More than 24.5m passengers flew out of Ireland in 2013, up 4.3% on 2012.
Almost 3.5m of these departed for non-EU destinations, while more than 21m flew within Europe. Approximately 57,000 flew from one Irish airport to another.
Dublin has also been listed as the 17th busiest airport in Europe, handling more than 20m passengers in 2013 — a 5.5% increase on 2012.
This year, the airport reached the 20m mark a month earlier than expected, indicating further growth of around 7%.
Dublin Airport’s managing director, Vincent Harrison, said 2014 had been a very strong year for the airport in terms of passenger growth.
“This year has been Dublin Airport’s busiest since traffic peaked in 2008 and we’re growing much faster than the European average,” he said.
“Dublin is becoming a significant hub for transatlantic connections and the additional flow of transfer passengers will help the further expansion of services to North America and also to Britain and continental Europe.”
Overall, 842m passengers travelled by air in Europe in 2013, an increase of 1.7% compared to the previous year.
The level of air passengers fell to 753m in 2009 following the financial crisis but has been climbing steadily ever since.
London Heathrow continues to be the most popular European airport, handling 72m passengers in 2013, with Dublin to London proving to be Ireland’s most popular destination.
After Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle in Paris, France is the next busiest airport, handling 62m.
Germany’s Frankfurt Main follows with 58m passengers while Amsterdam’s Schiphol clocks in at 53m.
Out of the top 30 airports in Europe, 24 registered increases in the number of passengers handled.
The largest increase in air passenger transport occurred in Luxembourg which saw a 14.5% rise, followed by Malta (up 10.5%) and Lithuania (up 10%).
The largest fall was seen in Estonia, with numbers falling 11.1%, while decreases were also seen in Cyprus, Spain, Austria, and Italy.