Christ Church was built on the site of a Viking church that dated back to A.D. 1038. Construction of the current church was begun in 1172 by Strongbow, a Norman baron and conqueror of Dublin for the English crown. It is presently the seat of the Protestant Church of Ireland.
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Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600 and 150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. Norman invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. The Irish famine of the mid-19th century was responsible for a drop in the island's population by more than one quarter through starvation, disease, and emigration. For more than a century afterward, the population of the island continued to fall only to begin growing again in the 1960s. Over the last 50 years, Ireland's high birthrate has made it demographically one of the youngest populations in the EU.

The modern Irish state traces its origins to the failed 1916 Easter Monday Uprising that galvanized nationalist sentiment and fostered a guerrilla war resulting in independence from the UK in 1921 with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the creation of the Irish Free State. The treaty was deeply controversial in Ireland in part because it helped solidify the partition of Ireland, with six of the island's 32 counties remaining in the UK as Northern Ireland. The split between pro-Treaty and anti-Treaty partisans led to the Irish Civil War (1922-23). The traditionally dominant political parties in Ireland, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, are de facto descendants of the opposing sides of the treaty debate. Ireland formally left the British Dominion in 1949 when Ireland declared itself a republic.

Deep sectarian divides between the Catholic and Protestant populations and systemic discrimination in Northern Ireland erupted into years of violence known as the "Troubles" that began in the 1960s. In 1998, the governments of Ireland and the UK, along with most political parties in Northern Ireland, reached the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement with the support of the US. This agreement helped end the Troubles and initiated a new phase of cooperation between the Irish and British Governments.

Ireland was neutral in World War II and continues its policy of military neutrality. Ireland joined the European Community in 1973 and the euro-zone currency union in 1999. The economic boom years of the Celtic Tiger (1995-2007) saw rapid economic growth, which came to an abrupt end in 2008 with the meltdown of the Irish banking system. As a small, open economy, Ireland has excelled at courting foreign direct investment, especially from US multi-nationals, which helped the economy recover from the financial crisis and insolated it from the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Geographic coordinates

53 00 N, 8 00 W


total: 70,273 sq km

land: 68,883 sq km

water: 1,390 sq km

country comparison to the world: 120

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

<p>slightly larger than West Virginia</p>

Land boundaries

total: 490 km

border countries (1): UK 490 km


1,448 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time


mostly flat to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast


highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 118 m

Natural resources

natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite

Land use

agricultural land: 66.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 50.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.9% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population distribution is weighted to the eastern side of the island, with the largest concentration being in and around Dublin; populations in the west are small due to mountainous land, poorer soil, lack of good transport routes, and fewer job opportunities

Natural hazards

rare extreme weather events

Geography - note

strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin

People and Society


noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)

adjective: Irish

Ethnic groups

Irish 82.2%, Irish travelers 0.7%, other White 9.5%, Asian 2.1%, Black 1.4%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.6% (2016 est.)


English (official, the language generally used), Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official, spoken by approximately 39.8% of the population as of 2016; mainly spoken in areas along Ireland's western coast known as gaeltachtai, which are officially recognized regions where Irish is the predominant language)


Roman Catholic 78.3%, Church of Ireland 2.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Orthodox 1.3%, Muslim 1.3%, other 2.4%, none 9.8%, unspecified 2.6% (2016 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.15% (male 560,338/female 534,570)

15-24 years: 12.08% (male 316,239/female 308,872)

25-54 years: 42.19% (male 1,098,058/female 1,085,794)

55-64 years: 10.77% (male 278,836/female 278,498)

65 years and over: 13.82% (male 331,772/female 383,592) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Ireland. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54.8

youth dependency ratio: 32.3

elderly dependency ratio: 22.6

potential support ratio: 4.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 37.8 years

male: 37.4 years

female: 38.2 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Birth rate

12.6 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Death rate

6.72 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Net migration rate

3.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Population distribution

population distribution is weighted to the eastern side of the island, with the largest concentration being in and around Dublin; populations in the west are small due to mountainous land, poorer soil, lack of good transport routes, and fewer job opportunities


urban population: 63.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.15% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.242 million DUBLIN (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.7 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.52 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 197

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.45 years

male: 79.12 years

female: 83.9 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97% of population

rural: 98.1% of population

total: 97.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 3% of population

rural: 1.9% of population

total: 2.6% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.31 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 99% of population

total: 98.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 1% of population

total: 1.8% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

7,800 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children

country comparison to the world: 113

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 19 years

female: 19 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 15.3%

male: 15.3%

female: 15.3% (2020 est.)


Environment - current issues

water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff; acid rain kills plants, destroys soil fertility, and contributes to deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.26 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 37.71 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 13.67 megatons (2020 est.)


temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time

Land use

agricultural land: 66.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 50.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.9% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)


urban population: 63.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.15% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,692,537 tons (2012 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 888,537 tons (2012 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 33% (2012 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 631 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 51 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 179 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

52 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Ireland

local long form: none

local short form: Eire

etymology: the modern Irish name "Eire" evolved from the Gaelic "Eriu," the name of the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land); the names "Ireland" in English and "Eire" in Irish are direct translations of each other

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Dublin

geographic coordinates: 53 19 N, 6 14 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: derived from Irish "dubh" and "lind" meaning respectively "black, dark" and "pool" and which referred to the dark tidal pool where the River Poddle entered the River Liffey; today the area is the site of the castle gardens behind Dublin Castle

Administrative divisions

28 counties and 3 cities*; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Cork*, Donegal, Dublin*, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Galway*, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow


6 December 1921 (from the UK by the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which ended British rule); 6 December 1922 (Irish Free State established); 18 April 1949 (Republic of Ireland Act enabled)

National holiday

Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March; note - marks the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, during the latter half of the fifth century A.D. (most commonly cited years are c. 461 and c. 493); although Saint Patrick's feast day was celebrated in Ireland as early as the ninth century, it only became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903


history: previous 1922; latest drafted 14 June 1937, adopted by plebiscite 1 July 1937, effective 29 December 1937

amendments: proposed as bills by Parliament; passage requires majority vote by both the Senate and House of Representatives, majority vote in a referendum, and presidential signature; amended many times, last in 2019

Legal system

common law system based on the English model but substantially modified by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts by Supreme Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no, unless a parent of a child born in Ireland has been legally resident in Ireland for at least three of the four years prior to the birth of the child

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 of the previous 8 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Michael D. HIGGINS (since 11 November 2011)

head of government: Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál MARTIN (since 27 June 2020); note - MARTIN will serve through December 2022 and will then be succeeded by Leo VARADKAR 

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president, approved by the Dali Eireann (lower house of Parliament) 

elections/appointments: president directly elected by majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 26 October 2018 (next to be held no later than November 2025); taoiseach (prime minister) nominated by the House of Representatives (Dail Eireann), appointed by the president

election results: Michael D. HIGGINS reelected president; percent of vote - Michael D. HIGGINS (independent) 55.8%, Peter CASEY (independent) 23.3%, Sean GALLAGHER (independent) 6.4%, Liadh NI RIADA (Sinn Fein) 6.4%, Joan FREEMAN (independent) 6%, Gavin DUFFY (independent) 2.2%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of:
Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats; 49 members indirectly elected from 5 vocational panels of nominees by an electoral college, 11 appointed by the prime minister
House of Representatives or Dail Eireann (160 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; all Parliament members serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last held early on 30-21 May 2020 (next to be held in March 2025)
House of Representatives - last held on 8 February 2020 (next to be held no later than 2025)

election results:  
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Fianna Fail 16, Fine Gael 12, Labor Party 5, Sinn Fein 5, Green Party 2, independent 9; composition - men 36, women 24, percent of women 40%  
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Sinn Fein 23%, Fianna Fail 23%, Fine Gael 22%, Green Party 8%, Labor Party 4%, Social Democrats 4%, AAA-PBD 3%, Aontu 0.6%, Independents for Change 0.6%, Ceann Comhairle 0.6%, independent 12%; seats by party - Sinn Fein 37, Fianna Fail 37, Fine Gael 35, Green Party 12, Labor Party 6, Social Democrats 6, AAA-PBD 5, Aontu l, Independents for Change 1, Ceann Comhairle 1, Independents 19; composition as of September 2021 - men 124, women 36, percent of women 22.2%; note - total Parliament percent of women 27.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Ireland (consists of the chief justice, 9 judges, 2 ex-officio members - the presidents of the High Court and Court of Appeal - and organized in 3-, 5-, or 7-judge panels, depending on the importance or complexity of an issue of law)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the prime minister and Cabinet and appointed by the president; chief justice serves in the position for 7 years; judges can serve until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court, Court of Appeal; circuit and district courts; criminal courts

Political parties and leaders

Solidarity-People Before Profit or AAAS-PBP [collective leadership]
Fianna Fail [Micheal MARTIN]
Fine Gael [Leo VARADKAR]
Green Party [Eamon RYAN]
Labor (Labour) Party [Alan KELLY]
Renua Ireland (vacant)
Sinn Fein [Mary Lou MCDONALD]
Social Democrats [Catherine MURPHY, Roisin SHORTALL]
Socialist Party [collective leadership]
The Workers' Party [Michael DONNELLY]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel Gerard MULHALL (since 8 September 2017)

chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 462-3939

FAX: [1] (202) 232-5993

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin (TX), Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Alexandra MCKNIGHT (since 19 January 2021)

embassy: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

mailing address: 5290 Dublin Place, Washington DC  20521-5290

telephone: [353] (1) 668-8777

FAX: [353] (1) 688-8056

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; officially the flag colors have no meaning, but a common interpretation is that the green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition of Ireland; orange represents the Orange tradition (minority supporters of William of Orange); white symbolizes peace (or a lasting truce) between the green and the orange

note: similar to the flag of Cote d'Ivoire, which is shorter and has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has colors of green (hoist side), white, and red

National symbol(s)

harp, shamrock (trefoil); national colors: blue, green

National anthem

name: "Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song)

lyrics/music: Peadar KEARNEY [English], Liam O RINN [Irish]/Patrick HEENEY and Peadar KEARNEY

note: adopted 1926; instead of "Amhran na bhFiann," the song "Ireland's Call" is often used at athletic events where citizens of Ireland and Northern Ireland compete as a unified team


Economic overview

Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy. It was among the initial group of 12 EU nations that began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002. GDP growth averaged 6% in 1995-2007, but economic activity dropped sharply during the world financial crisis and the subsequent collapse of its domestic property market and construction industry during 2008-11. Faced with sharply reduced revenues and a burgeoning budget deficit from efforts to stabilize its fragile banking sector, the Irish Government introduced the first in a series of draconian budgets in 2009. These measures were not sufficient to stabilize Ireland’s public finances. In 2010, the budget deficit reached 32.4% of GDP - the world's largest deficit, as a percentage of GDP. In late 2010, the former COWEN government agreed to a $92 billion loan package from the EU and IMF to help Dublin recapitalize Ireland’s banking sector and avoid defaulting on its sovereign debt. In March 2011, the KENNY government intensified austerity measures to meet the deficit targets under Ireland's EU-IMF bailout program.

In late 2013, Ireland formally exited its EU-IMF bailout program, benefiting from its strict adherence to deficit-reduction targets and success in refinancing a large amount of banking-related debt. In 2014, the economy rapidly picked up. In late 2014, the government introduced a fiscally neutral budget, marking the end of the austerity program. Continued growth of tax receipts has allowed the government to lower some taxes and increase public spending while keeping to its deficit-reduction targets. In 2015, GDP growth exceeded 26%. The magnitude of the increase reflected one-off statistical revisions, multinational corporate restructurings in intellectual property, and the aircraft leasing sector, rather than real gains in the domestic economy, which was still growing. Growth moderated to around 4.1% in 2017, but the recovering economy assisted lowering the deficit to 0.6% of GDP.

In the wake of the collapse of the construction sector and the downturn in consumer spending and business investment during the 2008-11 economic crisis, the export sector, dominated by foreign multinationals, has become an even more important component of Ireland's economy. Ireland’s low corporation tax of 12.5% and a talented pool of high-tech laborers have been some of the key factors in encouraging business investment. Loose tax residency requirements made Ireland a common destination for international firms seeking to pay less tax or, in the case of U.S. multinationals, defer taxation owed to the United States. In 2014, amid growing international pressure, the Irish government announced it would phase in more stringent tax laws, effectively closing a commonly used loophole. The Irish economy continued to grow in 2017 and is forecast to do so through 2019, supported by a strong export sector, robust job growth, and low inflation, to the point that the Government must now address concerns about overheating and potential loss of competitiveness. The greatest risks to the economy are the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union ("Brexit") in March 2019, possible changes to international taxation policies that could affect Ireland’s revenues, and global trade pressures.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$447.97 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$433.17 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$410.33 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 44

Real GDP growth rate

5.86% (2019 est.)

9.42% (2018 est.)

9.49% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32

Real GDP per capita

$89,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$87,800 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$84,300 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 5

GDP (official exchange rate)

$398.476 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.9% (2019 est.)

0.4% (2018 est.)

0.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2017)

Moody's rating: A2 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2019)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 38.6% (2017 est.)

services: 60.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 34% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 10.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 119.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -89.7% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, barley, beef, wheat, potatoes, pork, oats, poultry, mushrooms/truffles, mutton


pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing; medical devices

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 5%

industry: 11%

services: 84% (2015 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)


revenues: 86.04 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 87.19 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

68.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

73.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

country comparison to the world: 54

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$44.954 billion (2019 est.)

$24.154 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202


$502.31 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$471.6 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$440.693 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Exports - partners

United States 28%, Belgium 10%, Germany 10%, UK 9%, China 5%, Netherlands 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

medical cultures/vaccines, nitrogen compounds, packaged medicines, integrated circuits, scented mixtures (2019)


$452.98 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$361.12 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$359.725 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Imports - partners

United Kingdom 31%, United States 16%, Germany 10%, Netherlands 5%, France 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

aircraft, computers, packaged medicines, refined petroleum, medical cultures/vaccines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$4.412 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.203 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Debt - external

$2,829,303,000,000 (2019 est.)

$2,758,949,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 15.3%

male: 15.3%

female: 15.3% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,678,651 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5,234,027 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 119

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: infrastructure projects are underway, including the national plan to deliver fiber-based service of at least 150Mb/s nationally by the end of 2022; operators invested in fiber-based networks to deliver a 1Gb/s service to most premises, and on 5G to cover more than half of population; operator test of satellite broadband; Dublin is a smart city (2020)

domestic: increasing levels of broadband access particularly in urban areas; fixed-line 36 per 100 and mobile-cellular 105 per 100 subscriptions; digital system using cable and microwave radio relay (2019)

international: country code - 353; landing point for the AEConnect -1, Celtic-Norse, Havfrue/AEC-2, GTT Express, Celtic, ESAT-1, IFC-1, Solas, Pan European Crossing, ESAT-2, CeltixConnect -1 & 2, GTT Atlantic, Sirius South, Emerald Bridge Fibres and Geo Eirgrid submarine cable with links to the US, Canada, Norway, Isle of Man and UK; satellite earth stations - 81 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

publicly owned broadcaster Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) operates 4 TV stations; commercial TV stations are available; about 75% of households utilize multi-channel satellite and TV services that provide access to a wide range of stations; RTE operates 4 national radio stations and has launched digital audio broadcasts on several stations; a number of commercial broadcast stations operate at the national, regional, and local levels (2019)

Internet users

total: 4.51 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 92% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,516,252 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30.71 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 450

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 167,598,633 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 168.71 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 5 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 24

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 21 (2013)


2,427 km gas (2017)


total: 4,301 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 1,930 km 0.914-m gauge (operated by the Irish Peat Board to transport peat to power stations and briquetting plants) (2018)

broad gauge: 2,371 km 1.600-m gauge (53 km electrified) (2018)

country comparison to the world: 44


total: 99,830 km (2018)

paved: 99,830 km (includes 2,717 km of expressways) (2018)

country comparison to the world: 48


956 km (pleasure craft only) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 67

Merchant marine

total: 96

by type: bulk carrier 12, general cargo 36, oil tanker 1, other 47 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 91

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dublin, Shannon Foynes

cruise port(s): Cork (250,000), Dublin (359,966) (2020)

container port(s) (TEUs): Dublin (529,563) (2016)

river port(s): Cork (Lee), Waterford (Suir)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireannn): Army, Air Corps, Naval Service, Reserve Defense Forces (2021)

Military expenditures

0.27% of GDP (2020)

0.29% of GDP (2019)

0.29% of GDP (2018)

0.31% of GDP (2017)

0.33% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 165

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Irish Defense Forces have approximately 8,700 active duty personnel (7,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 700 Air Force) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Irish Defense Forces have a small inventory of imported weapons systems from a variety of mostly European countries; the UK is the leading supplier of military hardware to Ireland since 2010 (2020)

Military deployments

135 Golan Heights (UNDOF); 330 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (Oct 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service recruits to the Defence Forces (18-27 years of age for the Naval Service); 18-26 for cadetship (officer) applicants; 12-year service (5 active, 7 reserves); Irish citizen, European Economic Area citizenship, or refugee status (2021)

Military - note

the Irish Defense Forces trace their origins back to the Irish Volunteers, which was established in 1913; the Irish Volunteers took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence, 1919-1921

Ireland has a long-standing policy of military neutrality; however, it participates in international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, as well as crisis management; Ireland is a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy and has committed a battalion of troops to the EU’s Rapid Reaction Force; Ireland is not a member of NATO, but has a relationship going back to 1997 when it deployed personnel in support of the NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ireland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1999; Ireland has been an active participate in UN peacekeeping operations since the 1950s


Terrorist group(s)

Continuity Irish Republican Army; New Irish Republican Army; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) (2019)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 106 (2020)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Ireland and Irish victims abroad; traffickers subject Irish children and foreign trafficking victims from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America to sex trafficking; victims are exploited in forced domestic work, the restaurant industry, waste management, fishing, seasonal agriculture, and car washing services; Vietnamese and Chinese nationals convicted for cannabis cultivation often report indicators of forced labor, such as document retention, restriction of movement, and non-payment of wages; undocumented workers in the fishing industry and domestic workers, particularly au pairs, are vulnerable to trafficking; women from Eastern Europe forced into marriage in Ireland are at risk for sex trafficking and forced labor; the problem of forced labor in the country is growing

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Ireland does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; efforts included increasing prosecutions and funding to NGOs for victim assistance, increasing the number of police and immigration officers receiving anti-trafficking training, and reorganizing its anti-trafficking coordination unit; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts; no traffickers have been convicted since the anti-trafficking law was amended in 2013; weakened deterrence meant impunity for traffickers and undermined efforts to support victims testifying against traffickers; systematic deficiencies in victim identification, a lack of specialized services for victims continued, and the amended working scheme for sea fishers increased their vulnerability to trafficking (2020)

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; increasing consumption of South American cocaine; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe; despite recent legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community - remains a concern