Ireland is located to the west of the United Kingdom. The population of Ireland is 4.5 million, of which 0.5 million live in the capital, Dublin, although 1.2 million people live in the greater Dublin area. The population is expected to increase to 5.3 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 increasing from 17% to 27% over the same period. English is the principal language, although Gaelic is the official language. Catholic is the dominant religion. The Euro is the official currency. The standard VAT rate is 23%.

Ireland                               Capital: Dublin



4.5 million à 5.3 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 17% à 27% (2030)


English (Gaelic official language)



GDP / head (2010)

€ 34,900   (EU average: € 24,400)





GDP growth (volume)



0.5% in 2012 (f)

2.3% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

14.7%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

1.2%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


Ireland has a GDP per capita of €34,900, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the Irish economy grew by 1.2% in 2011, and is expected to grow by 1.0% in 2012 and by 2.4% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average growth of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 1.7% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 14.4%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

The family is the dominant social structure. The Irish are famous for their sense of humour and eloquence. Handshakes are important in business meetings, although the Irish are less formal than other Europeans and meetings are often more relaxed, and often conducted in social situations. Modesty and politeness are seen as virtues.