The Heritage Card

If you are touring Ireland for more than a couple of days, this card will certainly save you money, possibly quite a lot of money!

It is easy to buy, a true bargain (a rare thing!) and not half enough used by visitors to Ireland.

What is a Heritage Card?

Heritage Cards are issued by the Office of Public Works (OPW), a government body which looks after national monuments, historic houses, parks and gardens that are in State care.

A Heritage Card gives free entrance to all the places in their care for a period of one year. This includes more that 75 heritage sites all over the country, some of which are among the most popular places to visit in Ireland.

Some of these attractions are free to enter even without the card but it really is not difficult to save money with a Heritage Card, no matter what region of Ireland you are visiting.

Download a brochure of all Heritage Card sites (PDF).

How Much does it Cost

Card Cost
Adult €21
Senior (over 60) €16
Child (under 18) €8
Family €55

Remarkably little is the short answer.

A ‘family’ is defined as “2 adults and a reasonable number of children under 18”. So teenagers count and certainly your 4 children would be ok – but bringing along 10 of their school friends might be pushing it!

Children under the age of 6 have free entry anyway, so do not need a card.

Should you Buy a Heritage Card?

If you intend doing any sight seeing, buy this card.

Look at the list of headline locations it includes, places that most people touring Ireland will visit – Kilmainham Jail,  the Rock of Cashel, Muckross House, Kilkenny Castle, Glendalough, Bru na Boinne, Clonmacnoise – all on the lists of most people who visit ireland.

It’s a complete no-brainer.

Can you give me an example of the savings?

Ok, here goes.

Suppose you spend time in Dublin,  Kilkenny,  Cork and  Kerry, which would not be an unusual itinerary. You’ll visit the following places (and more, these are the ones with entry charges and that we highly recommend).

  • Dublin: Kilmainham Goal and Dublin Castle
  • Day Trip from Dublin: Brú na Boinne, Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, Battle of the Boyne Centre
  • Kilkenny: Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey, Dunmore Caves
  • On the way to Cork: Cahir Castle, The Rock of Cashel
  • Cork: Charles Fort, Garanish Island
  • Kerry: Muckross House and Gardens, Ross Castle, Derrynane House, the Blasket Centre.

Family of 2 adults & 2+ Children:
Without any card: €207.50 | With a Family card: €55
Saving: €152.50

Two Adults:
Without any card: €160 | With 2 adult cards: €42
Saving: €138

Convinced now?

Where to Buy a Heritage Card

You can buy cards at the first of the included Heritage Sites that you visit. They are valid for one year from the date of purchase. There is no need to buy before you travel.

Beware of sites selling this card and offering to mail it to you – they charge a premium, you get no benefit and it simply isn’t necessary.

Note that very few of the places on the Heritage Card list have credit card facilities, so plan to have enough cash at the first visit.

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3 Comments

  1. This really is one of the best deals going in Ireland.  If you visit 3 or more sights that charge in the door, the card pays for itself.  And, let’s face it, most of us will go to at least three of these well known sights on all but the shortest visits to Ireland. 

    You can buy online though there’s no need; simply ask for a card at the first site you go to, then and there you will be issued a Heritage Card.  If available, they will also give you a booklet of all the sites that are included, or, if you perfer, a folding map of the country with each Site shown on the map.  The money collected goes to fund the Heritage Sites and the card itself look great in your scrapbook!

    The website is very handy, too. http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/

  2. By far one of the best deals around in Ireland. This will enable you to visit numerous heritage sites at a fraction of the cost that it would normally cost. The guys at http://www.irishtourism.com gives the heritage card two thumbs up..

  3. In calculating the savings for two adults with a Heritage Card you show the following:
    Two Adults:
    Without any card: €160 | With 2 adult cards: €42
    Saving: €138
    Shouldn’t the savings be 118 Euros?

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Touring Ireland with Children on January 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    […] family Heritage Card costs €55 and gives free entry for the whole family at 75 locations, including many of the places […]

  2. By Ireland's National Heritage Week on April 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    […] is the only week of the year when a Heritage Card is not worth having – pretty much all the places included on it are free to enter […]

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