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.



The Official Best Pubs in Ireland

The National Hospitality Awards are an annual event accrediting well deserved recognition across various topics within the booming hospitality industry in Ireland. This November marked the 11th year of the event with prestigious awards and recognition being granted across the board.

One of the most important categories (in our opinion anyway) was of course, The Best Pubs in Ireland. So without further ado we present you with your next pub crawl list!

  1. The Stag’s Head, Dame Lane, Dublin 2A deserving winner and a city treasure of Victorian origin, the Stag’s Head Dublin is one of the most characteristic pubs in the country. As well as an appealing interior the pub holds some of Dublin’s most popular social events. Monday night’s Comedy Crunch is a must visit, offering hilarious skits from some of the country’s most popular and up and coming comedians. Friday and Saturday nights host the best Trad Session in the capital. The last Wednesday of every month, experience an evening with a difference and attend ‘The Brown Bread Mixtape’ a delicate blend of Irish stories, music and poetry. Delicious food & beer on tap there really is no wonder why this is the BEST pub in the country.


2. Lowry’s Irish Music & Whisky Bar, Market Street, Clifden, Co. Galway

Runner up and winner in 2015, Lowry’s is famous throughout Connemara as the best traditional Irish pub. Lowry’s provides live Irish trad sessions and craic 7 nights a week! Depending on the season, a variety of traditional Irish performers play on a weekly basis to tourists and locals alike from near and far. More than just your average bar Lowry’s offers over 100 different whisky’s and feature on the Irish Whisky Trail. The unique and welcoming atmosphere is an unquestionable stop for any west Ireland adventures.


3. Doheny & Nesbitt, Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2

Established in 1867 Doheny & Nesbitt is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland. In true Irish tradition it remains a family owned pub, adding to its charm. The unique history present is tastefully combined with a modern twist and makes this pub one of the most popular locations for sporting events. Delicious food is served on a daily menu and has attracted journalists and food experts wide and far.

Patrick Donald is an award winning fine art photographer living and working in Ireland.


Other worthy winners include the following;


  1. Vintage Cocktail Club, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
    An exclusive and intimate experience, VCC is a closed door portal to another time. Vintage surroundings and an extensive menu this is the ideal bar for group gatherings or date nights!
  1. Opium, Wexford Street, Dublin 2
    Split into two sections, a restaurant & cocktail lounge and a music venue & nightclub, Opium offers something for everyone. With unique dining and cocktail experiences combined with an ever changing music and entertainment scene, it is unsurprising that this bar features as a top spot in Ireland and one to check out on a buzzing Dublin weekend.
  2. 777, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
    A notorious city favourite exploring the best of Mexican culture to create a trendy dining experience and vibrant Tequila cocktails. With amazing food, award winning drinks and a vibrant funky atmosphere, 777 is ideal for food and cocktail lovers alike.


  1. The Wright Venue, Airside, Swords, Co. Dublin
    Ireland’s largest and multi-award winning venue hosts a variety of music and entertainment gigs over 3 floors, 7 bars and 12 unique experiences ensuring a night you won’t want to forget! With superstar DJ’s every other week it is the perfect place for celeb-spotting!
  1. Lillie’s Bordello, Grafton Street, Dublin 2
    A renowned city hotspot that hosts a luxurious setting and overlooks the prestigious Trinity College, this club has tons to offer! With 4 bars, 3 rooms and Ireland’s only micro-distillery ‘Lillie’s Lab’, live music and an extensive drinks menu it’s no wonder Lillie’s is Dublin’s worst kept secret.


  1. The Back Page, Phibsboro, Dublin 7
    The Back Page offers something for everyone, whether sports fanatic or complete rookie. With a games room, rotating draught beers, over 10 LCD screens, unbelievable pizza and a brand new brunch menu, as well as monthly themed events the Back Page is way more than just a Sports Bar!
  1. Sinnotts Bar, South Kings Street, Dublin 2
    Found below Stephens Green Shopping centre, Sinnotts is inevitably buzzing with people throughout the week. The historic location is home to a collection of literary pieces from renowned Irish artists and writers. 14 dedicated sports screens allow the bar to show all sporting events required simultaneously. No matter the event, the atmosphere during game day is an experience on another level.  
  1. The Living Room, Cathal Brugha St, Rotunda, Dublin 1
    Home to Europe’s largest outdoor screen, the Living Room is a must visit destination on match day! Visitors from near and far stop in to witness live events, craft beer, cocktails and food and stay for the late night live music and DJ.


  1. Toner’s, Baggot Street lower, Dublin 2
    One of Dublin’s oldest pubs Toners is also notably one of the most famous. A cosy snug, the Toner’s Yard beer garden and one of the best pints of Guinness to be had in the country can guarantee a satisfied customer. 
  1. Kehoe’s, South Anne Street, Dublin 2
    A classic Victorian style pub with decorative stained glass doors provides the ideal cosy setting for a pint. Surrounded by history and an untouched interior, shoppers, tourists and locals alike are transported back 100 years upon entering this timeless bar. 
  1. Crotty’s Kilrush, Market Square, Drimna, Kilrush, Co. Clare
    The best Traditional Irish music in the West of Ireland, Crotty’s also offers a bed and breakfast experience making it an ideal stop on your west of Ireland adventures. 5 distinctive areas, all hosting the traditional design and structures provides something everyone and is not to be missed. Experiences the privacy of your own snug or jump into the live trad sessions that occur every weekend.

Blog Post by Martha Fallon, Work in Ireland  

A full list of categories and winners can be found through Hospitality Ireland;