When you’re walking down the street in almost any part of Spain, you shouldn’t be surprised if you suddenly hear an Irish accent. According to the 2020 Padron (or census), there are more than 15,000 Irish nationals currently living in Spain. (15,178 to be precise). This means that after the English and the Americans, the Irish are the third biggest English-speaking group currently living in Spain.
But where are these Irish residents largely based? And are there any Irish associations and community hubs in the region? Here’s everything you need to know:
Where are Spain’s Irish Communities Based?
The Padron is an annual administration record, just like the census that carried out in the UK, and it is a useful source of information on the nationality of Spain's residents, and where they are based. From the Padron, we can see that both coastal locations and large cities (specifically Madrid, which has 1,684 Irish residents and Barcelona which has 1,890 Irish residents) are favoured by Irish people living in Spain. 2,244 Irish nationals currently live in the Alicante province whilst 6,112 currently live in the Valencia province.
Another popular location is 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).
Here in Andalusia we are also popular with Irish ex pats looking to find a home in the sun. There are currently 2,656 Irish nationals registered in Malaga alone, and you will also find good-sized Irish communities in the regions of Granada, Almería, Cádiz and Seville. It’s easy to see why this part of Spain is so popular with Irish ex pats: whilst the green and rugged terrain of Northern Spain bears many similarities with the stunning scenery of the Emerald Isle, it is in Southern Spain that ex pats can find a year-round temperate climate, affordable living conditions, friendly and welcoming communities, and vast expanses of sandy beaches.
Meeting Other Irish People in Spain
If you have recently moved to Spain and are hoping to connect with other Irish ex pats then the Irish Embassy is a great starting point. The following list of Irish clubs and associations in Spain was garnered from their website:
- Irish Club in Marbella
- Irish in Barcelona
- Valencia Irish Cultural Association
- Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses
- Irish Community in the Balearics.
If you are less interested in socialising and more interested in sports, then Gaelic sports enthusiasts will also be interested to know about the number of Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubs that are situated 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
- Zaragoza GAA
- Gaelic Games Andalucia GAA.
Visiting Spain as an Irish Tourist
Of course, as well as the huge number of Irish people choosing to live in Spain, many thousand visit the country for their annual holidays every year. The number of visits from Irish tourists was equivalent to 43 percent of Ireland's 4.9 million-strong population in 2017, meaning that Spain is by far the most popular holiday destination for the people of Ireland. This made Ireland Spain’s ninth largest tourist market, which explains why, in certain parts of the country, it is so common to see popular and bustling Irish bars!
Wondering where the most popular destinations for Irish tourists in Spain are? According to the official entry records, ninety-one percent of Irish travelers visited either the Mediterranean coast or Spain’s archipelagos, with the Canary Islands being the most popular destination for Irish tourists overall.
Ireland is a country that has a very positive image in Spain, thanks in part to the warmth of its tourists and the community engagement of the ex-pats that have chosen to make the country their home. St Patrick’s day is celebrated in Spain every March, and it is a wonderful opportunity to see both Irish and Spanish communities coming together to strengthen the bonds between the two countries and promote both tourism and celebrate their two unique cultures.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Ready to take the plunge and jump ship from rainy Ireland and living in sunny Spain instead? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you find the home of your dreams: from cementing the ideal location to picking the perfect property, our experts are ready to help you.