Irish people in mainland Europe

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European Irish
Total population
3,900,000 Irish trips to Continental Europe in 2006. 70 Million Irish 1st & 2nd Generation live abroad, 4% in Continental Europe, equates to 2.8 Million Irish people in Continental Europe(Central Statistics Office (Ireland)[full citation needed].)
Regions with significant populations
All over the Continental Europe
English, Irish,
Christian (Roman Catholic, Protestant), Atheist
Related ethnic groups
Irish people, Overseas Irish,

Irish people in mainland Europe are Irish people, members of the Irish diaspora, who reside in mainland Europe.


There are c500,000 Irish people living in Continental Europe. 3,900,000 Irish Trips to Continental Europe in 2006 - Central Stats Office Ireland While the Irish population in Continental Europe is c450,000-550,000, there are estimated 2.8 million first, second and third generation Irish based there. The interest in Irish Music, Irish Sports, Irish Dancing, Irish Cultural and Irish Literature is phenomenal, with an estimated 5 million people with active interests in Irish culture, Music or Sport. For example, Poland ’s Irish Embassy has confirmed that while there are approx. 500 Irish residents in the country, there are between 50,000 & 100,000 people involved in the Irish music, dancing and cultural scene. Italy with an estimated Irish population of 2000 to 5000, has a website, receiving 100,000 regular visitors – all content is just in Italian, and is mostly covering Irish Music & Culture in Italy. Similar explosions of interest in Irish culture exist across Europe, from the new Irish Centre opened this year in Istanbul, Turkey, to more than 650 Irish Pubs found across Germany, to the strength of Irish Dancing in Scandinavia, like the St. Patrick Day's festival held on March 17 in Stockholm, Sweden.[citation needed]


It is difficult to put an exact figure on the Irish citizenship based across Continental Europe. Some countries have a requirement to be registered with the local Irish Embassy, but most European governments have no such requirement. So while the Irish Embassy in Madrid 5 years ago gave an official figure of 15,000 Irish in Spain, today there is an unofficial more realistic figure of c 30,000. Irish people make 1.6m trips each year to Spain.


30,000 Irish live in Benelux countries of Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Belgium . More than 3/4 million enjoy Belgium's, Netherlands' and Luxembourg's rich Irish Music, Irish Cultural and Irish Sport scene. The region has Irish Clubs, Societies and Associations, Irish Theatre Groups, Irish & Celtic Studies Centres, and James Joyce Groups. Its 200+ Irish Bars have regular live Irish Music, as well as live Irish Sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby . As well as Irish Dancing Schools & Groups, the region has a huge catalogue of local Irish music bands, and festivals. It also boasts Irish Soccer Clubs, Rugby, Darts, Badminton and GAA Clubs here, as well as Irish Golf Societies.


30,000 Irish live in mainland Spain, another 15,000 Irish reside in Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar and on the Balearic and Canary Islands . More than 3/4 Million enjoy Iberia's Irish Music, Irish Cultural and Irish Sport scene. The region is not short of Irish Societies and Associations, you can Study Irish & Celtic Courses in Spain or Portugal. Did you know there's an Irish Dominican parish in Portugal? Many of the 165+ Irish Pubs have regular live Irish Music, as well as live Irish Sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby. There is no shortage of Iberian Irish Music Bands, Irish Dancing Schools and Groups, and Irish & Celtic Music Festivals. There is an Irish Darts League in Madrid. Play Gaelic football in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, or in Tenerife and you could watch The All-Ireland in Majorca, and even find the Celtic Supporters Club in Gibraltar .

Mid to Southern Europe[edit]

15,000 Irish live in Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Vatican or in Mid-South Europe.

Almost a Million enjoy Mid-South Europe's vibrant Irish Music, Irish Cultural and Irish Sport scene. Its 300 or so Irish pubs feature regular live Irish music, quiz nights and many feature Irish sports. Irish clubs, societies and associations arrange many activities for the integrated Irish communities, and the strong Irish cultural and literature following here. There are Irish & Celtic study courses and centres. You’ll find the Mediterranean Centre for Irish Studies here. There are local Irish music mands, Irish dancing schools and groups, organising special Irish music & dance nights and Irish & Celtic music festivals. We find Irish playing here with local soccer, rugby, darts and GAA clubs here; quite often these clubs are set-up by those in the Irish communities here.

Central Europe[edit]

While Approx. 5,000 Irish live in Central Europe - although this figure is growing annually, it is a stronghold for Irish Music & Dancing in Europe, especially in Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic, with more than 150,000 regular visitors to Celtic Music, Irish Music, Irish Dancing, and Irish Culture websites based there, a region with more than 100 Irish music bands, Irish Dancing Schools and Irish/Celtic Festivals. The Slovak Irish have a dedicated Newspaper published regularly. There are more than 60 Irish Pubs in the Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, one with an Irish Golf society, one with a Rugby Club, others with dart and soccer clubs. The first ever GAA club was inaugurated in the region earlier this year. Irish Charity groups also have centres and communities based here, as outlined above.


About 30,000 Irish live in Germany. Together with Germans interested in Irish culture, some of these emigrants organise Irish cultural events across the country. Most German cities have at least one Irish pub, although they typically feature a mixture of German and Irish pub culture.

East Europe[edit]

6,000 Irish live in East Europe - Belarus, Bulgaria, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine. Celtic culture, Music and Dancing is growing in Russia and Nations which were part of the former USSR. There's Irish Dancing in Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria. Many of the 125 + Irish Bars have regular live Irish Music, as well as live Irish Sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Top Irish Singers and European-based Irish Music Bands tour here regularly, as do top Irish Dance Shows, such is the popularity of the Irish Music and Dancing scene here. There are Irish societies in Cyprus, Russia, Greece, and Belarus, promoting cultural and social links between the host country and Ireland. Locally based Irish regularly support visiting Irish Sports Men's and Women's, such as Irish Boxing, Irish Golf, Irish Motor Rally, Irish Rowing, Irish Soccer, Irish Walking & Athletics, Irish Rugby, Irish Cycling and Irish Show Jumping Teams, which were all in this region this year. Irish Charity groups & Defence Forces also have centres and commitments based here, as outlined above.

Northern Europe[edit]

15,000 Irish live in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania - North Europe . More than 1/2 Million enjoy Northern Europe's Irish Music, Irish Cultural and Irish Sport scene. These countries host the Nordic Feis Annually with Irish Dancing Schools from across the region and some of the world’s biggest Irish Festivals. Irish Societies and Associations in Northern Europe are actively arranging Irish Literature, Theatre, Sport, Music and dancing events across Scandinavia. The region hosts Irish & Celtic Studies Centres in Sweden and Denmark. Many of the 230+ Irish Pubs have regular live Irish Music, as well as live Irish Sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Norway has a Celtic Irish Soccer Club, Finland has a hurling club, Sweden and Denmark played each other in Gaelic football and in Hurling this past summer. Latvia hosts one of Europe’s hotspots to watch live GAA coverage, Lithuania’s Airija are a young hugely popular Folk-Rock band with strong with Irish Art & Culture influence.

Legend has it that many Irish women captured [Vikings] and ended up in Iceland, which is one explanation given why the country’s population has closer blood type to the Irish than to populations in Denmark, Norway, Finland or Sweden. Because it was Irish women, the Irish surnames did not pass on to their descendents.


30,000[citation needed] Irish live in France, including more than 15,000[citation needed] in Paris, More than 700,000[not specific enough to verify] enjoy France's Irish Music, Irish Cultural and Irish Sport scene. With Brittany and the Breton culture matched closely to the Irish & Celtic cultures, you can join Irish Societies and Associations, Study Irish & Celtic Courses from Brittany to the French Riviera. The Irish College in Paris, which once was home to Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II, is now an Irish cultural centre. It hosts Irish events, such as lectures, book-launches, exhibitions and performances by Ireland’s authors, musicians and artists.

Many of the France's 50+ Irish Pubs have a special closeness to the Irish Communities here, quite often arranging events[not specific enough to verify] in conjunction with them or for them. Europe's largest Irish & Celtic Annual Festival is held in Brittany. In fact there is a wide range of French Irish Music Bands[examples needed], Irish Set-Dancing Schools[examples needed] and Groups, and Irish & Celtic Music Festivals, covering most parts of the country. There are Irish Soccer Clubs in Montpellier, Marseille and Paris[examples needed]. Play Gaelic football in Brittany, Paris, Lyon or at Festivals across the Nation. This is but a snapshot of the Irish communities across Europe, and some of the groups in which they are involved.

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