We are the kind of tourist that love to embrace ourselves with heritage, history and culture of a place. When we travel, we look for museums and castles. OPW (office of public works) runs many historical sites in Ireland. Most of the beautiful places are ticketed but some are free. We have visited Kilkenny and Dublin Castle in the past, they are run by OPW
The Heritage Card
There is a small fee for the heritage card that allows us free entrance to places run by OPW for one year after the first use of the card (not when you first bought it). We bought the card online and it arrived at our house within the week. The card has 2 empty strips at the back and will be used when you show the card for the first time to the OPW staff. The first time we used the card was in Glendalough visitor center. The counter staff wrote the current date at the back with permanent marker and I have to sign it. Once done, we just walked in to the center without paying for the entrance fee.
We had to book tickets for some places online. For online ticket purchase, after selecting the dates and time of the visit, there is normally a button to press to say you have a heritage card. There’s no field for us to enter the card number. A “ticket” is issued to my email and I will bring it to the venue. The ticketing person will ask for the physical card and we are moved on. I am surprised at how little fuss there is to use this card. Most of the time they don’t take details of the card and take barely a glance at it.
Value for Money
Back of the envelop calculation, we think visiting 2-3 places in the year will cover back the cost of the card. We has been using the card in few interesting places and definitely will go to more heritage places this year. There are heritage sites all over Ireland, with this card we always have a place to visit in a new town.