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.



20 Pics That Prove Ireland Is The Most Beautiful Place To Visit

Not to brag or anything but for only 84,000, our little island sure does pack a punch when it comes to scenery.

Glendalough, The Cliffs of Moher, The Giants Causeway and most recently Skellig Michael, they’re all a source of mystical beauty known around the world and we want to show you them all in one place (before you come visit of course) so enjoy…

One of Ireland’s oldest landmarks, Newgrange, Co.Meath
A truly unique sunset over the Giants Causeway, Co.Antrim
The Ballymoney Hedges made famous by Game of Thrones
Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge in Co.Antrim isn’t for the faint hearted
The most beautiful place in Ireland? The Cliffs of Moher
Connemeara, Co.Galway
Skellig Michael obscured by low cloud
Dunquin Bay on the Dingle Penninsula, Co.Kerry
Rathlin Lighthouse is the perfect example of wild Ireland
Not a cloud in sight! Our little slice of heaven
Glorious sunset over the Rock of Cashel, Co.Tipperary
You can’t visit Dublin without visiting St.James Gate, home of the black stuff
Mizen Head, Co.Cork is Ireland’s most southerly point
See Luke Skywalker anywhere? Skellig Michael
Head West and look out across the Atlantic at the Cliffs of Moher
Group of friends sitting outside Malahide Castle, Dublin
Group of friends sitting outside Malahide Castle, Dublin
Glendalough is a must visit only an hour outside of Dublin City
The Samuel Beckett Bridge, one of Dublin’s iconic landmarks
Galway, Ireland’s most charming city and European Capital City of Culture in 2020
The Kingdom of Kerry above the clouds
The Kingdom of Kerry above the clouds

Ready to explore our beautiful island full of amazing people with us? Drop us a line to find out more about the Work in Ireland Program or call our experts on +353 1 6021788