Spain’s Irish community number 15,178 according to the latest 2020 ‘padrón’ figures (official administrative register), which makes them the third largest English-speaking group in Spain behind Brits (more than 300,000) and Americans (37,000).
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Compared to last year, the number of people from the Republic of Ireland registered in Spain has grown by 983 people.
There’s an even distribution of Irish men and women in Spain, with the majority aged between 40 and 60.
Where do most of them live?
Spain’s Irish community favours coastal locations generally but also the country’s two biggest cities Madrid and Barcelona.
Many of them live along Spain’s eastern Valencia region, 2,244 in Alicante province and 6,112 in Valencia province.
They’re also avid fans of the Canary Islands, with 5,998 settling in the four islands that fall under the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro) and a further 1,393 in Las Palmas province (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote).
In Málaga in Spain’s southern Andalusia region there are 2,656 Irish nationals registered, by far the most popular province among the Irish population in the region, although there are medium-sized Irish communities in Granada, Almería, Cádiz and Seville.
And in Spain’s capital of Madrid Irish nationals number 1,684, whereas in Barcelona there are 1,890 people hailing from EIRE.
In all other provinces of Spain, Irish nationals number fewer than 500. Although as the map above reflects, there a considerable number of them who have made northern Spain their home, a part of the country which shares a lot with Emerald Isle in terms of scenery, weather and to some parts heritage (mainly Galicia).
What associations can Irish people in Spain join?
According to the Irish embassy in Spain website, there are a number of groups and organisations Irish people can join if they want to meet their fellow countrymen and women.
These include the Irish Club in Marbella, CARA, the official Irish/Basque Association, Irish in Barcelona, Valencia Irish Cultural Association, Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses and Irish Community in the Balearics.
There are also a number of Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubs dotted around mainland Spain: Madrid Harps, Costa Gaels GAA, Eire Og Sevilla GAA, Galician Gaelic Games Association, Sant Vincent GAA Valencia, Barcelona Gaels GAA Club, Celta Malaga GAA, Gaélicos do Gran Sol GAA and Zaragoza GAA, Gaelic Games Andalucia GAA.
What about Irish tourists in Spain?
According to Spain’s Tourism Ministry, the number of visits from Irish tourists in 2017 was equivalent to 43 percent of Ireland's 4.9 million-strong population (including repeat visits during the same year), making the Iberian nation the most popular destination for Irish tourists ahead of France and the UK.
Ninety-one percent visited either the Mediterranean coast or Spain’s archipelagos, with the Canary Islands being the most popular destination overall.
In 2018, Irish holidaymakers represented Spain’s ninth biggest tourist market, 91 percent of whom had already visited the country and 59 percent of whom had been to Spain ten times previously, which may explain why an increasing number of Irish people are choosing to make Spain their home.
For the latest information on travel to Spain from Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, click here.