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Economy of Dublin facts for kids

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Dublin City Centre from Samuel Beckett Bridge (42090378881)
Dublin’s city centre from Samuel Beckett Bridge

Dublin is the largest city and capital of Ireland, and is the country's economic hub. As well as being the location of the national parliament and most of the civil service, Dublin is also the focal point of media in the country. Much of Ireland's transportation network radiates from the city, and Dublin Port is responsible for a large proportion of Ireland's import and export trade.

Dublin is home to a number of multinational corporations, including in "hi tech" sectors such as information technology, digital media, financial services and the pharmaceutical industry. Dublin is also the location of the headquarters of several large Irish public companies including Bank of Ireland, DCC plc, AIB Group, Ardagh Group, CRH plc, Ryanair, Smurfit Kappa and Flutter Entertainment (formerly Paddy Power Betfair). Many of Ireland's public sector and state owned employers are based in Dublin including utility companies such as ESB Group, educational institutions such as Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and Technological University Dublin and most of Ireland's higher courts, RTÉ (Irelands national public service broadcaster), and several teaching hospitals. Other employers service the tourism and retail markets.


Dublin was at the centre of Ireland's rapid economic growth from 1995 to 2007 when both the standards and the cost of living in the city rose dramatically. In 2007 Dublin ranked 1st in Ireland by Disposable Income per person, at 109% of the State average. The three counties surrounding Dublin also ranked in the top 5. In 2008, it was the city with the 2nd highest wages in the world, but dropped to 10th place in 2009.

Dublin became the world's 16th most expensive city but has since dropped to 36th place. According to Mercer's 2011 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, Dublin is the 13th most expensive city in the European Union (down from 10th in 2010) and the 58th most expensive place to live in the world (down from 42nd in 2010). The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2015 ranked the city as the 49th most expensive city out of the 207 cities surveyed.


According to 2014 CSO figures, County Dublin contributes €87 billion to national GDP with a very high GDP per capita of €68,208 and the Greater Dublin area contributing €103 billion and a GDP per capita of €56,971.

According to Eurostat 2012 figures, the GDP of Greater Dublin(which includes Counties Meath, Kildare and Wicklow) was €85.7bn representing 47% of Irish GDP and a high GDP per capita of €40,000. County Dublin alone has a GDP of €73 billion and a GDP per capita of €57,200.

Dublin GDP per capita is very high and similar to these European cities; Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Hamburg.


Canals and ports

Ireland's two longest canals, the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal, meet in Dublin Bay. The Irish railway system radiates from Dublin run by Irish Rail. Similarly, a number of routes in the Irish road system spread outwards from Dublin. Dublin Port is Ireland's largest port facility. The port of Dún Laoghaire is also located within the county.

Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport is the biggest and busiest in Ireland, with two terminals, handling almost 33 million passengers annually (as of 2019). The Irish airlines Aer Lingus, CityJet and Ryanair have their own head offices in Dublin.


Heuston and Connolly stations are the two main railway stations in Dublin. Operated by Iarnród Éireann, the Dublin Suburban Rail network consists of five railway lines serving the Greater Dublin Area and commuter towns such as Drogheda and Dundalk in County Louth. One of these lines is the electrified Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) line, which runs primarily along the coast from Malahide and Howth southwards as far as Greystones. Commuter rail operates on the other four lines using Irish Rail diesel multiple units. In 2016, passengers journeys for DART and Dublin Suburban lines were nearly 19 million and 11.9 million, respectively (around 64% of all Irish Rail passengers).

The Luas is an electrified light rail system which has been operating since 2004 and carried over 34 million passengers annually (as of 2016). The network consists of two tram lines; the Red Line links the Docklands and city centre with the south-western suburbs, while the Green Line connects the city centre with suburbs to the south of the city.

Food and drink

Dublin occupies a key location on the Irish transport system, connecting the most productive part of the country with the main export port. Ireland's most widely known alcoholic drink, Guinness has been brewed at the St. James's Gate Brewery since 1759. The Guinness firm had established for providing the best pay and conditions in the Dublin area for many generations, when economic conditions were adverse. Dublin also profited from the role of the beef industry, as the main export port for beef bound to Britain. Dublin did not feature prominently in the development of Irish dairy-farming, which was concentrated in Munster and south Leinster.


There are 18,500 people working in 180 companies in the Irish engineering sector which equates to €4.2 billion of exports. Companies in this sector include: Liebherr, Sulzer, Element Six and Thermoking.

Business parks and enterprise clusters

There are several commercial clusters in Dublin, including:

  • International Financial Services Centre - 35,000 employees
  • Santry business parks - 20,000 employees
  • Dublin Airport campus - 15,000 employees
  • Silicon Docks - 7,000 employees
  • CityWest business park - 6,000 employees
  • The Digital Hub - 1,000 employees


With the emergence of the Irish state, Dublin started to develop a lot of light industry. This contrasted with Cork a which concentrated on heavy industry until the 1960s. Dublin gained from this, as these sectors generated high valued added, and higher employment rates. Several pharmaceutical companies have headquarters or manufacturing operations in Dublin including Elan (company), Amgen, Pfizer and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

ICT sector

Ulster Bank Dublin
One George's Quay Plaza at night (middle)

In the 1990s, Ireland became a successful player in new high-technology sectors based on modern information and communications technologies. It is becoming the multilingual internet capital of Europe, and is regarded as the Silicon Valley of Europe, attracting thousands of people from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK. Many IT companies such as B3Multimedia have located in the city, particularly in the south inner area of Dublin 2, and the adjacent counties, among them Amazon, Ebay, Dell, Facebook, Zynga, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Indeed, Twitter, Google, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, SAP, Symantec, and Yahoo!. Hewlett-Packard and Intel have large manufacturing plants in Leixlip, 15 km (9 mi) to the west of the city centre.

Also located in Dublin is the Internet Neutral Exchange (INEX) which provides high-speed, reliable and resilient IP traffic exchange facilities for both Irish and international IP service and content providers.


Dublin is fast becoming the Internet capital of Europe. Most of these companies are located in the Silicon Docks.

Cloud computing

Dublin boasts one of the densest clusters of data centres in Europe. The area surrounding Ireland’s capital city already has as many as 30 large-scale data centre operations, including global operations run by Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

Some of the companies involved in the cloud computing sector are: Citrix, EMC2, Dropbox, Salesforce and Zendesk.

Higher education

Higher education institutions contributed €10.6 billion to the national economy in 2011. This included nearly €1 billion from international students, where 57% of these international students are based in the Dublin region. As a university city, several of the largest universities and colleges are located in the capital, including the largest (University College Dublin - UCD), and one of the oldest (Trinity College Dublin). A 2014 study indicated that the three universities in Dublin (Dublin City University, Trinity College, and UCD) were among the top institutions for economic impact nationally.


Here is a list of the top 10 attraction in Dublin 2014.

Place Visitor Numbers
Guinness Storehouse 1,269,000
Dublin Zoo 1,076,000
National Aquatic Centre 931,000
Book of Kells 650,000
National Gallery of Ireland 593,000
National Botanic Gardens 541,000
St Patrick's Cathedral 457,000
National Museum of Ireland 447,000
Science Gallery at Trinity College 406,000
Farmleigh 402,000

Urban regeneration

Over the last fifteen years, Dublin has undergone huge regeneration, which has contributed to the Irish economy as a whole. The Dublin Docklands which has been at the forefront of this rengeneration effort has seen billions of euro in investment.

  • International Financial Services Centre
  • Silicon Docks
Venue Capacity
3Arena 14,500
Convention Centre 2,000-8,000
Bord Gáis Theatre 2,111

Ballymun Regeneration is a multibillion-euro project which has created a new town with new and improved facilities for the 30,000 people who will live there. The 36 Housing blocks were demolished and replaced by at least 5,000 new homes in a variety of styles and sizes in five existing neighbourhoods including a new civic, arts, sports and leisure centres, playing pitches as well.

Celtic Tiger

The economic boom years of the "Celtic Tiger" led to a sharp increase in construction. However, as of 2007, unemployment is on the rise as the housing market has begun to see supply outstrip demand.. The U2 Tower will be the tallest building on the island of Ireland when it is finished. Although its construction is under review after the recent financial crisis.

In 2005, around 800,000 people were employed in Greater Dublin, of whom around 600,000 were employed in the services sector and 200,000 in the industrial sector. In April 2007 the Irish central bank predicted medium-term growth rates of around 3–5% though by 2012 emigration was a renewed feature of Dublin and Irish life.

Economic sectors

As of mid-2017, approximately 874,400 people were employed in the Greater Dublin Area (which includes counties Meath, Kildare and Wicklow). Around 60% of people who are employed in Ireland's financial, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and professional services sectors are located in this area.


Dublin is home to a number of national newspapers, radio stations, television stations and telephone companies. RTÉ is Ireland's national state broadcaster, and is based in Donnybrook. Virgin Media One, MTV Ireland and Sky News are also based in the city. The headquarters of An Post and telecommunications companies such as Eir, as well as mobile operators Meteor, Vodafone and 3 are all located in the Dublin area. Dublin is also the headquarters of national newspapers such as The Irish Times, Irish Independent and The Herald.

Food and drink

One of Ireland's most widely known alcoholic drinks, Guinness, has been brewed at the St. James's Gate Brewery since 1759. Dublin also profited from the role of the beef industry.

Information and communications technology

Ulster Bank Dublin
One George's Quay Plaza at night (middle)

A number of IT companies are located in the city, including in the south inner area of Dublin 2, and the adjacent counties. Among these are Amazon, eBay, Dell, Facebook, Zynga, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Indeed, Twitter, Google, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, SAP, Symantec, and Yahoo!. A number of these organisations have premises in the Silicon Docks area of the city.

The area surrounding Ireland's capital city has the largest concentration of large-scale data centre operations in the country, including global operations run by Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Companies involved in the cloud computing sector include Citrix, EMC2, Dropbox, Salesforce and Zendesk.


In 2017 and 2018 respectively, Dublin was ranked 5th in Europe and 31st globally in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). Many of the jobs in Dublin's financial services sector are based at the International Financial Services Centre in the Dublin Docklands area. Also located in Dublin is the Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ).


Ireland's largest retail and shopping centres are located in the Dublin area, including Dundrum Town Centre (140,000 square metres, 160 stores) and Blanchardstown Centre (120,000 square metres, 180 stores). Within the city centre, the "prime retail streets" include Henry Street and Grafton Street. A 2013 report, for Ibec and Retail Ireland, indicated that Dublin was the "main national hub of retail activity", accounting for 25% of the country's retail entities, and approximately 50% of national employment in the sector.


Several of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions are in the Dublin area, including the Guinness Storehouse (nearly 1.8 million visitors in 2017), Dublin Zoo (1.2m visitors in 2017), and the National Gallery of Ireland (more than 1 million visitors). As of 2016, Dublin attracted over 5.6 million overseas visitors, generating over €1.9 in revenue.

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