Heritage Card Ireland: An Easy Way To Save Money During Your Visit

heritage card Ireland
Photo by Chris Hill

The Heritage Card is a handy way for some people to save a decent chunk of money on admission to state-managed OPW Heritage Sites in Ireland.

State-managed sites include everything from the incredible Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and the potentially haunted Dunmore Cave in Kilkenny to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, Cahir Castle and plenty more.

But is the card actually worth purchasing? Well, it is in some cases. Families visiting Ireland, in particular, can save a decent chunk of money on admission to attractions.

Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the Heritage Car, from where to get it and where it’s accepted to how much you can save and more.

The OPW Heritage Card Ireland

The OPW (The Office of Public Work) are responsible for the day-to-day running of many of the National Monuments and National Historic Properties in Ireland that are state-owned.

The OPW Heritage Card, in a nutshell, gives the holder free admission to all of the fee-paying state-managed Heritage Sites around Ireland for one year from the date of purchase.

How much an OPW Heritage Card costs

The Heritage Card, similar to the Dublin Pass, is pretty decent price-wise. The prices below are how much you’ll pay if you buy the card from one of the OPW heritage sites mentioned below.

  • Adult: €40.00.
  • Senior: €30.00 (60 years and over)
  • Student/Child €10.00 (Valid student ID required / Child (12-18 years)
  • Family €90.00 (2 adults & 5 eligible children aged from 12 to 18 years)

What sites the OPW heritage card gives you free admission to

The official Heritage Card Ireland website is a bit of a mess. It tells you what it is and how much it costs, but it doesn’t list out the fee-paying attractions that the card gives you admission to.

Actually, you can access a PDF version of the brochure, but it’s painful to read on a laptop and it’s even worse on a phone. Here’s what sites the OPW heritage card gives you free admission to.

Heritage sites in Dublin

  • Kilmainham Gaol
  • Rathfarnham Castle
  • Farmleigh
  • Dublin Castle
  • Casino Marino,

Kerry and Galway

  • The Blasket Centre
  • Gallarus Oratory
  • Derrynane House, National Historic Park
  • Ardfert Cathedral
  • Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh
  • Conamara Portumna Castle and Gardens
  • Aughnanure Castle
  • Athenry Castle

Cork, Donegal and Kilkenny

  • Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
  • Donegal Castle
  • Garnish Island
  • Charles Fort
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • Jerpoint Abbey
  • Dunmore Cave

Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford

  • Glendalough Visitor Centre
  • Tintern Abbey
  • JFK Memorial Park and Arboretum
  • Reginald’s Tower

Tipperary and Offaly

Sligo and Roscommon

  • Sligo Abbey
  • Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
  • Boyle Abbey

Mayo and Meath

  • Trim Castle
  • The Hill of Tara
  • Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre
  • Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
  • The Céide Fields

Limerick, Louth, Leitrim and Laois

  • Old Mellifont Abbey
  • Adare Castle
  • Parke’s Castle
  • Emo Court

Where to purchase the OPW Heritage Card

So, you’ll find a lot of blogs and websites that state that you should purchase the heritage card online in advance of your trip to Ireland. This is bad advice, in my opinion.

There’s no reason to purchase a card in advance of coming to Ireland – you can very simply pick one up from the first heritage site that you visit and you’ll get free admission from the very start.

Now, I say ‘free admission’ – you’re paying for the OPW card so it’s not technically free, but you get the drift! Now, I’ve heard of sites online that are selling the Heritage Card.

I’ve heard that some of these sites add an additional fee onto the price of the OPW card. This is another reason to avoid ordering one online.

How much you can save

The people that really save from the free admission from the Heritage Cards are families visiting Ireland for a week plus (or those cramming in a lot in a shorter period of time) and people living in Ireland.

If you’re living in Ireland and you’re planning on exploring the island over the course of a year, you’ll absolutely save money if you buy a heritage card for €40. Many heritage sites charge €5 and up for entry. So, once you visit 8 over a year you’re in the money.

An example of how much a family can save

Let’s say you’re a family of five visiting Ireland for 7 days and you plan on spending 1 day in Dublin, 1 in Kilkenny, 2 in Waterford and 3 in Cork. Over the course of your trip, you visit the following:

  • Kilmainham Gaol (€20 for the family ticket)
  • Dublin Castle (€24.00 for the family ticket)
  • Kilkenny Castle (€20 for the family ticket)
  • Jerpoint Abbey (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Dunmore Cave (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Reginald’s Tower (€13.00 for the family ticket)
  • Tintern Abbey (€13.00 for the family ticket)
  • Charles Fort (€13.00 for the family ticket)

The total cost over the 7 days if you visited all of the above sites would be €129. If you bought a family ticket for €90 you’d save €39. Which isn’t bad.

If you’re a family living in Ireland you could save much more

Let’s say that you’re a family of five that lives in Ireland. You enjoy heading off for weekends around Ireland over the course of a year and you tend to visit historical sites.

OK, I’m going to make up 4 weekends and pop in some OPW heritage sites to give you an idea of how much you could save.

Weekend 1: Dublin

  • Kilmainham Gaol (€20 for the family ticket)
  • Dublin Castle (€24.00 for the family ticket)
  • Total cost of admission: €44

Weekend 2: Kilkenny

  • Kilkenny Castle (€20 for the family ticket)
  • Jerpoint Abbey (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Dunmore Cave (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Total cost of admission: €46

Weekend 3: Waterford

  • Reginald’s Tower (€13.00 for the family ticket)
  • Tintern Abbey (€13.00 for the family ticket)
  • Total cost of admission: €26

Weekend 4: Meath

  • Trim Castle (€13 for the family ticket)
  • The Hill of Tara (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre (€28 for the family ticket)
  • Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre (€13 for the family ticket)
  • Total cost of admission: €67

If you did all of the above, the total cost would be €183. If you bought an OPW family pass for €90, you’d have saved €93. Not bad at all.

Find more useful info on planning a trip to Ireland in our dedicated tourist information hub.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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