purchase your OPW Card from you may need cash to buy it as some places don’t have credit card machines.
Can I use my English Heritage Card in Ireland?
Planning on visiting Ireland and England? Until recently, your English Heritage card would mean nothing if you tried to use it in Ireland. Not anymore.
Thanks to a recent initiative between English Heritage and Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW), your card is now a key into some of Ireland’s most beautiful and historically important heritage sites. You simply have to become a member of English Heritage and your card will be accepted at all the OPW Heritage Card sites in Ireland.
So, what is your favourite historic place in Ireland to visit?
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