Ireland’s regions

Ireland as a location

Ireland is one of the most open and globally connected countries in the world. Its geographical position and membership of the EU and Euro provides easy access to some of the richest markets on earth.

  • Ireland’s membership of the EU gives direct access to a rich, sophisticated market of over 500m people and 28% of World GDP.
  • Most of this market is less than two hours away by frequent low-cost flights.
  • Our membership of the Euro zone simplifies trading with most of the EU. We are the only English speaking country with that advantage.
  • Flights from Ireland to the USA are frequent and are shorter than from any other EU member state.
  • Ireland is exceptionally well connected to the US on personal, business and political levels.
  • Ireland has regular direct daily flights of less than eight hours to reach the Middle East business hubs.

These are some of the reasons why Ireland’s exports are at record highs. On a per capita basis, Irish exports of goods and services are a multiple of most leading exporter countries. They are, for example nearly three times higher, per capita, than Germany.

“We’re very close to the European and UK markets, and at the same time, close to the US east coast.” Dr John Holt, Chief Operating Officer, Waratek

Passenger Air Services

Ireland has excellent international air services with several direct flights daily from the US, Canada, Middle East and from the main cities of Europe. The main international airports in Ireland are in Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast; regional airports are in Donegal, Sligo, Knock, Galway, Kerry, Waterford and Derry.

Over 30 airlines operate to Ireland directly from US, Canada and Europe. The two main Irish airlines, are Aer Lingus which operates on European and North American routes and Ryan Air which operates on European routes. A full list of airlines serving Irish airports can be found at

Flights from Ireland to the US are frequent and shorter than from anywhere else in the EU. Ireland is the only country in Europe with United States border preclearance. Passengers clear US immigration and customs in Dublin or Shannon before travelling to the US thus avoiding delays and waiting times on arrival.

Transport of Goods

The quickest method of sending goods to another country is by air. Apart from limitations on the size of individual consignments and on the carriage of dangerous goods there are no goods which cannot be carried by air. However, certain types of cargo are particularly well suited to air freight such as perishable goods, small, high-value items such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and electronic components. Emergency medical supplies or spare parts for a machine breakdown are also ideal for air freight.

The majority of air freight moves from Ireland to destinations outside Europe. Within Europe, particularly Western Europe, most freight moves by road although air freight is an option. So for companies exporting to destinations outside Europe, the two main alternatives are by air or by sea. With the development of the motorway system, the road trailer has become the most favoured method of moving goods particularly for traffic within Europe.

Ro-ro ferries have transformed the transport links between Ireland and the rest of Europe. The principle of the Ro-Ro ferry is summed up by the term ro-ro which means roll-on, roll-off. The cab and trailer drives onto the ferry as one unit, and drives off again just like motorists who travel to the Continent. The goods remain loaded on the trailer throughout the sea crossing. There are several ro-ro services between Ireland, the UKand France. There are also numerous ro-ro services from the UK to ports from Scandinavia to the Iberian Peninsula.

Further information is available from the Irish Exporters Association and from the Irish International Freight Association.

The main airports in Ireland are located in Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Belfast; the main ports are in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Dublin and Belfast and the main ro-ro ferries are in Cork, Rosslare, Dublin, Belfast and Larne. This infrastructural network ensures that companies in any location have excellent access to international transport services.

Deliveries to most customers in Europecan be made within 24 hours by air (if not overnight) and wthin 24-72 hours by road.

Freight to/from Ireland

Ireland has a very sophisticated logistics base and supply chain management capability. There are a full suite of services available covering all modes of transport, storage and handling. Over the last 15 years the industrial structure of the Irish economy has changed radically and with the rate of economic growth transport facilities and services have expanded rapidly.

Dublin, Shannon and Cork and services are available worldwide with the bulk of handling being at Dublin and Shannon. Although in volume terms, airfreight is tiny (0.5 per cent of import/export tonnage forIreland), Dublin Airport moves 29 per cent of the monetary value of import/exports of Ireland. Regular and competitively priced airfreight services are available for Irish high-tech industry where much of the low-end production of its input components is carried out in the Far East.

Ports and shipping services

National and international connectivity is critically important in an increasingly globalised economy. In light of Ireland’s geographic location and our dependence on export markets, Ireland’s commercial seaports and the services they provide are vital to the competitiveness of the productive sector of the economy and to the country’s prosperity. The seaports handle 99 percent of the State’s international merchandise trade in volume terms and 75 percent in value terms.

Irish Ports provide a range of shipping options which include Ro/Ro, Lo/Lo, liquid bulk, and dry bulk and there are very frequent services to theUK and Europe.

Roads And Ferry Lines

A significant part of the higher value trade between the island of Ireland and nearby Europe passes overland by truck through the UK, mainly down to the Kent ports and Channel Tunnel. Two websites where you can begin your search for service providers such as freight forwarders, export financing, etc. are:

  • The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) publish a list of companies providing services to exporters. The list only includes IEA members but is still quite extensive.
  • The Irish Freight Forwarding Industry publishes a list of member companies providing services including transport, freight forwarding, etc.

Help and information is also available from the following Government and not-for-profit organisations:

  • Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation assists with a wide range of issues including export licences for goods with a dual/military use and EU trade sanctions.
  • It may also be useful to understand whether the country you are exporting to has a diplomatic presence in Ireland and the availability of Irish representation within their country.
  • The Irish Exporters Association provides an information service to its membership on most aspects of exporting.
  • Dublin Chamber of Commerce assists with certificates of origin, visa acquisition, legalisation of export documentation and ATA Carnets.
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade services include the provision of passports and authentication of export documentation.
  • Information on Value Added Tax, Customs Duties, Preferential Trade Agreements, etc.
Irish Ports
RO Sea Routes from Ireland


There is a range of accommodation options available to companies establishing in Ireland whether they are manufacturing or service operations.

These options are available throughout the country and they offer incoming investors several choices of location.

  • A modern road and rail network means that most locations in Ireland are within easy reach of international airports and seaports..
  • National policy outlined in the National Spatial Strategy, aims to achieve a better balance of social, economic and physical development acrossIreland. The strategy has focused on increasing the local potential for winning FDI through a national program of strategic investment in critical infrastructure, properties and large sites.
  • A number of industry clusters have emerged around the country with, for example, concentrations of pharmaceutical and biotechnology in the south and medical technologies in the west.
  • IDA Ireland, the primary government agency for the promotion of inward investment, owns a number of business parks with purpose built factories which are ideal for new projects where the promoters do not wish to construct their own premises. IDA Ireland also offers green field sites where promoters can erect custom built factories. It is usual for these sites to come fully serviced with outline planning permission for industrial usage.
  • There are also privately owned business parks, run by commercial developers, which offer both factory and office sites.
  • Office space is available in the major cities and towns throughout Ireland to cater for both large and small-scale operations. It is worthy noting that rents payable for offices in Ireland are generally quoted on a net basis while several other European countries measure on a gross basis.
  • Serviced office accommodation is a popular and widely available option for companies establishing an initial small operation in Ireland.
  • Private residential accommodation can be rented or purchased and is readily available throughout the country.
  • Office and factory rents in Ireland have reduced significantly, by up to 60%, in recent years and have returned to the levels of a decade ago.
  • Actual and comparative rental costs are provided in the Vital Statistics Publication Feb 2012.



Labour costs & productivity

These options are available throughout the country and they offer incoming investors several choices of location.The realignment of labour costs over the past four years has allowed Ireland to enhance its competitiveness as a location for your business with Ireland now positioned among the most competitive countries in the world to do business.

The labour market in Ireland offers inward investors a pool of young, well-educated and highly motivated workers. Irish people have a strong work ethic and this is reflected in a rate of employee turnover which tends to be well below the European average.

In terms of demographics, almost 33% of Ireland’s population are currently under the age of 25 which indicates a strong, youthful future workforce. Ireland’s workforce was also ranked number one for the flexibility and adaptability in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.

There is a broad availability of skills open to you and we will put you in touch with relevant recruiters for your industry to fulfil your requirements. Ireland has one of the highest levels of productivity available, employees are entrepreneurial and loyal. Ireland’s labour productivity per hour worked is 23% above the EU27 average and 10% above the euro area average

Working Hours and Holidays

Employment legislation in Ireland governs a few crucial and basic areas. Maximum hours of work for industrial workers are set at 48 hours per week plus 12 hours overtime but, in practice, the average is 39 hours per week. Statutory leave has been set at a minimum of four weeks per annum.

Utilities generally represent a substantial part of business expenditure. However, many businesses still pay more for their utilities than necessary but do not have the time or resources needed to research the market thoroughly in order to make reductions. We have completed this exercise and will present a solution to you.