History – The Irish in Lanzarote
In times gone by, Irish merchants set up on the Canary Islands and many of them soon went native, marrying locals and forming small local dynasties.
Irish tourists to Lanzarote share a currency and the benefits of EU membership. While we do not know the exact number of Irish visitors per annum, it is estimated to be in the 230,000 to 280,000 region and growing.
This means that approximately one in twenty Irish people visit Lanzarote annually! And those figures, despite a temporary setback with Covid, are rising. Led by Ryanair and Aer Lingus, there are several flights weekly and up to 3 daily direct connections from Ireland.
Also, while there is no accurate record of the number of Irish Passport holders on the island, it is estimated to be in the region of 1,400, with several ‘offspring’ who boast both Lanzarote/ Spanish and Irish parents.
No mention of Lanzarote is complete without reference to Irish Pubs. There are several on the island, with the greatest concentration being found n Puerto del Carmen.
Standards vary enormously. Some are the ‘real deal’ with genuine Irish products, staff and real connections with Ireland; while others have little or no connection whatsoever. There is no consistency in standards and while some operators make little effort, others have developed fabulous Irish Hospitality venues where all are welcome.
Brendan Byrne, a Wexford Man and proprietor of Dicey Reilly’s in Puerto de Carmen is the Honorary President of Irish Hospitality Global. This is a network of owners and managers of Irish pubs around the world. Brendan encourages pubs to improve standards, develop personality (for him a ‘Westford Man’), to give back and connect with the island they represent.
In time, resources permitting, it is hoped to develop a strong chapter of Irish Hospitality Global on the Island. LIN, while it cannot organise pub owners, clearly wishes to support the pubs. For this purpose, Brendan is a Council Member and LIN membership in Lanzarote includes becoming part of the Hospitality Global Pubs Network – and you do not have to be Irish to join.
A Riot Breaks Out
In recent years around St Patricks Day, Puerto del Carmen and Lanzarote staked their claim in the History of the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland which spilt over… which has the police and authorities on the island baffled to this day when a full-blown ‘Riot’ broke out.
Essentially swilling in the hot exuberance of liquid St Patricks Day Celebrations regular Irish musicians were singing regular Irish Rebel Songs without, as ever, paying heed to the worlds and their anti-British nature.
And, also visiting were Northern Ireland Unionists who took radical exception to their Republican drinking-mates – the sentiment of their songs – disrespect for the Queen and so forth – and holy war broke out which local simple could not understand – sure were they all not Irish?
Irish Related Enterprises
It is difficult to quantify exactly how many Irish-related enterprises there are on the island, or Irish people working in business. In time, as LIN builds its membership base, this will become more apparent.
Our founding companies are Killeen Property Group and Lanzarote Investments, the leading island property agency led by John Killeen. Kilcullen Kapital Partners led by Enda O’Coineen with the Business Post Group.