Ireland Set’s New Record For Annual Visitors in 2017 – This Is Why

Céad Míle Fáilte quite literally translates into one hundred thousand welcomes but it turns out that’s not nearly enough in 2017 as more people have come to visit Ireland this year than ever before!

10.56 million people (more than twice the Irish population), came over to our beautiful little island over the last 12 months. It’s becoming pretty clear that we’re doing something right so to help seal the deal on the best ever year for visitors to Ireland, we’re going to delve into why our home has never been so popular.

Ireland Goes Global

It may have been a secret to the wider world for many years but 2017 was the year that Ireland’s stunning landscapes were catapulted into the limelight (overdue if you ask us) thanks to two of the biggest film/TV franchises in history.

Turns out Luke Skywalker had been hiding out all this time in Co.Kerry, or more specifically, 7km off the coast of Kerry on the simply breathtaking rock we more as Skellig Michael. It wasn’t only down South that was used as a set location for The Last Jedi, our most northerly point of Malin Head also features prominently in the new blockbuster.

Game of Thrones has long been shot in Northern Ireland with the Iron Islands, Winterfell, the King’s Road and many more infamous scenes were brought to life by our landscapes and history.

Pic credit @trevorcole via

Star Wars and GoT have done for Ireland what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand, and they’ve loved it!

We Can’t Stop Featuring On The ‘Hot Lists’ And Winning Travel Awards

Every day, another global travel blog or website lists Irish locations near the top of their ‘hot lists’. Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway is Lonely Planet’s No.1 Region to visit in 2018.

The Titantic Museum in Belfast was listed as the Best Tourist Attraction in Europe and then the world in 2016, beating the likes of the Effiel Tower and the Taj Mahal.

Spike Island in Co.Cork was recently voted the top tourist attraction in Europe for 2017, making it back-to-back victories for Ireland in the World Travel Awards.

More Flights, Cheaper Flights

Dublin airport has become one of Europe’s busier airports since the introduction of US pre-clearance and a second terminal in 2010.

Transatlantic routes have seen a huge increase in frequency in the last 2 or 3 years as international low-cost airlines like WOW Air and Norwegian have entered the market, driving down the cost of a flight from North America to Dublin, Shannon or Cork.

The Bounceback is Complete

Ireland’s roaring economy crashed in a mightily big way back in 2009. Fast forward eight years and the economic outlook is comparable with ‘Celtic Tiger’ days but this time, backed up sustainably.

Dublin has been coined the European Capital of Digital on many occasions and it’s not surprising to see why given the stature of online companies that have their European Headquarters in Ireland. In no particular order the likes of Google, LinkedIn, PayPal, Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple, IBM. Airbnb and Twitter. Impressive right?

What’s more, Dublin is fast becoming a multicultural haven for talented labour from all corners of the world who are flocking here for the opportunities but also the lifestyle.

Whiskey and Golf Courses

If you’re like me, that heading is essentially Christmas. Granted, this combination isn’t for everyone but Ireland is uniquely positioned as a global standard for both. Over 650,000 tourists visited Irish distilleries this year (that’s not including the 1.6m who check out the Guinness Storehouse).

Ireland is home to some of the world’s most naturally spectacular and challenging golf courses in the world. While the profiles of Rory McIlroy, shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington continue to push Ireland into the golfing limelight, some 160,000 international visitors came here in 2017 with great links courses like Royal Portrush, Portmarnock and Ballybunion in their crosshairs.

The Craic

Last but not least, the mystical vibe and sense of community which oozes out of every moment being here – the craic. Have you ever heard anyone coming to Ireland and not enjoying themselves, enjoying the music, enjoying the laughs and enjoying new friendships made over a pint? Us neither.

Thinking about spending some time away from home in 2018? Join our growing international community right here in Dublin by spending four months or an entire year living and working in Ireland? USIT’s Work in Ireland Programme offers our clients a support network to help you get off to a flying start here in Ireland. We’ve helped hundreds of students from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe settle here. Email or call us on +353 1 602 1888 and let’s start planning.



15 Things the Irish Do Best

  1. Tea
    Irish people have a commitment to tea that cannot be described. It’s a love that runs deep that it is only rivalled by our love of potatoes (embrace the stereotype). We make the best tea in the world and don’t believe in more than one kind (except for the Barry’s vs Lyons debate). Irish people will judge your character based on how you make and take your tea – if you don’t drink you are not to be trusted. Tea has always been there for us as a nation, everything and anything can be solved with a good cuppa tae!
Image Via Pinterest
Image Via Pinterest
  1. Traditional Breakfast
    To go with your tea – a hearty Full Irish. Toast, eggs, sausages, rashers, beans (touchy subject), white and black pudding (don’t ask, just eat it), all fried and served with helpings of Irish butter. Extremely unhealthy but extremely satisfying. It’s a guaranteed hangover cure.
  1. Rejecting compliments
    The Irish cannot and will not accept your compliment. We get awkward and embarrassed by you drawing attention us. We know we look great, we appreciate your lovely comment. But we will not acknowledge it out loud.
    *Irish Person B: buys expensive new outfit for a special occasion*
    Person A: ‘I love your outfit, you look fantastic.’
    Person B: ‘Noooo, this thing? Sure it’s year’s old, I found it in the back of the wardrobe. And sure I haven’t even done the hair, I’m surprised they let me into the building at all.’ This is code for thanks very much.
  1. Slang
    For such a tiny country, each county and location has developed it’s own slang for various situations, words and stages of being drunk. Slang can differ strongly depending on if you’re talking to a city dweller or countryman. In some cases you may not even understand it if you are from Ireland yourself so we commend all travellers on attempting to engage in conversation with us! Check out our previous post to become a slang master.
  1. Funerals
    Irish funerals are an occasion. We sure do send off our loved ones in the best way we deem suitable; with a big session down the pub. Funerals are not just for close family, they for everyone who has ever encountered the deceased. Funerals are not just one day, they can be 2 or even 3 days long – often depending on the popularity of that person. Visits to their home, the church, the burial and the few pints and sandwiches down the pub after are known to be the best way to support a grieving family. Funerals are not meant to be sad, they are meant to celebrate the life of the individual, sure isn’t that what they would have wanted?
  2. Pubs
    There is no place in the world quite like an Irish pub (and no Irish Bars abroad do not count). Whether it be a few quiet one’s in local, a proper traditional Irish Music set, the beginning of a long night on the town, there’s a pub for every occasion.
  1. Guinness
    On the topic of pubs, Guinness has been scientifically proven to taste best in the home land. As it doesn’t need to be shipped very far it’s the freshest pint of the black stuff you’re going to find. We even have a dedicated quality control team purely to ensure that our most famous brew is the best it can be.
Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News
Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News
  1. Music
    Again, often hand in hand with our notorious pub scene is our trad sessions. Enjoyed by all ages regardless of musical preference. A good trad session can instantly change your mood and have you feeling like (and sometimes actually) dancing on tables.
  1. Banter
    Ireland is the self-proclaimed King of Banter (also commonly known as ‘the Craic’). But it’s not hard to see why. Banter is the Irish people’s way of having fun regardless of the situation. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and will always try to see the light in any situation. Banter can sometimes border on offensive, but it is always meant in a lighthearted way!
  1. Sarcasm
    Another Irish-ism that goes hand in hand with Banter that tourists are often puzzled about. It can be very difficult to determine if what an Irish person has said to you is truly meant the way it is said. 9 times out of 10 they are being Sarcastic and actually mean the complete opposite of what was said.

Do you fancy going to the gym at lunch time?’

‘Ah I do, yeah’

This means no. Makes perfect sense.

  1. Postmen

Irish postmen (that’s mailmen to some) are not like any other in the world. They are often tasked with delivering letters and packages with minimal information on them. And they almost always succeed. In rural Ireland a lot of the time the postman will know all the neighbours so not much investigating needs to be done. Often postmen have been known to correctly deliver mail with just an area and name, such as the below.

Source: Albert Doherty
Source: Albert Doherty
  1. Weather forecast reports

Irish weather is at best unpredictable. So much so, some would go as far as saying there is no need for us to have a weather forecast. As even the forecasters, cannot predict how it’ll go. But they make a wonderful effort none the less. Some of Ireland’s most watched YouTube clips are now notorious weather reports.

  1. Talking (mostly about the weather)

The Irish could talk their way out of anything if given the chance. Any opportunity to have a chat or a moan and there’s no stopping us. A particular favourite topic of Irish conversation is the weather. In awkward situations where small talk is required, you can never go wrong with mentioning the current conditions, 30 minutes of conversation will flow smoothly from there.  

  1. Mammies
    The boss, the negotiator, the dictator, the loveliest woman on earth. No one comes close in comparison to Irish mammy. She will motivate you, scare you and tease you like no other, all whilst loving you dearly.
Source: RTE
Source: RTE
  1. Hospitality
    There is a reason our hospitality industry is so successfully, and that comes down to the people. Irish friendliness is renowned around the world and that comes down to the Irish down to earth personality. We see everyone as a potential friend and therefore will treat you as one. Come on in, have a cuppa tea. 

Blog Post by Martha Fallon, Work in Ireland Program Coordinator