Photos of Ireland

Introduction

Background

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 insulated it somewhat from the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Geography

Location

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

Area

total: 70,273 sq km

land: 68,883 sq km

water: 1,390 sq km

comparison ranking: total 120

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 490 km

border countries (1): UK 490 km

Coastline

1,448 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

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

Terrain

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

Elevation

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 (2022)

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

Population

5,323,991 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 123

Nationality

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

adjective: Irish

Ethnic groups

Irish 76.6%, Irish travelers 0.6%, other White 9.9%, Asian 3.3%, Black 1.5%, other (includes Arab, Roma, and persons of mixed backgrounds) 2%, unspecified 2.6% (2022 est.)

Languages

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)

Religions

Roman Catholic 68.3%, Protestant 3.8% (Church of Ireland/Church of England/Anglican/Episcopalian 2.4%, other Protestant 1.4%), Orthodox 2%, other Christian 0.9%, Muslim 1.4%, other 1.6%, none 15.4%, unspecified 6.6% (2022 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.39% (male 556,057/female 529,454)

15-64 years: 65.04% (male 1,741,527/female 1,720,989)

65 years and over: 14.57% (2023 est.) (male 360,476/female 415,488)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.2

youth dependency ratio: 30.5

elderly dependency ratio: 22.7

potential support ratio: 4.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 39.8 years (2023 est.)

male: 39.4 years

female: 40.2 years

comparison ranking: total 60

Population growth rate

1.09% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 88

Birth rate

11.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Death rate

7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 121

Net migration rate

6.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

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

Urbanization

urban population: 64.5% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.270 million DUBLIN (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.9 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 163

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 201

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 80.5 years

female: 84.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 29

Total fertility rate

1.72 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Gross reproduction rate

0.84 (2023 est.)

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 (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.1% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.49 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.8% of population

rural: 99.1% of population

total: 98.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.2% of population

rural: 0.9% of population

total: 1.7% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 51

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 10.91 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 4.92 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 2.88 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.82 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 15

Tobacco use

total: 20.8% (2020 est.)

male: 22.5% (2020 est.)

female: 19% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 81

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 18 years

female: 19 years (2020)

Environment

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 64.5% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 157

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 128

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.2 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 37.71 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 13.67 megatons (2020 est.)

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: 990 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 520 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 40 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

52 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Geoparks

total global geoparks and regional networks: 3

global geoparks and regional networks: Burren & Cliffs of Moher; Copper Coast; Marble Arch Caves (includes United Kingdom) (2023)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

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

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo VARADKAR (since 16 December 2022)

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:
2018:
Michael D. HIGGINS reelected president in first round; percent of vote in first round - 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%

2011: Michael D. HIGGINS elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Michael D. HIGGINS (Labor) 39.6%, Sean GALLAGHER (independent) 28.5%, Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) 13.7%, Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael) 6.4%, David Norris (independent) 6.2%, Mary DAVIS (independent) 2.7%; percent of vote in second round - Michael D. HIGGINS 56.8%, Sean GALLAGHER 35.5%

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)

elections:
Senate - last held early on 21-30 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 March 2025)

election results:  
Senate - percent of vote by party - Fianna Fail 35%, Fine Gael 26.7%, Green Party 6.7%, Labor Party 6.7%, Sinn Fein 6.7%, other 1.6%, independent 16.7%; seats by party - Fianna Fail 21, Fine Gael 16, Green Party 4Labor Party 4, Sinn Fein 4, other 1, independent 10; composition - men 36, women 24, percent of women 40%  
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fianna Fail 23.8%, Sinn Fein 23.1%, Fine Gael 21.9%, Green Party 7.5%, other 11.8%, independent 11.9%; seats by party - Fianna Fail 38, Sinn Fein 37, Fine Gael 35, Green Party 12, Labor Party 6, Social Democrats 6, PBPS 5, other 2, independent 19; composition as of March 2022 - men 123, women 37, percent of women 23.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 27.7%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Aontu [Peadar TOIBIN]
Solidarity-People Before Profit or PBPS [collective leadership]
Fianna Fail [Micheal MARTIN]
Fine Gael [Leo VARADKAR]
Green Party [Eamon RYAN]
Human Dignity Alliance [Ronan MULLEN]
Labor (Labour) Party Ivana BACIK]
Right to Change or RTC [Joan COLLINS]
Sinn Fein [Mary Lou McDONALD]
Social Democrats [Holly CAIRNS]
Socialist Party [collective leadership]
The Workers' Party [collective leadership]

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Geraldine Byrne NASON (since 16 September 2022)

chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 462-3939

FAX: [1] (202) 232-5993

email address and website:
https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/usa/

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Claire D. CRONIN (since 10 February 2022)

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:
ACSDublin@state.gov

https://ie.usembassy.gov/

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (both cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne; Sceilg Mhichíl

Economy

Economic overview

strong, export-based EU economy; multinational-business-friendly environment known for resilience, even amid COVID-19 disruptions; real wage growth beyond other OECD members; high livings standards; strong social equity and cohesion; aging labor force

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$515.88 billion (2021 est.)
$454.167 billion (2020 est.)
$427.715 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 40

Real GDP growth rate

13.59% (2021 est.)
6.18% (2020 est.)
5.44% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Real GDP per capita

$102,500 (2021 est.)
$91,100 (2020 est.)
$86,700 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 5

GDP (official exchange rate)

$398.476 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.36% (2021 est.)
-0.33% (2020 est.)
0.94% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2017)

Moody's rating: A2 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2019)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 38.6% (2017 est.)

services: 60.2% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 124; industry 37; agriculture 194

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

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

20.33% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 6

Labor force

2.518 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 115

Unemployment rate

6.63% (2021 est.)
5.62% (2020 est.)
4.95% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.4% (2021 est.)

male: 16.1%

female: 18.8%

comparison ranking: total 98

Average household expenditures

on food: 9% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 5.8% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)

Remittances

0.04% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.06% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.15% of GDP (2019 est.)

Budget

revenues: $99.784 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $97.713 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Public debt

71.58% of GDP (2020 est.)
69.7% of GDP (2019 est.)
75.19% of GDP (2018 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

comparison ranking: 57

Taxes and other revenues

16.51% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 128

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$72.22 billion (2021 est.)
-$27.412 billion (2020 est.)
-$44.934 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 7

Exports

$677.028 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$569.061 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$502.313 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

vaccines and cultures, packaged medicines, nitrogen compounds, integrated circuits, scented mixtures, medical instruments (2021)

Imports

$477.544 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$486.946 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$452.979 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 17

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

$13.247 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$7.463 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$5.733 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 75

Debt - external

$2.829 trillion (2019 est.)
$2.759 trillion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 9

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.845 (2021 est.)
0.876 (2020 est.)
0.893 (2019 est.)
0.847 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 11.43 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 30.627 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 1.913 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 1.761 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.309 billion kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 134; imports 59; exports 52; consumption 64; installed generating capacity 59

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 57.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 34.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 3.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 3.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 351,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 132,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 408,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 14 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 600 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 159,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 60,300 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

64,970 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 76

Refined petroleum products - exports

37,040 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 59

Refined petroleum products - imports

126,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Natural gas

production: 2.652 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 5.492 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 2.847 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 9.911 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

35.475 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.43 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 23.08 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 10.965 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 71

Energy consumption per capita

133.674 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,497,863 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 60

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5,373,865 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 108 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 122

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Ireland’s telecom market has rebounded from a long period in which fiscal constraints inhibited investment in the sector; significant infrastructure projects are underway, including the NBN which aims to deliver a fiber-based service of at least 150Mb/s nationally by the end of 2022; the renewed optimism has been seen in company investment in extending fiber-based networks providing 1Gb/s services; the mobile sector is preparing for a multi-frequency availability later in 2021 which will greatly increase the amount of frequencies available, and provide a boost for 5G services; the MNOs are rapidly expanding the reach of 5G (2021)

domestic: fixed-line 32 per 100 and mobile-cellular 108 per 100 subscriptions. (2021)

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)

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: 4.75 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 95% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 101

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,516,473 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 65

Transportation

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: 1.676 million (2018)

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

Airports

100 (2024)

comparison ranking: 53

Heliports

5 (2024)

Pipelines

2,427 km gas (2017)

Railways

total: 1,688 km (2020) 53 km electrified

comparison ranking: total 78

Roadways

total: 102,227 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 48

Waterways

956 km (2010) (pleasure craft only)

comparison ranking: 73

Merchant marine

total: 94 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 12, general cargo 32, oil tanker 1, other 49

comparison ranking: total 93

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 (2024)

note: An Garda Siochana (or Garda) is the national police force and maintains internal security under the auspices of the Department of Justice

Military expenditures

0.2% of GDP (2023 est.)
0.3% of GDP (2022)
0.3% of GDP (2021)
0.3% of GDP (2020)
0.3% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 165

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 8,000 active-duty personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Irish Defense Forces have a small inventory of imported weapons systems from a variety of mostly European countries, particularly the UK (2023)

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) (2024)

note: as of 2023, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

note 2: the Defense Forces are open to refugees under the Refugee Act of 1996 and nationals of the European Economic Area, which include EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway

Military deployments

130 Golan Heights (UNDOF); 325 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2023)

Military - note

Ireland has a long-standing policy of military neutrality; however, it participates in multinational 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 with it going back to 1997, when it deployed personnel in support of the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ireland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1999; it has been active in UN peacekeeping operations since the 1950s

the Irish Defense Forces (IDF) trace their origins back to the Irish Volunteers, a unit established in 1913 which took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921); today, the IDF is comprised of an Army, an Air Corps, a Naval Service, and the Reserve Defense Forces (RDF); the Army has two combined arms combat brigades, one responsible for military operations in the south of the country, the other in the north; the Army’s primary mission is national defense, but elements have deployed on overseas humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, and at times have assisted civil authorities and the national police by providing security at airports, foreign embassies, government facilities, and ports; the Air Corps operates a range of non-combat fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters for a variety of missions, including air ambulance, civil assistance, maritime patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance, search and rescue, support to the Army, and transport; the Naval Service’s warships are six large or offshore patrol vessels, and its roles include defending territorial seas, deterrence, maritime surveillance, protecting marine assets, and supporting Army operations; the RDF was established in 2005 and has both an Army and a Naval Service Reserve; the RDF takes its lineage from the Volunteer Reserve Force, which was established in 1929 (2023)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Continuity Irish Republican Army; New Irish Republican Army; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

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-Denmark: Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands signed an agreement in 2019 extending the Faroe Islands’ northern continental shelf area

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 104,315 (Ukraine) (as of 28 January 2024)

stateless persons: 7 (2022)

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