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 continental Europe especially France and Spain
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 approximately 500,000 Irish people living in Continental Europe. There were 3,900,000 Irish trips to Continental Europe in 2006, according to the Central Statistics Office (Ireland). While the Irish population in Continental Europe is about 450,000-550,000, there are an estimated 2.8 million first, second and third generation Irish based there. There are an estimated 5 million people with active interests in Irish music, Irish sports, Irish dancing, Irish culture and Irish literature. For example, Poland's Irish Embassy has confirmed that while there are approx. 500 Irish residents in the country, there are between 50,000 and 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 mostly covered Irish music and culture in Italy. Similar levels of interest in Irish culture exist across Europe, with a new Irish centre opened this year[when?] in Istanbul, Turkey, and more than 650 Irish pubs found in Germany, and widespread interest in Irish dancing in Scandinavia, such as 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 Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. More than 3/4 million attend the Netherlands', Belgium's and Luxembourg's Irish music, cultural and sports events. The region has Irish clubs, societies and associations, Irish theatre groups, Irish and 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 many local Irish music bands, and festivals. It also has Irish soccer clubs, darts, rugby, badminton and GAA clubs, 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 regularly attend Irish music, cultural and sports events in Iberia. There are Irish societies and associations, and you can study Irish and Celtic culture courses in Spain or Portugal. There is an Irish Dominican parish in Portugal. Many of the more than 165 Irish pubs have regular live Irish music, as well as live Irish sports coverage, including GAA, association football and rugby. There are Iberian Irish music groups, Irish dancing schools and groups, and Irish & Celtic music festivals. There is an Irish darts league in Madrid, and there are GAA clubs for Gaelic football in Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella, Valencia, Seville, Gibraltar and 11 clubs in Galicia. There is a Celtic supporters club in Gibraltar .

Mid to Southern Europe[edit]

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

Almost a million people regularly in mid-southern Europe attend Irish music, cultural and sports evenings. Its 300 or so Irish pubs feature regular live Irish music, quiz nights and many feature Irish sports. Irish clubs, societies and associations arrange activities for the integrated Irish communities, and there is a strong Irish cultural and literature following in the region. There are Irish & Celtic study courses and centres, and the Mediterranean Centre for Irish Studies. There are local Irish music groups, Irish dancing schools and groups, organising special Irish music & dance nights and Irish & Celtic music festivals. Irish nationals play in the region with local soccer, darts, rugby and GAA clubs here; often these clubs are set up by those in the local Irish communities.

Central Europe[edit]

Approximately 5,000 Irish live in Central Europe, and this figure is growing annually. In Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic, there are 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 Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, one with an Irish golf society, one with a rugby club, others with darts and soccer clubs. The first ever GAA club was inaugurated in the region earlier this year[when?]. Irish charity groups also have centres and communities based in the region.


30,000 Irish live in France, including more than 15,000 in Paris[1]. 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 300+[dubious ] Irish Pubs have a special closeness[not specific enough to verify] 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[example needed], Irish Set-Dancing Schools[example needed] and Groups, and Irish & Celtic Music Festivals, covering most parts of the country. There are Irish Soccer Clubs in Montpellier, Marseille and Paris[example 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.


With a jobless rate just over 5 per cent, the second-lowest in the EU, Germany is becoming a magnet for Irish people. Over 2,800 people moved to Germany from Ireland in 2012 including almost 800 German citizens according to statistics.[2] About 30,000 Irish live in Germany[citation needed]. 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 - Cyprus, 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 Cyprus, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Many of the more than 125 Irish bars have regular live Irish music, as well as live Irish sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Irish singers[who?] and European-based Irish music groups[which?] tour here regularly, as do Irish dance shows. 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, both men's and women's, such as Irish boxing, Irish golf, motor rally, rowing, association football, walking & athletics, rugby, cycling and show jumping teams, which were all in this region this year[when?]. Irish charity groups and defence forces also have centres and commitments based in the region.

Northern Europe[edit]

15,000 Irish live in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, where more than 1/2 million people regularly attend Irish music, cultural and sports events. These countries host the Nordic Feis annually, with Irish dancing schools from across the region and Irish Festivals. Irish societies and associations in Northern Europe actively arrange Irish literature, theatre, sport, music and dancing events across Scandinavia. The region hosts Irish & Celtic Studies Centres in Sweden and Denmark. Many of the more than 230 Irish Pubs have regular live Irish music, as well as live Irish sports coverage - GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Norway has a Celtic Irish association football club, Finland has a hurling club; Sweden and Denmark played each other in Gaelic football and in Hurling this past summer[when?]. Latvia hosts live GAA coverage.


  1. ^ étrangères, Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires. "Présentation de d'Irlande". France Diplomatie : : Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Irish Times". Irish Times.

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