Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Spanish-Irish Relations

The Embassy plays an important role in fostering the strong and close relationship between Ireland and Spain.

Spanish Prime Minister meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Government Buildings.  Pic shows Taoiseach Enda Kenny meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Government Buildings where the two held talks. Pic Maxwell's 06/03/2014

The two Governments work closely together on many issues, particularly in the EU context, with the Taoiseach visiting Spain for a bilateral meeting with PM Rajoy in Granada in April 2013. The two leaders also met in March 2014 in Dublin where they took the opportunity to discuss the economic recovery underway in both countries and strategies aimed at boosting employment.

We continue to work together in solidarity with one another and with our fellow EU Member States to ensure a full and sustainable economic recovery in both countries and in the Union as a whole.

A strong historical bond

Both countries enjoy close historical bonds stretching back to prehistoric times, with many legends even suggesting that the first Celtic inhabitants of our island came from the Iberian Peninsula. These legends have been supported by some of the most recent research and archaeological evidence in both countries.

A constant flow of Irish visitors has continued ever since, from medieval pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, through to the very many Irish who found refuge here in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The many Irish Colleges founded during that period helped not only to preserve a distinct cultural identity, but also to facilitate Ireland's engagement with the wider world. Many of those educated here went on to pursue careers in Spain and throughout the Spanish-speaking world as merchants, mariners, administrators, governors, soldiers, academics and clergy.

Educational and tourism links today

The importance of educational links between Spain and Ireland remains as true today as it did in the past, with Spain serving as a hugely significant market for English Language students, with over 35,000 Spanish students visiting Ireland in any one year. The presence of such a large number of students is very important, for its direct impact on the Irish economy, and for the valuable reputational benefit that it brings to our country.

Beyond educational tourism, tourism more generally remains a crucial component of our relationship, with some 1.4 million visits by Irish people to Spain last year. In the same period, over 263,000 visitors from Spain came to Ireland – making it the market’s best performance on record and ensuring that Spain is now Ireland’s fifth overall market in terms of visitors.


Learn more about Ireland

If you want to learn more about Ireland, you can read Ireland in Brief.