Ireland (Éire) recognised the Republic of Estonia on 27 August 1991 and diplomatic relations were established on 10 September 1991. Ireland has never recognized Estonia's annexation neither de iure or de facto.
Ireland's Ambassador to Estonia is Frances Kiernan (as of 4 September 2018) and Estonia's Ambassador to Ireland is Aino Leppik von Wirèn (as of 4 September 2018).
Previously, Estonia was represented in Ireland by Ambassador Riivo Sinijärv (1994-1995), Ambassador Raul Mälk (1996-2003), Ambassador Simmu Tiik (2003-2006), Ambassador Andre Pung (2006-2010), Mait Martinson (2010-2014) and Kristi Karelsohn (2014-2018). Chargé d'Affaires have been a.i. Jüri Seilenthal (1997-1999), Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Triin Parts (1999-2002) and Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Krista Kilvet (2002-2003).
On 3 December 1991 Paul D. Dempsey, residing in Stockholm, was accredited as Ireland's first ambassador to Estonia. He was succeeded by Dáithí O'Ceallaigh (1995-1998) and Gearóid Ó Broin (1999–2001), both residing in Helsinki. The first ambassador to reside in Tallinn was Sean Farrell (2001-2004). After that, Noel Kilkenny (2004-2008), Thomas Bolster (2008-2010), Peter McIvor (2010-2014) and Frank Flood (2014-2018) have also resided here.
From 1927-1931 the honorary consul of the Republic of Estonia in Dublin was Richard J. Kelly, from 1937-1938 it was Thomas Franklin Laurie, and from 1938-1960 the role was fulfilled by John McEvoy.
|January - February 2018||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas|
|February 2017||Speaker of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor|
|January 2016||Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, General Riho Terras|
|March 2013||Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet|
|February 2013||Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu|
|December 2012||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at OSCE Ministerial|
|June 2012||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the OSCE internet freedom conference in Dublin|
|April 2012||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit|
|April 2008||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit|
|October 2006||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|May 2004||Prime Minister Juhan Parts|
|February 2003||Prime Minister Siim Kallas|
|March 2000||Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|September 2018||Simon Coveney, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Chairman of Dáil Éireann|
|May 2017||Dara Murphy, Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, and Pat Breen, Minister of State for Employment and Small Business|
|May 2004||Prime Minister Bertie Ahern|
|October 2003||Minister for Defence Michael Smith|
|June 2003||Prime Minister Bertie Ahern|
|May 2001||President Mary McAleese on state visit, accompanied by Minister of Culture Sile de Valera and Deputy Secretary of State Peter Ryan|
The following agreements have ben signed between Ireland and Estonia:
- Agreement on Visa Free Travel (came into force 1 May 1996);
- Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and for the Prevention of Tax Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and Capital (came into force 29 December 1998);
- Agreement on the exchange of cultural experts (signed 16 Apr 1999).
Ireland ranks as Estonia's 32nd-35th main trading partner.
Trade between Ireland and Estonia has grown in the past years, mostly on account of rising imports. According to the data of Statistics Estonia, Ireland ranked as Estonia’s 34th trading partner in 2017 (turnover 89,7 mln euros, 0,3% of total trade). Estonian exports to Ireland made up 13,9 mln euros and import from Ireland 75,7 mln euros. During the last couple of years, Estonian export to Ireland has declined due to a reduction in the export of plants and plant products, wood and wooden products and machinery and equipment. The export of goods of an Estonian origin has also declined - 95% share in 2014, 79% share in 2017.
Among our main export partners, Ireland has come down to the 50th place. As an import partner, Ireland ranks as 26th.
Trade between Estonia and Ireland in 2006-2016 (million euros):
All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia
Main export articles in 2017:
- Wood and wooden products - 36%
- Machinery and equipment - 21%
- Other manufactured goods - 16%
Main import articles in 2017:
- Machinery and equipment - 44%
- Transportation vehicles - 33%
According to data from the Bank of Estonia, as of 31.12.2017, Irish companies had made investments totalling -(minus) 49 million euros in Estonia. Most Irish investments were made in real estate, finance and insurance and information and communications.
According to the Estonian Commercial Register, there were 102 businesses with Irish capital registered in Estonia, as of May 2018. The largest Irish investments are in enterprises such as Domina Vacanze Holding (Pro Kapital), Baltic Advisor (financial consulting), Eesti ERA (agriculture), Saka ERA (agriculture), OÜ Kserum Trans Service (construction works).
As of 31.12.2017, Estonian companies had invested approximately 2 million euros in Ireland, mainly in the manufacturing industry, wholesale and retail trade, ICT and real estate.
The total number of Irish tourists visiting Estonia has been rising since 2015 - in 2017 it reached 9258. The average stay lasted for approximately 4 nights. Most popular destinations alongside Tallinn were Tartu county and Pärnu county.
In December 2010, Ryanair established a direct flight route between Tallinn and Dublin, which has worked in favour of increasing the number of visitors from Ireland.
The total number of vistis from Estonia to Ireland has remained relatively stable throughout the recent years - about 7800-7900 visits are done per year.
Culture and Education
Tartu University has good co-operation ties with the oldest university in Ireland, Trinity College. The EU’s Erasmus programme helps to maintain ties between educational institutions.
Awareness about Estonia in Ireland has also increased thanks to football. Two games took place between the Estonian and Irish football teams in Tallinn and Dublin in 2012, in the play-off round of the European Cup qualifiers. As a result, numerous articles appeared in the Irish media introducing both Estonia and Tallinn.
In July 2016, on the iniative of the Estonian embassy and in cooperation with the Latvian and Lithuanian embassies in Dublin, the festival Baltic Day was held for the first time. The festival introduced Baltic national cultures to locals and offered Baltic food products and handicraft for sale.
A milestone in cultural relations was the publishing of the first tri-lingual Estonian-English-Irish collection of poetry, Kristiina Ehin’s “Põletades pimedust”, which was introduced in Dublin in November 2009. In October an Estonian language day took place for the first time in Ireland in co-operation with the Estonian Mother Tongue Society and the Ministry of Education and Research.
The works of various well-known Irish writers, including James Joyce, Maeve Binchy, and John Binville, have been translated into Estonian. “Rogha Danta”, the combined work of 7 Irish poets, was translated by Doris Kareva and published in 2005.
In 2012 Petrone Print published Kristiina Piip’s book “My Dublin” (“Minu Dublin”).
In February 2012, an evening of contemporary music and poetry took place at the Irish Writers Centre. Estonian poetry was read and there was a performance by the ensemble “Resonabilis”.
Kristiina Ehin’s poetry collections “Lume lõplik minek” (“The Final Going of Snow”) and “Luuletused: Põletades pimedust” (“Burning the Darkness”) have been translated into Irish, as well as Andres Ehin’s “Haikus”.
In April 2016, Tõnu Õnnepalu participated in the Cork Literary Festival and his book “Radio” was presented there.
From April to March 2014, the exhibition “Water Bird People. Waterbird People: Lennart Meri's Cinematic Pilgrimages 1969-1988” was shown in Cork Vision Centre along with a graphics exhibition by Loit Jõekalda.
From May to July 2014, the Estonian contemporary jewellery and textile art exhibition “Rethinking the Everyday” was open in Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin.
From July to November 2013, the works of painter Marko Mäetamme were shown at an exhibition entitled “Modern Families: Relatives and Relationships in Art” at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery of the University College Cork. In March, the same gallery featured the works of Estonian video artist Kai Kaljo as part of the exhibition “Passports: Globalisation in Contemporary European Video”.
In Apil 2012 there was an exhibition of the young Estonian artist Ulla Juske entitled “Gatecrasher” at the Mad Art Gallery.
In August 2011 the art festival “The Power of Local” took place on Ireland’s western coat in the town of Ennistymon. Estonia was represented there by the artists’ group Vedelik.
In April 2008, an exhibit was opened in Dublin with the help of the Museum of Estonian Architecture entitled "History Reflected in Architecture".
In November 2006, Aet Kuuskemaa's lithography exhibition about Tallinn and Endel Grensmann's aerial photography exhibition "Bird's-eye View of Estonia" were open to the public at the Dublin City Hall. Endel Grensmann’s exhibit of aerial photos was also on display in the European Union House in Dublin in February 2007.
In June 2006, in co-operation with the Japanese Embassy, Ann Tenno's photo exhibition "Japanese Garden" took place at Oscar Wilde's house in Dublin.
In January 2005, the Estonian Jewellers group FFFF’s exhibition at Cork Vision Centre helped open the Cultural Capital 2005 in that Irish city. In March 2005, Ene-Liis Semper and Mark Raidpere's exhibition was opened in Dublin's Temple Bar Gallery.
In March 2004, the exhibition "New Frontiers" was opened in the Irish National Art Gallery, where 6 works from the Estonian Art Gallery were on display: “Viljandi Motif” by Konrad Mägi, “Lady with a Child” by Arnold Akberg, “Woman with Masks” by Johannes Greenberg, “In the Kitchen” by Andrus Johan, “The sacrifice” by Kristjan Raud and “Naked in the Summer” by Aleksander Vardi.
In April 2016, pianist Mihkel Poll gave a concert in Galway with the Galway Chamber Choir Clois Cladaigh and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet. They played the works of Estonian composers Arvo Pärt, Urmas Sisask, Artur Lemb, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tõnu Kõrvits. Mihkel Poll also performed in Dublin as part of the Hugh Lane Gallery concert series.
In April 2015, two Estonian choirs participated in the choir festival held in Cork – the Tallinn University Chamber Choir as a contestant and the TUT Alumni Female Choir as a guest performer.
In December 2014, the quartet Clarinette Omnitonique and the Irish contemporary music ensemble Concorde gave a joint concert titled “Gift from Estonia”, performing works by Estonian and Irish composers.
In October 2014, the duo Villu Veski-Tiit Kalluste played at Guiness Cork Jazz Festival and in Dublin at Farmleigh House. The ensemble Resonabilis also had concerts in Ireland.
In March 2014, the Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces performed in Ireland for St Patrick’s festival. In April of the same year, the trio Kristi Mühling, Aare Tammesalu and Arete Teemets performed in Dublin and Cork, and the ESTudio Youth Choir won the main prize at the International Choir Festival Fleischmann in Cork.
In March 2013, during the festival 10 Days in Dublin, Arvo Pärt’s work “Passio” was performed by The National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Theatre of Voices from Denmark and YXUS Ensemble from Estonia, conducted by Paul Hillier. In December 2013, Liisi Koikson gave a Trio concert in Dublin at St Catherine’s Church.
In July 2012, composer Urmas Sisask’s works were performed at “The Longest River”, an event held by the Irish Maritime Institute in St Ann’s Church.
In February 2011, Heiki Mätlik held a guitar evening at the House of the Royal Dublin Society.
In 2009, people in Dublin had the chance to get acquainted with the exhibition “Arvo Pärt – the Known and the Unknown”, curated by the Estonian Museum of Theatre and Music.
In February 2008, the world premier or Arvo Pärt’s composition “The Deer’s Cry” took place in Ireland as a work commissioned by the Louth Contemporary Music Society and inspired by the text on St Patrick’s chest plate. As part of the same event, Pärt’s instrumental pieces Fratres, Spiegel im Spiegel and Für Alina were performed as well. The annual RTE Living Music Festival of 2008 was dedicated to Arvo Pärt. The festival was opened in the National Concert Hall by the RTE Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Tõnu kaljuste, and Pärt’s works were performed in major concert halls in Dublin. The maestro himself attended the event and the festival also offered workshops for participants.
In July 2007, the promising young pianist Sten Lassmann opened the annual concert series “Our mEUsical partners”, held in Cork. The programme included works by Heino Eller. In September of the same year, the Irish concert tour of Tõnu Kaljuste and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir took place, performing at four cities in Ireland.
In November 2006, the siblings Johansons held concerts in Ireland. They performed in Dublin in the pub Gobbelstone and in O’Riada Hall of the University of Cork.
Many Estonian choirs have performed at Cork Choir Festival, conductors Eri Klas and Paul Mägi, Kristjan Järvi and Tõnu Kaljuste have worked with Irish orchestras.
THEATRE, FILM, DANCE
The repertoire of Estonian theatres has always included numerous works by Irish playwrights, such as “Aristocrats” by Brian Friel in the Estonian Drama Theatre, “Connemara. The Lonesome West” by Martin MacDonagh in Rakvere Theatre and “The Cripple of Inishman” in Tallinn City Theatre as well as “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” in Vanemuine Theatre. In 2003, MacDonagh’s play “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” premiered in the Estonian Drama Theatre, and in the Estonian Puppet Theatre, the young Irish director Annabelle Comyn directed Judy Upton’s play “Ashes and Sand”. In October 2013, Irish comedians Keith Farnan and Paddy Lennox performed in Tallinn and Tartu.
Irish films have been shown at PÖFF. In 2006, the festival had a special programme of Neil Jordan’s films. In 2010 and 2011, Jordan’s romantic fantasy film “Ondine” was screened in Estonian cinemas.
In February 2008, the Estonian films “Autumn Ball” and “The Class” were shown as part of the Dublin annual international Jameson film festival. In April, Imbi Paju’s film “Memories Denied” was screened in Ireland.
In November 2011, the Estonian films “The Rat Trap” and “The Snow Queen” were shown as part of the Cork Corona Film Festival.
In July 2011, the ensemble Sõprus performed at the Cork International Dance Festival and at several places in Cork County.
In November 2013, „The Purge“ was screened at Kilkenny Subtitle Europe film festival.
In February 2015 in Dublin, and in April of the same year in Cork, the Estonian-Georgian film “Tangerines” was shown in cinemas.
ESTONIANS IN IRELAND
There approximately 3000 Estonians living in Ireland. The proportion of Estonians in the population of Ireland is 0.05%. The Estonian community in Ireland is very active, but no common Estonian Society or association has been founded. The Estonian Cultural and Sports Society was created in August 2012, and an Estonian school in Dublin opened in September 2012. Additionally, a female folk dance group, Iiris, was founded in Dublin in 2011.
In April 2009, an Estonian family society, Üheskoos, was created in Cork to bring together the Estonian families living in the area. On 14 September 2013, the Cork Estonian School opened its doors, however, it closed in 2016.
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