One in two Irish people living abroad are considering coming back to Ireland for Christmas, according to a new survey from FRS Recruitment. This is up from the 3 out of 10 who said they were planning to travel at this time last year. 


Those living in the UK or in the Middle East are the most likely to return home in December, with 64% saying they are considering the trip. This was followed by those living in other parts of Europe (57%), while only 42% of those in the US or Canada are likely to travel and on 31% of the Irish abroad living in Australia/ New Zealand. 


The cost of travel is the biggest factor impacting decisions to travel home, with almost 4 out of ten (38%) saying this was weighing on their considerations. This was followed by the public health situation in Ireland (37%) and uncertainty around the public health situation (34%).


Spending time with family and friends is the aspect of an ‘Irish Christmas’ missed by nine out of ten Irish abroad. While 60% say they miss Christmas dinner in Ireland, the same number miss Irish Christmas traditions and 53% wish they could pop into their local. 


Almost nine out of 10 (89%) of the Irish abroad surveyed had travelled home for Christmas in the past. While just under half of the Irish abroad (47%) have been back to Ireland since the pandemic began.


The survey of Irish people living abroad was conducted by Irish recruitment company, FRS Recruitment, over a 12 day period between 8th November and 19th November. 1,061 people took part. This is the second year FRS Recruitment has conducted this survey.


Of those who participated in the survey, 19% were in the UK, 34% were based in other parts of Europe, 13% in the USA/ Canada, 11% in Australia and New Zealand, 8% in the Middle East, 7% in other parts of Asia, 5% in Africa, 2% in Central or South America and 2% in other parts of the world. 


The survey was conducted in conjunction with FRS Recruitment’s 70 Minutes of Home campaign, which seeks to provide Irish people living abroad with a unique taste of home. Through its partnership with GAAGO, segments of the special 70 minute videos that showcase Ireland are shown before games featured on the GAAGO platform, as well as at half time. The videos are also available on the GAAGO app, FRS Recruitment’s social channels and at


Speaking about the survey, incoming Group CEO of FRS Network, Colin Donnery said, “FRS Recruitment is continually focused on reaching out to the Irish abroad. With Christmas on the horizon we thought it would be a good idea to ascertain attitudes towards coming home for Christmas this year and how the public health situation is impacting on people’s plans.


“What was interesting is that, as things stand, one in two of the Irish people abroad still plan on travelling home for Christmas. While this situation is subject to change but the survey was conducted at a time when the worsening public health situation in Ireland was being reported and while the Government were implementing additional restrictions. It was also interesting that the cost of travel is the biggest factor impacting on the decisions from the Irish abroad, closely followed by public health concerns - despite the rising number of infections being top of the news throughout this period. Obviously attitudes could change significantly in the weeks ahead if the health situation worsens. 


“Another interesting point was the consistent pull of Ireland when it comes to Christmas time, with nine out of ten Irish abroad saying they have travelled back home in the past. Missing family and friends is by far and away what they miss the most, but it was also interesting to see that the appeal of the Irish Christmas dinner remains for the majority of the Irish abroad, no matter what part of the world they are living in,” Mr. Donnery concluded. 


FRS Recruitment is a leading recruitment businesses operating in Ireland. They have 10 offices nationwide, with locations in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Tipperary, Limerick, Kerry, Kilkenny, Offaly, Cavan and Roscommon. A 100% Irish business, FRS Recruitment is part of the FRS Network – the social enterprise co-operative.